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Will I clash with Korean culture?
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Who's Your Daddy?



Joined: 30 May 2010
Location: The joy's in the ride.

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are coming to experience Korean culture, it may be worth it to you.

If you are coming to save money, I'd say the savings nowadays (for E-2 holders) doesn't justify the hassle.
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ewlandon



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Location: teacher

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Since you are from the internet you may need to know that Koreans do not like cats very much. Better safe to find this out now then when you arrive in Korea, as this might be a bit too much of a culture shock for anyone from the internet.
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Konglishman



Joined: 14 Sep 2007
Location: Nanjing

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ewlandon wrote:
Since you are from the internet you may need to know that Koreans do not like cats very much. Better safe to find this out now then when you arrive in Korea, as this might be a bit too much of a culture shock for anyone from the internet.


While that is true, I think there have been some very recent trend of cats gaining in popularity among some kids. Also, you can go to the cat cafes and meet some cats and Korean cat lovers.
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coratheexplorer



Joined: 16 Feb 2012

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

s.tickbeat wrote:
If you're going to come here and expect to be happy and content all of the time, forget it. Besides the regular homesickness, you'll experience 'expat rage' - moments of blinding anger and frustration that make you want to set the country on fire, often for something rather benign. The pressure builds up.

What's more, you have NO entitlements here. The law is not the law, it's a set of rough guidelines that change from situation to situation, depending on who you're dealing with. Sexual harassment from your boss? Get used to it, you western hussy. Xenophobic discrimination? Awww. . . that's too bad. . . but this is Korea, and that's *Korean culture.* United Nations humans rights standards? NOPE.

If you're seriously questioning whether you'll clash with Korean culture, the short answer is yes. Yes, you will. The real question is, are you okay with that? And, how will you adapt to the changes the country demands of you?

Much like you seem to be, I was a very strong, very independent woman, with a strong sense of self, of identity, and of justice. And in my first year, I was fucking miserable - I complained to co-workers about x, y, or z situation in the country (ensuring that they eventually hated me), confronted my boss on even the smallest infraction of the contract, and generally behaved (socially, 'cause I'm a very small person physically) like a drunk gorilla offending EVERYONE. Even the expats, 'cause they can be huge moralistic assholes too.

However, by the second year I'd learned better. I'm still a strong, independent woman with a strong sense of self, and an even stronger sense of justice. However, I'm no longer a blunt instrument. I've learned subtlety, tact, and precision. I'm sure that I still upset people - a lot of people - but not in a way where they lose face (unless someone really pisses me off, in which case I take their 'face' and smash it so they can't recover, like my ex-boss, who ended up losing his business).

My point is, how adaptable are you? You CAN come here and thrive without abandoning your principles, if you're willing to adapt your behavior. You CAN'T come and expect to maintain the entitlements, privileges, and rights that you would have at home or in Europe.


This is really well summed-up. Good job s.tickbeat.

Dying to know the full story of what happened with your ex-boss.

The law is not the law. Too true. I shudder to think of the how the work ethics and professional mentality of so many young people are being shaped by working here so early on in their lives. So much abuse!! This is not how it is supposed to be, young people! These cultures were ruled by tyrants for so long, sooo long.... it has shaped their thinking into an impossibly rigid thing. Equal parts fear and pride. Anyhow, I think the OP, to the extent that the question is even genuine to begin with, surely already knows the answer.
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BigMikeAbroad



Joined: 12 Jun 2008
Location: US, for now

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 11:59 am    Post subject: Please Remember Reply with quote

Please remember, people come on Dave's and vent a lo of their frustrations. Korea is a pretty awesome place and as foreigners we can live a pretty sweet life here, save a good chunk of money and get to expand our cultural awareness while seeing more of the world.

You will face situations where as a foreigner something seems unfair, but it's up to you, how you will handle it. You can accept that it is a different culture with different norms and look for the humor in the situation or realize that when your on your death bed it will seem pretty trivial looking back. OR you can push back people who bump into you, you can cut the little old ajumas who cut you, you can yell at people for infringing on what you see as your rights.

You will get frustrated, you will second guess your choice. But for most of us, that's about 2% of the time. The other 98% were glad we came.
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abright1dea



Joined: 06 Nov 2012

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for all the responses. To clear things up, I don't see why having a strong sense of self and identifying and prioritizing personal boundaries (as the example I gave- not willingly handing over money to some taxi driver who knew he was overcharging his passengers) makes me an "alpha female" or "combative" or whatever was said a few responses ago.

The only thing I absoModEditlutely refuse to put up with is sexual harassment by a boss. it's happened to me before and it was just really disgusting and awful. Any pearls of wisdom for this subject? Look for a female boss, perhaps?

I do have some questions- when you say, "dress well" does that just mean look nice? Since living in Europe I've stepped it up, as in, no sweatshirts or workout pants day-to-day. I typically wear jeans, sandals or boots and a top with a cardigan. It's not fancy but it looks put together. I wear a lot of dresses and skirts when the weather allows. I don't want to spend a ton of money on my wardrobe, so will this suffice?

Also, as I haven't started looking for a job yet I figure it wouldn't hurt to ask. I've read a few threads complaining about not being able to find jobs- I'm a blonde, athletic built American female with a BA in a non-English or teaching major. My boyfriend is an attractive, brunette, athletic male also with a non-English or education degree. We are both in our early 20's and NOT looking for couples positions. Please tell me we'll be able to find jobs pretty easily in Busan?
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crouchy



Joined: 05 Nov 2008

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 4:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

abright1dea

By the sounds of it, I think you'd be better off with mummy (mommy) holding your hand. So, instead of the boyf, bring the old dear instead.
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Zyzyfer



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Location: who, what, where, when, why, how?

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

abright1dea wrote:
The only thing I abso*******lutely refuse to put up with is sexual harassment by a boss. it's happened to me before and it was just really disgusting and awful. Any pearls of wisdom for this subject? Look for a female boss, perhaps?


I don't know because I'm not a woman, but hopefully you get some responses from women about this specific issue. Lots of dudes up in this thread haha

Quote:
I do have some questions- when you say, "dress well" does that just mean look nice? Since living in Europe I've stepped it up, as in, no sweatshirts or workout pants day-to-day. I typically wear jeans, sandals or boots and a top with a cardigan. It's not fancy but it looks put together. I wear a lot of dresses and skirts when the weather allows. I don't want to spend a ton of money on my wardrobe, so will this suffice?


I don't see why it wouldn't but again, not a woman.

Quote:
Also, as I haven't started looking for a job yet I figure it wouldn't hurt to ask. I've read a few threads complaining about not being able to find jobs- I'm a blonde, athletic built American female with a BA in a non-English or teaching major. My boyfriend is an attractive, brunette, athletic male also with a non-English or education degree. We are both in our early 20's and NOT looking for couples positions. Please tell me we'll be able to find jobs pretty easily in Busan?


Probably will get better responses on the job board forum. That said I'm sure the two of you can probably get any old job (as long as the boyfriend is from one of the seven countries that qualify for E-2 visas) but the market isn't as good as it used to be, so it might be harder to find a good job.


Last edited by Zyzyfer on Tue Jan 22, 2013 12:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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fermentation



Joined: 22 Jun 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Koreans clash with Korean culture. Don't worry too much about it if you're set on coming here.

I had no idea S.tickbeat was a woman
Quote:
unless someone really pisses me off, in which case I take their 'face' and smash it so they can't recover, like my ex-boss, who ended up losing his business


Sounds like an interesting story. Do you mind sharing?
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Some of the issues and responses make rantings of the Muslim Brotherhood seem reasoned.

I seriously wonder if we haven't been drinking the crazy chemicals in our water back home.

"Armed Subway Guards" "Alpha Females" "Face Smashing" "Culture Shock of Cats"

Those aren't issues for discussing immigration, those are rock band names. That would be a pretty kick-azz concert. "Dude, Culture Shock of Cats is up next!"

I thought Dave's was starting to get to me for a bit, then I saw this thread...
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ewlandon



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Location: teacher

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steelrails wrote:
Some of the issues and responses make rantings of the Muslim Brotherhood seem reasoned.

I seriously wonder if we haven't been drinking the crazy chemicals in our water back home.

"Armed Subway Guards" "Alpha Females" "Face Smashing" "Culture Shock of Cats"

Those aren't issues for discussing immigration, those are rock band names. That would be a pretty kick-azz concert. "Dude, Culture Shock of Cats is up next!"

I thought Dave's was starting to get to me for a bit, then I saw this thread...



Cats play an important part of many peoples lives. They are probably a bigger part of your life than you even know.

Did you know that cats and humans have identical regions in the brain responsible for emotions. Cat's and humans brains are more closely related than humans and dogs.
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cheolsu



Joined: 16 Jan 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jan 21, 2013 10:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fustiancorduroy wrote:
I've never really heard people saying negative things about me, that I could tell. Maybe these people are more prone to looking for things to criticize about Korea and her people. Or maybe it's because I'm a big man -- 6'4" and over 250 pounds -- who looks, from a Korean's perspective, pretty well into his 30s. Maybe it's all these things. Maybe it's none of them.
전 20대 남아 출신이고 키가 170도 못 넘는데 공공장소나 학교에 안좋은 말 들어본 적이 없습니다. 별로 부자 사람도 아니니까 자신감은 외모보다 중요한 것으로 생각합니다. 지난 번에 이런 댓글을 적어서 누가 "넌 백인도 아니고 키가 작아서 아무가 신경을 쓰지 않았다"고 했는데 이번에 거꾸로 되었습니다. ㅎㅎ
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s.tickbeat



Joined: 21 Feb 2010
Location: Gimhae

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fermentation wrote:
Koreans clash with Korean culture. Don't worry too much about it if you're set on coming here.

I had no idea S.tickbeat was a woman
Quote:
unless someone really pisses me off, in which case I take their 'face' and smash it so they can't recover, like my ex-boss, who ended up losing his business


Sounds like an interesting story. Do you mind sharing?


Ex-boss wasn't able to pay me on time, so I got a letter-of-release and found a new job. When he didn't pay my final salary, I did some digging and found that he hadn't been paying into pension either, and had pocketed my tax deductions (as for health insurance, I forced that issue MUCH earlier). Anyway long story short I gathered the paperwork, crossed my T's and dotted my I's, and presented it all too him at the hagwon during business hours, and told a few key students why I was there as I waiting for him to read the full package (copies, of course) and a letter with his options (1. Pay up, right now. 2. Pay up after a labor board hearing.)

The director went ape, and started shouting and swearing. I went to the labor board immediately afterwards, and enrollment in his school went down so low that he had to close up (from about 100 to about 30).

On the plus side, I DID get all the money back. The labor board case was dropped when he paid me in full just to go away.

Also, smashing 'face' was a poor choice of words. What I meant is, cause people to 'lose face' so bad that it's impossible to recover.

But back to the OP, I really do like Korea. I enjoy living here, my job is alright, and I'm doing things that I would never have dreamed possible before taking the risk here. Being partnered helps a TON. You and your partner will help even eachother out; what I call 'expat rage' rarely hits both of you at the same time.

But you asked if you'd clash, and I say certainly. Be aware that you have to leave some of your privilege behind. In the west, you have all the privilege of being white, English-speaking, educated, etc. whereas here you will always have the stigma of being 'other.' You're a subversive element here, by virtue of being from the socially and racially impure west, as well as a Western Educated Woman - and will, from time-to-time, be treated as such. You're also afforded a whole pile of privileges as well - youth, beauty, and above all - Whiteness (which does not necessarily mean 'white') which is still worth a lot.

As to sexual harassment, don't put up with it. You don't have to. However, in my experience it's also extremely rare for western women to be harassed by their boss. That might be because of the language barrier, though. But, like I said, I wouldn't expect it. Just make sure you bring an extra set of all your documents, just in case.
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Konglishman



Joined: 14 Sep 2007
Location: Nanjing

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ewlandon, this is precisely correct. In fact, the feline frontal cortex is almost the same (albeit different in size) when compared to the human frontal cortex.

Incidentally, I have arrived at the conclusion that you must be my protégé.

ewlandon wrote:
Steelrails wrote:
Some of the issues and responses make rantings of the Muslim Brotherhood seem reasoned.

I seriously wonder if we haven't been drinking the crazy chemicals in our water back home.

"Armed Subway Guards" "Alpha Females" "Face Smashing" "Culture Shock of Cats"

Those aren't issues for discussing immigration, those are rock band names. That would be a pretty kick-azz concert. "Dude, Culture Shock of Cats is up next!"

I thought Dave's was starting to get to me for a bit, then I saw this thread...



Cats play an important part of many peoples lives. They are probably a bigger part of your life than you even know.

Did you know that cats and humans have identical regions in the brain responsible for emotions. Cat's and humans brains are more closely related than humans and dogs.
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young_clinton



Joined: 09 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:05 am    Post subject: Re: Will I clash with Korean culture? Reply with quote

abright1dea wrote:


He thought it was funny that these Subway checkers, who didn't seem to have much more authority that a "mall cop" (as we call them in the US) could actually do that. He asked what would happen if someone just refused to give their personal info. The Subway checkers didn't have guns or cuffs and could't arrest you. It is strange to me, where I live in Europe now, that a society can function like this.




If the sheriff just happens to be in the vicinity they can arrest you or force you to give your information with heavier fines. Also because you are using services without paying, security guards can detain you untill you pay or the sheriff arrives.
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