Experiencing Korea at UND’s Korean Culture Night 

Gabrielle Bossart, Reporter

The annual Korean Culture Night was held on Monday, November 14th this year and saw an excellent turnout from the student body. The event, hosted each year by the Korean Culture Exchange Club, took place in the Memorial Union Ballroom and lasted for about three hours. The Korean Culture Exchange Club is sponsored by the Consulate general of the Republic of Korea in Chicago as well as the UND Student Organization Funding Agency (SOFA), both of which make events like this one possible. The event highlighted several aspects of Korea and invited students to interact meaningfully with the culture. Coming in the door, each visitor at the event was allowed to choose five snacks from a table of several options. The snacks consisted of foods that can be found in Korea and included items such as banana milk, sweet candies, cakes, and more. Several other booths contained varied aspects of Korean culture. At one booth, participants were shown common games from the country and were invited to try their hand at playing. At another, participants could have their palms read in order to learn about what the lines in their hands might say about their life.  

At one booth, several small models of ancient Korean buildings were on display. Here, attendees could learn more about the history of Korea and some fun facts about modern day life there. For example, the models on the table displayed buildings from the Grand Palace at Seoul, dating back to the 1500’s. These buildings are known for their distinct green and red colors, which were strictly reserved for the emperor. These buildings, though they were built centuries ago, also had heating and cooling systems in the form of pipes that carried either hot or cold water. Modern day Seoul stands as the capital of the country and though its land size is smaller than the state of North Dakota, its population hovers around 50 million people!  

Visitors interested in linguistics could visit the Korean language booth and learn more about the history of the language, the alphabet, and how it is formatted. Those wanting to really embrace the culture could don some traditional clothing items and have their photo taken at a photo op booth. Each booth was manned by a couple, extremely knowledgeable members of the club.  

The booths were only some of the great aspects of the evening. The big draw each year is the promise of a traditional Korean meal, and it never disappoints. Several options were available for visitors to try, including Korean pork, glass noodles, classic white rice, kimchi, and cinnamon pancakes known as Hotteok served with vanilla ice cream for dessert. A short presentation on Korean culture preceded the meal, along with several interactive activities such as the popular whisper challenge, a chopstick handling challenge, and a spicy ramen challenge. The event was well attended with a full ballroom of students and a fun and lighthearted atmosphere. Of course, it would not be Korean Culture Night without some K-pop, which was played softly in the background during the meal. Overall, the night was once again a great success and a wonderful way to experience the beauty of Korean culture from small-town Grand Forks, North Dakota.  

 Gabrielle Bossart is a Dakota Student Reporter. She can be reached at [email protected].