Suhasini Singh, Pune, Maharashtra
Im Sua also known as the Lucknowi Nawab in Korea is a Youtuber of Indian origin who is currently working in a South Korean company as a Digital Marketer. She started her YouTube channel to tell people about her experience as an Indian in South Korea. Her videos are very interesting and it helps her viewers explore more about Korea and Korean culture. Let’s take a look at our interview excerpt with her!
What inspired you to study and work in Korea?
Well nowadays people aspire to work in South Korea because of their interest in Korean music and dramas. When I started learning Korean, Korean dramas and K-pop were not very popular. I got to know about the job opportunities and the scope of the Korean language through my sister. And around 2010, SEPA the free trade agreement between Korea and India was signed. Many Korean companies wanted to invest in India and vise-versa. So I thought if I learn Korean I will have a good career in the future.
Korea is known for its various non-vegetarian dishes. Is it easy for a vegetarian to survive there? What is your favorite dish?
To be honest it is really hard to be a vegetarian in Korea. One of the main problems I faced after coming to Korea was related to the food only. Almost every dish in Korea is made of meat, even kimchi in fact has some kind of meat or seafood ingredients in it. So I would say I am not a strict vegetarian cause I can still have soups and kimchi. Many Koreans actually ask me if I eat chicken or fish whenever I mention that I am a vegetarian, that was culturally shocking for me. About my favorite dish….. Amongst the options I have I guess I’ll say pajeon or kimchi jeon. Kimchi Jeon is like a pancake and it’s made of kimchi. Pajeon is similar but it’s made of seafood.
In Korea it’s a tradition to eat pajeon with makkoli when it rains. Makkoli is like a rice wine and these days it comes in many flavors too. The way we have samosa and tea in India in the same way Koreans tend to eat pajeon and makkoli on a rainy day.
You surely are an explorer, any places you would want to suggest to our readers/viewers? Which place gives you a homely vibe?
I think if we talk about a homely vibe I’ll say Seoul. I have been living in Seoul since I came to Korea so I consider it to be my home, like whenever I am out of town I feel like I wanna go back to Seoul, my home. I feel at home in Seoul because I guess everything is very convenient and it’s very beautiful too.
If we talk about a suggestion then I guess Busan is one of my favorite places. It’s the second largest city and being a port city we can explore many beaches. I love beaches very much. I have been to many places but Busan is surely close to my heart. I visit Busan at least once a year. Make sure to add Busan to your list to witness the beautiful seaside!
What things should a girl or anyone in that case keep in mind if is planning a solo trip?
I travel a lot and mostly I travel alone. Korea is a very safe country so there is not very much to worry about but that being said it doesn’t mean that the crime rate is zero but it’s pretty safe here. I feel like wherever we are we should be conscious as we don’t know the place and people right.
Secondly, having access to the internet and maps, if you are talking about Korea then we need to have Naver map. Google Map does not follow in Korea so it’s better to have Naver maps.
While exploring places outside Seoul you need to know the timing of the buses. In Seoul it’s pretty convenient but outside it’s different. The timings will only be mentioned near the bus stop and if you miss the bus, the next bus will be like after an hour or so. So knowing the timings and management is necessary.
Could you pls mention about the scholarship that gave you the opportunity to study in Korea? What should we as students keep in mind while we apply for such scholarships?
I got 2 scholarships, the Korea Foundation scholarship and the KGSP scholarship. Korea Foundation scholarship is a one year language training programme and it is given to students who have done at least 8 courses in Korean language, literature or any course in Korea.
I did my UG in Korean Language and Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University so it was pretty easy for me to apply for this scholarship. This scholarship is very great if you wanna improve your language skills. You get opportunities to interact with people and you basically converse in Korean and it helps in improving your language skills.
KGSP is either for UG , Masters or PhD. I applied for masters in international trade. It gave me an opportunity to interact with international students and it helped me be open minded. It helped me build my career and personality.
To the students who want to study in Korea I would wanna tell you that focus on what you want to do in future and make sure to get more than 80%. Marks are really important in Korea. So make sure to have good grades.
What is the working atmosphere like in Korea? Is it easy for foreigners to adapt to it?
To be honest it is not very easy to adapt to the working atmosphere here. There is a kind of nunchi culture here which is like trying to understand them without them actually saying it, basically you reading their mood and mind. Also the people are hesitant to say no to something, like on company dinners even if you don’t wanna go you have to until it’s an emergency or something. Many foreigners will not be able to adapt to it. But this is not for all companies in Korea. Some are traditional whereas some are going global.
You have organized events to tell people about India and Bollywood. How did you come up with this idea? Please share your experience with us.
After coming to Korea I realized that Koreans don’t really know about India. Some Koreans even confuse India and Indonesia. So I felt that I wanted people to know about India. I was sitting with my friends and we just thought about what it would be like if we had Bollywood songs in Korea. So it stuck in my mind and we decided to have a Bollywood party. It was back in 2019 and it was surely successful. One of my main aims to open this YT channel was to cover these events and let Koreans know about the soft power of India.
The recent Bollywood event in Korea seems like a huge success! Could you please mention how you came up with this idea and how you carried it forward?
I had this theme concept in my mind from a long time and then I met few friends from India and Djibouti who encouraged me to organize this event and I did it finally.
The event surely showed us that many Koreans have started to show their interest in India and its diversed culture, what are your thoughts about it?
Indeed now a lot of people in Korea know what is Bollywood and there are places which have even started playing Hindi songs. I am happy and really satisfied to see this^^
Are you planning to create any platform for Indian culture lovers in Korea?
Haven’t thought about any particular platform as such but Through my events, I am promoting Indian culture in Korea.
You have interviewed a few Koreans who are interested in India and Indian culture. What do you think about their interest in Indian culture?
Yes, I have interviewed a few people who are into Indian culture, but I realised that it’s not the same as Hallyu is in India. It’s like only those who are into India and languages try to know more about the culture. The other people when asked about India only mention Gandhi ji and Curry.
Being away from India, what is one thing you miss the most?
I’ll say I miss my family and Indian food. To be honest I miss homemade food more. It’s not like we don’t have Indian cuisines here but the feeling of having food made by your mother is totally different. In Korea it’s like I make food and I’ll have to have it even if it’s not very good but back in India I could just tell mom that I want this and throw tantrums. So I miss that about being in India.
What cultural changes did you witness in Korea?
Yes there are many things which were culturally shocking for me. I noticed that people use toilet paper for almost everything. From wiping table to wiping hand. I am not used to it so I found it weird. I saw people cutting veggies with scissors which was a little shocking yet fascinating for me. Talking about the Fashion, Korean girls wear short dresses in freezing cold weather. People here are very conscious about their looks. In Korea when you meet people for the first time they tend to ask your age. We don’t ask people’s age so I was a little hesitant. They also ask if you have a girlfriend or boyfriend. I felt like why? Are you interested in me? I also noticed that people drink on every occasion. Let it be morning, afternoon or night, Soju is actually cheaper than water. So these are a few culture shocks I witnessed in Korea.
On behalf of our entire team of Hallyuism, we would like to thank Ms. Sua for taking out time for this interview. Make sure to check out our video interview with Lucknowi Nawab in Korea! Till then Anneyong