Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Korean is finding the blog Circles and Squares, written by Prof. Emanuel Pastreich of Kyung Hee University, to be quite insightful and interesting. Here is a nice bit of advice from Prof. Pastreich about living in Korea as a foreigner:
I find Korea more difficult than Japan on a day to day basis. Things just don’t work the way I want them to. But when I sit down and think about it, in fact I have many, many more Korean friends than Japanese friends, even though I lived in Japan for more than six years and spent almost all my time with Japanese people. You need to think about how to take advantage of your own skills in your work here. For example, I find that as an American, I am better at horizontal networking than Koreans. I use that skill to introduce Koreans to other Koreans. That gives me value for them. Here is a simple thing you can do. Offer to make and English language Facebook entry for a Korean friend you want to work with. It doesn’t take long, but it establishes a relationship. It is symbolic and valuable act. Try to remember the names of the family members of Koreans you meet. And always remember, you may feel as if Koreans are unfeeling to you, but in fact if you were a foreigner living in your own country who spoke little or no English, you might feel pretty alienated too. That last point is important keep in mind to avoid the destructive “everything is done wrong in Korea” syndrome.
Driven by Moore’s Law [Korea: Circles and Squares]

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