Before we officially begin ottoKWORLD Goes to Seoul, we wanted to make sure that you all have a chance to get to know us! If you’re going to be following our adventures in Korea this summer, it’s best that you know a bit more about the faces you’ll be seeing quite a bit of on your screen!
For background, Ash and Rara met while studying in Nanjing, China. Ironically, it was their love of Korea and K-pop (not just China) that bonded them and their awesome group of K-pop obsessed friends together. Rara and Mel take full responsibility for corrupting Ash by showing her that there was more to K-pop than just EXO!
Here are some Q&As to help you get to know Rara! Ash’s profile will be coming soon!!
Q&A with Rara of ottoKWORLD
Name: Rara (aka Rachel or Rara Pop)
Title: Fearless Leader and Makeshift Graphic Designer
What are you most looking forward to on this trip?
EVERYTHING. But mostly: FOOD. SHOPPING. LEARNING KOREAN. K-POP CONCERTS.
How long have you studied Korean?
Realistically? About 2 months. But I also took a beginning class about 2 years ago, but all that I really remembered from that was how to read Hangul (the Korean alphabet). When we decided to spend the summer in Korea, I started studying with a tutor and have made it through an equivalent of first-year Korean. Can’t wait to keep going!!
Side note, it turns out 10 years of K-drama watching also helps quite a bit!
What other languages do you know?
I have learned Mandarin Chinese for the past 10(!) years. Before being fascinated with Korea, I also had a deep love for all things Chinese. I started studying Chinese in high school and continued to study it in college. I’ve studied abroad in Shanghai and Nanjing and also spent a year in Yilan, Taiwan teaching English. I’m so thankful for all the time I’ve spent in Asia! Overall, I’ve spent more than 3 years living in China and Taiwan.
I also studied Spanish for a few years and spent some time in Spain, but sadly I’ve forgotten most of my Spanish after I started learning Chinese (and now Korean)…
What were you doing before this trip to Korea?
I lived in Shanghai, China and worked at a public relations and marketing company. It was tons of fun to live and work abroad in China and I loved being able to use my Chinese skills every day. But now I'm excited to follow my dream of learning Korean!
Have you been to Korea before?
Yes, I’ve visited Korea four times. The first was in January 2013 when a friend and I went on a two-week trip to Seoul, Busan, and Jeju Island. It was magical and just made me even more excited about Korea! I went back with some friends for another week long trip in January 2016. While I LOVED it, I kept cursing myself for only ever visiting Korea in the dead of winter.
I visited Seoul again, this time with perfect weather, in October 2016 on a solo trip. I went to M!Countdown and a Jimjibang (Korean Sauna), bought a ton of Korean skincare products, and ate ALL the food. If you’re worried about going to Korea by yourself, don’t worry!! You will still have a fantastic time!
The last time I was in Korea was January 2017 for a super quick trip to go see BIGBANG’s Final Concert in Seoul. SUPER glad I listened to my inner fangirl and decided to make the trip from Shanghai (where I was living at the time). VIP 4 Life!
How did you get interested in Korean culture and learning Korean?
I’ve long been fascinated with Asia and found out about Asian dramas in high school. I loved to read Japanese manga back then and once I found out there were real life adaptations of my favorites like Boys Over Flowers and Hana Kimi, I was hooked! Such a dangerous gateway drug! After immersing myself in J-dramas and Taiwanese dramas, I eventually found my way to K-dramas and then later to K-pop. Now my life will never be the same!
Goals for the rest of 2017:
What is one strange thing that you MUST take with you on your trip to Korea?
My family has a 6-pound Pomeranian dog named Ted. Ted is the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. Seriously. He's super tiny and adorable.
Favorite Korean Word:
(Any fan of BTS is well versed in this word)
I’m a BIGBANG VIP at my core, but over the years I’ve also slowly become a B.A.B.Y and an A.R.M.Y. I’m not usually one to support only one group at a time. For me, as long as I like the group and enjoy their music, chances are I will support them
Proudest Fangirl Moment:
Drinking chocolate milk with Daehyun and the rest of B.A.P at their Party Baby Chicago concert
First K-pop Concert:
Wonder Girls (+ 2AM) in 2010
Favorite Ice Cream:
Mint Chocolate Chip
Under-appreciated K-pop group you support:
Thanks for reading!!
I hope you enjoyed the interview and I look forward to sharing our adventures in Korea with you! Stay tuned for more updates!
See what we're doing in Korea HERE!