For Annabel Harrison and Ema Ho, it was an opportunity of a life time.
The two young British women got a chance to visit the place from where all their dreamy K-pop celebrities and riveting hallyu movies come and, in the process, also get a little recognition for their hard work.
They joined the growing legion of Worldwide Korea Bloggers, the mostly young people who the Korean Culture and Information Service (KOCIS) is recruiting from every corner of the globe to promote Korean culture.
KOCIS invited these two from London ― of some 25 Korea bloggers in all ― for a week-long, expenses-paid trip in Korea from Sept. 19-24. Ho and Harrison loved their trip so much they are staying on for another week to soak in even more hallyu.
|World Korea Bloggers Annabel Harrison (left) and Ema Ho pose for a photo at a cafe in Seoul as they wind up their week-long trip sponsored by the Korean Culture and Information Service on Monday. (Philip lglauer/The Korea Herald)|
“Comparing Seoul to London, this city is just so vast and the layout is so different,” said 25-year-old Harrison. “On our first night here, they took us to Namsan Tower, and we got to see the whole city lit up at night. We saw actually how big Seoul is, and it is just absolutely huge. We got an idea of the scale of it.”
KOCIS provided sightseeing trips and tours to famous attractions, like Jeonju Hanok Village, to people who have been blogging about Korea.
Harrison and Ho have been relentlessly tapping away at their keyboards since October last year about Korean pop music, films, TV dramas and all things Korean that they got to know and love in the United Kingdom.
In less than a year, their blog, Korean Class Massive, received over 100,000 visits and their Facebook page over 700 “likes.”
They recently talked about the European tour of K-pop’s CN Blue, the growing popularity of LG products in Britain, and Thames Festival 2012, which can be found on the KOCIS Korea Blog.
Harrison said she has many favorite musicians and bands but, if she had to pick one standout hallyu star, it would be Exo.
Ema Ho’s thing is film. Her favorite is the 2005 flick “Marathon,” so much so she wrote her graduating thesis on it. Harrison said her favorite is action thriller “The Man From Nowhere.”
Their visit to Jeonju Film Studio in North Jeolla Province was a particular treat.
Ho and Harrison said hallyu has captured the imaginations of British youth.
“Psy is currently No. 1 in the U.K.,” Annabel said. “I think (Psy’s ‘Gangnam Style’) is the first Asian pop song to be played on the radio stations regularly.”
“Last weekend people contacted us about Psy and how big he is now. One of our friends was even interviewed by Channel 4 about him, and BBC Radio 4 called to ask us about K-pop and the background of the song,” she said. “The British media is jumping on the Psy bandwagon now.”
By Philip Iglauer (email@example.com