For foreigners, South Korea is an enabler. It enables our late night partying, the late wake-ups the next day, and our frequent eating out at restaurants. Being such a Westernized country, it also enables our use of English. You can spend years in this country and never really have to use more than a few words of Korean, which is something that many foreigners fail to appreciate. I shake my head when I see foreigners yelling English at befuddled movie theater attendants or other service staff, somehow assuming that if they yell louder and faster, then these poor Koreans will magically acquire the ability to understand English. Personally, I believe that if you are going to spend a long period of time in another country, you should at least make an effort to learn the native language. Having been here just over a year, I have three tips for all you language connoisseurs out there on how to tackle the Korean language.
Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!
Any worries I had about 'losing touch' during my year abroad in Southeast Asia were quickly shattered one July night while I lay in a hostel bunk-bed in Taiwan. I opened my iPad to find an adorable yet slightly chubby Korean man decked out in hip glasses, a funky suit and an irresistible smirk busy bombarding every one of my bookmarked websites. That moment and many more in the following days and months reassured me that my move to Korea would not hinder my mission to stay relevantly informed about all things social.
English teacher in Korea or not, unless you have been living a rock for the past month, then you probably are familiarly with PSY's "Gangnam Style" that is taking the world by storm. Over the past few months, this Korean pop song has become an international craze and been played on radio stations all over the world. For a lot of people outside of Korea, this is their first taste of Korean pop music and while it is catchy and humorous, it is not a great representation of the Korean pop music scene. So don't think that all Korean music is similar to Gangnam Style. It would be like a non-American listening to LMFAO and making the judgement that this must be what all American pop music is like.