As my time in Korea is drawing to an end, I started reflecting about some good times at Hanyang that I didn’t write about yet. I came to study abroad at a very special time of the year. During the spring semester, the campus is dotted with beautiful flowers everywhere. However, what makes the spring semester really special is that the school festival occurs during this time. Most universities in Korea, especially Seoul, have their own school festival in the spring.
These school festivals are really exciting because the organizers invite special performers. Schools compete with each other to see who can bring the best idol groups to sing at their festival. Unfortunately, I did not have time to go see other university festivals, but I was able to experience some of own university festival in between cramming for my Korean final.
About one week before the festival, everyone was talking about the performers. This year’s main performers were Secret, Sistar, and Psy. Last year, the school was able to bring Girls Generation to perform. The majority of my school is made up of males, so unfortunately for me, the school caters performances to the male population. Since my school is known for engineering, about 60% of the students are guys and even the surrounding area of Wangshimni consists of many bbq restaurants and bars. There are very few shopping areas and cafes for the girls, unlike the areas around Ewha Womens University.
Back in Philadelphia, our festival at Temple University is called Spring Fling, and it is one day where organizations sell food or have small activities like pieing someone in the face. Here, Korean universities have vendors selling food such as kabobs, fruit on a stick, alcoholic drinks in a bag, Turkish ice cream, light up bows, and cellphone cases. They also have student clubs selling food and organizing little activities. Night is when the festival gets really lively and students hang out on campus at bars set up by the students and drink. These activities are allowed in Korea and since the festival is four days long, there are really four days of drinking for the students.
On the first night, there was a kickoff show at the outdoor amphitheater, and the school pep team danced and cheered to pump up the school spirit. Sadly, everyone was just waiting for Secret to come. When Secret arrived, you could see the waves of guys stand up and dance and sing along in their low, manly voices to the songs. They even danced and raised their arms to form a heart. Unfortunately, I had to leave after Secret since I had a final the next day and did not see Psy perform.
The following days, there were more performances by the students and even Hyun Bin (the lead in a Korean drama called “Secret Garden”) came to speak. Although I missed all of that, I got the opportunity to see a talented duo, 10cm, perform many of their songs on stage. They were really good, but many students left in the middle of their performance to catch the subway home.
On the last night of the festival, there were students competing in a singing contest, and in the end, Sistar came and performed. Again, the boys went wild. The festival ended with a nice firework show above the amphitheater.