Tonight, I attended the Night of Arirang, which was hosted by the Arirang Culture Club at Mercyhurst. It was a night filled with delicious food, beautiful music, and inspirational speakers. I had a great time and learned a lot about Korean food and culture.
Korean food was served throughout the night, and all of it was excellent. The hospitality staff was very accommodating for me because I am a long-time vegetarian, and they were able adapt all of the dishes so that I was able to eat them. My favorite dish was the appetizer, Gimbap, which is cooked chicken strips, pickled yellow radish, egg, and rice wrapped in seaweed. The staff made it without chicken for me. I also enjoyed the Bulgogi, which was the entrée for the night. It is marinated grilled, sliced beef with vegetables, steamed rice and Pajeon-scallion pancakes. The staff served the dish for me without the beef and with extra pancakes. Finally, for dessert, I ate vanilla ice cream with rice wine cream and sesame brittle. All of the dishes were excellent and exceeded by expectations by a lot.
The evening began with brief introductory remarks from Dr. David Dausey, the provost at Mercyhurst University, where he discussed the importance of the event. His remarks were followed by a musical performance by a couple singers and a guitar player from a local Korean church. After that, Mr. Ryan Johnson made brief remarks promoting Mercyhurst’s hospitality management program and thanked the servers for their hard work. After everyone finished their food, a representative from the student government talked about the importance of the event to the university. Then, the officers of the Arirang Culture Club spoke about their roles in the club and the importance of the club to them. The evening ended with Mercyhurst professor Mr. Jonathan Moser’s violin performance of a popular Korean song and “America the Beautiful.”
Besides the food, the highlight of the night for me was listening to Mr. Arthur Mills II speak. He has a long history working for the government, including serving in the army during the Vietnam war and being a State Department Diplomat. He spoke about his experiences in other countries and what he learned from those experiences. One story that he told was about his time in Saudi Arabia, where he kept being served coffee and drinking it because he thought it was the polite thing to do. However, he did not know that he needed to turn the cup upside down to show that he did not want any more coffee. This shows how he was able to learn about another culture by experiencing it first-hand.
The Night of Arirang is my favorite event that I have attended so far this semester, and I learned a lot about a culture that I know almost nothing about. My favorite part of the evening was being able to try new food, which I ended up enjoying a lot. I also liked listening to Mr. Mills speak and listening to the Korean music. I am glad I decided to attend this event.