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Kacey Dargout

CIEE Kpop Immersion Study Abroad Trip



         Throughout this study abroad program, I have been able to learn so much about Korea and its various aspects in such a short period of time. Within all the knowledge I gained, I was able to extend my source of information on the events within the kpop world and understand the various relationships between the idols and their other relationships with others.


         During the extent of my education within Korea, I was able to refer back to the history of the emergence of Korean pop culture, known today as Hallyu as well as the many ties that are present within it’s system. Since the emergence of kpop, idols have become a sort of nexus between the producers and consumers around the world, especially Korea, that work to facilitate the circulation of media discourse. To start, many commercials and advertisements regarding Korean products can most likely be expected to have kpop idols within them because of their strong influence on modern Korean pop culture. Many idols can also be seen starring in films and dramas, even if their acting skills are not at as sharp as professional actors. In the representation of such idols within other media platforms, it helps to both boost kpop and idols’ popularity through exposure to audiences that are not familiar with them within such platforms as well as help with the advertising of such products and film and drama productions. This helps to establish a symbiotic relationship with the various links within media in Korea. Not only does kpop have relations with other media sources, but also with their vast fan base.


         The kpop industry carries a vast fanbase and the relationship and influence that idols have on their fans is extensive. Kpop industries organize many fan engagement activities for fans to feel closer to their favorite idols. This is a major factor that contributes to the accumulation of fans because their favorite stars seem as if they are vastly more easily accessible than American celebrities. Another example of the symbiotic relationship between idols and their fans can be expressed through the vast amount of cover dances that are shared on social media sites and span the world. Through cover dances, fans can both show their love for their favorite songs and groups as well and spread awareness of the kpop industry through the many viewers as well as interpret songs with their own creativity. This could also later become a parasitic relationship if such fans were to use the same choreography that groups perform and make their own money off of others’ work. The ties between idols and their fanbase are strong bonds that cannot continue without the other.

         Throughout this program, I have been able to learn so much more about the kpop industry and its functions than I would have been able to on my own. I believe that through this experience I was able to gain strong source knowledge that I can now bring back with me to America and share with others that are unfamiliar with this elaborate industry in hopes to raise awareness about this wonderful aspect of Korean culture.