Jung Song, San Paolo Brazil
“I’m living in Seoul so it’s a big city as any other big city in the world. My university is the one in Korea with the most percentage of foreigner students but even here it’s difficult to make Korean’s friends, so usually foreigners have foreigner friends. The Korean culture is very close and in particular old people are not familiarized with foreigners. For me the relationships has been easier because my parents are Korean and I used to have many Korean’s friends in Brazil. However, initially, I had some problems in the relationships with the teachers because there is a strong hierarchy between professors and students. In Seoul there are many options to enjoy the night life; here everything works 24h per day and I think the big contributor for this is the security, not even comparable with my hometown, which makes young people free to enjoy the night life. In fact security with the efficiency of transportation are the two things that I would like to bring with me in Brazil.”
Olivia, United States
My name is Olivia, I’m from the United States and been in Seoul for a few years now. I started there as a student and now I am teaching there. Some things in the Korean culture really stood out. Like the time when school starts. For me it usually starts in August/September, but here around February/March. I was more following a program. And in there I noticed that the instructors tried to get a close relationship with the students. Inside of school, etiquette wasn’t really important. Of course you had to behave in a certain way, but if you didn’t understand something, the student were very willing to help. One thing that I found a bit embarrassing is when I have to bow. I don’t really know the rules about bowing yet. So when you bow for someone you don’t have to, people can laugh.
In South Korea it is considered strange to start talking to people in, let’s say, the subway. So the way to make friends is really by networking. And how to get to know them. But my instructors of the program were very open and initiated friendly relationships.