Patrick Lauchang, not only took third place in the contest, but was hands-down winner on how to present an essay^^ and has a really great academic writing style. He also lives in Korea, so I hope to come across him one of these traveling days.
Here is his essay titled,
UNDERSTANDING KOREAN CULTURE THROUGH LITERATURE
“Culture is comprised of several different aspects. Despite its broadness, these aspects may be categorized in two: the things that are explicit and can be instantly learned by direct observation, and the things that are implicit, which require thorough studies.”
Korea: the land of the morning calm. Despite the economy’s rapid development, its culture still stays solidly intact and living in the hearts of its citizens.
Culture is comprised of several different aspects. Despite its broadness, these aspects may be categorized in two: the things that are explicit and can be instantly learned by direct observation, and the things that are implicit, which require thorough studies.
Food to tickle the palate, architecture to feast the eyes, festivals that open the seasons, as well as clothes and music are only some of the things that are experienced and could be processed immediately by using the five senses. Some things, however, can be fully grasped by understanding the intricacies of the culture–how the society thinks and functions around its own culture, the norms, including the dogma and philosophy. Amongst the two, the second one may prove to be harder to learn.
A part of it is also adjusting on the Korean state of mind, and cultural differences–something that can be explained by furthering direct interaction, experience, and many by literature. The ideas, most often in the form of stories, will provide a wide array of perspective where the personality, values, cultural traits of the author is imprinted within the words, however fictional the story may be. These may also reflect how the author, as part of the Korean society, acts and functions around its culture, philosophy and practices.
I have been living in Korea for three years now, and still adjusting to its culture– many of which I still do not fully grasp despite being able to speak the language. It is my belief that this book will greatly help further increase my knowledge of the Korean culture, and have the best possible living experience in Korea.