Say What?!

Say What?! Episode 8: Koreans Don’t Apologize?

This week’s episode of Say What?! Wednesday is related to the last episode about personal space. Last week we talked about personal bubbles, but what happens when that personal bubble is violated? In America, it feels like if people come within two arms length of you they apologize for possibly being in your way. That’s one thing I noticed when I visited America last time, and I was always looking around for someone else they could be apologizing to because it seemed overboard to be apologizing to me!

We’ve been living in Korea for over 3 years, and this is just one of the examples of how much Korea has changed us! Apologies are not given out often or casually here, especially when it comes to violating your personal bubble. Koreans’ personal bubbles are much smaller, simply because of the size of Korea and its population density.


Say What?! Episode 7: Koreans think I’m a criminal?

First of all I want to say thanks to all the new EPIK teachers on the Fall 2013 intake page for voting on the Say What?! video topics! I’m getting a lot more votes every week, and your input is invaluable. :)

The topic of this video is related to differences in ideas of personal space and service. When we are experiencing a new culture, it is best to identify and acknowledge these differences in order to save us from unwanted frustration. Not that these things NEVER frustrate me, they do, but calling it what it is, a cultural difference, and not a “fault” of the people or country, is EXTREMELY important.

Doing so will make the difference in your time spent in Korea, whether its for just one year or more. I know people that have been here for more than 5 years that still actively complain about their personal space being violated, and it seems to really put a damper on how they view Koreans as people and as a country. This notion makes me sad, because they’re letting such unimportant differences define not only Koreans, but their experience living here.

As I said, my personal space being violated IS frustrating to me, but I recognize that it is not a personal offense, I am living in a foreign culture, and sometimes that means being uncomfortable and accepting a different status quo. In other words, shake it off! See the best in people, you will be happier for it.

Any thoughts? I’d love to hear them in the comments!



The post Say What?! Episode 7: Koreans think I’m a criminal? appeared first on Evan and Rachel.


Say What?! Episode 6: Maybe=Do it?

This week I posted a poll asking new EPIK teachers what topic they would like to see me cover in a Say What?! video. This topic would have been my last choice, just because it seemed to be the hardest to talk about. But I’m really glad the new teachers voted for this topic, because usually the hardest things to talk about are the most important! And this is a VERY important thing to understand in order to be happy here.


Say What?! Episode 2: That’s a Holiday?

Happy Say What?! Wednesday! ^^

Episode 2 in our series highlights national holidays or “Red Days”. Usually when I see job ads for teaching positions online it vaguely says “All national holidays off”. Most people reading the job ad at first glance wouldn’t think twice about that, because it seems standard and straightforward. While the details on national holidays and other random days you get off of work may not be the most important information in the world, it’s something fun to know ahead of time! (Although some teachers may enjoy the surprise days off! I assure you those will still exist. hehe!)


Say What?! Episode 1: Students can’t fail?

There are so many surprises, good and bad, that expats experience whilst living and working abroad. Moving to Korea to teach is a big step, and not something to be taken lightly. Korea is very different from most of our home countries, and it’s important that before you make the decision to come live and work in Korea, you have your expectations set at a reasonable place, that you don’t come expecting it be like America (insert your home country), and that you are flexible, open-minded, and slow to judgement. I think these are the keys to happiness not just in Korea, but any country you choose to reside.


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