Monday, April 1, 2019

Nordic Korean Studies Days


Today's post is on the Nordic Korean Studies Days that I talked about in my last post!
The 'event' was pretty intense and it'd be way too much to blog about so I'm just going to do some commentaries on the pictures and videos I took.

Behold! The schedule!

Each day there were talks and seminars. During the talks, the professors would hold presentations and as for the seminars, the professors would first talk about the topics and later divide us into groups and have us work together to answer questions and do presentations.

The first people I bonded with were two people from my group, Fredrik from Oslo and Emmanuel from Stockholm, but by the end of the week we were a pretty big group of new friends!
Here are Taeho (태호) from Finland and Stein from Stavanger, two other new, good friends. And in the picture below is Jasmin presenting with her group.

Some days were more exciting than others. Especially the ones on North Korea related topics fascinated me. Here's a North Korean book that was passed around during one of the talks.
There are probably things I missed but in this picture, I marked some North Korean writing points that you wouldn't see in South Korean books:

1. The North Korean way of writing ㅌ (theirs isn't connected at the top. It looks like a ㄷ with an additional line above it).
2. North and South Korean spelling differences. North and South Koreans have 'romanized/hangeulized' old traditional Korean differently. Where South Koreans spell the word for history '역사' (yeoksa), North Koreans say '력사' (ryeoksa). The difference can be heard.
3. 동지 is used when referring to Kim Jong-il. Some semesters ago, when we read North Korean comics in class, almost every character would be mentioned by name and either 동지 or 동무 (both words mean comrade, 동지 is more formal).
4. North Korean quotation style where《 and 》are used instead of " and ".
A couple of the professors had also been to North Korea for 'vacation'/research trips and one of them even studied there since she was born in East Germany(!)
The professor pictured had gone several times and showed us pictures from different trips while talking about the development of Pyongyang (평양), the North Korean capital.

On Tuesday night, the Korean Embassy invited us to watch Nanta and a band named Coreyah (고래야) perform at the Black Diamond in Copenhagen. The performance was part of Denmark-South Korea's celebration of 60 years of diplomatic relations.
Here we are waiting for the show to start with some of our new friends!
From left to right is Fredrik (Oslo), Taeho (Turku), Espen (Oslo but originally from northern Norway. We joked that his humor was as dark as his city since they don't get much sunlight), Melina, Jasmin, Stephanie, and Billie. I have Korean class with Melina and Stephanie while Billie and Jasmin are two years below us.
Before the performance, the Ambassador welcomed us all. He's the man in front of the stage.
Our Korean teacher pointed out to us that the name and logo of the band was really clever. It's a wordplay on Korea and the Korean word for whale.
A description of both performances before the show started~
Since it was dark, it was hard to take good pictures. But I managed to catch some of it on video.
The Nanta performance was shorter than the one I watched in Korea but I think they just shortened it to fit it into the schedule.
Coreyah's performance was also really interesting. The music was so very different from anything you'd hear here in Denmark. 
After I came home, I looked up their songs and found at least these 5 that they performed for us. If you have time, try to give them a listen.
• 고래야(Coreyah) - 박수쳐(Clap!) - for this one they had us clap along with them. had os clap with them 
• 고래야(Coreyah) - 불러온 노래(Song of Our Ancestors) - and during this last song, they asked us all to sing along.

Every day we would eat breakfast together, professors and students side by side, before starting the day. One day while grabbing food, the professor here complimented my 'klänning,' which means dress in Swedish - I learned a new word that day!
One of the coolest things about this whole event, to me, was the we could speak our own languages with each other (except for the Finns and foreigners) and still understand each other. And we could jab at each other with our typical Nordic humor ㅋㅋㅋ
I took this picture during one of the presentations.
As you can see, the questions weren't easy and we great discussions.

On Wednesday we visited the National Museum. Here we're on our way.
After the tour, we stayed around the museum due to the bad weather. The weather had been great the week before but the entire time that our Nordic brothers visited, the weather sucked.
While checking out the gift ship, we found this rune alphabet and joked that Korean must have come from Old Norse since the Korean ㅇ (ng) looked and sounded like our ◇.
After the museum, we were free to go. Jasmin as I went home to have a lazy day.
Here's a picture of us post make-up removal, camping in her bed and playing Sims 4. Shout out to Jasmin for letting me crash for a week instead of going all the way home.
To make the above picture even worse, here are some cute selfies for contrast.

And here we have Jasmin looking like a sloth with those banana claws.
Thursday (I think) we went for dinner with a bunch of our new friends!
Philip, Sondre, Jasmin, me, Melina, Inger, Stein, Charlotte, Taeho, Espen, Stephanie, Fredrik, and Emmanuel.

Friday, students all over (Europe??) protested against climate change. After breakfast, we were asked to join the morning song event before continuing to the next seminar. As soon as we arrived, we were handed 5 pages of paper with song lyrics to, ironically, be thrown right into the trash as soon as we were done.
Friday we had student presentations also. Interestingly, 3 out of 6 presentations were related to gender/sexism/feminism.
The other days we'd gotten sandwiches for lunch but on Friday the Korea Foundation sponsored us tickets for the school's canteen.
Here I'm eating with Jasmin and Stephanie. I'm actually a year ahead of Stephanie but this semester we ended up taking Korean class together. I don't know my new Korean classmates too well but I feel like we grew much closer that week.
The very very last talk was by professor Moon Seungsook, who had come from England to present her so-far for us.
The foreign students and professors were called up and received little presents and afterwards we all took a group photo, like true Koreans.
We also all signed a thank you card to the Korea Foundation so show our gratitude for making the event possible.

Our Nordic friends had been enjoying the greatness that is cheap Danish beer and loose alcohol laws almost every night from what I heard. Friday we could finally join!
After the last talk, we went to another room, got some alcohol and some snacks, ate pizza, and played games.
From left to right is Taeho's hand (Turku), Stein, Inger, Sondre, Philip, Charlotte, Emmanuel, Espen's nose, and Jasmin's cheek.
We had been using kahoot for a couple of seminars and played one last kahoot game when we had a quiz with tricky questions about Scandinavia and Korea.
We had a laugh at Philip carrying this many beers and took a picture to commemorate. Sondre is looking happy as ever and Jasmin jumped in front of dabbed.
Before heading out, Fredrik and I found out that we have a common friend - Philip!
Apparently Fredrik had been in Korea and spoke Norwegian when Philip heard that and called out to him and his friends.
We both snapped pictures of us together and sent it to him but Philip is bad at replying and only did so days later..
We followed our new friends to their hotel and stayed for a short while before we had to take the night bus home.
I was sad that we couldn't spend more time with them but as we hugged them, Fredrik suggested that we do a reunion some day - a Kalmar-reunion to be exact!
(Fredrik's humor is just as lame as mine and I'm 1000% sure this is why we bonded so quickly).

It was a great week! I'm so happy that we got to meet so many amazing people and I truly hope we get to meet each other again soon!

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