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"When are you going back to your country?"
« on: July 07, 2012, 10:51:14 pm »
So, if you've been here even a few months then you've undoubtedly heard this question quite a few times.  My first year I always said "Oh, I'm not sure, maybe in 1 or 2 years."  Usually, they smiled as if to say "Oh great, he will have a good experience here and then go back where he belongs and tell of how great Korea is."    Then I started to say "Well, I like it in Korea, maybe I'll stay here."  WOW, I did not expect the reactions to be so negative.  You'd never guess it, but after I respond like that, Koreans usually just stop talking to me/walk away/change the subject.  It's funny because Koreans can't have it both ways.  You can't simultaneously get mad when fresh new foreigners don't speak the language or know the culture, and at the same time get mad when foreigners stay here and "invade your pure paradise." 

Anyway, it's an interesting situation whenever somebody asks me that question these days.


  • SpaceRook
  • Expert Waygook

    • 814

    • November 18, 2010, 11:54:36 am
    • South Korea
Re: "When are you going back to your country?"
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2012, 11:27:09 pm »
The most tiresome response I get is, "Oh, you must miss your family!"

Um, not really.  Back in the USA, I lived a 14-hour drive away from my family and only saw them once or twice a year.  I guess most Koreans think us foreigners moved here directly from our parents' basement.



  • livzy
  • Super Waygook

    • 366

    • April 21, 2012, 09:08:25 pm
Re: "When are you going back to your country?"
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2012, 11:39:54 am »
Local wanting you to go back; "When are you going back to your country?"

Local thinking you must be lonely, feeling bad for you and your parents; "When are you going back to your country?"

Both would be answered by you saying "I like to visit [home country] in the summer, in the winter it's horrible".


Re: "When are you going back to your country?"
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2012, 03:21:53 pm »
Never! Mwahahahahaha!


  • zongal2012
  • Veteran

    • 145

    • September 01, 2010, 09:08:26 am
    • Gangwondo
Re: "When are you going back to your country?"
« Reply #4 on: July 08, 2012, 06:17:44 pm »
I was asked this question again a few days ago , and told the VP maybe next in 2013. Those around the lunch table gave frowns and an excited Korean discussion began. I think because Korea is a rather small country, families see each other more regularly,distances to visit are not prohibitory to weekend pop-in's.
At first it seemed that the Koreans thought I did not want to see my family or go home,now I realise that in their culture its more common to see your family regularly.



Re: "When are you going back to your country?"
« Reply #5 on: July 08, 2012, 10:20:56 pm »
Never! Mwahahahahaha!
;)I should just start saying this.   The look on their face will be so worth it hehe


Re: "When are you going back to your country?"
« Reply #6 on: July 09, 2012, 03:41:57 am »
I also like this conversation:

K: How long have you been in Korea?

Me: Almost 10 years

K: Oh, that's too long.

**It took me awhile, but I think what they are meaning to say is "Oh, that's a long time." -- Lost in translation.


Re: "When are you going back to your country?"
« Reply #7 on: July 09, 2012, 08:58:42 am »

**It took me awhile, but I think what they are meaning to say is "Oh, that's a long time." -- Lost in translation.

Yep, BINGO! I find that many Koreans, even many with relatively good English, simply don't understand the difference between very + adjective and too + adjective.

Basically, I'd say that this is the root of 90+% of misunderstandings and awkwardness with these kinds of comments and questions. It's usually simply due to linguistic difficulties and the fact that they're operating in a foreign language.

Even with the question in the OP, most native speakers would naturally know that "How long are you planning to stay here?" would be a much more appropriate way to ask the same question. But knowing that kind of thing requires an extremely advanced level of foreign language knowledge.
« Last Edit: July 09, 2012, 09:05:31 am by ironopolis »