Studying in Korea has been a dream of many K-enthusiasts around the world. But, have you ever heard a story of someone getting a scholarship to study in Korea because of fangirling? This is my story of how my Kpop obsession became a scholarship to come to Korea.
The 21st century has been witnessing the supremacy of the Korean Wave or hallyu. Particularly with how K-Dramas and K-Pop have become the country’s most prominent cultural export. This phenomenon has become an eye-opener for many and foreigners have been flocking to Korea for work,study, and living.But,coming to Korea was nothing I ever planned on doing. At least not until I went to London. There, I attended the BTS Interdisciplinary Global Conference held by Kingston University in January 2020.
An international conference about a Korean boy band? It’s insane that so many scholars from all over the world have studied BTS that it warrants an actual conference! The existence of the conference itself was mind blowing. But, the phenomenon signifies a greater change in global culture.
All of the participants and presenters are BTS ARMY who came from various academic backgrounds. They really brought fangirling to a next level! Furthermore, after I presented my research on BTS, I met a professor from my current university who offered me a position to continue my studies under their department. Two years later, here I am, pursuing a Master’s degree at Korea’s number one Graduate School of International Studies.
Being a BTS ARMY is one of the best decisions in my life. I don’t want to give up on fangirling while being productive academically at the same time.
Being a BTS ARMY led me to being accepted for the Global Korea Scholarship (GKS). I never thought that researching my favorite K-pop idol would be so life-changing. I have been presented with so many opportunities as a result of belonging to this fandom. Previously I didn’t know anything about GKS, but the Professor I met at the BTS conference told me all about it. And guess what? I decided to give it a shot!
While preparing my GKS application, there were many people who told me that I shouldn’t say anything about K-Pop and BTS. They said it may imply that I am just coming to Korea to fangirl and won’t take my studies seriously. However, fangirling had gotten me this far, why stop there?
I decided to be true to myself, and let my evaluators know the full details of why I was interested in coming to Korea. In my application I stated that I was a BTS ARMY and that I was grateful to them and their music for inspiring me to apply for the scholarship. I followed BTS’s message of being yourself despite others’ expectations for me. Not only was I honest, I was successful. I got the scholarship!
So, that’s my story on how I came and ended up in Korea. I hope all the ARMYs and K-Pop fans out there can be encouraged to follow their dreams. Your fangirling isn’t silly, it can open a whole world of possibilities. Who knows, you might end up right here in Seoul stilling next to me at BTS’s next concert.
“Even if I fall and hurt myself, I will still endlessly run towards my dream”.BTS – Young Forever (2016)
Keep on chasing your dream, no matter what anyone else thinks. To watch the complete story of how I ended up in Korea, Click Here.
If you’re an ARMY in Korea, there are dozens of fun adventures waiting for you. Click Here