Thursday, March 23, 2017

Culture Shock Is Real

I got used to most of American cultures so far, but I still remember when I first came here.

I thought I was already Americanized before I came here. However, I was shocked so many times. Culture shock was REAL.

Everyone has a car
America is a huge huge country. Even Oklahoma is bigger than South Korea, so everything is so far away. Besides, since everyone has a car in Oklahoma, public transportation system is not really developed... Because of that, everyone get a car. It's like a cycle. As an international student from a such a tiny country, this was the hardest thing for my first 2 years before I got a car.

No umbrella
When it rains in Korea, EVERYONE uses umbrella. We don't like to get wet. But Americans seem like they don't care. Since almost  everyone has car, they only have to walk in the rain to the parking lot. I assume that might be the reason why they don't use umbrella.

Legal ages
- In America : 16 driving / 18 cigarette / 21 drinking
- In Korea: 18 for Everything. Glad that I came here when I was 21!

Small talk

This is my favorite American culture! On my third day here, I was on the line at Starbucks. It was a long line. Then, all of sudden, a lady behind me said "It's so nice out there, isn't it?" I was like "Is this person talking to me? Why?" Eventually, we had a small talk and found out that she adopted a kid from Korea. It was great! People were generally nice and friendly to everyone, but, in Korea, nobody talks to strangers. If a stranger talks to me in Korea, I would definitely think that person is a weirdo unless that person was asking the direction.

Price not including taxes
Price on menu or price tag is not your final price. In Korea, there is only final price on menu or price tag. So you know what you are paying at the end.

While we don't tip in Korea, American does. Servers here get paid less than minimum wage and mostly make money out of tips. I used to think tipping was a waste of money since employers pay enough to server in Korea, which already includes tips.

Wearing shoes in a house, sometimes even on the bed!

This was the most shocking thing when I first came to America. Since Korean takes off shoes in a house, there is less dirt on the floor (we still wipe the floor pretty often). Shoes are covered with lots of dirt and germs, and some Americans just get on the bed with those dirty shoes! I was literally shocked. Here's the second shock. they walked around in the house with barefoot. Their feet were turning black. In Korea, the place you wear shoes and the place you take off shoes are completely separate. I still haven't got used to this culture and will never get used to this.



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

If I can blog, you can blog, too!

Majority of blogs in Korea are about bloggers daily life, reviews of products, or recipes. I did not know that there were so many different kinds of blogs around the world. While I'm blogging, I learned that anything can be blogged. 

At the beginning of my blog, I only thought of some obvious topics about studying abroad like homesickness and the reason why I came here. It turns out that my everyday life can be topics. When it was a holiday back home, I immediately decided to write about it. When I was going through the worst hay fever in my life, I thought that was a unique (but not joyful) experience that I could write on my blog. Then, I started to think about my audience and how to make my blog more interesting to them.

Blogging is very important to my major. I'll be writing a lot like this in my future career. Especially for social media and blog. 

Since I am an international student, I need an extra effort on writing. Besides, I never wrote anything before because there is no writing class or assignment in Korea. Blogging has made me write regularly and finally I feel comfortable with it. I used to be panicked every time I got a writing assignment. But not anymore!

The most important thing I've learned from blogging is being a reader-friendly blog. If your post has big chunks of paragraphs, long sentences or no visual, people won't read your blog no matter how good the topic is.

I even blog in second language.

If I can blog, you can blog, too!



Thursday, March 9, 2017

Blogger or Beggar?

Blogging often seems cool because many blogs make and save lots of money. Famous bloggers get lots of free stuff from various businesses and write reviews of the sponsored products. However, some bloggers abuse their power as bloggers. It has become a big issue in Korea, and lots of Koreans no longer believe in bloggers.

Koreans made a word ‘blogger-ji’ which is a new compound word made up of blogger and geoji (beggar in Korean). Blogger-jis are well-known for getting freebies from caf├ęs, restaurants and other businesses by offering favorable reviews on their blogs or even by threatening to write negative reviews.

Due to this selfishness of some bloggers, there have been already several libel suits between bloggers and businesses in Korea.

According to Hong Seok-chun, a TV personality who owns numerous restaurants in Itaewon, central Seoul, some bloggers asked him for money for writing favorable reviews but he turned them down. Then they began to write scathing reviews of my restaurants. His restaurants are already popular so he did not have to spend money on more advertising. That’s why he nicely refused the offer.

Blogger-ji also refers to bloggers who are paid for reviews. Since bloggers can make money out of their own blog, some blogs are going to a wrong direction. For example, Korean blogs have lots of advertising which look like bloggers’ own posts. Because of this, it has become difficult for readers to find reliable information, and bloggers are losing credibility. Even famous American blogs have so many banner ads that I get lost from the first page of their blogs and feel like I am not on a trustworthy blog.

It is nice to make money by posting something truly beneficial to readers, and it is a big temptation. However, reckless advertisement will eventually destroy the relationship between bloggers and subscribers.

In my opinion, every blog should be honest to the bloggers themselves first. If it is dishonest to themselves, those blogs already lost the reason why they exist. 



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Tips for Getting Ready to Go Home

So... I just booked the flight to Korea for this summer! Yay!

It has been 2 years since the last time I went to Korea. I already have a list of famous restaurants to go, what to wear at the airport and surprise plan for my dad (he thinks I arrive later than May 8th).

Booking a flight ticket is very exciting but stressful at the same time. 

Most international students go to their home countries during summer break because that's the longest break they can be with their family. Since most of students fly out in May, the price goes up ridiculously. Besides, there are so many things to take care of before you leave.

I would like to share my tips!

Before booking flights

  • Check out - This website offer flexible date choice.
  • Use all the booking websites to find the cheapest one.
  • Keep checking the price ahead of time - Patience is the key.
  • Fly between Sunday and Wednesday - I recommend Tuesday!
  • Book the flight around 60 days before you leave.

After booking flights

  • Make sure you got all the paper works done - Get your I-20 signed.
  • Choose your seats ASAP - Personally, this is the most important part. Go to your airline's website and see details of your trip.
  • Make a list of what to pack and what to leave - You can only take limited amount.
  • Take a look at maps of the airports you will go - For the next flight, foods, rest areas and shopping.
  • Souvenirs for family and friends - I usually buy something I can't buy or expensive in my country.

When you fly

  • Get a comfortable outfit - NO FLIP-FLOPS! It's comfy at first, but hurts later.
  • Take lotion with you - It gets very dry on airplane.
  • No make-up needed - You are not a celebrity. Don't worry.
  • Don't forget mileage when you check in.

Since I always sleep on the flight and never go to restroom, I want only window seats so that I can lean on the wall. The very first thing I do after booking flights is choosing my seats on the airline website.

I don't know how many of you are aware of this, but I have never seen anyone doing this yet.

Especially international flights take long time. So your trip depends on where you sit. Also, if you have a friend flying with you, you can easily choose your seats next to each other without calling customer center.

I hope this help your trip!



Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I'm becoming a 'ZERO-lingual'!

Guys, it's official. I have decided to have a Korean version of this blog so that I can share my stories with my family and friends back in Korea.

I've been working on translating my first post into Korean for THREE days. And I am so panicked right now because I am forgetting Korean faster than I thought!

I thought it would take more than 10 years to forget Korean, and I've been here only about 3 years.

What happened was, when I was translating, I couldn't remember some words, spacing rules and how to use comma in Korean.

Korean has different spacing rule that some words have to stick together and some words have to have space in between. I don't remember most of the spacing rules now so all of my sentences look weird.

Also, since I am so used to use commas in English, I kept trying to put commas in Korean sentences. Then, it also looked weird for some reason. So I looked up how to use comma in Korean. It turns out that we have different rules for that.

However, it doesn't mean that I speak English better than Korean.

I usually speak English more than Korean. But it's not like my English improves so much that I become a perfect bilingual. My English is a little bit better, but my Korean got way worse. Then, I'm in the 'zero-lingual' stage.

I'm sure that I'll become a true bilingual after this stage, but I'm still worried. My Korean is getting worse, but my English has still a long way to go. 

I think blogging in both languages will be very helpful so I'll keep working on it.

Stay tuned! My new Korean blog is on the way!