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Humiliating HIV Test Story
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ewlandon



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Location: teacher

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 9:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i have come to the conclusion that steel rails is either an idiot why cant you help but argue for pages and pages every time someone has a negative experience in Korea?

Dude honestly you are saying he shouldnt expect decent medical care if he cannot speak perfect korean.

The dude had a letter written out in Korean, he was prepared. Back home in the US if someone can only speak Korean and they need medical care the hospital will do their best to get a translator or at least try to understand the guys needs in a private place so that the entire hospital doesn't hear about his AIDS problems.


I know we arent home blah blah I dont care you still shouldnt have doctors yelling "not pregnant" and "OH AIDSUH!" in the public area.


that being said this story was funny and I'd have probably chalked it up to just another cultural difference. SImilar to the ones I experience every day.
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sendittheemail



Joined: 15 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In all fairness, no one going to a Korean hospital should expect anyone there to speak even the slightest bit of English. A mistake that many first time E2 visa holders make is assuming that large hospitals will be able to accommodate English speakers. The reality is that those girls working the front desk at the hospital haven't gone through medical or even nursing school, they are just receptionists. The nurses, who earn a whopping $8 an hour in Korea, are also highly unlikely to be proficient in English, as it's not really required for their jobs.

The people you are likely to interface with at the hospital, are among the least likely to be speakers of second languages.

The biggest hospitals have taken this into account, and have made up a piece of paper with instructions on it in broken English. It says things like "First go here, then proceed here, then submit payment here" etc etc. The purpose of this is to remove your need to interface with the hospital staff, most of whom do not speak your language. You simply go from place to place showing your piece of paper to the staff.

They key is remaining calm, and trying to keep your interfacing with Koreans to the minimum. Don't try to ask them complex questions. Draw pictures on a paper if you have to because speaking English in a Korean hospital is akin to barking like a dog; people will stare at you, but no one is going to understand you. You could also call 1588-5644, which is the free interpretation phone number, with service available in 17 languages.
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ewlandon



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Location: teacher

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

that piece of paper was super helpful I got through the whole hospital experience in like 30 minutes with just that paper and no spoken English (also I was just a week into living in korea and knew exactly zero Korean words).


As for the people who say its the English teachers fault for not being able to communicate etc and that we shouldnt expect people to speak English etc etc.


I dont expect people to speak English but the Korean people should not expect me to speak Korean either.

You know why? Because this country as a whole makes practice of recruiting English speakers who cannot speak Korean, so things like that piece of paper should be expected to help us get through things like hospital visits.
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Captain Corea



Joined: 28 Feb 2005
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That bit of logic sounds flawed.

The WHOLE country is responsible for the hiring practices of language schools??
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CentralCali



Joined: 17 May 2007

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sendittheemail wrote:
In all fairness, no one going to a Korean hospital should expect anyone there to speak even the slightest bit of English.


Well, since the doctors in Korea had their medical courses in English, one would think at least the doctors can speak English.
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ewlandon



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Location: teacher

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 3:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Captain Corea wrote:
That bit of logic sounds flawed.

The WHOLE country is responsible for the hiring practices of language schools??


public schools, private schools, langauge schools, academies, yes pretty much the entire country seems to want us here to teach them english.
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ewlandon wrote:
Captain Corea wrote:
That bit of logic sounds flawed.

The WHOLE country is responsible for the hiring practices of language schools??


public schools, private schools, langauge schools, academies, yes pretty much the entire country seems to want us here to teach them english.


That doesn't mean they are responsible for the hiring practices.

Nor are they responsible for Chinese, Japanese, C++, Mathematics or any other widely taught "language".

Seriously, what if this incident involved a Chinese guy doing the exact same thing? Would we have the same reaction?


Quote:
so things like that piece of paper should be expected to help us get through things like hospital visits.


That piece of paper was written by the co-teacher, not the nurses. Therefore, any issue with errors regarding that piece of paper should be taken up with the co-teacher, NOT the nurses.

And you still bear responsibility for verifying the contents of that note.

Quote:
Well, since the doctors in Korea had their medical courses in English, one would think at least the doctors can speak English.


Their courses had parts of them in English, and that was the doctors.

The OP was not dealing with the doctors.

Again, no one is saying the nurses were devoid of responsibility for this incident, but didn't the OP bear some responsibility for the outcome?

"Hey I'm going to walk in with this note that I don't even know what it says, try to speak in a foreign language, and expect these Koreans to understand me and do everything right." Does that make any sense?

Why is there no expectation for the OP to try things like seek out the correct term in Korean or use an English-Korean dictionary or use the internet or call his co-teacher? Shouldn't he at least put a modicum of effort into trying to communicate with them in Korean, their native language and the language of the country in which he is trying to seek governmental services?

Again, Frenchman speaking in French and demanding that you understand him and provide services to him. Doesn't sound right, does it?
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postfundie



Joined: 28 May 2004

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Shouldn't he at least put a modicum of effort into trying to communicate with them in Korean, their native language and the language of the country in which he is trying to seek governmental services?


of course he should learn Korean and of course he should have had someone write it out on a piece of paper and that piece of paper should say, "hey nurse please be discrete with my personal information." Without a doubt though ,there should be pressure put on the medical establishment to respect one's privacy..I know Koreans that complain about the same thing and nurses and doctors who have blurted out information for all to hear. And Of course people on here can't complain because they are foreigners, this is not their homeland, they are guests...this lurks in almost all your posts...
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
And Of course people on here can't complain because they are foreigners, this is not their homeland, they are guests...this lurks in almost all your posts...


No one is saying that.

What I'm saying is that the OP is not without a level of responsibility.

Reverse the situation, make the person a Korean in an American hospital trying to get the nurses to understand what he wanted in Korean and when the American nurses finally understood, they blurt it out.

Would the Korean be right in complaining? Absolutely. Would the nurses be somewhat at fault? Of course. But those of us so quick to condemn the nurses and who disagree that the OP bears any responsibility would have a completely different view. They'd blast the Korean for being so stupid as to try to speak Korean to the receptionist. They'd criticize him for now knowing the correct procedure. They'd hold him accountable for persisting in trying to speak in Korean rather than trying to seek out the proper term in English.

If a Korean person is partly responsible in that situation for whatever befalls them, then the NET in this situation is partly responsible as well.

But apparently to some people, the Korean would be wrong in the first situation, but the OP was not wrong in theirs. Why? Bias.
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IlIlNine



Joined: 15 Jun 2005
Location: Gunpo, Gyonggi, SoKo

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, responsibility.

Why not, instead of going to the hospital with a vague idea of what you wanted to do, you (depending on your personality):

Chronically dependant: Bring a friend who speaks Korean to help you out.

Chronically independent: Hit up your dictionary/google translate/etc before going, look up all the words you need print it all out in an easy-to-refer form to use/show to the nurses. Even if you know no Korean at all, I'm sure if you put in a little effort, it will all work out.

Lazy but pragmatic: Instead of first mumbling (then yelling) out your embarrassing needs to anyone who wants to hear, why not set about trying to find an english speaker first?

Lazy & have no friends: Use the free translation service provided to foreigners. I'm sure explaining your situation in english to a stranger would be preferable to what happened here.

Pain-in-the-ass coworker: This was spelled out already - but before going, ask one of the co-teachers to prepare a short letter in Korean explaining exactly what's needed, so - there would be no need to say anything.

This is all just off the top of my head - even not knowing a lick of Korean, there are still a lot of ways to solve this problem. Sorry for the emarassing situation - and yes, there is a bit of cultural mismatch involved - but with a little bit of preparation, it could have all worked out well!
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those ideas are a crock. Clearly the best way to go about things was to write "HIV" on a napkin and then start saying "AIDsuh Testuh" over and over again.

And seriously, why didn't the guy just call up his school and get his co-teacher to explain things...
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World Traveler



Joined: 29 May 2009

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sendittheemail wrote:
no one going to a Korean hospital should expect anyone there to speak even the slightest bit of English

Why not though? Koreans have ten years of compulsory English in the public school, and two more years if they go on to college (which most Koreans do). Are you telling me after twelve years of English, no one in a hospital can speak or understand it in the slightest? (If that is the case, I'd say the English education system in Korea is broken and needs fixed.)
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

World Traveler wrote:
sendittheemail wrote:
no one going to a Korean hospital should expect anyone there to speak even the slightest bit of English

Why not though? Koreans have ten years of compulsory English in the public school, and two more years if they go on to college (which most Koreans do). Are you telling me after twelve years of English, no one in a hospital can speak or understand it in the slightest? (If that is the case, I'd say the English education system in Korea is broken and needs fixed.)


No one said no one in the hospital, just no one at the reception desk and certainly what they know might be limited, combine that with the the OP carrying on with "Aidsuh Testuh", doesn't help things.

Also, I believe that English education back in the time when most of them were going to school was vastly different than it is now.

I had 10 years of compulsory foreign language, as do a good many other NETs, yet if a native Spanish speaker strolled in and just started speaking super fast or tried to say one word over and over in some stupid Spanish-English accent, I might not have a clue at what they are trying to get at.

Really, I find the idea of anyone expecting English in a country where English is not the native language really off-putting, arrogant, and borderline bigoted.

It certainly doesn't excuse one from attempting to try to speak Korean to them rather than English. I know we think the people of this nation exist to make our lives easier and to make us happier, but there should be limits to that attitude.
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ewlandon



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Location: teacher

PostPosted: Mon Feb 18, 2013 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

btw did you pass the test?
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postfundie



Joined: 28 May 2004

PostPosted: Tue Feb 19, 2013 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Really, I find the idea of anyone expecting English in a country where English is not the native language really off-putting, arrogant, and borderline bigoted.

It certainly doesn't excuse one from attempting to try to speak Korean to them rather than English. I know we think the people of this nation exist to make our lives easier and to make us happier, but there should be limits to that attitude


This is you buddy .....people just come here to vent...let 'em...If you go ahead and attack the bad apples on this site that are racists and who overgeneralize then GOOD! but other than that...people just gots to complain...I talk to many Korean doctors who complain about the appalling level of English in the medical community in Korea, becuase they want their country to be more connected to the international medical community. Instead, maybe they should talk to you, the self appointed regulator of "new" teachers and westerners here in Korea..the grand master and anti-agent of change.
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