Photography Scott Kowalchyk / CBS

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

“I’ve been a fan of Korean drama since I was in junior high, but at that time I only knew a few Korean words,” says 23-year-old Nadia. Her situation will be familiar to anyone who’s found themselves trying to sing along to a K-pop song, watch an episode of Netflix’s Japanese reality show Terrace House without staring intently at the subtitles or figure out the plot of an anime without working knowledge of the language featured.

As globalisation and the internet continue to break down barriers in our increasingly boundaryless world, it’s easier than ever to dive into the music, films, TV shows, and literature of other countries – often without having to make a conscious decision to seek them out. But without being fluent (or even the slightest bit proficient) in the necessary vernaculars, it can be tricky to fully connect with whatever cultural export you’re trying to get to grips with.

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