By Becci Mai Ford – From the 2015/16 Intake
Living in a city of 341,550 as the only white British girl in a country where only 19% of the population are foreigners you get used to being different.
In my first few weeks in Korea I had people on the bus come up to me and stroke my arms…because apparently arm hair just isn’t a thing in Korea?
I had small children sniffing my hair and trying to climb “the English giant” in class.
And old ladies who would poke me and give me vegetables every time they saw me (still to this day have no idea why?)
Why am I writing about this?
Because this year for the first time – I have actually wanted to fit in and that alone terrifies me.
Back home in the UK being different was always my goal. I didn’t want to fit the norm. A natural misfit at school, I took pride in standing out – I rebelled through music, clothes, art and terrible hair dye jobs.
But here in Korea – it is the opposite. Being different all the time gets tiring especially when you are different in an image that you yourself didn’t create.
After a while being the “crazy waygook” slowly looses it’s shine and you crave to be anonymous once more, trying various ways to blend in with the crowd.
But to fit in next year would be a disaster…
I won my scholarship in 2014 – I had tried every year since gaining a place and that year I decided would be different.
I took a risk and entered a video that made me feel a bit sick to my stomach – in my mind it didn’t have high production value and it was made in about 10 minutes, so it went against all of my logic. But it made me laugh and I hoped it would make other people laugh too.
(my entry if you are curious:)
My previous entries had been thought out over several weeks and I had scrutinised every single detail so that I could try to be the best and win.
But the thing is – it isn’t about being the best.
It’s about being different – and having a good idea.
Being the best you only stand out as being really good at something, but being really good isn’t enough. Anybody can be really good after lots of practise and hard work…but having the ability to create good ideas now that’s special.
That’s something I learnt in 2014, when I was woken up by my boyfriend yelling at me…
“You’ve done it!”
I thought I was dreaming.
I still kind of do.
My bodged together poorly made video – had won a scholarship to my dream school.
And in doing so it had taught me a HUGE lesson – to focus on the idea. The idea is what makes the biggest difference. The rest is just gloss.
Who needs gloss when you can be a crazy Waygook with dodgy hair.