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제목 [한국알리기 국내외 행사] [Choi Jung-wha] Person-to-person approach important in promoting Korea [코리아헤럴드 2018-10-14]
글쓴이 webmaster 조회 939 등록일 2018.10.15

My friend Bronwen Maddox, who is the director of the UK think tank Institute for Government, came to Korea with her daughter for two weeks this summer. I had thought that the trip was solely for the benefit of her daughter, a K-pop fan, but I soon learned that Bronwen was quite knowledgeable and interested in Korean culture as well.

It turns out that her daughter introduced her to the K-pop group BTS, and their interest in Korea gradually grew. They would watch Korean entertainment shows on TV, which led them to learn Hangeul so that they could understand the Korean captions, and Bronwen started to follow news on Korea as well. 

As Bronwen said in an article she later published, it was the start of “a Korean passion that has taken over the house -- my life, perhaps, now even more than hers.”

Unsurprisingly, when I met them at a Korean restaurant on a hot summer day, both mother and daughter were very comfortable with Korean food and enjoyed it, even though it was their first time visiting Korea. Her daughter especially had very good knowledge of a wide variety of Korean food -- bulgogi, japchae, kimchi and even tteokbokki. When I asked how she knew of so many Korean dishes, she said she had seen them on social media. They both showed such passion to learn more about Korea and its culture.

Inspired by their enthusiasm, I wished to show them more of Korea. Although the weather was stifling, and I was busy in the midst of preparing for an upcoming event run by my organization, I wanted to find a way to give them more opportunities to experience Korean culture during their stay.

Since her daughter’s main interest was K-pop, I thought it would be best if she could experience K-pop more intimately, rather than merely listening to the music.

After looking for ideas, and contacting various people, Chairman Park Won-ho of DI Corp. kindly invited us to his ODE Maison in Sinsa-dong, which is the world’s largest audio showroom that specializes in high-end audio products. 

There, we had the opportunity to watch the latest K-pop live-performance videos with the best audio gear. Watching the videos on a large screen, surrounded by the best audio equipment, it felt like we were at a live concert itself.

Upon hearing that Bronwen and her daughter were planning on visiting Busan the day after, Chairman Park made it possible for them to go to Psy’s famous “Summer Swag 2018” show. They had a blast at the concert, and made wonderful memories during their stay in Korea. 

I was glad to see that Bronwen and her daughter had such a great experience in Korea, which seemed to have left a deep impression on them. After their memorable stay, Bronwen even contributed an article to the London Evening Standard on her visit to Korea and K-pop culture. Although she learned of Korea through her daughter, she is now even more passionate about Korean culture.

I have always strived to promote Korea, which is why I established my organization, the Corea Image Communication Institute, years ago and am still running it. We always do our best to organize CICI events and invite opinion leaders to Korea so that they can gain further understanding of Korean culture. When people such as Bronwen come to Korea on their own like she did this summer, I feel proud to see how much Korea and the country’s image have advanced. 

Although it was a difficult summer, recorded as the hottest summer in 111 years, meeting Bronwen and her daughter was a great experience for me as well. When I see the extent to which showing people Korea and its culture in person can leave a profound impact, I find a sense of pride and satisfaction, and am reminded of my passion to promote Korea.

Choi Jung-wha
Choi Jung-wha is president of the Corea Image Communication Institute and a professor at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies. -- Ed.
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