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  • Sagi Keun
  • Super Waygook

    • 385

    • May 10, 2018, 11:47:23 am
    • Los Angeles
How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« on: December 31, 2021, 02:51:18 pm »
It goes in phases.

Of course in the beginning I went through shock for days and weeks, I didn't know how to operate here at all and wondered if I'd made a mistake.

Then I went through a honeymoon period for some months in which nothing bothered me, everything was fascinating.

By year 2 I started to leave behind Itaewon, bars and socializing exclusively with other foreigners. I started to find my niche with pursuits and activities that provided long term interest to me in the country. But I was still mostly uncomfortable around Koreans.

Then the angry phase lasted several years, in which I was usually annoyed by Korean behaviour. The  stares, every little cultural difference and microagression got under my skin. I could not stand the apparent racism and rudeness.

Gradually I started to have more Korean friends than foreigners. Started to feel more  at home.

Now, years later, I feel much more settled and enjoy being here a lot. I like Koreans, I have a general appreciation for their old fashioned politeness and adaptability. I think the younger generation shows great promise, they are a versatile people and I can see a whole lot of ways in which Korea is better than the west.


  • hangook77
  • Waygook Lord

    • 5524

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2021, 03:08:13 pm »
If Korea hadn't of changed so quickly over the past decade or so i'd be able top properly answer this question. 
Trolls on here are lame and need to get a life.


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 3673

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
    • South Gyeongsang province for 13 years (with a 7-year Jeju interlude)
    more
Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2021, 06:47:07 pm »
My attitude toward Koreans?

STAGE 1: At first I was bemused by how different they were here. I found it so interesting and had countless questions. What was blared so forcefully at 8am from speakers of a moving truck? Oh, oranges for sale! Not Kim Jung-il attacking. Then I saw the pick-up truck full with a mixed-up pile of unsheathed knives for sale and wondered if the law allowed it or if the cops sleeping in their squad car midday simply hadn't noticed. Etc. Lots of surprises like being Alice in Wonderland.

STAGE 2: I was impressed at how locals work a lot and wasted little time traveling around, how respectful they were to elders in general and their families in particular, how well they dressed compared to back home, how much of a variety of dishes and side dishes were on the menu.

STAGE 3: I got tired of how Koreans kept asking me the same questions and having the same reactions to my answers, how every driver accelerated up to a red light, applying the brakes at the last second, freaking me out as a pedestrian (later, when driving I noticed they also crept at the start of a green light). I started to feel like the whole country was like one small village.

STAGE 4: I moved to Jeju for seven years and I appreciated how Koreans acted in groups when traveling, how they invested in infrastructure and businesses, how politically active and varied were their opinions on the government, how they made me feel safe and how the worst behavior I faced was the occasional standoffishness.
« Last Edit: December 31, 2021, 08:29:59 pm by VanIslander »
Life's to live! Live! Breathe. Relax. Enjoy. Animals teach us to focus on family, friends and avoid danger. Get what you need and get along with others. That said, some rock the boat, but they know capsizin' it means they're sunk. Some sink, let's swim! The sea's big, great, but has undercurrents.


Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2021, 07:04:49 pm »
I went through the phases all back home before moving here.

People do the same shit around the developed or semi-developed world- Wake up groggy, go do some work that they hate, finish, deal with some asshole in traffic, come home and watch something on TV, then hopefully do something halfway fun on the weekends, at the same time they're trying to do the best for their kids and families while putting up with their boss and the idiots in charge of their country.


  • catbird
  • Waygookin

    • 16

    • November 17, 2021, 01:42:32 am
Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2021, 07:57:21 pm »
I enjoy my job more and more each day and, being from Miami, I'm loving this cold weather which is a novelty for me and also my wife.  Local incels that are hostile to foreigners instead of using self-improvement methods to attract women have been the only downside.  I've noticed a few in forums too, but not on this one fortunately.

Oh, the heated floor.  I LOVE that! 


  • Sagi Keun
  • Super Waygook

    • 385

    • May 10, 2018, 11:47:23 am
    • Los Angeles
Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2022, 03:56:28 pm »
how every driver accelerated up to a red light, applying the brakes at the last second, freaking me out as a pedestrian (later, when driving I noticed they also crept at the start of a green light). 

Yeah that gets frustrating, they accelerate to a stop. I'm like "where you gonna go?". And then once you start walking at the green light, they lurch the car forward or bunny hop at you while you are crossing in front of them. Is it subconscious with them or what is going through their minds when they do this?

then you have the passive drivers that crawl around at snail pace, waiting for you to make the first move. However you never know what they are going to do, so its safer to just wait for them to go first.



  • krystallos
  • Explorer

    • 8

    • October 30, 2020, 01:49:44 pm
    • Gimhae, South Korea
    more
Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2022, 08:02:07 am »
My opinion of living abroad has been to explore,  have fun, excitement, and try something new to find what it is you really want in life and then going for it, typically back in one's own country, so the first time I went abroad, everything was amazing! I saw a lot of things, met some really cool people, hosted parties, went to parties, went to festivals, ran into some dangerous situations in the jungle or at airports, drank, smoked, ate delicious food, saw amazing ruins, starry nights, sunsets, and it was great. Got my house too abroad. All was right in the world.

Will always remember it and love the fact that I even got a house out of it all, which will (hopefully) be kept in my family for many generations.

Now on my second time abroad, I'm more aware of my own station and lot in life and can now go back to my country.

I had to be aware of:

I'm not rich but I'm not poor.
I can set my sights on anything if I want to but I'm not the entreprenuerial type.
I don't like to think outside of the box to communicate a simple or complex request.
I love the simple, easy to get and easy to maintain things in life.
I'm tolerant of everyone even those whose opinions or place in life is different than mine.


It was a doozy learning that I'm not meant to be abroad. I'm meant to be home with my own, eating my local food drinking my local beer talking to my old friends. Going to my family's church, paying my respects to my decased loved ones, going to my family reunions, sitting on my family's couch watching my nieces, watching TV I can listen to without subtitles or being offended by an ingorant misinterpretation of my culture, getting healthcare that is quick and isn't riddled with differing procedures, treatment, dosage, and language barriers, you know the common things one does in one's own country and not in the a better than most but still second class residency here  but in general anywhere outside of your own country) dealing with problems and navigating life based off of that fact making a puny salary (actually LESS than back home including the taxes being taken out).

So living abroad again has taught me through consistent experience that I'm not meant to live abroad. I'm meant to be home.

Whenever international travel opens back up, I'll visit around and see things, but life abroad including this country isn't suitable for me. The native people who live here are not related to me in culture. Lovely people but I just can't relate outside of work related topics to them anymore.

I tolerate them and by tolerating them I can live here (and anywhere) but that is where it stops.

Not just here, everywhere that isn't where I'm from or has a direct relation to where I'm from like Canada, the UK, or Australia.

That's what's changed. I had my fun, grew up, drunk the expat kool-aid and believed that learning the language and adopting local social   norms would give me entrance into being  a citizen in Spain, found that was a lie and then corrected course to the stance of that belief not being true anywhere but most importantly, here, tried rebuilding a large nest egg  on a puny salary during a period of high inflation and lack of free movement, snapped out of that, came to my senses and now going home with a new career in education in tow. Hopefully flying back in business or first class.

 ;D
« Last Edit: January 02, 2022, 11:59:26 am by krystallos »


Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2022, 04:54:07 am »
It took me a while to adjust. I went through the culture shock phases. When my year was up, i was ready to leave. But once home I got bored and realized how much I adapted and love Korea. I went back for another two years but with a different mindset. I thought "this is my home" as opposed to "this is where I am for x amount of time". That change in perspective really did a lot for me. I tried to, and succeeded, in loving the food. I made more Korean friends. I hung out with more long-term expats/koreans who grounded me more to the daily of life in Korea. Now, I visit every other year. I miss my friends there.


  • Kyndo
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • I am a geek!!

    • March 02, 2027, 11:00:00 pm
    • Gyeongsangbuk-do
Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2022, 09:09:31 am »
Having moved around a fair bit internationally as a child, I've always been a bit of a tourist.
Moving to Korea really just felt like an extension of that so there was not real culture shock.
Also, having no real expectations other than there'll be new things to see and do made my introduction to Korea pretty much just sparkles and sunshine.

I've now lived in Korea longer than I've lived in any other place, and I've enjoyed seeing my little town here grow and change into a genuinely pleasant place to be (despite it still being a little town).

Most of the negative vibes I've picked up have actually been secondhand from various facebook groups. After blocking the worst of them, I've found that my outlook on Korea has improved immensely. For a while wayg had a fair bit of negativity on it as well, although the worst of it seems to have run its course for the most part.

Having a varied social circle consisting mostly of people who are fairly content with lives at the moment really makes it easier to enjoy one's own life.

 :smiley:


  • zola
  • The Legend

    • 2917

    • September 30, 2012, 06:56:11 am
    • Korea
Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2022, 04:41:35 pm »
I left Korea almost exactly 2 years ago. I was there for 7 years. I was already a pretty seasoned "expat" when i first moved there, having lived and worked around the world in various places.

My first impressions of Korea were so crushingly negative that it was kind of hard to come back from. It was the depths of winter and everything was just grey and dead. Then i had few experiences with rude people that further tainted my first impressions. In hindsight, i really wish i had just tried to roll with it for those first few weeks, instead of being like "this is shit. Japan was so much better". Because it did get better, but it was like i had made that first negative impression the default basis of which i was viewing everything after that.

Subsequently I went through stages, waxing and waning of being content or wanting to leave. Getting pissed off at everything or learning to accept what it was. In retrospect, as with most things in life, most of those feelings were more connected to what was going on in my personal life, as opposed to what Korea was doing.

My job was always awesome, but after 16 years of teaching around the world, i was just done with being a teacher. The last 2 years were the best, i felt a lot more comfortable, i understood the language a lot more, i could appreciate the positives of life in Korea. But **** me, teaching those final 2 years was a grind.

I felt sad to leave, but it was definitely the right decision to go. I remember my last day of work having this overwhelming...mix of sadness and gratitude.

2 years away, i can say i am so glad i decided to quit teaching. I am grateful i had the experience of living in Korea. Korean people for the most part were cool (A bit iffy on the dudes between 45-65 tbh). The country runs efficiently and shit gets done. I appreciate the food a lot more, now that i dont have to eat it everyday. The air pollution fuckin sucked.
Overall, i wouldn't say i miss Korea, but I'm glad i got to live there.

Kpip! - Martin 2018


  • Sagi Keun
  • Super Waygook

    • 385

    • May 10, 2018, 11:47:23 am
    • Los Angeles
Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2022, 03:41:26 pm »
My first impressions of Korea were so crushingly negative .. Then i had few experiences with rude people that further tainted my first impressions.

Things have improved a lot since the early 2000's.

I mean, back then the xenephobia was on steroids, you had to put up with being stared down practically everywhere you went. Taking your gf on a date was like a military operation because of all the adverse reactions you would get. It was hostile in a way that newbies coming here now will never understand. But it is much improved now- certainly in Seoul-, largely I think due to the younger generation coming through. The Park Chung Hee generation and the attitudes that went with it is waning.


Quote
My job was always awesome,

Thing is, teaching itself was always great. The students are fun, the whole performance is fun. The problem though has always been whether you got stuck with an abusive supervisor or boss is all.


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 3673

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
    • South Gyeongsang province for 13 years (with a 7-year Jeju interlude)
    more
Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2022, 04:09:22 pm »
Things have improved a lot since the early 2000's.

I mean, back then the xenephobia was on steroids, you had to put up with being stared down practically everywhere you went....
Maybe in Seoul, but in 2002, Geoje was "waygook" friendly (no one misdescribed me as a "migook" like they still do in the capital city)
 A lot of guys from Spain, Norway, Nigeria and Netherlands were in town, mostly engineers and managers (Geoje is officially the #1 city in the world in shipbuilding with billion dollar companies Samsung & Daewoo (DSME) on the north and east coasts of the bridged - and now tunneled to Busan - island), so my Canadian hagwon *** fit right in.

Shopping, dining, nightlife... was never once, not once negative. Three glorious years late 2002 to spring 2006 (left only because public schools took many hagwon teachers so i snagged a 2.6 mill monday to thursday gig, 4pm to 8pm, in Hadong and lasted three years before Jeju called me for over a decade).

When i went shopping in Masan on the mainland, EVERYTHING was different: kids pointing, people spitting, looking away, ignoring me when i ask a question, annoyed expressions... it was like being dropped into another country.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2022, 04:20:14 pm by VanIslander »
Life's to live! Live! Breathe. Relax. Enjoy. Animals teach us to focus on family, friends and avoid danger. Get what you need and get along with others. That said, some rock the boat, but they know capsizin' it means they're sunk. Some sink, let's swim! The sea's big, great, but has undercurrents.


  • Sagi Keun
  • Super Waygook

    • 385

    • May 10, 2018, 11:47:23 am
    • Los Angeles
Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2022, 05:19:14 pm »
When i went shopping in Masan on the mainland, EVERYTHING was different: kids pointing, people spitting, looking away, ignoring me when i ask a question, annoyed expressions... it was like being dropped into another country.

How long ago was that? Yeah the mainland outside of Seoul can still be very awkward.

I noticed the same xenephobic reactions in Busan last time I was there (2 years ago).  People stopping dead in conversation as I walked in the room, staring and whispering "waygook saram!!" etc. It was like stepping back in time.

This is simply not a problem in seoul anymore though.


  • AshCha
  • Waygookin

    • 16

    • September 04, 2021, 10:25:19 pm
Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2022, 12:40:59 pm »
How long ago was that? Yeah the mainland outside of Seoul can still be very awkward.

I noticed the same xenephobic reactions in Busan last time I was there (2 years ago).  People stopping dead in conversation as I walked in the room, staring and whispering "waygook saram!!" etc. It was like stepping back in time.

This is simply not a problem in seoul anymore though.

hahah try moving to rural 경북!


  • Kyndo
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • I am a geek!!

    • March 02, 2027, 11:00:00 pm
    • Gyeongsangbuk-do
Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #14 on: February 08, 2022, 12:42:52 pm »
Rural 경북 is where it's at!
I guess I've been here long enough that people just don't notice/care anymore.  :sad:


Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #15 on: April 20, 2022, 06:01:26 am »
Itís gone in phases, and a transformation, after a decade Iím different person.

I thank Korea for giving me back my humanity.


  • SPQR
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1289

    • March 08, 2018, 07:04:54 pm
    • Sierra Leone
Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2022, 06:54:59 am »
I used to love living in Korea. The nightlife, the pay, the girls, the
proximity to S.E. Asian destinations. It was great. Then I started
noticing old people here. It made me shudder and still does.

Aside from the endemic and appalling poverty of old people in
Korea, there is just the fact that Korea sucks for retirement. Imagine
when your older, waking up to a -15C winter. WTF are you going to
do?

I have my sights set on Thailand.  My wife says, how can we do that?
Well, Thailand is MUCH cheaper than Korea. So financially it will be easy.
Wake up, have coffee and fresh mangoes. Go for a swim in the ocean.
Go for walks. Cheap Thai food. Kick the feet up on a bungalow balcony.

F@*( Korea.

PS: Don't get me wrong. Korea has been good to me. But it is no country
for old men.

That is how my attitude has changed.


  • AshCha
  • Waygookin

    • 16

    • September 04, 2021, 10:25:19 pm
Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2022, 09:01:43 am »
I used to love living in Korea. The nightlife, the pay, the girls, the
proximity to S.E. Asian destinations. It was great. Then I started
noticing old people here. It made me shudder and still does.

Aside from the endemic and appalling poverty of old people in
Korea, there is just the fact that Korea sucks for retirement. Imagine
when your older, waking up to a -15C winter. WTF are you going to
do?

I have my sights set on Thailand.  My wife says, how can we do that?
Well, Thailand is MUCH cheaper than Korea. So financially it will be easy.
Wake up, have coffee and fresh mangoes. Go for a swim in the ocean.
Go for walks. Cheap Thai food. Kick the feet up on a bungalow balcony.

F@*( Korea.

PS: Don't get me wrong. Korea has been good to me. But it is no country
for old men.

That is how my attitude has changed.

Korea is ruled by the old lol.

Thailand is probably a good place to go for retirement if they'll let you. But cheap af tends to mean low pay as well. I've never seen a teaching job in Thailand that paid anywhere near £1000. Korea strikes a good balance.

Plus I can't fathom the language. I doubt you can learn to read Thai in twenty minutes like you can with Hangeul lol.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2022, 09:03:41 am by AshCha »


  • SPQR
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1289

    • March 08, 2018, 07:04:54 pm
    • Sierra Leone
Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2022, 09:34:48 am »
Korea is ruled by the old lol.

Thailand is probably a good place to go for retirement if they'll let you. But cheap af tends to mean low pay as well. I've never seen a teaching job in Thailand that paid anywhere near £1000. Korea strikes a good balance.

Plus I can't fathom the language. I doubt you can learn to read Thai in twenty minutes like you can with Hangeul lol.

It is pretty obvious Korea is governed by old men. Problems that
never get solved and the lack of political will are symptomatic of
this type of rule.

Thailand is very welcoming for retirees. They have many visa plans
for the over 55. I'm thinking of the 90-day visa to escape the wonderful
Korean winter.

Korea has so many problems that even Koreans aren't making Koreans
anymore.


Re: How has your attitude to Korea changed?
« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2022, 09:44:44 am »
It is pretty obvious Korea is governed by old men. Problems that
never get solved and the lack of political will are symptomatic of
this type of rule.
Yeah, clear lack of development from 1950 to 2022.

But hey, nothing says progress like Thailand.