What I Learned, Part. 1

안녕하세요여러분! 저는미국에있어서,이포스트가좀달라요. 왜요? 겨울방학이에요. Hello everyone! Since I’m currently in the US, this post will be a little different. Why? Winter vacation. Hopefully this means that I’ll be feeding this blog with more posts and it won’t starve for two months (school starts up again in March). For the main course, I’m cooking up some lesson linguine that contains everything that I learned during my first semester in Korea.

Lesson #1: In God We Trust

Before you scroll down the page to the next lesson, realize that I’m making a valid point here. God is the only being whom you can trust when studying abroad and/or globe-trotting. You may have brought an entourage from your home university along with you, but I wager that either you a) don’t know all of them, b) don’t know all of them well enough, c) aren’t friends with all of them, and if you’re trying to connect with the locals d) don’t want to make your “life-changing experience” a group vacation. And then not everyone in your posse will want to do the exact same thing, at the exact same time, on the exact same day, with the exact same people as you do. You might have highly divergent interests. One day you might want to do something by yourself. My point is that you can’t rely on people to get you through your time abroad – heck, you can’t even rely on yourself in this period of volatile change. So depend on the only thing that never changes no matter what your circumstances – God. He’ll give you all the guidance you need. Need help on trusting God? The Bible is a good place to start (hey, it worked for me).

Lesson #2: I’ve Been Cheated and Lied To (Somewhat)!

Judging from some Internet posts, you’d think that Koreans are racist, particularly towards African-Americans. Koreans traditionally looked down upon darker-skinned individuals because non-white skin meant that the person was poor and had to perform hard labor out in the sun. So I stepped into South Korea expecting some of this “racism.” Nothing happened (yet). I guess I haven’t come into contact with those racist Koreans of which they speak, probably because I’m still technically a Westerner (and enjoy Western privilege) and not an African-African, whom I’m told have it much harder in Korea. However, my Southeast and South Asian brothers and sisters have more to worry about, as they are often mentally put into the poor-illegal-immigrant category unless they can prove otherwise.  Even the Chinese aren’t safe – several crimes committed by Chinese of Korean descent (aka 조선족 joseonjok) have led a fair amount of pure Koreans to stereotype them as untrustworthy and/or dangerous, along with ethnic Chinese (for some reason that is unknown to me).

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