In 1995, I burst into tears in entrance ceremony of primary school in China. I was the only one in school who was not granted a red scarf. As a seven-year-old, I thought it was the red scarf that divided me from others. I badgered the school principal until I was finally allowed to be the first foreign student in school who owned a red scarf, only to find out that wearing a red scarf to school made little difference. Ever since, my identity has roamed somewhere between an insider and an outsider. Only later did I realize that this would be one of my biggest traits to study China and its neighboring nations as a Korean.
As a daughtor of an ethnologist, I grew up to be a nomad culturally and intellectually. When I was seven, I followed my father to China and grew up in Beijing for three years. From then on, I have been following him as he conducted fieldwork in Southwest China, learning about the most exuberant diversity a nation can express. I double majored in integrated studies of culture, a self-designed major in Scranton Honors Program, and sociology, in Ewha Womans University, Korea. I persued variety not only in curriculum, but also in extracurricular activities. I volunteered in Cambodia, learnt Thai culture and history, and studied in University of Hawai'i at Manoa for one academic year as an exchage student.
My graduate dissertations from college are reflections of the diverse interests I pursued in my course of study and my cultural nomadism. I wrote one of my dissertations about subjective ethnic identity of Chinese novelist Shen Cong Wen by applying the concept of subjective ethnic identity, inspired by Wang Ming Ke's book Huaxia Border (huaxia bianyuan), to analyze his life history and literary works. In the other dissertation, I wrote about tourism industry of Hawai'i based on my first-hand research during my study in Hawai'i. In this dissertation, I explored the structure of tourism industry in Hawai'i and its connection with the area's history of colonization and immigration.
After graduated from college, I pursued a master's degree of anthropology at Peking University. The study in Peking University provided me with a perfect environment to learn from both idea and practice. On one hand, I deeply engaged in academic training provided by the best anthropologists in China such as professor Gao Bing...