Jules Does

Jules Does K-Pop Academy: The Last One!

Posted on: January 8, 2015

So you might have noticed that I haven’t updated this blog for several weeks. This is for a few reasons, but mostly the reason is that I didn’t want to write it all down as though it were well and truly over, which it is, of course. I suppose I just didn’t want to admit it to myself! The first K-Pop-free Saturday felt strangely empty and quiet – it was odd not spending the majority of my day getting to and from London to spend time with all of these delightful maniacs.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. On to the day!

The first thing that happened when we walked through the door was that we were tackled by the incredibly organized Sofia, who had thought of and bought all of the presents for the people who had made this such a wonder 12 weeks to be alive. She also had personalised cards made that we all signed with personal greetings and words of thanks.

Lyndsy signing the cards.

It was a bit chaotic, especially since people had brought guests to watch them graduate (I brought my mother and my husband, neither of whom care for K-Pop at all – in retrospect it might have been wiser to invite no one and spend the time talking to my fellow students rather than worrying about whether my guests were having a good time, but it was still nice that they could see what I had been up to for so long).

Brian!

We also saw some familiar faces – Caroline from Loko was there, as well as Brig. Brian Parritt from our study week on the Korean War. The actual, real life Ambassador from South Korea was there too, which I was really surprised about.

Ambassador Lim.

The Ambassador gave a speech to start our ceremony, and then we watched the video that had been made of all of our adventures over the past 12 weeks. It was strange seeing how small and scared we all looked in the beginning, so unsure of ourselves (and a bit weird, let’s be honest) and knowing how far we had come and how close we had all become.

Brigadier Parritt also gave a short speech about the importance of UK-Korean relations and handed out roses to the organisers. He also gave me a rose because I had organised a collection for the British Korean Veterans Association around Remembrance Day – it was sweet of him to acknowledge me like that, and the rose lived quite happy for ages in a vase in our house.

After the speeches were done, we got to make presentations of our own. Abbi did a lovely synopsis of what he had been doing during the course, and Noradila had made a beautiful ‘family tree’ as a gift for the organisers.

The students are the top of the tree, and the organisers are the trunk.

My presentation was a little different – I did a jokey PPT about my time spent living among the K-Pop fans and the major conclusions I had reached about this rarely observed species. People laughed (phew) and seemed to find it quite funny, so I was relieved. I also got the chance at the end of my presentation to deliver the big news I had been hiding from them for the entire length of the course: my husband and I are expecting a baby! It was a relief to be able to tell everyone at last after keeping it under wraps for so long.

Me and my presentation.

After the presentations we had a short break, then re-convened for more performances. Nella and Daniel made a hilarious video and wrote a poem about our time together, which was truly adorable and heartfelt. When they were finished, the presents to the organisers were handed out.

The lovely Ruby with her gift.

Then we had more performances! Kae and Nikki did an amazing performance of CL’s ‘MTBD’ and totally killed it! I was really impressed with their abilities to rap in Korean and be so confident in every phrase. Then Annabelle, Hamed, Sofia and Briggitte did a great dance to a K-Pop medley, including Exo’s ‘Overdose’, Crayon Pop’s ‘Jumping’ and 2PM’s ‘Go Crazy’. It was amazing that they had managed to do all this in just a week – maybe one day I’ll be good at dancing too…

Our star rappers.

Briggitte, Annabelle and Sofia owning the dancefloor.

When all of the performances were finished, we proceeded to the graduation. We were called up in alphabetical order by first name and given our graduation certificate, then went to a table to receive our leaving gifts – a beautiful desktop calendar of Korea’s World Heritage Sites and our K-Pop Academy hoodie.

Graduating!

Then… the moment we had all been waiting for: the announcement of who was going to win the return flight to Korea. They really built up the suspense before announcing that the winner was… Briggitte! We all cheered as she went to collect her prize, and some of us went up to hug her – she was so overwhelmed that she cried!

Well done, Brigitte!

A note: if you are here from one of the future K-Pop academies looking for tips as to whom they choose to win the trip and why (I know I trawled the old blogs trying to find helpful tips!), all I can say is – I have no idea! Briggitte worked hard and was a good and enthusiastic student, indeed the best student, but I think she would agree that it was quite unexpected given the calibre of some of the other students. So to you, future K-Pop fan, I would say that you should try hard and do your best, but honestly, just being at the academy was so much fun and so rewarding on its own that you shouldn’t think too much about winning anything. Just enjoy it like Briggitte did and you’ll be on your way!

After the presentation we were treated to a delicious Korean meal in the library, which all of us heartily enjoyed.

OM NOM NOM.

There is a picture of me, my husband and my mother enjoying our Korean meal, but my mother looks horrible in it and would kill me, so I’ll post this nice one instead:

Much better.

So, in conclusion (nooo, conclusions!), this was an absolutely grand time for me and, I hope, for everyone else in the group. I’ve made some really adorable friends and, importantly, gained an outlet where I can talk about all of my K-Pop interests with like-minded peopel. I’ve already met up with one of my fellow students for tea, and this coming weekend we’re going on a big KPA tour of New Malden, followed by dinner and possibly noraebang! It should be awesome, because all of these people are awesome.

To summarise: if you’re thinking about applying to the 7th K-Pop Academy, DO IT. DO IT NOW. You’ll never regret it.

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