One of the more frustrating aspects of being in Korea is actually being from the same cultural background. Yes, it may be hard to believe, but we Korean-Americans or Korean-WhereEverYouAreFrom have it pretty hard as well.
Honestly, this is who we are and something we deal with within the culture already and it hits you harder when you are in the actual country. There are expectations and certain standards that you are always compared to.
I can’t explain to you how much easier it is to be a “true foreigner” here. There are so many things that people just let go because they understand it’s a cultural difference or simply — you just don’t know any better. Haha. Having that kind of understanding really puts you at ease. I really do believe Korea is the best place out of all the other countries because they are so fascinated with foreigners. They acknowledge that you are aren’t from here and when there are things that you do that compliment the culture — they go NUTS.
For example – if all of the sudden you bust out a new Korean phrase you learned.. Man o man, you are the new hot shot of the day! Haha. They get so excited that you are reaching out and trying to incorporate yourself in to the culture and its something that they feel proud of because a foreigner finds it important enough to learn the the Korean ways.
Now, me on the other hand. Things just aren’t good enough sometimes. Why didn’t you learn the language better? Did you’re parents not teaching you these things? Why don’t you know about this? You need to be more Korean! You should find a Korean husband to get back to your roots. Why are you holding your chopsticks like that? Korean girls don’t do this or that. Oh, I thought you were a real Korean and ETC. !!!
Simply — you just ain’t Korean enough bitch is the message I’ve been getting sometimes.
Which, at the end of the day, it’s all good. I get it — because I am part of the culture and being Korean is not like being from Georgia. Being Korean means Korea is #1 and one must do everything they can to be part of at culture at all times. But you know what, I am from Georgia and I am American and I am also Korean. So, I accept that things will all kind of mesh within me and I try not to really be insulted by the comments.
Yet, the one comment that I will not put up with is that I have it easier. What do you mean easier? Why can’t it be = you struggle in this way and I struggle in another way? Yes, I’m sure its hard to be a foreigner in this country, but trust me, there is a huge difference in people expecting you to learn about the culture and expecting you to have already learned it. So, try not to assume the grass is truly greener on the other side.
That’s pretty much all I have to say about it. To live abroad in a different country was your choice — so the experience you get is really all about attitude. I really feel like being here has made me a more humble and considerate person, but if you are trying to downplay my struggles to make yours harder …
We surely can not be friends.