What I miss the most about my childhood is the diversity, which was well respected and understood. It also meant that no one is okay to have inferior or superior feelings towards other’s culture or country. Maybe it have worked as it was an International setting.
However, living in Korea, I sometimes get sickened or suffocated by the unseen monoculture. It has tendency to surprise ress the diversity in so many ways. At certain point, they expect and anticipates when one with “International mindset”will switch to “Korean mindset” and be able to use International mindset when needed. It is especially stronger for whom has Korean blood in them or Korean passport holder.
The reason why they do so is very simple. They simply haven’t experienced it, and are not used to understanding that there are other mindsets. When they criticize that the other culture is weird, they still want their culture to be respected and honoured. It is not fair but they don’t see it that way. But it all makes sense as patriotism is widely spread in Korea.
But it becomes totally different when it comes to English. What I was amazed was that English teachers should be all alike “Americans who only lived in America”. It has several reasons why. 1) Koreans still prefer America and American English; 2) It’s the closest thing to somewhat “foreign”. When teaching English for awhile, I was told that I am supposed to act like American. I had to mix Korean and English when speaking to parents and they loved it.
One thing I’ve also recognized was that people assume that just by speaking the language is the same as they also know the culture. From my experience, it’s totally different concept. I hope people recognize that it’s a totally different thing. I’ve seen so many people acting like they know Europe, but …. got to say… 3nights and 2days sitting outside café does not make one European.
It’s time for me to “exodus” and go somewhere I can feel diversity. I thoughtliving as a Korean TCK in Korea will get better, but seems like I need more “pretending” to do.
It’s not that my workplace is monoculture. It’s just that some colleagues are expecting me to act with “Korean mindset” while putting my Intl. mindset in the drawer so that they open it whenever they want. I did have few colleagues who have lived abroad but had a different experience. Once “Korean mindset” is all-set, there is a high possibility that they could add something that they consider “cool”. But got to say, it doesn’t make one “Intl. mindset”.
I know I also should try to understand them but I find it extremely difficult. Especially working with my colleagues (now an ex-colleagues) who have went abroad after having their mindset set to Korea was a challenge. I found an answer in aesthetics. But still.. I wish I could understand them. I fee like I am missing them. But I will never have chance to do so.It makes me wonder. Even if they have experienced “diversity”, when will they finally cope with itself properly?
The numbers of multi-cultural family and International couples are increasing. I am truly fascinated at how it will turn out.
Next time, I will be posting about the emerging diversity in Korea. Keep posted!
#diversity #Korea #TCK #KoreanTCK #monoculture #expectation