Kimbap Making Day

On Saturday, November 11, the Institute for Korean Studies, along with the Bloomington Sejong Institute, held their annual Kimbap Making Day. This event was a time for IU and Sejong students, and Bloomington community members to learn how to make Kimbap. Kimbap is a popular Korean comfort food often found at street stalls and in convenience stores. The literal translation for Kimbap is ‘Seaweed Rice.’ Kim is the name of the specific seaweed used, and bap means rice.  The dish consists of a variety of ingredients (ex. carrots, fishcake, eggs, cucumbers, etc.) wrapped in rice and rolled up in a layer of seaweed.

The event started with the handing out of t-shirts provided by the Bloomington Sejong Institute. After participants received their shirts, they were shown to their seats where gloves and sushi mats were laid out for later. After a brief introductory speech given by director Dr. Seung-Kyung Kim, the Kimbap-making commenced. Led by IKS professor, Dr. Weejeong Jeong, participants learned how to lay out their ingredients and how to properly roll up their seaweed. Afterward, participants had their Kimbap cut by IKS faculty for them to eat. Students could also indulge in some Mandu and Japchae with their Kimbap. All ingredients as well as the extra Mandu and Japchae were provided by local restaurant Korea Restaurant. The event was closed out by group pictures with the Sejong students and then all the attendees.

This year’s Kimbap Making Day was a success. With a full house of 75 participants, there was never a dull moment. Thank you to everyone who attended. We hope to see you again next year and look out for future IKS events!

Elena Bonitz

MA in East Asian Studies (Korean Studies)
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Program Assistant
Institute for Korean Studies
Indiana University Bloomington


2023-2024 IKS Annual Conference: South Korea’s Foreign Policy in a Changing East Asia

On October 27, the Institute for Korean Studies, along with the Korean Foundation, put on their annual conference. This year the theme was South Korea’s Foreign Policy in a Changing East Asia.

The conference commenced after a brief introduction from Dr. Adam Liff, director of the East Asian Languages and Cultures department and a fellow presenter. The first half of the conference dedicated a portion of time to the topic of South Korea’s foreign policy regarding North Korea. After that, our presenters moved on to the main topic of South Korea’s Foreign Policy in a Changing East Asia. At the end of each session, a Q&A was held in which attendees could ask any burning question they might have.

The conference was an insightful experience that pulled in around 50 attendees of faculty, staff, and students. IKS would like to extend a special thanks to presenters Adam Liff, Young-Jun Kim, Ji-Young Lee, Lami Kim, and Terence Roehrig. This conference could not have happened without your expertise.

Thank you to all our attendees as well. We hope to see you at future events!

Elena Bonitz

MA in East Asian Studies (Korean Studies)

Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

Program Assistant

Institute for Korean Studies

Hangeul Day (한글날)

On October 9 (Hangeul Day), the Institute for Korean Studies, along with the Bloomington Sejong Institute, hosted their annual Hangeul Day event. This observed holiday was originally created to recognize the impact the Korean alphabet (Hangeul) has had on South Korean society. Nowadays, IKS uses this day as a time to spread Korean culture and raise awareness about Hangeul.

This year, festivities started with tote bag decorating. When participants entered the event, our volunteers would teach them how to write their names in Korean while handing them a tote bag. After which participants had the opportunity to decorate their tote bags, provided by the Bloomington Sejong Institute, with their names as well as whatever their hearts desired. It was a time for their creative skills to shine. While waiting to decorate their bags, participants could grab a bite to eat from an array of Korean staples provided by the local Korea Restaurant.

After dinner was served, festivities shifted to the hallmark event of the night, the quiz. Presented by the Korean Language Program teachers, the questions were made to make participants think deeply about their knowledge of Hangeul and its history. With prizes ranging from an Apple Watch to the BTS Recipe Book, participants were putting their all into the quiz. Proudly, many of the winners were IKS’s very own Korean Language Program and Sejong students. It’s good to know that their programs are teaching them well.

Hangeul Day ended on a high note, with a raffle in which the winners could take home a tote bag of Korean snacks. With ten winners in total, there were a lot of Korean goodies to go around.

All in all, Hangeul Day was a success. The event brought in an astounding 130+ people from all different corners of campus. Participants were able to interact with peers and professors alike, bringing a wonderful atmosphere to the Hamilton Lugar atrium. Here at IKS, we are still reeling from the event and absolutely cannot wait for next year, when we get to do this all over again!

Elena Bonitz

MA in East Asian Studies (Korean Studies)

Program Assistant

Institute for Korean Studies

Indiana University Bloomington

2023 Chuseok and Mid-Autumn Festival Cultural Session


On September 29, the Institute for Korean Studies, along with the Bloomington Sejong Institute, IU Chinese Flagship, East Asian Studies Center, and the Chinese and Korean Language Programs, put on a cultural session for Chuseok and the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The event started with presentations on both holidays by Associate Instructor Jae Hyun Ahn and Chinese Flagship Tutor Weiya Wang. The presentation covered the basic histories of the holidays as well as culturally significant foods and activities put on during the time. Each presentation was informative and engaging, with participants actively listening to our presenters.

After the presentations, it was time for snacks. IKS handed out a variety of Korean snacks, both traditional and modern, while the Chinese flagship provided mooncakes (a staple during the Mid-Autumn Festival. With 86 people officially in attendance, there were a lot of snacks to go around.

Then it was time for the main event. Groups of up to five people teamed up to play our rigorous Kahoot, put together by Lacey Hawkes of the Chinese Flagship Program. They battled it out for a chance to win food prizes such as giant mooncakes and yakgwa. In the end, three teams stood on top as winners, but you could feel the competitive energy throughout the whole auditorium.

All and all, our joint Chuseok and Mid-Autumn Festival event was a success. We would once again like to thank our co-sponsors, Bloomington Sejong Institute, the IU Chinese Flagship, the East Asian Studies Center, and the Chinese and Korean Language Programs.

Elena Bonitz
MA in East Asian Studies (Korean Studies)
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Program Assistant
Institute for Korean Studies
Indiana University Bloomington


Political Moods: Film Melodrama and the Cold War in the Two Koreas

The Institute for Korean Studies welcomed Professor Travis Workman on Friday, September 22 as part of our Fall 2023 Colloquium Series. Professor Workman’s talk, “Melodrama and Moods in Cold War Korean Films,” discussed how raw effects can be provoked by melodrama and how emotions produced in film can be used in nation-building and state politics. The talk was followed by an engaging discussion with members of the Indiana University community.

Travis Workman is a professor within the Department of Asian & Middle Eastern Studies and is the chair of Asian and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Minnesota. His new book, Political Moods: Film Melodrama and the Cold War in the Two Koreas, will be available later this month.

Please join us on October 22 for the next event in our Colloquium Series as Professor George Kallender of Syracuse University gives his talk “Violence Unleashed, Violence Restrained: War, Animals, and the Hunt in Premodern Korea.”

Follow us on Instagram or visit our website to learn more about past and future events.

Noah Placzek

Program Assistant, Institute for Korean Studies
Graduate Student in East Asian Studies
Indiana University Bloomington

IKS Open House Fall 2023

On Friday, September 8, the Institute for Korean Studies hosted the annual Open House. This Open House is used to introduce IU students interested in Korean studies to the IKS and the resources they have to offer. Students from a wide variety of disciplines but a shared interest in Korean culture were encouraged to come.

Opening the event was a speech from IKS Director, Dr. Seung-kyung Kim, presenting the IKS and its offering to those attending. During the speech, attending faculty also had the opportunity to formally introduce themselves to potential students. With the Open House officially underway, participants could indulge in a light dinner provided by a local Korean restaurant, as they mingle with peers and faculty alike. Free t-shirts were also provided by the Bloomington Sejong Institute.

In a captivating twist, StarPlus Energy, a notable guest, took the stage to discuss internship opportunities, highlighting the dynamic intersections between Korean culture and industry.

The IKS Open House, sponsored by the Bloomington Sejong Institute, welcomed students from a wide range of disciplines who share a profound interest in Korean culture. While some faces were familiar, many new people joined the gathering. The hope is that this event will inspire participants to engage further with the IKS throughout the academic year.


2022-2023 Undergraduate Research Exchange Program Conference

Over the weekend, IU undergraduate students traveled with the Institute for Korean Studies to Washington D.C. to present in the 5th annual GW-IU Undergraduate Research Exchange Program conference.

Each year, a number of undergraduate students at both Indiana University and George Washington University are selected to work one-on-one with a faculty mentor to produce a 15-20 page research paper and a presentation. Throughout the academic year, students meet periodically with their peers and other faculty mentors to share their progress, receive feedback, and practice their presentation skills. At the end of the academic year, IU IKS and GW IKS take turns hosting a the undergraduate research conference where students from both schools meet to present their projects.

IU had four undergraduate research fellows participate in the conference at George Washington University held on April 1, 2023.

Julianne Hatcher, International Studies; Environmental Sustainability
Year: Sophomore
Topic: Nuclear Energy in South Korea
Yongxing Tang, BS in Business, (Finance and Marketing Major)
Year: Junior
Topic: Infinite Challenge – Societal lessons behind the Korean reality show
Kaelyn Klatte, International Law and Legal Institutions
Year: Sophomore
Topic: Pessimism: South Korean Youth’s Perceptions of the Likelihood of a Korean Reunification
Lillian Rogers, International Studies
Year: Junior
Topic: K-pop and the Sewol Ferry Tragedy:​ Protest and Activism in K-Pop​

Students interested in this opportunity should visit our website and apply by May 5, 2023.



IU Students Represent at the Midwest Korean Speech Contest

Three Indiana University students, Anna Moore, Hannah Katinsky, and Margaret Speir, presented at the annual Midwest Korean Speech Contest on April 1st, which was held at Northwestern University.  These students were selected to participate in the competition after winning first prize in their respective levels at the Indiana University Korean Speech Contest, which was held at IU on March 25th.

Anna and Hannah both won Honorable Mention (3rd place) in the beginning and intermediate levels, respectively. We would also like to acknowledge Margaret Speir for her excellent speech, narrowly missing a prize in the advanced level.

This year, 42 students (17 at the beginning level, 14 at the intermediate level, and 11 at the advanced level) from 18 schools participated in the contest. The Korean Language Program at IU is always well-represented at this competition, and we are proud to say that this year was no different!

Please join us in congratulating our students for their excellent speeches!

Bloomington Sejong Institute Student Spotlight- Joshua McGraw

Bloomington Sejong Institute Korean Speech Competition winner Joshua McGraw traveled to Korea in October to participate in the King Sejong Institute Foundation’s Korean festival week. Read his letter about his experience below. Congratulations, Joshua!

“During the first week of October, I traveled to South Korea with the King Sejong Institute to experience a Korean festival week with more than 250 other students from all around the world, and I felt so fortunate to be one of them.

Every day we went to different cultural locations and events – and we especially ate a lot of Korean food. By pure luck, I even met a Korean businessman who graduated from IU Bloomington’s Kelley School of Business, and is now running a bakery! Small world!

It would not be possible to list everything we did, but some of the most memorable things included seeing King Sejong’s tomb, visiting Seoul on Hangul day to tour museums, attending a parade, listening to musical performances, and visiting Gyeongbokgung Palace. We even went to a K-Pop concert in downtown Seoul! Each day was just packed with activities from dawn to dusk. Above all, we all got to practice speaking Korean with native Koreans.

There were many ways to participate in this trip; I participated in a speaking contest, but some people learned to perform cultural performances or competed in writing contests. Halfway through the trip, we all got to listen to the finalists of the speech contest and watch the award ceremony. It was incredible to see how much people have learned, and it motivates me to continue studying.

If you are a student of the King Sejong Institute, I highly encourage you to try participating in this contest and visit for yourself!”

– Joshua McGraw

“안녕하세요, 여러분!

저는 세종학당과 함께 10월 첫째 주에 한국을 방문하여 전세계 다른 250 여명의 학생들과 한국문화를 체험하였습니다. 이들 중 한 명이 된 것이 너무나 행운이라고 생각하였습니다.

우리는 다양한 문화유적지에 방문하고 행사에 참여했으며 많은 한국 음식도 즐길 수 있었습니다. 심지어 저는 현재 제가 박사과정중인 인디애나대학교 블루밍턴 캠퍼스 경영학과를 졸업해 경기도 수원에서 대형 베이커리를 운영중인 한국인 사업가도 운좋게 만날 수 있었습니다.

우리가 경험한 모든 것을 설명할 수는 없지만, 가장 기억에 남는 것들은 세종대왕릉 산책, 한글날 서울에 방문하여 박물관과 경복궁을 둘러보고, 퍼레이드에 참여하고, 음악 공연에 참여해 음악을 감상한 일입니다. 우리는 또한 잠실 올림픽 주경기장에서 열린 K-POP 콘서트도 즐길 수 있었습니다. 더하여 매일매일 우리는 이 새벽부터 늦은밤까지 짜여져있던 알찬 일정 속에서도 한국어 말하기 연습을 할 수 있어 유익한 경험이었습니다.

이 여행에 참여하는 방법에는 여러가지가 있었습니다. 저는 말하기 대회에 참가하였지만, 다른 사람들은 문화적 공연을 선보이거나 글쓰기 대회에 참가할 수도 있습니다. 여행의 중간 쯤에서, 우리는 말하기 대회 결승전 진출자들의 연설을 듣고 시상식까지 지켜보았습니다. 사람들이 많은 것을 배우고 연습한 결과들을 보는 것은 놀라웠고, 그것은 내가 한국어 공부를 계속하도록 큰 동기부여가 되었습니다.

마지막으로 만약 여러분이 세종학당의 학생이라면, 저는 여러분이 이 대회에 참가해 기회를 얻는 것을 강력히 권장합니다! 감사합니다.”

조슈아 맥으로

2022-2023 Korean Media Essay Contest

The 2022-2023 Korean Media Essay Contest is open for submissions.

Previously known as the Korean Literature Essay Contest, the Korean Media Essay Contest is held each academic year to promote the thoughtful consumption of Korean media among students at Indiana University and at our partner institutions.

Starting in 2020, the Korean Literature Essay Contest became a collaborative event between IKS and the George Washington University Institute for Korean Studies. In 2022, the contest was expanded to include all forms of Korean media in translation.

Each year, IU IKS and GW IKS select a work of Korean media and invite students to submit a critical essay about the selected piece.  First, second, and third-place prizes are awarded based on originality, content, and style.

2022-2023 Korean Media Essay Contest

The Korean Media Essay Contest is open to all undergraduate students at Indiana University Bloomington and at selected partner institutions. Participants will watch the documentary Sa-I-Gu and submit a critical essay of 1,000 to 1,250 words. Click here for the detailed guidelines.

Selected Media:  Sa-I-Gu (1993) Documentary 

Film by Dai Sil Kim-Gibson

April 29 marks the anniversary of a tragic day in American history. Violence, arson and looting erupted in South Central Los Angeles, sparked by the acquittal of the four policemen who had beaten an African American, Rodney King. During the tragic days of the riot in 1992, Korean Americans suffered about half of the $850 million in property damage, not to mention the emotional and psychological pain. In the days and weeks that followed, media coverage of the upheaval was extensive but rarely presented a fair and in-depth portrayal of the victims. They made the Black/Korean conflict the cause of the crisis, not a symptom. Sa-I-Gu, literally April 29, presents this Los Angeles crisis from the perspectives of Korean women shopkeepers and offers an alternative to mainstream media’s inability or refusal to present the voices of victims in human terms but make them issues and numbers. Sa-I-Gu provides a perspective that is essential to discussions on the Los Angeles unrest that brought numerous social issues to the forefront – racism, class divisions, crime, violence, poverty, the urban underclass and political, economic and cultural empowerment. —Center for Asian American Media (CAAM)

Eligible Participants: Undergraduate students currently enrolled in Indiana University Bloomington or at selected partner institutions

Submission deadline: Friday, January 27, 2023

Essay Requirement: A 1,000 – 1,250 word critical essay in English

Program Guidelines: Click here for the detailed guidelines

Prizes: 1st Place: $300 Amazon gift card or gift of equal value

2nd Place: $200 amazon gift card or gift of equal value

3rd Place: $100  Amazon gift card or gift of equal value

Students can submit essays here.