If you have the opportunity to visit a Korean family’s home during your time teaching in Korea you should accept the offer. I have spent a lot of time with a Korean family who now treat me like a son. They have three children who are all learning English. The parents are also trying to learn English and try their hardest to communicate with me. They are extremely generous with me. They often invite me over for meals, drive me to where I need to go, and offer me gifts.
They often send me home with gifts, such as a plant or a big bag of apples. The mom even took me to see a doctor and helped translate with the nurses and doctors. She even paid the bill, although I insisted against it. It was above and beyond anything I could have expected from someone who is not even my mother!
From my experience, Koreans are excited and eager to meet foreigners. My Korean family is always grateful when I visit their home, they get especially excited when I bring over another foreign friend.
Visiting a home in Korea is not much different than visiting a home in America. Although, you will be required to take your shoes off at the entrance to the home. You will usually be offered something to eat or drink. They want to make sure you are comfortable and happy.
My Korean family always has a lot of questions for me. They are very curious about my life and my work, teaching English here in Korea. They also understand that I am by myself in their country, far away from all my family, and close friends. They want to support me in anything I need, whether it be companionship or anything else.
Visiting "my Korean family"
They were very shy upon meeting me, but now that I have spent a lot of time in their home they are all very comfortable around me and are not shy at all. I think breaking that barrier takes some work but it is worth it in the end. They even threw me a birthday party when my birthday was only a month after I arrived in Korea. They decorated their apartment and bought me a cake. It was incredibly thoughtful.
So, if you have the opportunity to get to know Koreans and are invited to their home, I would recommend you take the opportunity to learn about their culture and hopefully make a friend. Knowing you have local friends for support and assistance will make your stay in Korea that much easier.
Adam Montgomery is a 25-year old teacher at the Chungdahm Branch on Jeju. He has been teaching in Korea for over six months. When he is not teaching, he enjoys exploring the wonders of Jeju and Korea.