A Few Things Every Waygookin (Foreigner) Experiences While In Korea

A Few Things Every Waygookin (Foreigner) Experiences While In Korea

Korea is a magical place and looking back on my experience teaching in Daegu, I still don’t really even understand it. Going to a new country always exposes a different way of life and culture, which most of the time, is extremely exciting. However, there are definitely a few things every waygookin (foreigner) experiences while in Korea, some funny, some odd, and some extremely annoying.

1. Getting ready for work, going into the bathroom to wash your hands or brush your teeth, and instead spraying yourself with the sink/shower combo.

2. “Teacher, Teacher do you have a boyfriend”- a question asked almost every day by your wonderful students who are extremely worried about your romantic life

3. Seeing couple tees at first and hating it, but slowly learning to love their bold fashion/relationship statements.


4. Blatantly being told you look terrible- Koreans are very open about commenting on appearance, so being told you look terrible the day you forgo make up is a common occurrence, and a swift blow to your self-confidence.

5. “I’m fine thank you and you”- The standard greeting taught in second grade, which students now robotically spit out when asked how they are. I tried to teach a lesson or two on other responses, nothing really stuck; they’re still adorable when they say it though.


6. Blowing your nose in public is considered vulgar- You shouldn’t do this in front of others, strange to get used to, but excuse yourself to the bathroom if possible.

7. Soap on a stick- I’m still not quite sure how I feel about this communal soap, but I guess it’s a pretty good system, and you should feel lucky to even have soap.


8. B.Y.O.T.P- Bring your own toilet paper. Most of the time schools and public restrooms won’t have toilet paper and there’s many times you’ll forget and then you’re S.O.L. It’s always handy to carry some with you, just in case.

9. Accidentally leaving your ondol on overnight – You know you left it on the second your feet hit the floor and start sizzling. It gets hotter than Daegu in the middle of July, and you immediately start opening windows while rapidly searching for your house slippers.


10. Being a celebrity- At first it is awesome having everyone stare at you on the street, want to take a picture with you, and of course hearing the random people scream hello at you. However, after a few weeks you just want to eat your kimchi in peace and not feel like people want to pluck your blue eyeballs from your head and sell them to the highest bidder. It’s just because you are different, and really should be seen as a compliment, but sometimes all you want is to blend in.


(ok this time we pretended we were famous)

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