Greenville native and University of South Carolina junior Grace Lee is a first generation Korean American.
“My mom first came to America in the mid ‘80s and my dad in the early ‘90s,” Lee said.
After developing a passion for sustainable tourism, Lee decided to seek a double major in business marketing and a minor in hotel, restaurant and tourism management. She also is actively involved in USC extracurricular activities including the Emerging Leaders program, resident hall government, Business Analytics Club and Korean International Student Association (KISA), which she helped reinstate at the university during her sophomore year.
“Through this club, the main goal is just to bring the Korean culture to the students at USC,” said Lee, who now serves as KISA president. “We go out to eat together at the Korean restaurants here in Columbia and just generally hang out.”
One of the group’s events is the Columbia Korean Festival, set for Saturday, Oct. 29.
“We always try to go together as a group to eat, watch dances and support the culture,” Lee said.
In the spring, Lee will be taking her first trip to Korea when she goes to study abroad at Sogang University in South Korea.
With my Korean-Southern background, my taste buds have been abundantly blessed. Thankfully, Columbia has restaurants for both my Korean and Southern desires. Arirang, Hero and Korea Garden are some of my favorite Korean restaurants. However, when I’m craving barbecue and hush puppies I head to Little Pigs. I love to go to Mai Thai for Pad Thai, and British Bulldog Pub for Irish eggrolls, which are absolutely to die for.
In alcohol terms, I’m not a drinker. But I do enjoy smoothies like the Island Green, Acai Berry Boost and Health Nut at Tropical Smoothie; the Mango and Triple Berry at Marble Slab; and the 7 Islands at Yoghut.
One of the benefits of being a USC student is all the movies you get to see for free. Carolina Productions always makes sure to have a great list of movies to see. And of course there is USC football. There’s also great plays put on by such talented people at the Longstreet Theatre.
There’s always tons of concerts hosted in Columbia both on the USC campus and at Colonial Life Arena. So far I’ve been able to see Icona Pop, Hoodie Allen and R. City. And at Music Farm I loved seeing Cherub. And this December we get Kanye at Colonial Life.
Outside college life, there’s Riverbanks Zoo which is so much fun to go to, and Lake Murray. Our State House is also one of the prettiest buildings I’ve seen. If you have the time, definitely go take a look inside.