Design Boom: How I Left For Seoul On A Fashion Scholarship

A life 2022

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Design Boom: How I Left For Seoul On A Fashion Scholarship
Design Boom: How I Left For Seoul On A Fashion Scholarship

Video: Design Boom: How I Left For Seoul On A Fashion Scholarship

Video: Fashion Portfolio - Master Tips #15 | IED Milano 2022, November

It all started in 2012 when an excited girlfriend called me and said that she had accidentally found super cheap tickets to China. Asia was of little interest to me then, but the offer sounded tempting, and I agreed. In Beijing, we settled with a girl we knew from Russia. It was then that I first saw a European woman who spoke fluently not the usual English or Spanish, but the most complicated Chinese. The locals were delighted with her. It was mesmerizing! I returned to Moscow with a firm decision to go learn one of the languages ​​of Asia.


After a trip to Beijing, my soul craved Chinese, but it seemed too late to start it in my 20s. Knowledgeable people said that Korean is much easier. So when I came across an advertisement for Korean courses that were also free, I signed up for them right away. Classes were held twice a week. There were so many applicants in the initial groups that there were not enough tables - however, more than half were eliminated very soon.

In parallel with the study of Korean letters, which at first looked more like hieroglyphs, I avidly read and watched everything I could find on the Internet about South Korea. As a person who has been in love with fashion since childhood, I quickly learned that there are incredibly talented fashion designers there. The series are so high quality and stylish that it was impossible not to get hooked on them. The teachers in the language courses said that I had talent, and they constantly praised my pronunciation. One of them said that there is a scholarship from the government of South Korea, which allows foreigners to study for free at the best universities in the country. I received this scholarship the second time around. I told my parents about my crazy idea only after the embassy published the official list of students. Mom burst into tears, my father supported. I didn't ask them for a penny - the grant included tickets to and from Seoul, three years of tuition, insurance, and a monthly stipend of nine hundred dollars. In August 2014, I flew to Korea to study fashion marketing. I was 26 years old.

South Korea is a small, densely populated country with very high requirements, quality standards and fierce competition

Immediately after arriving in Seoul, all foreigners were assigned to language schools. The first year, the only subject we studied was Korean - five hours a day with a teacher, and then a lot of homework. The goal is to pass the language to a level that allows you to study at the university. Those who fail the final exam twice return home. I still remember the unfortunate guys from Arab countries, for whom Korean was harder than everyone else. They hammered him almost around the clock.

In our free time, we were taken a lot around the country, which I liked more and more every day. I've never seen so many stylish people before - they were everywhere, especially in Seoul. Fashion is the second religion here. Hundreds of designer clothing stores for every wallet, supermarkets with cosmetics and nail salons in almost every corner. Every second girl here is a make-up specialist and a manicure master.

Looking good is very important in Korea. Good looks are highly valued and greatly facilitates career growth and life in general. Therefore, Koreans are obsessed with being conventionally beautiful. Almost every girl devotes at least an hour a day to facial care. Plastic surgery to enlarge the eye shape is one of the most popular graduation gifts. The beauty is considered a white-skinned, thin, above average height Korean woman with doll-like features - Emma Watson is called the most beautiful western actress. Men look after their appearance no less than girls.They take care of the skin, enlarge the shape of the eyes, go to the gym and, of course, follow the main trends. The point is not to dress expensively and richly, but to make the image original and stylish.

Having successfully passed the language proficiency test, in August 2015, I started my master's degree at Yonseo University, Seoul, which is one of the top three universities in the country. It was then that the dark side of Korean life first appeared in front of me in all its glory, and rose-colored glasses began to subside. “All foreigners who came to my department, returned home without completing their studies, could not stand it,” the scientific advisor greeted me with these words, who then repeated them in different variations for several months.

South Korea is a small, densely populated country with very high demands, quality standards and fierce competition. Locals constantly study hard and pass some exams: school, university, for the right to apply for a particular position, and so on. They begin their struggle for a place in the sun almost from childhood and continue throughout their lives. In order to get a job in the best national companies such as Samsung, a Korean diploma is often not enough, an American one is also required.

On average, I spend 10 hours at university every day. If I do not have lectures or seminars, I must be in the department, where the professor always has assignments for us. Basically, we read or conduct research ourselves on very narrow topics, study the mechanisms of interaction between companies and consumers, how a particular marketing move affects success and sales.

Falling in love with a poor artist and running away with him is not about Korea. Mutual sympathy has not been canceled, but they will look at the bank account, family and career success first of all

In Korea, everything is subject to the principle of utility. If, for example, in Russia we call an educated person an erudite, broad-minded, interesting interlocutor, then in Korea this is the one who passed the exam with excellent marks. Most people would not think to read a book simply because it is interesting and enjoyable. Many will not just go to an exhibition or a theater. The Koreans have neither the strength, nor the time, nor the habit to do this.

After one incident, I clearly realized that relationships and marriage for many Koreans are also part of the business plan. One of my acquaintances liked a guy who clearly did not reciprocate her feelings. I sincerely wished her to forget about him and find someone who would love and appreciate her. “How old-fashioned you are! What kind of love? Who needs it now? He just suits me according to his status,”she stunned me. Falling in love with a poor artist and running away with him is not about Korea. Mutual sympathy has not been canceled, but they will look at the bank account, family and career success first of all. Maybe that's why there are so many divorces here.

Sexual attitudes in Korea are generally difficult and covered in a thick layer of hypocrisy. Local stars and politicians promote the cult of purity and purity and publicly claim that in their 20s, 30s, 40s they almost never even kissed. It is considered completely unacceptable to live together before the wedding, but hotels that rent rooms by the hour are very popular. It is impossible to have an affair with a Korean woman for one night, and if it so happened, then young people are obliged to start dating, even if both of them do not particularly want to. This is probably why there are so many couples on the streets of Seoul. Sometimes it seems to me that there are no people here at all who would walk alone. If for one reason or another you do not have a second half, then on holidays or on weekends you feel extremely uncomfortable.

Koreans are classic consumers. A clichéd lifestyle with hours of shopping and the obligatory stop at Starbucks is what dolce vita is for them. In the evening, it is customary to meet with friends in a cafe, buy food, alcohol and get drunk - this is how all the local youth spend their weekends.Alcohol is used to drink light sweetish rice makgeolli, similar to potato or grain soju tincture, and a lot of beer. With a 24-hour workday and constant stress, this is the most affordable way to relax. Koreans love parties, but never throw them at home. They keep their distance from unfamiliar people for a long time. It takes them a long time to start trusting another or truly make friends. Only close people are invited to visit, and if this happens, the owners will do everything to make you as tasty, comfortable and pleasant as possible.

For more than two years in South Korea, I managed to get to know the local reality, in which there is a lot of annoying. Despite this, after graduation I plan to stay here to live. My degree in philosophy from Moscow State University in Moscow is practically useless, and in South Korea, as a master's degree from Yonseo University, I can apply for almost any marketing position in the field of fashion, where I have always dreamed of working.

I admire in Seoul the complete absence of racism. Any foreigners are welcome here. This is the crossroads of worlds and cultures, where I met and are friends with guys from South America, USA, Asia and Europe. I have never interacted with people from as many countries in my life as I do now. And, of course, South Korean security is priceless. You can leave the front door open, the car, wander the street at night, and nothing will happen. Recently, a woman threw a large sum of money out of a window - the police returned everything to her, every last bill. When we enter a cafe in Seoul, we take a table, leave our phone on it, and, no matter how expensive it is, no one will think to appropriate it.

Photos: jdavenport85 -, personal archive

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