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Fulbright Scholar Prepares Korean Cuisine

Spicy smells wafted through the commons in Woods Penn, as students anxiously awaited the opportunity to sample and savor real, homemade, Korean food.

Students piled their plates high with Korean food.

YooJin Shin hails from South Korea, and is here at Berea College as a Fulbright Scholar in the Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) program. The FLTA program has been operating since 1968, and is very ambitious. The goal of the program is to strengthen the instruction of foreign language at colleges in the United States. by bringing in native speakers to help facilitate the learning experience. The FLTA program gives young, international teachers the chance to refine their teaching skills, increase their English language proficiency and further their knowledge of U.S. culture.

Shin gave a presentation on Korean food, specifically the dishes known as Kimchi and Bulgogi, to a group of interested, but hungry students. Kimchi, which is made of vegetables, is a dish that is served with many meals in South Korea. It is low in cholesterol, yet very high in fiber. Surprisingly, it contains more vitamins and nutrients than an apple. "Some Kimchi a day keeps the doctor away," Shin laughed.

In Asian culture, meat is a rare item on the menu for a normal day. "We prefer vegetables and grains more than meat," said Shin. "It gets hard to eat meat every day." Ingredients in Kimchi include cucumbers, cabbage, radishes and turnips. The vegetables are fermented by placing them in huge glazed pots, called dok or danji pots, and burying them in the cold winter ground that also helps to preserve them.

Kimchi can be found in a great variety of dishes, including stew, burgers, dumplings, pancakes, spaghetti and burritos, and it can be served with tofu, fried rice and pizza toast. "Now we know that we can use Kimchi for anything…Kimchi milkshakes, fill in the blank," joked the International Center's Director Richard Cahill.

Bulgogi, the other dish that Shin discussed, translates to "fire meat." It is the Korean equivalent of American barbecue pork or beef,. Bulgogi can be made from pork, chicken, lamb, beef or even squid. It is not eaten as often as Kimchi; it's more of a restaurant or special-occasion food. Bulgogi is very versatile, and can even be used as a pizza topping!

Students were invited to try out Korean food that Shin had prepared prior to the presentation. Dishes included sticky rice, a spicy Kimchi made with cabbage and a sweet Bulgogi made from beef.

Shin will be giving more presentations on Korean culture throughout the semester. On November 1st, from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m., she will speak on the topic of Christianity in Korea. The presentation will take place in the Fireside Room in Draper. Also, on November 7 at 6 p.m., she will be discussing Korean holidays and customs. This presentation will take place in the Commons in Woods-Penn. Shin's presentations are part of the International Center's focus on East Asia, spotlighting the people and the cultures of the countries in the region.

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