Seton Hall students explained the origins and purpose of the Korean Language and Culture Club on campus.
In light of Korean classes no longer being offered at Seton Hall, Miten Patel, a junior psychology major, explained that professor Michael Stone decided to offer free language lessons. He said it was a way to allow students to continue their pursuit for knowledge of the Korean language.
Patel, who is also vice president of the Korean Club, said that in the beginning there was only five to 10 students who met each week to participate in the short lessons. However, he said that with Korean music and culture rising in popularity, significantly more students became interested in learning Korean.
From the last semester to the current one, Patel said that the increase in participants inspired them to turn the lessons into a student-run organization for the spring 2019 semester.
The Korean Club meets every Friday at 2 p.m. in Fahy 203B to have a one hour language lesson held by the president of the club, Matthew Kim, a junior computer science major.
Besides studying Korean, Patel said that the club also organizes movie nights, study parties and language-themed game nights. They are also planning a joint trip to New York City this semester to visit K-town with the K-Pop Club, he added.
“Our main goal is for the general body of Seton Hall to take away a newfound respect and interest in the Korean language and culture,” Patel said. “We hope to show our love for Korea and its culture to all students, faculty and administration on campus in the hopes that we can garner a new respect for the country and its people.”
Kim said he wanted students to take away a new perspective of culture from the Korean Club.
“As a Korean who grew up in America, I really see that one culture can benefit greatly by learning from the other,” Kim said. “A lot of people have a preconceived notion of either Eastern or Western culture, and I want people to be less dependent on that for their experience in college.”
Megan Ogilvie, a junior Asian area studies major, is secretary of the Korean Club and said that the club is also involved in community service. She said that the first fundraiser will be for Children’s Day in conjunction with the K-Pop Club.
“In Korea, Children’s Day is both a school and work holiday, and was first started as a way to draw attention to students’ situations to raise their social status,” Ogilvie said. “It is often said that South Korean children’s book author, Bang Jeong-Hwan, was responsible for the holiday becoming an official day, calling for adults to treat children with more respect.”
She added that though the holiday is usually celebrated May 5, due to finals they decided to move the fundraiser to the May 1.
Ogilvie said that the event, Pilot Drama Marathon, will be a showing of the first episode of some popular K-dramas.
“We hope to have lots of food and encourage people to donate, even if they can’t come to the event,” Ogilvie said. “All of the proceeds will go to a charity to help hungry children here in the U.S.”
Jack Zhuang, a sophomore history major, said that he joined the club because he was always interested in Korean culture, but never had the opportunity to learn.
“Being a part of this club has motivated me to study Korean and introduced me to interesting Korean songs and comics,” Zhuang said. “I also learned about how Korean culture has influenced American culture, like the Fox TV show The Masked Singer, which is based off a Korean TV show.”
Pierre La Monica can be reached at email@example.com.