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[Herald Interview] Malaysian TikToker bridges Korean culture, language for global audiences

From K-pop fan to influencer and teacher, Nura Ezzatie continues her venture

By Lee Jung-youn

Published : June 10, 2024 - 14:52

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Nura Ezzatie, a TikTok content creator from Malaysia, poses for a photo during an interview with The Korea Herald at the TikTok office in Gangnam, southern Seoul, Tuesday. (Lee Jung-youn/The Korea Herald) Nura Ezzatie, a TikTok content creator from Malaysia, poses for a photo during an interview with The Korea Herald at the TikTok office in Gangnam, southern Seoul, Tuesday. (Lee Jung-youn/The Korea Herald)

Nura Ezzatie, a 32-year-old TikTok content creator from Malaysia, speaks fluent Korean even though she has never lived in Korea. Now others -- like the 189,300 followers of her TikTok channel @nuraezzatie -- can learn practical Korean skills from her videos.

Ezzatie’s journey into the world of Korean language and culture started with her love for K-pop boy band Super Junior.

“In 2010, I decided to learn Korean because I wanted to understand the variety shows that Super Junior was on. But I had no one to practice with, so I started filming myself as a way to learn the language quickly,” she said in Korean.

Around that time, she also began uploading videos of herself speaking Korean to YouTube -- not with the intention of becoming an influencer or content creator, but purely to aid her language learning. Initially, her videos focused on explaining how to say specific words or phrases in Korean. As she grew more confident, she started creating more diverse content.

“I got ideas for my videos from the confusing Korean expressions I encountered while studying. Sometimes I write a short script imagining situations from Korean TV series. As I met more foreign friends who were learning Korean, I began to collaborate with them by creating comedy skit videos.”

Ezzatie utilizes TikTok’s Duet feature extensively for her Korean practice videos. The Duet function allows two creators to appear side by side in split-screen videos, enabling TikTok users to engage in natural Korean conversations and practice alongside her. She has created over 20 series of videos with the feature.

“I learned Korean by myself, without anyone to practice with or correct me when I was wrong. Knowing that struggle, I was deeply moved by comments saying that my videos made learning Korean less lonely.”

While her initial fascination with Korean language and culture stemmed from K-pop, Ezzatie's interests have expanded since then. She has posted content reciting poems by Na Tae-joo and created videos about King Sejong of the Joseon era (1392-1910), who promulgated Korea's writing system, Hangeul.

Ezzatie now teaches Korean at a public school in Malaysia, but she strives to maintain her presence as a TikTok influencer.

“Becoming a teacher has inevitably reduced the number of videos I post, as in most cases I plan, film and edit the videos all by myself. However, no matter how busy I am, I try to upload content at least once a week.”

Ezzatie also focuses on maintaining a consistent theme for her content. “Content creators I met at the TikTok influencer gathering advised me that it is crucial to maintain consistency. Even if I do a mukbang, I will plan it around something related to Korea. I started as a Korean language education creator, so I’ll continue in this direction.”

Ezzatie is motivated not only by her desire to support Korean language learners, but also by her goal to change the perception of influencers and content creators.

“Many people still think that TikToker is not a serious job, that they make money easily or that it isn’t a real profession, which upsets me,” she said.

“I believe that with more quality and valuable content, the prejudice against influencers and content creators will diminish. I will keep striving to produce and consistently supply such content.”