Tag Archives: reflections

What makes Korea a great place to live

Last week I was fed up with Korea. So today I decided to be more positive and share with you a few reasons why I love life here on the Korean peninsular, in no particuler order.

1. I have a job! A job that pays well. A job that is different day to day and fill of endless surprises.

Hardly ever a dull day in Korea!

2. I’m like a celebrity! People stare and giggle when I come near, I get screams of “hello Kate teacher!” all day long. And some mornings, if I am very lucky, I get students making arm hearts and shouting “I love you teacher” from the 4th floor windows.

3. The food. Korea sure does have some deliciously tasty food. Samgyupsal, dakgalbi, kalguksu, bulgogi, jjimdak…and endless other delights. But more about that coming soon. Stay tuned!

A little taster of Korean cuisine.

4. Super fast internet.

5. Transport. It’s really easy, and cheap, to get around. The buses are so luxurious- the seats are huge, and the trains have singing rooms in them!

6. The people. All of the Korean people that I have encountered have been so willing to help. Waitrons are known to hang around making sure you know how to eat the food they place in front of you. Perfect strangers will help you pay at a market when you have no idea how much to whip out of your wallet, without ripping you off. It’s simply wonderful!

7. New friends. I now have friends scattered around the globe which makes the prospect of travelling so much more exciting.

Andong friends

8. Did I mention that I live rent free? In a furnished apartment, with super low bills.

9. I get to travel. So far, since being in Korea, I have been able to visit China, Singapore and Bali. With tickets to get me to the Philippines and Hong Kong and grand plans to travel through Asia starting in March 2012.

So, really, life is sweet. And with only just over 4 months to go I really have to make the most of what time I have left.

Do you live in Korea? If so, what do you love about being here?

Something to remember

Lately I have been feeling really fed up with Korea.

I find that people annoy me. Why do they always push? Why do they spit in the street right in front of me? Why do they keep on springing things on me at the last minute? Why can’t my co teacher tell me she needed help planning the lesson before the lesson started? Why does my vice principal think it’s funny to speak to me in rapid Korean and then laugh? The list just seems to be endless at the moment!

So I have to remind myself of these words: “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign.”  Robert Louis Stevenson

Cultural differences are often a struggle and it is so very easy to think that ‘we’ are superior to ‘them’. Wouldn’t it be so much easier if my fellow English teachers could understand where I’M coming from? Wouldn’t it be nice if I could get a straight answer for once, not one laced with ‘maybes’? Wouldn’t it be nice if I didn’t surprise people everyday that I can use chopsticks and eat spicy food? And no, I’m not on a diet, I just don’t want to eat a whole bowl of rice for lunch!

So again I re-read the quote. “It is the traveler only who is foreign.” I am the foreigner. The outsider. The waygook.

It is me who is in the minority. I am the one who is being ‘difficult’ by failing to fully grasp cultural differences until after I’ve gone and gotten annoyed. It should be me being more patient with them. It should be me remembering that I am a guest in Korea and that I should be grateful that I have such gracious, patient and understanding hosts.

It’s something to remember.

Kate x