PRESENTING ON SOUTH KOREA: JEAWOON OH
On Wednesday, April 21, the Eastern New Mexico University Department of Multicultural Affairs presented the event “Are there people who do not know about Korea?”.
The presentation was done by Jeawoon Oh, an international exchange student from South Korea studying political science and diplomacy at ENMU. The presentation was focused on South Korean culture, the Korean Alphabet, some of the country’s history, traditional clothing, the arts and differences between South Korea and the United States.
Oh began her presentation by giving some background about the country and discussing the size and population of South Korea. In geographical comparison, the Korean Peninsula, including North and South Korea, it about the same size and Finland and England. She also noted that it is smaller than New Mexico.
Population wise, South Korea has a population of around 52 million people; she compared that to Australia, which has a population of about 25 million people. Oh added that she thought it was funny how much larger the population of South Korea is, despite that fact that Australia is geographically much larger.
Oh then showed the South Korean national flag and explained the meaning of it. She explained how the circle in the center of the flag represents balance. There are also four different symbols surrounding the flag, each with a different meaning. She said that one of the symbols represents how “everything should be harmonious.”
The next subject Oh discussed was the Korean Alphabet. Oh said that the Korean Alphabet was specifically created by King Sejong the Great, because he felt that all people should be able to know how to read and write. Oh then showed the audience how to create some of the lettering. She also mentioned that though the written part of the Korean language is easy, speaking it is not as easy.
She also discussed Korean pop music, or K-pop, which has grown increasingly popular around the world. Then she discussed television and films in the South Korea and their growing popularity in other parts of the world. Oh specifically mention the film “Parasite,” which garnered attention in the United States after winning multiple Academy Awards in 2020.
The last topic Oh discussed was the noticeable differences between South Korea and the United States. She mentioned many differences, including the cheaper Medicare in South Korea, the use of the metric system, South Korea’s smoggy skies compared to the U.S.’s clearer skies and that South Korea uses a different word order when speaking than the U.S.
Oh, said that she came to ENMU during the COVID-19 Pandemic, and chose it because she felt it would be safer from COVID-19 than going to a school in a higher populated area. She also mentioned that the thing she misses most about South Korea is the food.
This event was part of ENMU’s Department of Multicultural Affairs’ international education series. The next event in this series is “Ghana: History, Culture and Tradition,” it will take place on April 28. Registration information can be found in an email from ENMU’s Student Affairs office.