30 years ago, nobody had heard of Korea, or knew much about that nation, except for the Korean War from 1950 to 1953. Thus, very few imagined ever moving to that country. The Hermit Kingdom, as it was once called, was on nobody’s radar.
However, little by little, as a French expat community, among others, started establishing itself in this -then- mysterious country, some newly-arrived individuals saw the need to better introduce its fascinating culture and beautiful landscapes. They also wanted to provide useful advice on everyday life to help their community. Last but not least, it was felt that a bridge needed to be built between the Korean people and the slowly growing French community. Thus, “Seoul Accueil“, a French non-profit organization, was formed to guide, and promote relationships among, the few isolated individuals and families having settled in this unfamiliar country. It was then that “le Petit Echotier, magazine francais de Coree“, the French magazine in Korea, was founded to increase the reach of their actions.
At that time, writing about the country, its marvels and challenges was not an easy endeavor. There was no internet, no social media, and hardly any guidebook on that destination quite unknown to the outside world, and not yet an economic powerhouse and future home to K-pop and the famed movies and dramas that were to put South Korea on the map for the average person in the western world, and beyond, from the following decade.
Against all odds, “le Petit Echotier, magazine francais de Coree” managed not only to survive but also thrive, thanks to the dedication of selfless volunteer team members, willing to share their discoveries and amazement. The language barrier did not hinder, too much, their pursuit of what makes this country so unique. Over the years, they have developed their magazine and now write about anything relevant to their audience: culture performances, social issues, Korean tourist spots, the history and customs of their host country, everyday life tips, literature, cinema… This superb publication is believed to be the only foreign language magazine in Korea.
When asked about the secret to their success, the Editor-in-chief replied, “it is essentially being curious about our country of adoption, knowing that we will never fully understand it, no matter how long we may be living here. Nonetheless, we try our best to share as many experiences as we can, not only toward the French community but also other expatriates who may have a passing knowledge of our language. We also do our best to make our editorial content interesting for Koreans attracted to French culture”.
Indeed, a great achievement, for which “le Petit Echotier, magazine francais de Coree” is proud, is to have attracted Koreans to its readership, thus enabling a better understanding between both cultures. They now even have Korean editors within their team, writing in French!
The Petit Echotier’s main goal will be to have copies of their magazine distributed aboard flights between Korea and France within the next year. Therefore, they are looking for sponsoring partners that would make this financially sustainable and expand on the big companies already entrusting them with their advertising pages, such as Renault-Samsung, JCG Citroen, and Credit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank…
Le Petit Echotier
Le Petit Echotier
Korea, Republic of
Disclaimer: The views, suggestions, and opinions expressed here are the sole responsibility of the experts. No Daily Pune journalist was involved in the writing and production of this article.