When I first started uni I never thought I would join the committee for the University of York Korean Cultural Society (UYKCS). I couldn’t speak a word of Korean and had never visited the country. Yet here I am: Social Secretary of the Korean Society! Here’s how it happened:
I have loved K-pop (Korean pop music) ever since a friend introduced me to it in sixth form. From there I ventured into watching Korean dramas on Netflix. The cuisine and fashion presented in Korean popular culture intrigued me. Then, during Freshers’ Fair, I spotted the Korean flag. I thought the society would just be a way for Korean students to find each other, so I was a bit intimidated at first. However, there are a lot more aspects to UYKCS than I expected.
A Korean welcome
I was afraid to join a cultural society. Being ethnically white British I didn’t know if I’d fit in. However, as soon as I walked in the door I felt welcomed. UYKCS is not just about speaking Korean – it is about allowing others to learn Korean culture no matter where they are from.
Since being part of the society I have started learning the Korean language. I’ve tasted some of Korea’s most famous dishes, such as spicy tteokbokki. I’ve even travelled to Sheffield to compete in an inter-university k-pop dance competition!
November 11th is Pepero Day in Korea which is a bit like European Valentine’s Day. As Social Secretary, I organised an evening of pepero themed games open to everyone. I was a little nervous since this was my first time hosting an event but the night was a big success. It just goes to show you how stepping outside of your comfort zone can bring you immense rewards.
Through UYKCS I have met friends for life, travelled and tested my abilities both as a dancer and as a member of a larger team. Plus, being on committee looks great on a CV!
Try something new
University is all about trying something new. My favourite thing about York (aside from the Library cafe) is just how many opportunities there are.
Visit the YUSU website to see just how many societies York has to offer and give one a go! I spent a few weeks attending every society from Knitting to Dodgeball before I found one I was truly passionate about. I met some lovely people along the way and really grew in confidence. Trying something new can be intimidating when you don’t know anyone there, but it is so easy to make friends when everyone has a common interest.
I hope after reading this you will feel inspired to try something you’ve always wanted to but were too afraid. My hope for this year is to join a sporting society and see where it takes me!