An Evening of Traditional Korea Music and Dance

Anevening of traditional Korea music and dance, performed by the Korean Traditional Music Orchestra of the Blind.  This orchestra continues the age-old tradition of blind musicians serving in the Korean Court Music Institute where thy performed at many royal ceremonies and rituals.

The performance is on Tuesday,October 30, at 7 pm in the Smith Recital Hall, SDSU.  The event is free and open to the public, and free parking is provided in Parking Structure 5 (on the corner of Montezuma and 55th street.

For a campus map showing the location of Smith Recital Hall, go to:


SDSU: Spotlight on a Local Student Organization

Korean Student Association (KSA)

By Vong Phonsiri Jr.

Calling all Korean culture enthusiasts of San Diego! If you haven’t heard, the Korean Student Association at SDSU is bigger than ever and we’re kicking off the semester strong!


The Korean Student Association, otherwise known as KSA, is a student-run organization at SDSU, focused on celebrating all aspects of Korean culture, from the traditional to the contemporary. You might be someone who is excited to hear the latest songs in the world of Korean pop culture or perhaps you’re just trying to learn the Korean language of Hangeul. Whatever part of Korean culture you’re interested in, there are many other Korean culture enthusiasts at KSA who feel the same way too.

KSA hopes to help American students become more knowledgeable of Korean culture and customs especially with the growing popularity of Korean culture in the world. You could think of KSA as a safe place to really share your love for Korean culture with others who feel the exact same way! If you want to learn more about the Korean language, we have many International Korean native speakers  who join in regularly. And to those of you who are international students, KSA also has many American students eager to make friends with people around the world.

Currently, we meet every two weeks on Fridays at 2PM at SDSU’s Aztec Mesa 105. We also typically have one large social event per month in addition to our general meetings. And if that wasn’t enough, each year, we also are responsible for hosting SDSU’s Korean Culture Night, which showcases a well rounded taste of Korean culture from the traditional to the contemporary. In fact, last year we had a range of performances from the San Diego Kpop Flash Mob, a Taekwondo school, Korean traditional instruments, and many of the Korean language classes who sang and danced as well.

KSA is still in the process of growing, but I think we can really make it a great year for us. We’re planning to collaborate with other organizations here in San Diego and go where we’ve never been before. We would love to do things like sporting events with other clubs and going up to Korea Town up in LA sometime as a group too. Collectively, we’d love to help our members have a wonderful experience while learning about Korean culture.

Finally, one of the big themes I want to focus on this year as a group is friendship. I’d like people to come to KSA because of the people and not for the topics of the week. Learning about Korean culture here will come regardless, but celebrating Korean culture while you’re with friends is far more memorable. As mentioned earlier, we do have many international students who come to our meetings, and it’s quite a different experience getting close to them knowing that their stay is limited. But despite the feelings that it may be short lived, in the grand scheme of things, the friendship is still worth it. I’ve met some of the greatest people in these cultural organizations and I’m so grateful for their friendship. My hope this year, is that KSA becomes a place for people to cultivate amazing friendships with other Korean culture enthusiasts, regardless of where they are from.

And for the record, my name is Vong Phonsiri Jr., and I am KSA’s President for this Fall 2012 semester. Although KSA is still somewhat of a young organization, we wouldn’t have been where we are today if not for growing success of SDSU’s own Korean program, the work of past KSA teams, and of course my KSA family who make the meetings worthwhile. I’m super excited for this year and if you’re a fan of Korean culture, you’re more than welcome to come kick it with our KSA family here at SDSU!

Find out more at

“Fighting!” for SDSU Korean Studies Program

<<“Fighting!” for SDSU Korean Studies Program>>

<<SDSU 한국학 프로그램을 위한 ‘파이팅!’>>

<How SDSU’s faculty, students, and supporters are working together to establish an official Korean Studies Program>

By Vong Phonsiri Jr. 

What is it about Korean culture that has so many non-heritage people curious and captivated? Could it be the charm of those sweet yet corny dramas? Perhaps it’s the flashy and catchy wonders of K-pop. Or maybe it is Korea’s people and history.

Whatever that attractive aspect is, Korea’s culture and language definitely have experienced a significant rise in popularity and interest in the last few years among non-Koreans here in the States. However popular it may be though, Korean culture is much more than just dramas, movies, and k-pop music. And those with the interest have looked into local cultural organizations and universities to satisfy their need to learn more.

Let’s take San Diego State University, for instance, which has had incredible growth in its Korean Program in the last few years. But despite its successes as a program, SDSU still lacks its own minor in Korean Studies. SDSU has enough courses for a Korean Studies minor at the very least, so why not? I’ve taken Korean classes at SDSU and many of my peers also seem to be hopeful for a Korean minor.

I had the opportunity to chat with Professor Soonja Choi, the program director and professor of linguistics. From my conversation with her, I learned that there are two major reasons for SDSU’s lack of Korean minor: funding and tenure approval from the University.

“There is a strong relationship among funding, enrollment and the growth of the Korean program,” says Professor Choi.

Believe it or not, the current program at SDSU is only partially funded by the university or the state. Much of the Korean program has been graciously funded by outside private funding and private donors. Thanks to the help of private funding, the Korean program at SDSU has steadily grown. Just the fact alone that much of the growth has come about from private funding offers some idea of the desire and need for a Korean program at SDSU.

Receiving approval from the University is of another great importance. For any program to be approved as a Minor, at least one tenure-track faculty is required for the program. Despite its growth, the duration of its existence too has played a role in why there is no minor today.

Actually, the department has made clear its importance for a Korean program and has been quite supportive. With 10 different courses and about 100 students expected to enroll in the fall semester, the department has acknowledged the successful growth of the Korean program. Support from the school and community can also be a factor in determining how fast a program needs to be approved.

Despite the wait, the near future still looks very bright for SDSU’s Korean program. ” We’ve proposed a Korean Studies Certificate, which could be approved in about a year’s time,” says Professor Choi.

“A Korean Studies Certificate would require a total of 12 units with 6 units in advanced Korean language courses, and 6 units in Korean culture. A student seeking out a Korean Studies Certificate would have to demonstrate an understanding of language and culture in upper division levels. The certificate could potentially lead to better opportunities. For example, if you wanted to go to Korea to teach English, a Korean Studies Certificate would look much more appealing to employers, which would give the student many more options.”

In the long term, Professor Choi hopes to create an integrated and interdisciplinary Korean Studies program that teaches students Korean culture and language. As the program grows and develops, the program may even be able to open up Korean internships, where students could receive credit for their internship work in Korea-related companies and organizations in the San Diego region.

“I feel touched by non-heritage students interested in learning about Korea. As a Korean, it makes me feel proud. As a researcher, I want to investigate what is it about Korean Culture that excites students to want to learn about Korea. It is the students that keep me excited and inspired me to make an even better Korean program in the future,” says Choi.

If you would like to show you support for the Korean program at SDSU, I highly recommend voicing your opinions to Dean Paul Wong at or Director Soonja Choi at 

f anyone is interested in interning for SD Korea Daily, please email 


Vong Phonsiri Jr. is a senior at SDSU and serves as President of SDSU’s Korean Student Association. 



Open Class – A 3-day Workshop for High School Students – 고등학생 열린교실

A 3-day workshop / seminar for high school students sponsored by the Korea Daily San Diego is now taking registrations!

2012 Open Class:

Monday, June 18 – Wednesday 20

held at the San Diego State University

for incoming 10th & 11th graders

– Seminar #1: 11am – 1pm for new participants

– Seminar #2: 2pm – 4pm for last year’s participants

Register by May 27 – send an email to info [at] gosdkorean [dot] com

Registration fee $150

All applicants must submit a self-introduction portfolio (e.g. essay, photography, artwork, video, etc)

Last year’s participants can simply notify the PTA president by May 10

The Dalai Lama Visits SDSU. 샌디에고 주립대학을 방문한 달라이라마

샌디에고 주립대학의 철학과 학생, 클락 용기 로즈 씨가 취재한 4월 19일 달라이 라마 심포지엄의 후기입니다.


On Thursday April, 19th, His Holiness the Dalai Lama came to Viejas Arena at San Diego State University to talk about “Compassion Without Borders.” More than 12,000 spectators watched as the Dalai Lama received the key to the city from the Mayor of San Diego, Jerry Sanders. Much of the sold out crowd was composed of students and alumni from San Diego State University. SDSU students were quick to take advantage of tickets sold at student pricing, a humble $10.

Nick Ynami, a SDSU senior said, “It’s a rare occasion to see a world leader, especially a religious one.” Continue reading “The Dalai Lama Visits SDSU. 샌디에고 주립대학을 방문한 달라이라마”

[Event] Film Screening: “Autistically Speaking” + more

From a local filmmaker, Anthony Pang 샌디에고 로컬 영화감독 앤서니 팽이 제작한 자폐아 어린이들을 위한 단편 영화. SDSU 에서 상영합니다.

Hi friends and colleagues,

My thesis film, Autistically Speaking, no. 1, is playing at SDSU’s Hearts Like Ours film event April 23rd @ 7pm. It will be screening along with fellow-SDSU colleagues Stephen Crutchfield’s Abuelo and Iris Caffin’sStrong Soul’s, Gentle Spirits, both which also have autism-related themes. Continue reading “[Event] Film Screening: “Autistically Speaking” + more”