I must admit that conversations with foreigners – specifically English teachers – living in Korea can be a bit redundant. Everyone comes from their own background and culture, but when they come to Korea, their lives tend to converge down the same line of work and lifestyle. Common Korean stereotypes and tropes get thrown around over and over again, as foreigners aren’t integrated into Korean society well.
Therefore, it’s refreshing to hear perspectives from Koreans or from people in specific areas of influence. This is where the podcast Notebooks on Cities and Culture’s Korea Tour fills that vacancy.
The idea of NCCKT began as a Kickstarter project by Colin Marshall, who is an essayist, podcaster, and public speaker. Korea’s recent expansion of music, food and media have made the country more prominently known in the eye of pop culture. However, Colin’s cultural interests, touching on literature and film, run deeper than the more prominent K-pop and hallyu wave.
Having only recently discovered NCCKT towards the end of it’s cycle, I’ve been able to go back and binge listen. Most of the interviews are conducted with expatriates to Korea, so the podcast is still missing much of the deep insight from a Korean perspective. (Though, I will admit that it’s probably rare to find those well integrated Koreans who also have a proficiency of English language.) The expatriate interviews include many professors and niche area specialists.
The podcast has been a refreshing breath of Korean culture. The nuggets and insight should stay relevant for many years. I recommend it to anyone to step away from the echo chamber.
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