Students at the Higher Colleges of Technology’s Ras Al Khaimah Women’s Campus have had a great time participating in the Independent Learning Centre’s Language Clubs.
They recently had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of the Korean Language with the recent founding of the Korean Fan Club and their first campus occasion, The Korean Cooking Event.
Bright and early on a Thursday morning, two lovely Korean ladies from the community arrived at the Women’s campus with their arms filled with fresh vegetables and ingredients as well as all of the equipment for cooking the food.
“We wanted everything to be completely Halal, so we shopped at local shops and purchased all new equipment to make sure,” said the guest chefs. “Everyone has been so friendly and helpful. It has been really easy to cook for the students and fun too. I really hope they enjoyed it.”
The Korean Fan Club made up about a third of the group of students who participated in the event. “We are just here to watch her make the food,” said one interested student who was watching as one of the Korean chefs began tossing clear noodles with vegetables on a large tray. “It is so interesting.” She said later that she was thinking of joining the club too.
“I think I want to try some,” said another student. “I have never had any food like this before.”
Students were also treated to a quick lesson in using chopsticks or ‘jhuk kha rak’. “This is so much fun,” one student said.
The students were treated to a pasta version of Tuk Bok Gi. Tuk Bok Gi is a beef and fried rice dish, but one of the chef’s, Jee, wanted to be sure that it was halal so she suggested using local pasta instead of rice cakes. The students particularly loved this dish. “I want to learn to make the pasta dish at home,” said Khawla.
The second dish that was prepared was a mixed noodle salad called Jap Chae. “You can make a vegetarian version of this dish easily,” said Kim, the other Korean chef as she mixed in the freshly cooked beef strips.
“That is my favorite dish,” said Christine, one of the faculty members who tried the food. “I can’t wait to try making that myself.”
The final dish, and one that students were willing to wait for, was the Korean Gimbaap. This rolled up dish was referred to as Korean Sushi by many of the students, however the dish contained no fish, only chicken. “This is my favorite,” on student exclaimed as she made her way back to her table. “This is the one I was waiting for.”
The Korean Fan Club began as an extension of the language clubs offered at RKWC’s ILC since 2007.
Beginning with French and Japanese, the clubs have expanded over the years to include Spanish, German, Hindi, and Korean. The Korean Fan Club began with a dedicated student who had taken the Korean Language Club classes in the past and had continued to practice at home with a tutor later.
“This very smart student came to me to ask if she could start a Korean Fan Club. She told me she thought that all of the students would be interested like she was and really wanted to start something more than the language club,” ILC Coordinator Christine Jones said about the founding of the club.
“I told her I would be happy to be the faculty advisor for her club and I left the responsibility for choosing and planning of events in her hands. She has done a fantastic job. The Korean Cooking Event was a huge success. Look at the number of students involved,” she added.
“For a club that was started in late February, they have grown fast. Every day brings new interested members.”
Christine Jones said of the Korean Cooking Event: “I was expecting maybe 15 or 20 students to come to the event, but we had more than 80 students show up for the demonstration and most of them tried the food too.”
With more than 80 students involved in the club, the Korean Fan Club is one of the largest activity clubs in the ILC. The club has already held excursions and invited guest speakers to the campus, but since only a few students could make the excursion, Club President Suaad Al Hammadi decided to bring the excursion to the campus.
“I think that it was the right idea to start this club. It grabbed a lot of attention from students so now we have reached 80 members, which is a good thing for a new club. We are hoping for more activities that will help the students adjust between their studies and having fun in the college,” Suaad said.
“I was really surprised of the students who were not members of the club who showed a lot of interest with the Korean food and culture. We started having chats about the Korean food and culture, which was a really pleasant experience. I really enjoyed introducing them to the Korean culture and they liked it, we were really glad we tried this. It was a great experience. We are hoping for more in the future,” Suaad added.
Suaad went on to explain her hopes for bringing more special guests, movie screenings, food demonstrations, and excursions. “We would really like to see this become even bigger.”
Shayma Ibrahimoh, the Korean Fan Club Vice President, was excited about the club’s events: “It is fun, exciting, it helps us change the climate of the college to try something new and do the things we love.”
“The students really liked the cooking. And if they weren’t in the Korean Fan Club, now they want to be in the club,” Shayma added.