Kpop stars are just as eager about college education as we are
The lives of Kpop stars may not be so different from our own. They are only human, and they face the same challenges in life as the rest of us – including the right of passage known as college.
In fact, there are many Kpop stars who have also fulfilled their dreams of higher education, in some cases moving across oceans to secure degrees in fields of their choosing. Some have even pursued degrees here in the United States.
A degree from a foreign school, especially one in the United States, is looked upon in Korea as an outstanding achievement to be gushed about by proud parents for years afterward. Some might think attractive and charismatic Kpop stars don’t desire such degrees, but they’d be incorrect.
Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll enter a classroom and be seated next to a Kpop star!
One such Kpop performer is NS Yoon G (Christine Yoon-Ji Kim). Though she is known for her beauty and charm, NS Yoon G has also got some smarts – and it shows! She moved to California when she was in the fourth grade, and continued through high school before attending UCLA. She was part of Greek life on campus in a sorority member and graduated with a degree in Communications.
After she graduated, she returned to South Korea to pursue her dream of entering the music industry and debuted in 2009 – one year after her cousin Kang Ji Young debuted with Kara in 2008. She continues to release new music and has also tested her acting chops by appearing in “Seoul Runner,” a parody of “Maze Runner” produced by Be Funny Studios in Korea, alongside actor Ki Hong Lee, Ok Taecyeon and Nichkhun from 2PM, and Kangnam from MIB.
Georgetown University -“Superstar K” winner Roy Kim pursues his education at Georgetown
College is already stressful enough without the added pressure of balancing it with a career as a successful musician. Yet Roy Kim, one of the most successful “Superstar K” contestants in the talent contest’s history, is also actively pursuing a business degree from the prestigious Georgetown University.
Georgetown, in Washington, DC, is one of the oldest and most respected private universities in the nation. But it also seems like a place where Kim feels at ease. According to the Washington Post’s Jessica Contrera, “He doesn’t want to call attention to himself. He sees school as more than a refuge from celebrity. It’s also a check on his ego.”
In his interview with Contrera, Kim said he wanted an experience that would keep him grounded. He surely feels like everyone else, being out of the spotlight at a competitive college surrounded by people focused on their success at the university.
BY Nutty Nomads
Stanford University – Stanford classes inspired Tablo’s exceptional songwriting and producing
Lee Seon-woong, better known by his stage name Tablo, is a rapper, record producer, and songwriter from South Korea. One of the best-known rappers in the country, he is a member of the popular hip-hop group Epik High along with Mithra Jin and DJ Tukutz. The group recently toured North America, traveling to Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, New York City, Dallas, and Atlanta as well as Toronto and Vancouver. Tablo has also founded an independent record label called HIGHGRND to issue recordings from artists including Hyukoh and producer Code Kunst.
Tablo attended Stanford University, in Palo Alto, California, as an English major in the early 2000s. Of course, during that time he was not the Tablo we know today. Known then as Daniel Armand Lee, Tablo received both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in 2002.
English majors may not be expected to turn into hip-hop artists, but based on the success of his career it seems like it was a great decision for Tablo. Tablo’s lyrics and wordplay in both English and Korean are great examples of how he uses his skills to create chart-topping songs with intricate lyrics. Tablo is known for writing lyrically powerful songs not only in Korean but also in English, such as “Dear TV” and his English cover of Taeyang’s “Eyes, Nose, Lips.”
BY Genesis Miranda
Columbia University- AJ of U-KISS juggles a double life as a Kpop star and full time undergraduate at Columbia
After deferring his enrollment for one year to complete prior engagements with U-KISS, a seven-piece Korean boy band, AJ enrolled in the Ivy League school in the summer of 2012 with a major in psychology. American media outlets were eager to cover AJ’s double life as a Kpop star and full time student, with the New York Post referring to him as the “Korean Justin Bieber” and ABC’s Good Morning America comparing him to Miley Cyrus’ Hannah Montana character.
During his time at school, AJ has tried to maintain the life of a typical college student by living on campus and studying abroad, as well as enrolling in non-profits to help the community. Because of his ability to focus on his studies and maintain a high GPA, AJ was awarded a scholarship from the School of General Studies earlier this year.
In September 2015, The Korea Daily reported that U-KISS’s agency has confirmed that AJ will be on hiatus from Kpop until his graduation from Columbia, stating that fans need not worry as his contract will still be active upon graduation.
BY Matthew Ayala