The growing popularity of Korean music and drama has spurred a rise in the number of international students studying in Korea. Ewha Voice spoke to an international student at Ewha who was drawn to study here for her love of K-pop.
Izabel Bowie, a freshman in the Division of International Studies from Chicago, Illinois, came to Korea to pursue a career as a professional dancer in the K-pop industry. From busking in Hongdae to auditioning for one of the biggest K-pop entertainment companies, P Nation, Bowie relentlessly spent her days endeavoring to achieve her dream.
On Aug. 12, Bowie sat down with Ewha Voice to share her way of expressing her passion for Korean culture, especially K-pop.
While Bowie was focusing on competitive dancing, she came across K-pop through YouTube. Above all, the variety of K-pop dance covers, idol dances, and TV shows sparked her interest.
After visiting Korea in 2019 during spring break, Bowie immediately fell in love with the country. Despite originally planning to enroll in a performing arts college in the United States, she took the advice of a couple of dancers she met in Korea to apply to Ewha and chose to do so instead. Bowie expressed that this turned out to be the best decision for her.
“When I first came to Korea, I was staying in an AIRBNB in Hongdae with my mom,” Bowie said. “We came across foreign buskers who actually invited me to the stage while I was watching their performances. That is how I met my busker friends which allowed me to set foot in the dance industry.”
Bowie also shared her experience of auditioning for P Nation’s online auditions while she was back at home in Chicago. Her goal was to get signed with an entertainment company as a registered dancer, rather than as an idol because she valued freedom and education which is difficult to achieve as an idol. She currently has no plans to audition for other companies because attending school is her priority.
“Trying to balance dance and schoolwork while not overworking is my biggest concern,” she said.
Bowie’s biggest academic struggle has been adjusting to the relative evaluation system applied to some classes at Ewha, which she is not used to. This system pushes her to work harder at her studies. At the same time, she is diligently completing her duties as the freshman representative in her division.
In her spare time, Bowie pursues her passions such as doing makeup and nails. Being a competitive dancer at a young age, she naturally learned how to do her own makeup from participating in dance competitions. Through this experience, Bowie discovered her talent for makeup and nails and currently runs a beauty page on Instagram.
The rest of her time is spent on dance practice. During spring break, she even got an opportunity to take classes at 1 MILLION Dance Studio, where she learned from renowned instructors.
“I had classes with Gosh for the first time in 1 MILLION Dance Studio,” Bowie said. “It was amazing because I loved the style of his choreography. Recently, I went back with my friend and took Root’s class. He was so nice, and I learned a lot from him. Taking a lot of classes from different choreographers helps with my resume.”
Due to COVID-19, Bowie has not yet had an opportunity to experience campus life at Ewha the fullest. Although there are benefits of taking virtual classes, she still wants to study on campus.
Bowie shared a few of her plans for once the pandemic is over. In the future, she hopes to make her own team and create new choreographies together. Also, if she gets the chance, she wishes to put together a foreign K-pop cover team at Ewha.
“Some companies have reached out to me through Instagram, so I hope to send out my profile soon,” Bowie said. “I also miss busking because it is a way to perform every day. I want to experience the joy of busking on the streets while people come up to me and watch my performances.”