Posted in Korea, Uncategorized

Racism in Korea?

Even before coming to Korea, I have seen so many videos and blog posts of people saying that they are victims of racism in Korea. I am going to address this matter. 

People should not confuse curiosity and naivety with racism.

The thing that I noticed during both of my times in Korea, is that people stare. People stare at white people, people stare at Indian people, people stare at Black people. This is reality. I get stared at in Hackney (London)! One of the most culturally diverse towns in the world, so of course people will stare in a country that has only recently (in the past 5-10 years) seen an increase in foreigners. I have actually received more racism from Americans than Koreans since living here (But that’ll have to be another post).

I believe that instead of the colour of your skin, it is your attitude and the way that you present yourself which depends on the type of attention you get. This could easily explain several points that people make when talking about racism in Korea. 

1. Taxi drivers driving off – I actually have never experienced this in Korea. But there can be a possible reason why it could happen. If you see the light in the taxi window flashing, it is hired already. Only when the writing is a solid red colour is the taxi free. 

2. Taxi drivers refusing to take you – I have seen this happen but it is because the foreigner simply jumped in the taxi or popped their head into the window and stated the place where they wanted to go. I understand the taxi driver at this point. It is common decency to say hello or excuse me to a person before talking to them. I’m pretty sure all foreigners here know how to say ‘hello’ in Korean.

3. Not respecting the countries culture – Now, this is the one point which has to be stressed the most. You are in a foreign country. I know, I always hear American and sometimes British people say ‘I’m not a foreigner’. For some reason it has become hard for some western people to accept that, we are in fact foreigners in Korea and everywhere around the world apart from our home countries! When you are in a foreign country, you must slightly adapt to the way things run. 
I’m not saying be fluent in Korean before you get here or change your personality so you fit in. Just be respectful. Before moving to another country to live, you should educate yourself a little bit in understanding how respect works in that country. Otherwise you have nobody to blame but yourself. This sounds a bit harsh but you need to get off your high horse. 

4. Clothing culture – Now I know this is also one that foreigners won’t understand. One way which I can explain it is, would you go to Saudi Arabia wearing a Bikini? If you answer yes, good luck. You won’t even get past immigration no matter where you are from or who you are.
In Korea, it is simple. Wear the shortest skirt you want but do not show cleavage. If you aren’t slim, then unfortunately no matter what you wear you will probably be stared at. This doesn’t have to be a negative thing. It is known that Koreans (especially women) have slim frames. People who stare are merely curious and maybe a little judgmental but it is not about race. Korea is known as a country which considers appearance a lot. Appearance, not race.

5. Smile!! If somebody is staring at you, don’t give them a full teeth smile, just smile a little. Chances are they will smile back at you. 

6. Live your life without caring about what other people think. When I first came to Korea, I didn’t notice people staring at me but my friends would notice it. Even this time, I wouldn’t notice but people who I am with would notice. I know they are staring at me, but I don’t care so it doesn’t bother me.
So, listen to your music, talk to your friend, sit on your phone, stare in to space, read a book. Do anything to take your attention off people staring at you. 

The most important thing that I want people to take out of this blog post is that YOU are making it a big deal. You are assuming that Koreans are being racist. Change your attitude and the reasons why you think people are staring at you. I am almost certain that then you will enjoy your time here more. I have received nothing but kindness from Koreans since I have been in Korea. I am sure that this is because I respect the Korean culture, I give out positive energy and I do not focus on negatives. 

So, think positive people!! 

If you have a different opinion to mine or if you agree with what I have said in this blog post, please let me know by commenting below ^^

Posted in Korea, Uncategorized

Sewol Memorial

During the long holiday in South Korea, I decided to go on a little road trip. In the beginning my road trip was to the two other major cities in South Korea; Busan & Daegu.

My time in Busan was interesting! The first day went really well and my friend and I stayed out until 7am! It was so funny! 2nd day was interesting too. We went to the famous Haeundae beach. It was lovely. But after this, it was impossible to find a hotel. We walked around for ages ad couldn’t find anywhere so we stayed out until about 4am and then went to a DVD room so we could sleep!! hahaha!

The next day we made our way to Daegu. This was my 2nd time in Daegu and it was great! I love Daegu. My friend who lives in Daegu took me around in his car and I stayed at a kind of resort. It reminded me of a place where people would go camping. The next day, which is the part of my trip which is the focus of this article, my friend and I drove from Daegu to Ansan. Firstly, the drive was so interesting! It was great for my friend and I to have bonding time, but we also saw a rain deer! It was the first time in my life to see one and I was so fascinated! It was on the back of a truck and it was massive!!

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Ansan has become a city which is known worldwide and not for the fact that it is a relatively new city. As I am sure you are aware, on April the 14th, Sewol ferry sunk. On the ferry were over 300 middle school students from a school in Ansan. In Ansan a memorial ceremony has been held for all of the unfortunate people who were unable to escape from the ferry before it sunk. Although a lot of things could have been done to rescue them and I am aware of it, I don’t want to write a post of all the things which could have been done differently because it has happened now and unfortunately we can’t go back in time. When my friend and I arrived in Ansan, I did not expect to see such a big memorial service. I knew the number of people who died and I knew that this event has devastated not only Korea but the whole world.

In the park next to the school, a big section was devoted to the memorial. Many yellow ribbons have been attached to trees and police strips. After walking past this, there were walls covered in messages from the hundreds of people who have visited the memorial. There were many messages in different languages and the messages in English were very touching. As well as messages there were also drawings. These drawings were touching as they were images showing what people hoped would happen. The two most creative ones were one of a whale spraying the ferry up right and another was of a hand holding up the ship. (See below)

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After reading messages, we went inside a massive tent which had been set up in the middle of the memorial section. Inside this tent was overwhelming. Although I knew the number of students who had passed away, it was still shocking to see the pictures of each person who could not make it out.
Each visitor was given a single flower. We lined up, bowed and gave a minutes silence for the victims. We then stepped forward to lay the flowers down. This experience was emotional beyond my expectations.

I had previously cried because of this story but everyone in the tent chocked on their tears. Hearing the number of people who died was upsetting but seeing their faces and realising just how young these students were, was painfully saddening.
I am very glad that I went to the memorial and I would recommend everyone who is in Korea to go to pay respects to the victims of this horrifying accident.

Posted in Korea

Korea: 10 weeks in

I can’t believe it has been 10 weeks since I moved to Seoul! I actually haven’t noticed the time but today it hit me that its been over 2 months. I feel like I’ve been here my whole life.

So far my experience of Korea has remained positive. I haven’t experienced culture shock and I like my job. I only work about 5 hours a day but in shifts so I start work at 11am and finish at 9pm. My apartment is very close to my school and I come home on my breaks.
I love my little apartment!
I have managed to meet my friends and make new ones.
I’ve even visited other cities.

The only negative of being here is I miss my family and my cat very much. Otherwise, Korea is just as lovely as the first time I came here!

I haven’t really done much exploring or anything interesting and that is the reason why I haven’t been posting on here. But this will all change once a friend of mine gets here and I will be doing more fun things! I also want to start vlogging which could be really fun!

If there is anything in particular you guys want me to do or write about, please let me know and I will ensure that it is done if it’s possible…and reasonable (no cliff diving).

Stay tuned!

 

Posted in Korea

Lotte Giants!

Well today has been eventful! I got my visa and got a taxi to the aiport which was cheaper than on the way to the Korean embassy (3,000 JPY). I took a different route and say amazing buildings.

I got to the airport 6 hours before my flight. A bunch of Handsome Korean men sat next to me and were talking in Busan dialect. I messaged some friends mentioning that I thought they were a sports team.
After an hour I realised they had the same bags as each other. I ignored it and watched The Walking Dead so I could distract myself. When the episode ended I googled ‘Korean Giants’ because they had ‘Giants’ written on their bags.

Lotte Giants Baseball team.

=D good day! I should have fan girled  bit and gotten pictures but they were already looking at me weird cause of the fat DSLR around my neck!

An interesting day!