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One foreigners impression of Koreans

January 23rd, 2008 . by Matt


I was walking on the street with this Chinese Canadian girl (she was a teacher at the school we worked at). Some Korean guys thought she was Korean and drove after us on this scooter and knocked her over and ran off. This was kind of a one off event and it was the only time I saw it in 6 months but it shook her up though (as a note, in 7 years in Japan nothing at all even remotely close to this has ever happened, it has been a while since I even got a dirty look here!). In general if we walked around together people made it clear that they did not like it.

As for the local women, I never had many dealings with them as it was just so hard to meet them let alone get to “know” them. In general I just did not like the people, they were so god dam arrogant. I was there during the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, I NEVER heard the end of how great Korean this and that was and how they would win XXX and YYY. National pride is one thing but this was over the top, such an arrogant people and they really needed for someone to knock them down a peg or 10. Each Korean Olympic loss started to actually make me happy, I did nto care who won just as long as it was not a Korean. They also hated everyone, Japanese, Canadians, Brits, Americans… yes even though the Americans were helping to keep the North Koreans out. As for the other groups they hated like Canadians or Australians..etc, WTF have these two countries ever done that could be considered a slight to Korea? Seriously, these attitudes put me off wanting to interact with the people… even the chicks.

I did not have a good time there. The work conditions were terrible as the contracts are never followed and broken at the will of the school. An American guy had his passport held from him by his school. The embassy was powerless to help get it back, it was almost as if he was property of the school he worked for. He ended up having to break into the school one night to get it back. Immediately after he hopped on the night train to Seoul with his stuff to head to the airport and get the hell out.

I was going to stay a year for the experience but I left after 6 months. That was a long time in those days as most foreigners left after about 3 months. There were no long timers (over a year) that I ever met up with.

This is just the experience of what I would think is a typical foreigner in Korea. A lot of what happened to him would not happen to me because I can speak Korean and even when bad things happen, the damage can be reduced or bad situations defused. But that is not an option available to the vast majority of foreigners in Korea that are intending to stay there for a year to earn some income.

Take a look at the link and see some foreigners comparing Japan and Korea.

51 Responses to “One foreigners impression of Koreans”

  1. comment number 1 by: toadface