I got a question the other day that had my thoughts spiraling out of control. Before asked this question, I don’t think I ever really considered my life in Korea from an objective point of view, but man, after taking a bird’s eye view on my life here I feel so much better about the progress I’ve made in living here. So I just wanted to thank you guys for asking me these questions.
Q: WHAT WAS IT LIKE ADJUSTING TO LIVING IN A NEW CULTURE? I haven’t been here long and I’m still adjusting to the culture. At first I thought, “It’s not that different”, but after some time, things really came into perspective. Living in a different country with a completely different culture is humbling. Let me break it down for you.
You’re living in a new country as a grown adult, but because of language barriers you can no longer ask for basic things or do anything with ease because you can’t speak the language. You talk like a child. (In my case, I speak worse than a first grader😞.) Charming people with your awe-inspiring intellect is no longer an option because, well, you can’t speak the language fluently. For example, the other day, I wanted to ask about personal training services that my gym offers, but I didn’t know how to express myself naturally to get the answers I wanted. It ended up just being me fumbling and stuttering about and hearing the same answers over and over again. Every day I feel more and more like a child. I mean, I have responsibilities of an adult but I can’t properly execute those abilities without help or becoming fluent in the language. Constantly being reminded that you don’t know how to ask for or do the smallest things keeps you humble.
Making friends? Yeah, that’s no walk in the park. A lot of the Korean friends I have at the moment I either met online through an app called “HelloTalk”, or was introduced to by the friends I made on “HelloTalk”.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been one to worry about what to say when making a new friend, but now, I can’t just approach a random person and be like, “Hey there, how you doin’?”. Now, I have to think, “How do I say this in Korean?” and then on top of that, I have to think, “Is this culturally acceptable to ask?” “Did I ask that right?” Putting myself out there and hoping that people find me interesting enough to be my friend is nerve-wracking, but the friends I have now make me want to try harder at putting myself out there. I’ve been fortunate to meet amazing people.
I don’t say all this to scare you from coming here or anything. Koreans, well the ones I’ve met, are very generous in overlooking your flaws. They understand that you aren’t Korean and appreciate the effort you are putting in to speak their language and understand their culture.
Living in a new culture and learning a new language isn’t easy, and doing it on top of trying to live your life as an adult is even more difficult, but the experience, though sometimes frustrating, is 100% worth it in my opinion.
That’s all I’m going to say. Take that as you will. 😉
Until next time,
See ya around, friend~~^^