Series One – The Korea Trip
MINNEAPOLIS (Jan. 5, 2017) — After a year of preparation a 14-members delegation from Asian Media Access traveled to China and Korea to support cultural exchange opportunities.
The delegation, led by Ange Hwang, executive director, Asian Media Access traveled from Dec. 14 to Dec. 31, 2016. The Asian Media Access’ Youth Cultural Ambassador Team included 11 youth members and performers including MaiYoua Her, Jason Lee, Aeola Lu, Saysetha Philaphandeth, Keng Thao, Nancy Thor, Alexis Vang, Lucy Vang, Nooshilon Vang, Karen Yang, and PaTher Yang.
The youth have made many new connections, with the warm and attentive welcomes from Korea and the Chinese schools. Hwang said it was a great start to look forward to many cultural and educational exchanges in the coming years.
The Delegation’s first stop was Seoul, Korea. The Youth performed open street dances at Hongdae and Myeongdong, two of the busiest shopping districts, and known for their urban arts and indie music culture and entertainment. Two members were suffering from minor injuries, but insisted to complete the hip hop dances with the Team. They brought a fresh American youthful culture to entertain more than 300 Koreans, with many fans asking for photos and autographs.
After the street performances, the youth toured the Hongik University for an opportunity to speak with Professor Chris Choi to learn more about the Korean education system. The following day, the youth visited and participated at the One Million Dance Studio to learn Kpop dances from some of the best choreographers in the industry, and participated in the Seventeen Fan Club meet-and-greet.
Several delegation members got a chance to meet with the Kpop stars. At night the delegation enjoyed the traditional Korean BBQ. It was a very traditional place – full of grill smoke, the meat sizzling on the hot plates, and people chit-chatting waiting for the meat to cook. There were several Korean side dishes like kimchi and the youth learned how to wrap the veggie with the grilled meat.
On the last day, the delegation spent time at the Namsam Park’s North Seoul Tower – a must-see landmark of Seoul that overlooks the City, along with a memorable 1,000 plus uphill stairway around the Park that marked the oldest Palace Stone Wall. The delegation members were particularly attracted to the roof terrace for the view it offered.
The roof terrance is also known as a place for lovebirds to declare their unfaltering love. Several years ago a Korean TV program’s main characters visited the terrace and attached two padlocks to the fence as a symbol of their love. Since then tens of thousands of “love locks” can be found hanging around the terrace fences.
Without exception, the youth also left their traces at the love lock fence. After Namsam Park the delegation visited the Ihwa Mural Village. There are few mural villages around Seoul and there many beautiful street art stenciled images situated along narrow city lanes and steps to create impressive views. Many formerly underserved neighborhoods are now getting makeovers in the form of vibrant murals and art installations.
The Delegation experienced Korean street art through performances and murals. The youth especially appreciated the Korean way of engaging such youthful expressions without further enforcement, and how Korean artists respect such channels without abusing the privilege by carefully selecting their images to support the public enjoyment.
With such appreciation and full of Korean cultural souvenirs, the delegation headed to China, where there a very different experience awaited them. Please refer to Series 2-3 for the China Exchange Report.
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AMA’s BACKGROUD INFORMATION
Incorporated in August 1992, Asian Media Access, Inc. (AMA) is a comprehensive, multimedia based community advocacy agency. AMA is dedicated to using multimedia arts and technology as tools for social betterment. AMA recognizes that multimedia and technology are essential for advocacy, communication and education, in order to mobilize communities, and young people; to engage in understanding and communicating of Pan Asian issues; and to arrive at a participatory decision making process for a safe, supportive environment for all.
As multimedia is defined by the Oxford Dictionary – “using more than one medium of expression or communication including film, dance, video, audio, design, drama, acrobatics, and stage effects”. By effectively utilizing these different tools, AMA creates as well as presents programs that educate and enrich the communities. We believe the multimedia arts and information technology empower all of us with critical thinking and promote good citizenship—especially important as we prepare young people to be tomorrow’s leaders. Our thought-provoking multimedia education, productions, exhibitions, stage performances, resourceful educational products and youth programs encourage deep reflection, challenge previous assumptions, provide solace, and allow participants to develop their own way of connection in timeless works of creation, communication and community building.