Gwangju Blog

People You Should Know in Gwangju…Kate Jarocki

Once you’ve lived in Gwangju, or even Korea after a while you assume that almost every foreigner you meet is a teacher. This week we have a non-teacher for you to meet. This arts communications specialist also uses her Saturdays to design and create jewelry with several others in the community. Learn all about her, jewelry making, and other ways to get involved in your community.  

Near the dating corner in People's Park, Shanghai

Near the dating corner in People’s Park, Shanghai

Name… Kate Jarocki

Occupation… International Communications

Hometown… Ocala, Florida USA

Length of time in Korea… 6 years

My hometown is famous for… Horses. It’s one of the four horse capitals of the world, and many horses participate – and win! – in the big races.

I wish I could… design jewelry for Tiffany & Co.

If I could have any superpower it would be… Teleportation

The show I am most likely to binge watch is... I love Psych. Miranda is also a favorite.

The best discovery I have made in Gwangju is… Aside from the amazing food that the Jeollanam-do region is known for, I love driving over to Gamami Beach for the day to get some sun.

At the Kia game with friends

At the Kia game with friends

On my days off I like to... Create jewelry. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Misub Hur for the past year and a half, and though that experience I’ve made some pretty stellar pieces. I’ve also made some wonderful friends.

What is your best tip for living in Korea? Find an organization that has something you enjoy and get involved. Travel the country. Become part of your community. Meet people and make friends. It will make the experience of being and living abroad that much more gratifying.

What is your surefire way to beat the blues when you are feeling homesick?

Elizabeth and Kate, sisters and best friends in Seoul

Elizabeth and Kate, sisters and best friends in Seoul

Skype or FaceTime with family and friends back home. My sister and her family live in Korea as well, and it’s been so nice to have them nearby. It’s also a good idea to just get outside. Whether it’s for a walk around the neighborhood or heading to a favorite spot, being outside pushes you to interact with your local environment. It always makes me smile.

What is the oddest job you have ever had? As a communications and marketing professional, I got my start in TV. For a few years in and after college, I worked weekends as a TV crew field technician for every home game of the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was unforgettable.

What is your favorite game to play? Exploding Kittens! It’s super fun to play and the artwork is hilarious.

Kate in Red Square, Moscow

Kate in Red Square, Moscow

Tell us a strange or interesting fact about you. I started university at 16 and graduated (undergrad) at 20.

Are there any places/services/experiences in Gwangju you can recommend that a lot of people may not know about? Having worked in Gwangju as an arts communication professional for the past couple of years, I want to say that Gwangju has a colorful art scene with many galleries and the world-famous Gwangju Biennale. Even years hold the Gwangju Biennale, a visual art exhibition that brings international artists together with native Korean artists to create some fascinating exhibitions; odd years bring the Gwangju Design Biennale with beautiful and innovative ways of looking at things in our everyday lives. The Asia Culture Center is another gem. Its lovely new campus located downtown holds exhibitions, workshops and conferences as well as indoor and outdoor activities for children and adults. A few blocks away, Art Street is alive with artists and artisans, galleries, art supply shops, quaint tea houses and other fun surprises.

Opening night at GPP's Six Plays, Four Nights One Couch

Opening night at GPP’s Six Plays, Four Nights One Couch

Do you belong to any clubs or community organizations in Gwangju? I don’t currently belong to any clubs or community organizations, since I’m leaving Korea soon for my next adventure. However, until a few weeks ago and for three years prior, I was a regular weekly guest on GFN’s “Weekly Review”. I wrote and copyedited for Gwangju News for a couple of years, writing the column “Gwangju Works”, as well as covers, features and other stories. I was also a sound technician with GPP for several seasons, and was fortunate enough to have my one-act play be anonymously selected for GPP’s first writing contest. I’ve had some incredible experiences in Korea.