Korea, a summary.

So I’ve been here just over 6 months now and I always wonder, how am I going to explain ‘Korea’ to everyone when I go back home? That might sound like a strange thing to say, but it is quite difficult to portray some things well enough to anyone outside of Korea in order for people to comprehend exactly what it is like.

5 Things I’ve learnt about Korea

  1. Men rule. Top dogs. Especially the school principal, aka the ‘king’. Korea is founded on the principles on Confucianism, and many of those beliefs are still deep rooted in today’s society. Having said that, cross an ajuma (Old Korean woman) at your own peril! See http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=38850805078 for further reference.
  2. Work work work (or sleep) I find myself with lots of spare time at work, as many of the EPIK teachers do. The syllabus is planned in books, there are no lessons until March and it’s still school vacation, but we are here. There is no work. But yet I find myself in work. I don’t think people fully grasp how frustrating desk warming can be. I turn up and spend the entire day in front of my computer exhausting facebook and  flicking through multiple youtube videos. Having said that, when school is back in, things kick into gear and we are all systems go, so I might as well just enjoy it whilst it lasts I guess!
  3. Drink your soju and eat your kimchi, naturally.  Two big things in Korea, you can’t go to a Korean restaurant without seeing both at nearly every table. Soju drinking is encouraged and the more you drink the more they love you. So much so that I can stay out until 5am, roll into school at 9 looking like death and one of the teachers will look at me and say ‘oooh…Soju?’ I nod, they laugh, it is totally acceptable. If I turned up to work in the UK like that I would be fired, and rightly so, I’m useless with a soju hangover, it is like nothing else on Earth. Devil juice, and way too easy to drink.
  4. Salute the flag. Randomly and frequently, including many mornings at work over the tannoy system you will hear the Korean national anthem, at which point teachers and students stand and salute the flag. This happens at sports days, winter camps, summer camps, any opening ceremony, official trips, sporting events…the list goes on.  They must really love that flag the amount of attention it gets…
  5. Koreans can’t drive. I don’t even know if there is a test, but if there is I imagine it consists of three questions: 1. Can you watch a tv show and negotiate a junction at the same time? 2. Do you prefer to swerve around speed bumps and 3. Do you think red lights and stopping for pedestrians is optional? If you answer yes to all of these questions you get your licence. Getting in a car in Korea can sometimes feel like taking you life into your own hands. Don’t they know you’re supposed to drive on the left?



2 Responses to “Korea, a summary.”

  1. 1 Amanda January 26, 2011 at 9:03 pm

    I enjoyed reading this. And I like your outfit in the picture – tres stylishe! 😉

    • 2 Simon January 28, 2011 at 12:58 am

      ‘how am I going to explain ‘Korea’ to everyone when I go back home?’ – I’d be surprised if many people ask you to be honest…

      Just kidding – I like totally love your blog babes! You have to bring some Soju home with you! I think the saluting of the flag should be a custom we in the UK should adhere to.

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