What is good about youth? Being a young student gives more chances to see more, experience more and enjoy more. After all the harsh years striving to come to university, are you enjoying yourself? Why ask? Seoul is overflowing with cultural attractions for you to enjoy, and are you REALLY appreciating these chances or just letting them slip by? Do we even know what is going on among those movie theaters, galleries or festivals?
Everyday and everywhere in Seoul is full of cultural fantasies ? from movies to exquisite musical or ballet. However, we, university students, seem to have quite a restricted way of entertaining ourselves. Watching a movie is probably the most prevalent part of our cultural savor for most students. Then, here it is: The UOS Times tried to figure out whether University of Seoul (UOS) students know how to enjoy the rich cultural splendor or restrict ourselves to popcorns and soft drinks.
The UOS Times begins with a simple question ? do UOS students enjoy various cultural activities? The UOS Times ran a survey on the 70 students who are interested in cultural life. There was a list of possible cultural activities in which university students can find their interests: movies or trade shows, listening to music, going to exhibitions or galleries, reading, playing games, watching a musical/opera or a ballet piece and a festival or athletic activities. The respondents were able to choose multiple options. Among all the activities, watching movies was the most casual cultural indulgence. The next common one was going to a play. Reading books and listening to music were other hobby-like activities in common place as well. Although there were a few who enjoyed various cultural events from an athletic activities to a musical, it was hard to find students with a wide spectrum of all the activities mentioned above.
It would do no good to oversee these 70 students cultural life as the standard lifestyle of all UOS students, but it is clear that our cultural radius is seriously limited to popcorns. Why? Obviously, movies are the easiest getaway for university students suffering from too many tasks and exams. Besides, it is the cheapest and nearest entertainment they can seek for. Moreover, students spend an average of 10,000 to 30,000 won per month on their cultural life ? only two students answered they spend more than 50,000 won. Without further ado, it was easy to see that UOS students were hindered by a tight budget to enjoy the cultural diversity as well. Most of the money they spend on these activities was either from their allowance or part time jobs.
Even with some harsh conditions, UOS students seem to enjoy their lives on a regular basis. One third of the respondents replied that they usually spend their time doing cultural activities once a week or once or twice a month. Surprisingly, there were also students who even do this twice or three times a week as well. Then, what do all these data tell? Considering the regularity and expenditures, students do love to do things that can ease and entertain them, but probably they are troubled by their tight schedule and budget. Therefore, it is natural that the students’ cultural life is generally based on movies ? the quickest and the most affordable mean.
Then, is money and time the only thing that matters to them? Probably not! We cannot complain about the busy school life and the tight budgets, but a few people mentioned that they are not well informed about such events and shows as well.
Cut to the chase, there are three main reasons why we, UOS students, are not richly enjoying the cultural abundance ? time, money and information.
How does UOS help students enjoy more cultural activities?
Actually, the UOS Student Council has been putting quite a lot of effort for deeper and richer cultural affairs for students. Currently, the Student Council is giving out discount benefits for musicals and plays up to 70 percent. This system is run by a member named Heo Chang-a (Dept. of Urban Sociology, ’11). She gets discounts from various musical companies and theaters in exchange for advertisement on campus. These ticket prices are even much cheaper than what the social commerce sites offer. Half of the students on the survey answered that they are acquainted with such programs on campus. But Heo said that the problem of this cultural supporting program is the lack of awareness from students. Even with a lot of efforts with the Student Council to spread such worthy information, the posters and messages did not spread well.
Another place where the school puts such efforts is the Student Welfare Committee. The Student Welfare Committee literally distributes free tickets to musicals through hilarious missions and quiz events on Facebook. Also, once in a while, it gives out movie preview tickets too. As it can be seen from the participation rate on their Facebook site, UOS students avidly participate every time.
Still, Heo mentioned that the reason why university students cannot easily get involved in various cultural events is because of the price. She, as aforementioned, agreed that this is probably the main cause of strong concentration on movies as a major cultural activity of students.
Now what? Look around!
There is no need to be discouraged about the hardships of this limitation just yet. There are ways to wisely overcome the limit of time, money and information. It is very easy indeed. Look around our university ? you will find more cultural works than you would have expected and students’ works are quite more moving and qualitative than you have anticipated.
Various Central Clubs and small groups in each department hold their performances each semester or annually. Those small groups of students give us chances of appreciating their arts within affordable prices under 5,000 won. For instance, one of these renowned groups is called English Drama Research Association (E.D.R.A), which makes a musical or a play every semester. Students here produces musicals of high quality on the beginning of every semester. The musical price of E.D.R.A is surprisingly set at 3,000 won, which is probably the same amount of expenditure that you spend to buy a cup of coffee. E.D.R.A has produced well-known musicals such as RENT, Chicago, Spring Awakening, Man of La Mancha and so on. In certain Central Clubs, students dedicate themselves to band music, black music and even Korean music as well. We cannot talk about performances without dance clubs like Latino and R.A.H, which conduct their onstage performance. Moreover, Dept. of Music opens orchestra concerts, called ‘Harmony,’ for local residents with easy classics for free every year as a mean of volunteerism. All of these rich indulgence is in one and only place, our campus. These performance of dedicated clubs and groups are something one should not miss because there is no pressure of money and time.
To add more, the Student Council of UOS also runs free movie nights called the ‘Culture Day’ every third Monday for students and local residents. The Student Council’s efforts do not stop here. They provide high level of speeches from famous public speakers. The Main Library also holds dialogues with hot-issued authors and movie nights, too. Accompanied with Sidaepoongkyung who takes daily photography of our campus life, students are even given a chance to take lectures of photography.
Would you like to appreciate fine artworks? Why not go for free gradational exhibition hosted by the Dept. of Environmental Sculpture? The Dept. of Industral and Visual Design, annually holds exhibitions consisting of assignment works and ‘The night with the Dept. of Industral and Visual Design’. As for students who are unfamiliar with sophisticated and expensive galleries, students’ works can be a good start. They can also produce quite simple and honest works just like those you can find at Insa-dong and Chungdam-dong.
Now, we cannot complain we have too few chances to indulge ourselves with nothing but movies, movies and movies. We do not have to reach outside of campus to search for something with expenses that are too pricey for us. What we need is a little more effort to take into account these events that are updated every day with abundant cultural busters through our school homepages and Facebook sites. What can be better to savor than those cultural activities that do not go over 5,000 won for university students like us?
I will ask again once more; what is good to being young? Dare I say we can see and enjoy more of those cultural chances that are just around the corner? We, the students of UOS are encircled with cultural events that are within our reach of hands. It is pitiful to let those chances go by. However, with simple attention and care, we can enhance our lives with exuberant cultural advantage. What you see, hear and experience can build up what you will become. Why not fall intimate with what is going on around you? UOS is always there for you to enjoy.
How to effectively look for such cultural shows
These are useful suggestions and tips from students to let you readers know.
1. Enter any event entry provided by the Student Council. You do not know if you will be the next lucky person to get musical tickets.
2. Always use coupons or discount cards.
3. Utilize social commerce sites where you can get tickets with discounts up to half price.
4. Seek for unpopular Facebook event pages and get any chances for free give-outs or discounts through simple clicks and drags.
5. Watch for firmes when one can enjoy shows and exhibition relaxed, not with busting people surrounding you.