Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Teaching in Korea = Learning in Korea

Ever wonder how life seems to flash by you without giving you proper warning. How in the world is it the 13th of October already?!

Classes have been amazing and they have also been a little close to my own personal Hell. However, I have now gained a new appreciation for all my teachers back home. If I ever see you again, please be prepared for a hug, a letter, or some form of gratitude that is appropriate for our relationship.

These students have been teaching me a lot about Korea while I am at the same time teaching them about American culture. For instance, I am proud that I let my emotions show. Granted, I don't flip out on them but I do let them know when I will not accept their bad behavior. Sadly, in Korea, you do not do this. No, in fact, I was informed that I should keep smiling and not show that I am angry with them.

Whaaaaaat?

Yeah, I was told this. It's ok, though. I found another way to make my students behave. I stare at them. I stare at them and smile. I smile so large and so sweetly I think it unnerves them. It helps that I don't say anything while I'm smiling at them. Ahahaahaha...it hasn't failed me yet. Who knew silence was the best way to gain the attention of 35 noisy teenage girls?!

Now don't get me wrong, I have had more amazing days than bad days. In fact, today, I got a drawing from a student of mine. It is of me and it says "I Like Amenda". ㅋㅋ SO CUTE!!

I will take a picture and show you!!





Culture...what an amazing culture!! Let's talk about the boys, yes?

They are amazing. I can't describe it better than that. They are AMAZING. Why? Because you know that gentleman we've been searching for so long for in America? You know where they went? Korea. I swear it. Where they are few and far between back home they are EVERYWHERE here in Korea. Now, again, don't get me wrong. I'm sure there are the normal perverts and jerks here but I haven't met them yet. You know me. I'm a magnet for these kinds of people.
They open doors for you. They hold your purse. They feed you...or make sure you're eating. They worry about you when you're sick. They worry about you when you're hurt. They walk beside you (on the side of traffic). They make sure you have the best seat. They hold your hand in public. They respect you and your thoughts. They respect personal space and if you're not single...they won't even TOUCH you. They are even a little uncomfortable TALKING to a girl who is not single because they don't want to insult her boyfriend or even insinuate that there is any kind of relationship outside of friendship between you.
And no, I'm not just talking about my guy :D. My friends and the teachers I work with all say the same thing. My male teachers are nothing but respectful. The men I've met at BARS have been nothing but respectful.

Single Ladies...come to Korea.


Ahem, now to move on about cultural things...

Life isn't always cake. Culture clashes and whatnot are sometimes difficult to overcome. While I am used to making my own choices it is difficult to do this when you have NO idea how to take care of yourself.

Example 1: I was sick and had no idea how to buy medicine or even what it was called. I ended up having to go to the hospital. Don't be afraid! EVERYONE goes to the hospital. There aren't any doctor offices. Seriously. It's kind of weird...but the service is good and cheap :D very cheap. I had listen to (at the time) friend nag me until I caved and went to the doctor. I had to rely on my co teacher to explain what was wrong and then listen to her instructions on how to get better. Man, I felt like a child again.

Example 2: I was drinking. We were all drinking. I was trying to help my boyfriend find a cab for my friend when someone rolled down their window. I walked up to the car, didn't get too close, and said hello in Korean. They rolled up the window. Ooookaaay.. Then they rolled it back down. Thinking they were just being shy I laughed and said hello again, waving and smiling.
This did -not- make the boyfriend happy. We had a sit down conversation about it. Culture clash (and maybe new relationship clash?) Korean men do not like it when you smile and talk to other Korean men. Whoops.
Also, they go to the hostpital for EVERYTHING. No doctor's office...hospital.
You give gifts when something good happens to you. So, for my birthday I will bring cake to the office :D YAY! At least this way I know I'll get cake on Friday!

You bow to your elders first...not the other way around. If you don't then you're considered rude.

Try everything. I have already told my teachers and principals that I don't eat raw fish, squid, or octopus. Basically if it's chewey...I am not a fan!

Ok...so that's long enough. I will update you all on the mask festival laters ;)

2 comments:

Adam said...

That's good to know about Korean men and chivalry. It means I need to step up my game. BTW, in Japan they are famous for this. Japanese women swoon for Korean actors for just this reason.

Funnyyoushouldmentionthis said...

Adam, you don't need to step up your game :D You and Madison both are gentlemen!!