The James Joo-Jin Kim Program in Korean Studies held an open house on February 15 to celebrate the New Year and speak to the greater Penn community about available fellowship opportunities. The office was packed full of professors, graduate students, current fellows, and undergraduates who came together to celebrate the holiday, better known as seollal. The department provided tables full of drinks and food like bibimbap and rice cakes to liven up the event which ensured no one left hungry! It was evident by the full house in attendance that each year members of the more and more members of the Penn community are becoming invested in this field.
It was great to see the current fellows engaging with prospective applicants for the 2018-2019 Fellowship and promoting the opportunity to students who demonstrate active participation in the field of Korean Studies. As the spring semester gets underway, it is clear that the fellows have benefitted so much from the knowledge given to us by our Korean Studies professors like the Kim Program Director, Professor Eugene Park, as well as our peer fellows. Conversations were not just limited to academic opportunities however. Between the historic handshake between President Moon Jai-in and Kim Yo Jong at the Winter Olympics held in Pyeongchang, the rising importance of South Korean exports in this age of globalization, and Hyeon Chung’s impressive run at the Australian Open, it is easy to see why South Korea has an increasingly large role on the world stage. Overall, the department’s choice to celebrate in true Korean fashion with large amounts of authentic food and a big crowd coming together to also promote the field of Korean Studies was a success.
We thank everyone who was able to attend the New Year celebration. Please keep an eye out for upcoming events like the Penn Forum in Korean Studies presentation of “Politics, Public, and Shamans: Marginalization of Shamanism in Korea, Past and Present” on February 22. In addition, the deadline for the 2018-2019 James Joo-Jin Kim Program Undergraduate Fellowship is February 28.