Study Abroad: S.M Entertainment and Hongdae

It has been a month since I came to South Korea and I have done things that I wouldn’t be able to do back home. K-pop is popular in Seoul but seeing Korean idols might be a bit difficult unless you know when and where they will be. Korean fans and social media play a part in this especially for foreign fans visiting Korea. Sometimes these sightings happen when you least expect it. For example, Girls’ Generation was in Sinchon recording for a variety show and eating at a restaurant. Sinchon is a 10 minute walk from my dorm at Yonsei University, which means Girls’ Generation weren’t that far and if I had gone out that night I probably would’ve spotted them.

Here’s an adventure I went on that I’m excited to tell. My friend, who is an exchange student, asked our group if we wanted to join her to visit the S.M Entertainment building on a Sunday. She said two members from EXO were going to leave to perform on a music show that morning. We all agreed and headed out at 9 a.m. on Sunday to Apgujeong where the building was located.

This is the door the S.M. Entertainment idols use. I never expected I would see this front door in my life.

When we got there, we were expecting a huge crowd of people that we wouldn’t be able to see the front door. It was a shock to most of us that the crowd wasn’t big so we had a good chance to get to the front. A white van parked in front of the entrance while the fans were asked to move back so they wouldn’t get hit.

We waited for an hour for the two members to come out of the building. The worst part was that it was freezing that day. I couldn’t feel my fingers after a while even though I had my gloves on. There were times when we thought they were going to come out but it was only the driver.

When the two members from EXO came out, the fans started moving closer and pushing everyone around just to get close to them.

The members, Baekhyun and Suho, were out the door and into the van within seconds. I missed capturing Baekhyun in my picture but I still saw the side of his face. Suho appeared more since he was in the back.

I have never met or seen a celebrity before in my life, so this was an incredible experience. It felt amazing that I actually saw two members from a K-pop group I like even if it lasted for a few seconds. It was a new experience that I would never forget. If I get the chance to meet Baekhyun and Suho or all 12 members of EXO like this then I would do it again.

Social media helps out a lot for anyone wanting to see their favorite K-pop group. Following fanpages on Twitter and Facebook help international fans know when and where their K-pop group will be if they happen to be in Korea during that time.

I’m going to move away from K-pop and write about Hongdae. It’s located in Seoul and one exit away from Sinchon. It’s a popular city for college students to shop, drink, and party. However, there is another part about Hongdae that I didn’t know about. They dedicate the entire month of March to hold live performances by Korean indie artists called Hongdae Fest. Some indie artists perform at certain clubs while others perform outside for people to enjoy. My roommate wanted to see her favorite band perform before Hongdae Fest was over, so I joined her last Saturday to see them. I’ve wanted to see some of the outside performances anyway. We saw a duo rapping to GD’s “Crayon” and other Korean songs I didn’t know.

The band my roommate wanted to see weren’t performing yet so we had dinner at Taco Bell since it was there. Afterwards, we came back to see the band just started their performance. We stood there for an hour until they finished and got pictures with them. They were really nice about taking pictures with us and told us to follow them on their Facebook page. I’ll provide a link for anyone who’s interested.

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We also saw the Eat Your Kimchi studio in Hongdae. Eat Your Kimchi has a YouTube page where Simon and Martina review K-pop music videos, update on K-indie music, and have videos on fun adventures in Korea. I watch their videos to see what places I can visit while I’m in Korea.