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!
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