Looking Back on Another Year of Celebrating Korean Culture at UBC: UBC Korean Language and Culture Program Year Overview

As the 2023-2024 academic year comes to a close, we are excited to reflect on one of the most eventful years that the Korean Language and Culture Program has had thus far! From lively cultural events to friendly gatherings for the students, our program has always aimed to foster community and celebrate Korean culture and language. Join us as we revisit the highlights and memorable moments that have defined our community, shaping Korean culture and language at UBC for the past year!

We kicked off the year by welcoming back students at UBC Asian Studies’ Welcome Back Night held on October 5th! We enjoyed an evening with department faculty, volunteers, and students folding paper Hanbok and providing visitors at the Korean booth with the opportunity to try on the traditional Korean clothing garment.

On November 10th, the UBC Korean program held its annual K-Pop Dance Event at the Asian Centre Auditorium. Students from the Korean program and other K-pop listeners alike joined us for an evening of dancing, trivia, Korean food, and prizes. Student instructors Christine and Yanny taught the choreography to Jungkook’s “3D”. After enjoying a traditional Korean dosirak meal and performance by guest performer Zonic, students played for prizes as they guessed K-pop choreography danced by our very own Korean program professors and the Korean Consul, who helped sponsor the event. The event closed with a classic random play dance, which featured a selection of popular K-pop songs, allowing attendees to showcase their talent and overflowing knowledge of K-pop.

Check out the K-pop dance event recap here!

Just a couple weeks following the K-pop Dance Event, the program hosted its first Korean-English Language Exchange Event of the semester, along with the UBC English Language Institute (ELI). Together, students of all Korean learning levels gathered to practice their Korean speaking skills with native Korean speakers, and Korean speakers from ELI came to practice their English. Whether in preparation for an oral exam or to simply vibe and have fun together, making new friends and building connections, this event provided a safe space to foster friendship and community, while also giving students the opportunity to practice their speaking.

As we said goodbye to 2023, we welcomed 2024, the Year of the Dragon. The UBC Korean Language and Culture Program ran a booth at the AMS Lunar New Year Event, hosting Korean Culture Trivia, as well as the game of dalgona. Traditionally played by children who carve out the patterns imprinted on the candy, many visitors tried their skills at the game which has recently been brought back to popularity through its appearance on the Netflix original, Squid Game. Visitors at the fair also came to test their knowledge or learn more about Korean culture through trivia. Do you know how many subway lines are currently running across South Korea? Or how to say Happy New Year in Korean?

As prizes, participants of both games enjoyed traditional Korean snacks such as tteok (rice cake) and yakgwa, as well as more popular modern Korean snacks. We finished off the day by enjoying performances of popular K-pop songs performed by UBC K-Wave’s official dance team, and just like that the Year of the Dragon had begun!

새해 복 많이 받으세요! (Happy New Year!)

To close off the semester, UBC Korean partnered with ELI once again to bring not one but two more Language Exchange Events. On February 16th, students came together to connect with each other, meeting new people, discussing each other’s hobbies, reasons for learning Korean and coming to Canada, MBTI, and much more. Nearly two months later, UBC Korean and ELI hosted the final Language Exchange Event of the year, this time with various games and prizes! The event began with students gathered at the Asian Centre Auditorium once again, practicing their Korean and English with native speakers. After having a chance to meet each other, students and volunteers commenced a game of “Guess the Word”. Members of a team would be presented with a word and had to describe the word in Korean, or ELI students in English, to their teammate as they had to correctly guess the word to earn points. Teams faced off in two groups of 5 students and played for prizes. After students took a break while enjoying Korean snacks, the time for the final game of the evening had arrived. Students played the popular “OX game”, a Korean rendition of “True or False” as they were presented with statements both in Korean and English and had to choose either “O” or “X” by standing on either side of the room. The top six students with the most answers correct won prizes of official Asian Studies Department merchandise.

With the conclusion of the final Language Exchange Event, the academic year had come to an end. As we bid farewell to another incredible year with the UBC Korean Language and Culture Program, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has contributed to its success. From the dedicated faculty who allow the Korean language and culture courses to run and foster a safe learning community for all students taking Korean at UBC, to all the student volunteers who help organize the events, and especially all the students. Without those passionate about Korean language and culture and always eager to learn more and get involved with the community at UBC, these events would not be a success! We continue to look into the future with enthusiasm and excitement. Looking back, we celebrate the memories and events of the previous academic year while awaiting the journey that has yet to come. Until then, we hope you continue embracing the Korean language and culture in all its forms.

See you next year!

Want to view photos from our events and hear about other news and events from the UBC Korean Language and Culture Program? Follow @ubckorean on Instagram and visit our website.

Written by Evens Wong