Living in Global Village

            It’s finally the end of the semester, and so much has happened. I know I’ve been recording all my experiences in Korea so far, but in this post I’m going to spill some information for interested students. Global village is a great program and it’s a great place for students to make friends with many people from different backgrounds. However, don’t expect to get along with everyone you meet. This was one of my expectations when I first came to Korea. I was friendly and tried to get to know everyone, introducing myself, etc. For the first week, I did get along with some people. However, because I didn’t involve myself in social gatherings with other foreigners, I became very distant with them. Global village quickly formed cliques amongst the students. Not only that, but I realized how strange many people are here. I’m not going to lie to your face, but there are many students here who are ignorant to other cultures. Majority are white American students with no exposure to any other cultures, especially Korean culture obviously. I suggest that if you are willing to have an open mind and expose yourself to different things, then for sure, you should come to Korea.

            Studying abroad, you should spend time focusing on studies and also getting to know a new culture also. It’s more than just partying but also learning new knicks and knacks. When studying abroad, you should learn new cultures as well as share your own.Not only have I learned a lot about Korean culture, but I’ve also learned a lot about other cultures. I’ve made friends from China, Mongolia, Europe, Uzbekistan, etc. This is what’s great about the global village program. The exposure to new cultures unknown to you makes it exciting to study abroad at Soonchunghyang. I just want future incoming students to know that, if you don’t come with an open mind, you’ll just end up hating the semester.

            I’ve met many other foreigner students who didn’t even attempt to learn Korean and its culture. After spending about four months in Korea, some students can’t even respond or comprehend simple Korean. Many complain about the language and people, and whine about wanting to go back home as soon as possible. It’s annoying because there are plenty of people who would have liked to study abroad in Korea in their place, willing to learn the culture and such. Which is why I warn you; if you don’t have an open and curious mind, then don’t think about studying abroad. If you’re not willing to step out of your comfort zone, then you can stay home.

            In comparison to Concordia, discrimination here is not as bad. However, you can’t escape prejudice and stereotypes even abroad. Korea is also a homogeneous society, so that also comes into play. Many Koreans never had interaction with foreigners, and I have some friends who never had any foreigner friends until Global village. But it’s not a bad thing! This is where you can educate people about your culture and such. At Concordia, many students could care less about Hmong culture or other cultures. However, in Korea, I’ve had many friends who didn’t know who the Hmong people were. After I’d tell them about our history and such, many of my friends would be fascinated; eager to learn more. Although there may be grounded stereotypes here, you can always open the minds of others and educate them on your own culture and such. Compared to Concordia, where many people choose to associate with people of their own cultures; and where ignorance and prejudice is abundant on campus. Studying abroad, you can’t escape certain individuals who are ignorant of different cultures. However, you can show them that you’re better by educating others about your culture and also accepting other peoples cultures. You can show them better by having an open and respectful mind, that way many people will come to respect you and you’ll have many friends with that attitude. 

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