A letter from a Portuguese girl in Edinburgh who loves Soju

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Being interested, or liking something, is a human condition and it comes with great responsibility. I say responsibility because one can make an impact and share knowledge by the simple act of passion.

This is how I feel when expressing my admiration for Asian culture, and particularly my fascination for South Korea. I could never fully understand what linked me so strongly with this culture, but I remember being drawn to the concepts of balance and harmony, something that I often found in Asian art, cuisine, and mindset. Perhaps that was the reason, or maybe it was just a case of extreme curiosity about something different. Nevertheless, I decided if I am setting myself the ‘challenge’ of liking something, I shall do it with some reason and respect.

What I like about Korean culture

❤︎ The food! It’s my favourite. 

❤︎ The beautiful sounds of the language, and also the symbolic meanings. For instances, the fact that a simple ‘Hello’ (‘안녕하세요’) means ‘are you at peace?’ makes me think of Koreans as considerate and kind people.

❤︎ At last, but not least, I have to say: SOJU! Soju is the perfect drink for every occasion, especially when having meaty/spicy dishes. Yum!

Being born and raised in a small city in the south of Portugal, I soon developed a need to expand my horizons, which led me on a series of adventures around the world. Adding to my traveling habits, I’ve lived in four different countries (Portugal, Spain, Scotland, and the USA) and experienced five stimulating universities that fed my multicultural background. I currently live in Edinburgh, Scotland where I have the opportunity to work with the Asia Scotland Institute (“ASI”), a non-profit organization that promotes cultural awareness, sharing knowledge and encourages innovative projects between Scotland and Asian countries.

Catarina at the event of ASI

Despite all my traveling, reading and learning, Asia is yet to be physically discovered! Something that might be due to the challenges of distance and time, but it is finally about to change. The plan is to visit and volunteer in South Korea this summer. Exciting times ahead!

I have been able, through my personal life and work, to excite people outside Asia about Asian culture and what it can offer. Some people find it bizarre coming from a little Portuguese girl. It is extraordinary how a simple passion becomes a not so simple mission. However, totally worth it!

(Written by Catarina Guerreiro. Catarina is in charge of digital marketing at ASI. She aims to work with Asian businesses and help establish strong international relationships within the West and Asia.)

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