26th of May marked the closing of the 1st K-Pop Academy, a 12-week course run by the Korean Cultural Centre for thirty K-pop fans who applied to learn more about the country and its culture.
Witnessing the course unfold over the last 12 weeks, the enthusiasm of the students themselves, combined with the dedication of the five or six strong team planning and executing the classes and sessions with characteristic Korean zeal, has created an experience which no one involved is likely to forget.
Beginning with Korean history, the alphabet, and some historical background including a first-hand account of the Korean War, the students have been given exposure in classes and hands-on activities of Korea beyond the world of K-pop which they have been promoting so vigorously with blogs and flashmobs.
The two-hour graduation ceremony was attended in full by His Excellency Ambassador Choo Kyu Ho, Director Yonggi Won, the K-pop Academy Team headed by Mrs. Hyejung Jeon, and the guest speakers such as Brigadier Brian Parritt and Dr Jae Hoon Yeon of SOAS.
The atmosphere was far from the familiar stilted and restless ambience of the school prize-giving, and closer to a K-pop concert itself. Each student delivered their own 60 second perspective on the course, and proceedings were punctuated with both planned and impromptu intermissions, such as homemade videos, a skit ‘K-pop Academy 40 year Reunion’, and a K-pop Academy anthem written by one of the students and performed en masse by the student body.
As this was a Korean event, it ended with three successive climaxes. The first was the anticipated award for best-performing student, won by Amy Moorcroft, judged first among equals in her dedication during the course. The second was the unexpected donation of 30 wifi cameras by Samsung, made the highly plausible assumption that they would be put to good use by a group that has already contributed in no small part to the promotion of Korea in the UK via the web and social media.
The final surprise was a personal video message from none other than Big Bang. The intensity of the response to this unexpected development is probably best handled by the imagination.
With ambassadors like these, it seems clear that K-pop has a bright future in the UK. The words of one student sum up the added dimension which the Academy has brought to K-pop fans already known for their passion. ‘Now I hope that we can show the world that Korea really is a beautiful country’.
Amen to that and 화이팅!
Images kindly provided by the KCCUK
Some websites of participants in the K-pop Academy
- Sisters with Seoul
- Korean Class Massive
- Kpop Concerts
- KLUE (Kpop Lovers United Events Facebook Group)
Whose blogs have we missed? If you run a blog which reported on the K-pop Academy, leave a link in the comments section below