ENMU Student Feels at Home in South Korea

ENMU Student Feels at Home in South Korea

Since South Korea is an incredibly non-diverse population of people, she did a lot of research before going to the country. Roughly 96 percent of the population of South Korea is Korean, so the country is still adjusting to foreigners. The educational and societal norms are very different. Libraries are open almost 24 hours because kids are raised to study all the time and work hard to get a good job in the future.

A native of Oklahoma and New Mexico, Wapaha decided to study abroad in South Korea for multiple reasons including the language, music, the booming economy and the beautiful location.

Discovering South Korean music on YouTube five years ago, Wapaha fell in love with Korea and was instantly hooked. She loved the language because the music had so much passion and feeling.

"It [South Korea] is just so beautiful and unique. I like the entertainment industry because I am a communication major," Wapaha said. She loves to listen to music. Involved with the radio show Hound Waves at ENMU, Wapaha played music in over 10 different languages and various genres.

After listening to Korean music, she wanted to hear the language in person, and began watching Korean television shows like "Running Man."

"I'm a fan of television shows like ‘Saturday Night Live.' Korean television has to be wholesome because of regulations as families watch it, and it must be viewer friendly," Wapaha said.

Even with subtitles, the television shows are hilarious to her. Wapaha desires to understand Korean so she doesn't have to wait to read the subtitles and can laugh along with them.

Compared to America, Korea is technologically advanced. Public Wi-Fi is free and available almost anywhere in Seoul. Wapaha loves to walk around the outskirts of her university and find new sights to explore and take pictures.

"My University is also a little smaller than ENMU, but has taller buildings and the homey feeling is still there," Wapaha said.

Taylor feels at home in South Korea because people are so kind and helpful that she's doesn't have to worry about not knowing how to do something. Korea is influenced by American culture, so everyone is very understanding and more than happy to offer assistance.

Wapaha is part Navajo, and loves the respectful age system and bowing culture in Korea. She doesn't have much connection to her heritage, but the Native blood in her likes to treat elders with respect.

Recently, a Korean friend invited her to the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art. Surprisingly, the museum was featuring a video by artist Kim Soo Ja that filmed the thread working and basket weaving in Arizona and New Mexico on the Navajo and Hopi Reservations.

"I felt like I was home. How cool is it to travel all the way around the world just to see a piece of home?"

Being in Seoul makes her realize how small the world actually is because everything is connected in one way or another. "Living here doesn't feel strange at all. It is a liberating feeling to experience so much of the world in such a small amount of time in such a small place," Wapaha said

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