Hello everyone, my name is Alex and I go by @ahlekseu here and pretty much everywhere else on social media. I’m super excited to be writing for the Korea-Canada blog as Korean culture & studies has been my passion for several years! I’ve also been working on developing my style as a writer — for blog posts, articles, and scholarly pieces too.
I’m a 23 year old Filipino-Canadian who was born and raised in Edmonton. I graduated from the University of Alberta’s East Asian Studies program last June and I will be returning to U of A in the Fall to begin their Master of Arts program as well. Hopefully, I will become a Korean language and culture studies professor and scholar one day!
It all started I had a sleepover at my best friend’s house on August 13, 2006. My best friend and her older sister had been interested in K-pop, dramas, movies, and variety shows for a few years but on this day in particular she had sat me down to make me watch a show called “Super Junior Full House”.
It was a ‘reality show’ in which the members of Super Junior took in a Russian and British-Japanese Korean language student and taught them even more about Korea. Kind of an interesting foreshadowing for the rest of my life. The same day, I learned how to write my name in Korean as well as “Kim Kibum” – my favourite member of Super Junior at the time.
For 6 years I learned how to read and write Hangul and taught myself basic phrases and expressions through song lyrics, drama lines, and variety show captions. Having Korean friends in high school helped me practice those words, and learn from native speakers themselves.
Then in University, I decided to take Korean class and was placed at the Level 2. Although my initial major was Psychology, after enjoying and excelling in my Korean and East Asian Studies classes — I knew where I should be. Since changing my major to East Asian Studies I got to travel around North America and Asia, study in Seoul (twice), participated in countless K-Pop singing and Korean speech contests, and got super involved in my school community as well.
Studying about Korea in school while still loving Hallyu (especially K-Pop) has been the greatest decision I’ve ever made. I’ve learned so much about Korea, the region of East Asia, and how to critically analyze and disseminate these popular products that so many of us love to consume. As well, I’ve had the opportunity to visit Korea four times, sometimes for school but always for fun. Plus, I’ve met a lot of of incredible people through all of these experiences.
I truly believe that these experiences wouldn’t be possible if I didn’t have a place like Edmonton, Canada as my home base. The support I’ve received from the Department of East Asia Studies, Faculty of Arts, and Korean-Edmonton Community has been immeasurable.
I cannot wait to share with all of you the stories of my adventures and the people I have met and will meet along the way!
— From, Ahlekseu.