Talent show kicks off 1st annual Korean Week; cultural, social events open to public

Traditional Korean song, a modern dance and Korean form hybrid and Korean-style yoga marked the beginning of Korean Week, as 14 students performed in acts displaying all three of those talents in the Korean Student Association Talent Show at Foellinger Auditorium on Saturday.

The show, which about 400 students attended, kicks off the University’s first annual Korean Week hosted by the Korean Student Association, or KSA, one of the largest organizations for Korean students on campus.

Albert Kim, organizer of the KSA talent show and senior in Business, said the talent show allowed students to demonstrate their skills.

“I am relieved to finish the show successfully,” Kim said. “The whole team and I have put a lot of effort in this show. Although there were some little problems, everyone seemed to enjoy the show at the end.”

Audience members evaluated each performer using an iClicker, and the performers with the top three scores received prizes.

Hyewon Jung, member of KSA and freshman in LAS, said she enjoyed the show.

“I haven’t (ever) seen that many Korean people in one place,” Jung said.

Thirteen events have been planned for the rest of the week, which will culminate in a Korean baseball tournament on April 14. The event’s themes range from cultural, social and academic and are open to the public. Un Yeong Park, president of KSA and graduate student, said there were two reasons for hosting Korean Week.

“We heard that Korean international students are (felt) invisible on campus, because they are living on their island; they don’t try to pull themselves out of their island,” he said. “They prefer communicating with just each other. That’s the first reason.”

The second reason, he said, was that in addition to increasing communication amongst Korean international students, Park also wants to increase communication amongst the various Korean clubs on campus.

“There are many small-sized student organizations, (but) there is no initial team to make (them) work together,” Park said. “I’d like to have one voice to show (everyone) our Korean culture within our group as well as outside the group.”

Some of the events include a Korean Expo at the Illini Union in Room C on Thursday. At the expo, there will be many displays that will explain all areas of Korean culture, such as traditional clothing, movies, food and calligraphy.

“In order to raise awareness of (the) Korean community and culture on campus, KSA will also be selling delicious homemade Korean food, including seaweed rolls, Inari rolls, sweet and spicy rice cake and fried dumpling,” Park said.

The Korean Dish Sale will be held on Thursday on the Quad.

Park said he wants Korean Week to help bridge the gap between students of different nationalities.

“I want all the students, regardless of their nationality, to get to know about Korean culture and characteristics of Korean students,” Park said. “The interest and concern should be shared with other groups.”