There is a new TV show trend among local networks ― foreigners learning and experiencing Korean culture.
Programs featuring foreigners have frequently been superficial, such as those about foreigners living here ("My Neighbor, Charles") or visiting Korea for the first time ("Welcome, First Time in Korea?").
However, as K-pop and Korean content have infiltrated deeper into the global market, the new pattern of shows has emerged, putting emphasis on how susceptible ex-pats are to the culture and language.
In the first two months of this year, four new reality shows like this have gone to air.
TvN's "K-pop Cultural Center," which started Feb.10, intends to teach Korean through songs to 10 foreigners, including YouTubers and actors. Each episode features different singers as the instructor, who uses their lyrics to teach the language and the cultural meaning behind them.
The show's producer said: "The song contains the language and philosophy of the time and projects all forms of culture, from joy, sorrow and love to family and social trends. So one of the best ways to understand a country is to learn its songs."
With the same concept, SBS Plus' "Korean to the Ground," premiered Tuesday, invites beauty pageant contestants from four countries to learn Korean through various missions around Seoul.
The foreigner version of popular KBS variety show "2 Days & 1 Night" also began airing last month. Led by the show's season 3 producer Kim Sung, the "Friendly Variety Show" invites a group of ex-pat TV personalities and Korean celebrities to tour the nation. The two groups compete for a better tour spot and to show diverse aspects of the country.
On top of variety shows, the JTBC talk show "Love of 7.7 Billion" puts the spotlight on the cultural differences regarding romantic relationships and dating issues.
The show features 14 foreign panels ― including from the U.S., China, Russia, Sweden, Colombia, South Africa and Morocco ― discussing their cultural backgrounds on various subjects. Each episode brings up different issues, such as wedding ceremonies and cohabitation, and is joined by a Korean celebrity guest to offer the Korean perspective.
source: The Korea Times