This essay was written by Tamar Herman, a senior East Asian Studies major at Queens College, Macaulay Honors College. Her essay earned third prize in the Research Center for Korean Community's Essay Contest on Korea and Korean Culture. In this essay, titled "More Than a Wave," Tamar Herman recounts her initial interest in Korea and Korean culture via Hanryu (which translates to "Korean wave," referring to the increasing global popularity of Korean culture, including K-pop, K-dramas, Korean cuisine, Korean electronics, etc.). Using the extended metaphor of water droplets amassing size and momentum until it culminates in a deluge, Tamar Herman's narrative describes one woman's path to another culture. Below is an excerpt from her essay:
"When applied to cultural phenomena, the word “wave” usually implies a large impact that will eventually die down. The Korean Wave, hanryu, was deemed by media to be such an occurrence, and it may very well die out in a few years. But for me, hanryu was never a wave. It was a trickle that began with a song, which led to a singer, which led to a drama, which led to researching, which led to an interest in Korea that eventually led to me learning Korean, and declaring an East Asian Studies major. The initial drop, or interest, that I had in hanryu has led me down a path towards a much larger entity than just a simple wave that crashes and dissipates back into the ocean. Instead, I now have a new and ever-changing understanding of Korea, its history, culture, politics, and society."