Try looking at the world through a pair of Korean glasses! Part 1
If you happened to have just climbed off your airplane, or, like me, have been here for 18 years, you will soon notice, it is not just currency differences we need to change – we also need to change our attitudes for we have been conditioned differently from Koreans; it is not just our language that needs to be re-configured; after-all, our stay here depends on Koreans also opening their hearts to us. As guests to this country, we need to remember that we Ex-pats see the world differently to Koreans – if we happened to come from a Western country, rather than what I call an “Eastern country” which is normally referred to as an Asian country, including Sub-Asia – we see the world through different coloured glasses.
JUST WORK HARD!
For example, Asians have a different work-ethic from Westerners, which, if we are not aware of, “will trip us up” or cause us to suffer cultural shocks.
First of all, when Asians think about a good work-ethic, they all think that “hard-work” is the key to success. When Korean teachers say to students some rallying cry they shout, “Work hard – children!” or in Korean, phonetically-rendering, “Yedelah! Yosh-she-mahrah!” But us Westerners would not always just say “work hard” because we do not come from a culture which has spent the last 40 years moving from a developing country to a developed country, through “hard work”. As Westerners, we know that somebody just beating the air aimlessly can be working hard – we place more value on the concept of a wisdom-driven work-ethic, or what some people call a “knowledge-driven work-ethic.”
Therefore, as guests here in this country, we have to be sensitive to these cultural differences and nuances and not just steam ahead with our Western glasses, “like a bull in a China shop!” We need to take off our glasses and put on Korean glasses so that we can see their world much better!