Palace Guides Make Korean Culture Fun
Palace Guides Make Korean Culture Fun
  • Ewha Voice
  • 승인 2005.11.30 00:00
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▲ Photos by Kim Jin-woo and Shim Keum-joTop: Yoo Seung-eun explains the use of a building in Deoksugung.s Bottom: Kim Jin-woo guides children around Changgyeonggung.

   ?he most Korean thing is the most international thing.?We hear these clich럖 often, and we know what we should do ?love our culture, or at least take more interest in it. The fact that we have such a saying suggests that it doesn? come easy. However, palace guides make approaching Korean culture easier and more enjoyable.
   ?ome over this way,?beckons a young lady in her twenties as she stops in front of a small building in Deoksugung, a palace in Seoul over 400 years old. She explains how the  building was used and tells stories about the people who used to live in it. A small crowd of palace visitors forms around her and they listen attentively.Their faces glow with excitement when they catch something new or interesting.
   Who is this person and what is she doing? She is a palace guide, a volunteer who has been trained to guide visitors and tourists around the palaces in Seoul.
Having a particular interest in Korean history and culture seems like an exception rather than the rule, which is what usually motivates people to become palace guides. Yoo Seung-eun (Seoul National University, 1) is a palace guide who started her first tours in March this year. She says that her one visit to Gyeongbokgung in her hanbok, was what interested her in becoming a palace guide. ?oreigners were looking at me with great interest and I thought it would be good if I could tell them more about Korean culture,?Yoo says. ?ou don? necessarily have to be good at Korean history to become a palace guide. I wasn? really interested in Korean history and culture, but was interested in communicating with people and sharing with them what I know. Strangely, this led me to be  what I am now and to have more interest in Korean culture,?she says. ?Another palace guide is Kim Jin-woo (Graduate School of International Studies, third semester), a guide at Changgyeonggung who started three years ago. She says that the comfort and peacefulness of strolling in the palace made her decide to become a palace guide.
   When asked whether her guiding skills have changed since her first very guide, she laughs and says, ?here? definitely been great progress! I still remember my first tour which I finished in only forty minutes. These days, it takes close to two hours.?Another change Kim mentions is that she enjoys reading books on Korean history. ? feel excited when I come across a passage in a book related to Changgyeonggung because I can use it to make my guide more interesting,?says Kim.
   ?he fun part of being a guide? Although I? not an expert on history, once a week I can be one, and it sure feels good to see people listen carefully and nod when I explain historical facts and tell the stories of buildings in the palace,?she adds.?Having started perhaps with an interest in communicating with people or taking a quiet walk around the palace, the palace guides?love for Korean culture seems to have grown along with time.
   Learning about Korean history and culture does not seem as boring as one might think. Not only is it close enough for one to approach, it? as easy as strolling down the paths in the palaces!

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