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Last night while Julianne and I were in Itaewon eating some yummy Greek food we also went to check out What the book? (click on the link for pictures, a description, and directions) used bookstore.  After that we dropped in to the  Foreign Food Mart to see if they had anything new and Julianne saw this in one of the coolers against the back wall . . . HOLY COW!  A&W Rootbeer in Korea?!  Awesome!

Looking around at all the different stuff that was in this particular fridge we also noticed that they have Canada Dry Ginger Ale–also something that is hard to find in Korea.  A friend of mine says she can get it in E-mart out in Wonju, but I haven’t seen it in other E-marts (though I haven’t gone into an E-mart in several months so that may have changed).

The other thing we noticed was that the owners have renovated the store and opened up a huge area in the back so they can stock more merchandise . . . the store actually seems organized now whereas before stuff was piled on the shelves and sometimes on the floor too due to lack of space.  (Sorry, I forgot to take a picture of the new section.)

If you’re new to Korea the Foreign Food Mart and What the book? are two places you DEFINITELY want to visit in Itaewon.  If you live outside Seoul and make a weekend trip into town buy a cooler with ice packs and pick up stuff to take back with you on the bus or train at the end of the weekend.  You can get things like REAL CHEESE, dill pickles (my personal favorite), cereals, granola bars, spices, and more.

Check it out.


I guess it’s time to tell everyone that Julianne and I have decided to leave Korea at the end of this August when our contracts finish, and try living and teaching in another country: China.

How does a native English teacher know when it’s time to leave Korea?  Good question!

Everyone has different reasons for coming to live and teach English in Korea, and everyone has differing ranges of how much they can adapt to the radically different culture of Korea.

Everyone also has different lengths of time they can adapt and thrive within Korea’s living and working environments.  For Julianne and I, we’ve reached our limits.

With all this in mind I decided to come up with a list of questions that I think are a kind of ‘litmus test’ for knowing when it’s time to leave Korea . . . and as a way of explaining some of the reasons why I decided it’s time for me to leave.

1.  Do you yell and/or curse at Koreans for breaking English/western cultural norms while walking around in public?

This is an interesting question to pose because some long term expats I’ve talked to in Korea don’t think that there’s anything ‘wrong’ with doing this if the situation ‘warrants it,’ but in my mind it’s impolite and wrong to yell at people no matter where you are in the world regardless of whatever ‘transgression’ they have done to you.

Maybe this is just my Canadian cultural DNA talking, or my personality, but for some time now I’ve been alarmed by my diminishing inhibition against saying something, and perhaps even yelling, to Korean people when I’m out in public when they do something rude to me.  And when I say ‘rude’ I use that in the Korean socio-cultural sense, and not in an ignorant foreigner imposing his western cultural norms on Korean culture way.  I now think that if a Korean person does something to me, that if done by one Korean to another would result in a throw-down yelling and screaming confrontation, that I shouldn’t just ‘take it’ and let it slide like water off a duck’s back.  While I know I am a second class citizen at best in some/many Korean peoples’ eyes, and in a small minority’s (I hope) perspective nothing better than a drug-crazed-pedophilic-rapist-foreigner, I am no longer willing to just let rude behaviors go.

Koreans are always telling me to ‘learn Korean culture’ and follow it, fine, but I hope they realize that the extreme attention to social rank respect is something that goes both ways regardless of ethnic identity if I’m to act according to the general rules of Korean culture; unfortunately, I am no longer naive enough to think that all Koreans will interact with me according to Korean cultural norms, and often, in fact, just because I am NOT Korean, they will disrespect me for that alone . . . which makes insisting on being treated with respect according to Korean cultural norms an act of futility more often than not.

Four years ago, when I was still pretty much a newbie in Korea, I remember walking down the street with an expat who had been here for six years.  She would sarcastically scream back at children who would point at her and call out ‘waygookin’; she would yell at cars that came too close to her; she would yell at ajusshi who stared at her for too long . . . and the list goes on.  I was shocked at these behaviors, and others I won’t mention here, because she was also Canadian (though the connection between one’s nationality and how polite one is has no direct bearing, I did still cling to the notion that Canadians are in general polite).  I found myself ruminating on what had happened to that “Good afternoon, it’s a beautiful day, eh?” Canadian spirit in my friend?  Where had it gone?  How could it have been damaged to such a degree as to vent such antipathy towards the people who surrounded her in the culture she had chosen to live and teach?

Now, after having lived and taught in Korea for more than five years, I think she had an extreme case of ‘cultural exhaustion’ (a variation on culture shock, and culture fatigue).  I also have ‘cultural exhaustion’  (though I’m not at the point of yelling at children and other Koreans all the time when they’re rude) and I think that it’s time to move on to new and hopefully better things before I become the crusty burned-out always negative about everything in Korea expat teacher . . . but there are days lately when I think that particular demon jumps on my back and pours toxic thoughts and feelings into my ears to the point that I don’t want to leave my apartment.

That’s a pretty good indication that it’s time to leave.

2.  Do you have disproportionate reactions to circumstances that normally wouldn’t spark the average person into a heated rage or tears or negative emotional state?

For a while now I’ve found that my ability to react proportionately to the general circumstances of a situation and person/people involved in a situation has been compromised by stressful events and the cumulative effects of culture fatigue (think culture shock, but long term and in a different sense) that have piled up over the past five years in Korea.

Culture fatigue is a “. . . state [which] could be described as an intermediary state between a new comer and an adapted individual. In the beginning, one doesn’t know what it means to belong to the culture. At the opposite, the adapted have no problems understanding the culture (no questions about the choices he makes in regards to everyday challenges – e.g. pro, contra or neutral to the culture). In between these two states – new or adapted, one goes through a mental and sometimes physical pain trying to understand and control to a certain level what is going around. The end of this state is reached gradually, after one paid a lot of attention to the people and things around, and eventually understood the ranking of values and the ways one can achieve them.”  (my italics and bold)

Since ‘culture fatigue’ doesn’t really fit how I feel in general, and why I am leaving Korea, I think perhaps a new term is needed: “culture exhaustion.”  I am well and truly exhausted in mind, body, and spirit by the day to day grossly unprofessional aspects of teaching and education culture in Korea.  I am also exhausted by the daily situations I experience when I’m out and about doing things on my own free time.  These things in and of themselves never used to tire me during my first two years in Korea, but after 2007 and the horrific experiences I had at a foreign language training center something in me radically changed, and while 2008 was a really good year for me (because I went to teach at a national university of education and was treated as a professional educator and colleague by the Korean faculty–thank you!), 2009 was pretty much the straw that broke this camel’s back when a major event happened at the university (the six month teach English in English program was added to the native professors’ workload, ‘voluntarily’, 10 days before the spring/summer semester was to begin).

The cultural fatigue, for myself and Julianne, has gotten to the point where we no longer experience more positives than negatives on a day to day basis.  I’ve tried every positive thinking method I know and yet I still cannot reprogram my cognitive filter to interpret and process my day to day in a primarily positive manner.  Definitely a sign that it’s time to make some changes.

3.  Do you find yourself using negative stress coping mechanisms more than is ‘normal’ (this varies from person to person, and only YOU can figure this out) in order to deal with stress and problems that happen each day?

I think one way many expat teachers deal with the stress of living and teaching in Korea is to hit the bottle–and sometimes really hard.  I know for myself what is healthy and acceptable in terms of how I use alcohol, and I know what is unhealthy.  I think nearly everyone who drinks in Korea at times crosses the healthy limit line in terms of frequency and quantity because drinking culture in Korea actually encourages and supports using alcohol as a stress release.  But when an unhealthy behavior, whatever it is,  becomes your primary stress coping mechanism it should be a clear warning signal that some changes are needed.

The bugger is that some sources of stress, and their effects on one’s well-being, simply cannot be managed no matter how much you go to the gym, hike a mountain, do Yoga, connect with your social support network of friends and family, write in a journal, and finger paint naked while listening to “Don’t worry, be happy” full blast on your stereo in your shoe-box apartment (not that, of course, I’ve done that, lol).

When the general conditions of your work environment and living conditions get past the point where healthy coping mechanisms are effective it’s definitely time to start making changes in your work and living experiences–and if you can’t, if the issues or problems are beyond the scope of the very limited control we as native teachers have in Korea . . . then it’s time to consider leaving before things become too stressful and unhealthy.

4.  Do you find that a majority of the days in each week are ‘bad days’?  Or put another way “I hate Korea days”?

I think that the cumulative effect of the thousand little things that happen each day at work and in the daily living conditions of Korea–each of these little pin pricks by themselves is nothing, but when they all combine together, and day after day after day they strike again and again . . . well, the cumulative effect can wear you down.  This is when, I think, one begins to notice that there are more days each week, then not, when the general feeling at the end of the day is bad.

“I hate Korea” is a very extreme statement to make, and one that no matter how bad something is that happens to me I try to avoid like the plague because once you begin saying it you do have ‘the plague.’   Saying this toxic statement makes me think of the cave scene in “The Empire Strikes Back” when Yoda says to Luke,

Yoda: Yes, run! Yes, a Jedi’s strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan’s apprentice.
Luke: Vader… Is the dark side stronger?
Yoda: No, no, no. Quicker, easier, more seductive.
Luke: But how am I to know the good side from the bad?
Yoda: You will know… when you are calm, at peace, passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, NEVER for attack.
Luke: But tell my why I can’t…
Yoda: No, no! There is no “why”.

There is no “why” can’t I say “I hate Korea” because once you do start saying that you have begun moving towards the dark side . . . where crusty burned out expats’ lives lose all positivity and simply become banal exercises in who can show the biggest display of toxicity towards their host country and culture.

That’s not who I am, and that’s not who I want to be.  But there have been too many days where my frustrations and stress levels have gotten me close to the edge . . . and it’s time to leave.

5.  Do you find that the every day things in Korean culture that used to give you happiness and pleasure have lost their appeal?

Another sign that it’s time for me to leave is that the everyday things I love about Korea have lost their glow, and they no longer are enough in terms of helping me have a happy and positive day.

I love Korean food, and really enjoy going to eat at restaurants . . . but being stared at now taints everything.  I tell myself not to care but all too often it gets under my skin.

I love teaching . . . but find that I cannot be patient anymore with some of the problems that occur while co-teaching.

I love the sense of community and close friendships that Koreans have with each other . . . but I have a very strong dislike for the us-them paradigm that excludes foreigners based on the simple fact that I’m not of Korean ethnicity.

I love the healthy lifestyle that many Koreans exhibit with hiking and eating well and taking care of their bodies . . . but I have a very strong dislike for the dark side of this cultural trait where it is used to tell me I need to lose weight to my face (which is rude in Korean culture, not just western English culture).

I think that expats who stay in Korea past the 2 year mark generally have developed strong and positive roots.  Expats who have Korean girlfriends/boyfriends or wives/husbands develop roots imbued with love, and love for a Korean extends, I think, to other Koreans and the culture in general.  There are other reasons that expats stay in Korea long term and are able to adapt and thrive but I think having a Korean partner is perhaps one of the most powerful aids in discovering ways to deal with the day to day issues, stresses, and problems.

Julianne and I simply do not have those kinds of long-term positive roots within Korea.

6.  Do you spend more time in your apartment isolating yourself than you do out of it enjoying activities and socializing with Koreans in their social spaces?

My cultural exhaustion has gotten to the point where I spend more time in my apartment when I’m not teaching and at work than I do outside of it.  This is very bad, and I hate it.  I love walking around taking pictures, and doing things.  But my cultural exhaustion is at the point where the rewards don’t outweigh the costs.

If I’m not outside participating and interacting with Koreans and enjoying the cultural events all around me then why the heck am I living and working overseas in a foreign culture?

I want to travel and experience new cultures and meet new people and have positive cross-cultural exchanges . . . but I cannot do that any longer in Korea due to my cultural exhaustion.   Definitely time to move on.

7.  Do you find yourself speaking in more and more negative and overly critical ways about every day living and working conditions that you have absolutely no power to change but still on a daily/regular basis talk about?

Perhaps the biggest thing for me is that I’m very unhappy at my job right now.  I think going back to teaching in a public high school was a really big mistake.  I thought that living in Seoul (I’ve wanted to do that ever since I came to Korea in 2005) would more than make up for my dislike for co-teaching (even though I’m good at it), and that going back to teaching high school wouldn’t be so bad . . . but after having taught in a national university of education where I felt like I was a ‘real teacher’ for the first time in Korea I now realize that going back to teaching in public school is nowhere near as fulfilling and positive.

Anyone who has been a regular reader of my blog knows that I generally haven’t written in critical and/or negative ways about living and teaching in Korea . . . but over the last 9 months (since I returned to teaching in public school) my blog posts have been moving more and more towards the overtly critical and negative in perspective and content.  I think that some of this has been perfectly reasonable, and that the writing I’ve done has been objective and fair in relation to the subject matter.  But there have been some posts that when I re-read them I think to myself, “Wow, that’s pretty dark and negative.  Time to make some changes.”

8.  Do you avoid anything and everything Korean after you’re done teaching most days?

This question is pretty similar to #6 but I think it’s worth having on its own in order to illuminate the issue.  There are too many days each week now where all I want to do after I’m done teaching is go home and eat dinner within the English-only-no-Korean-language-or-culture space of my apartment.

Anyone who is living and teaching inside Korea who finds themselves thinking and feeling like this on a majority of the days in a week needs to seriously ask themselves why they continue to stay in a culture that they have lost any interest in interacting with.  There are days, however, when one is just naturally tired out by Korean culture, and you just need a break to recover and recharge–what I’m talking about is when the desire to avoid anything Korean happens more than a few times each week every week . . . that’s when things are beginning to get serious.

The problem for many people, I think, is that we fall into habits and routines and lose the ability to ‘think outside of Korea’ so to speak.  We forget that there are many other countries and cultures around the world that we can travel to, live and work in, and that some countries and their cultures are just not for every0ne–especially to live and work in over long periods of time.

If you get to the point where you don’t want any contact with everything and anything Korean after you’re done work then that’s a pretty clear sign that it’s time to leave.

9.   Do you interpret every interaction with a Korean where something goes wrong as  ‘anti-foreigner’ motivated?

Something I’ve noticed that I’ve fallen into now a few too many times is the belief that any time a Korean person says or does something to make a situation negative for me I blame it on ‘anti-waygook’ feelings on the part of the Korean.

I know this is not true, and that it is a gross generalization.  I try to challenge this thinking, and to come up with as many other possible explanations for what has happened and why . . . but for a while now I’ve found myself struggling really hard to find those other possibilities.

Perhaps a part of this is due to being surrounded by, and saturated with, Korean cultural thinking patterns that unfortunately also tend to use the gross generalization paint brush that paints all foreigners as such and such, and that resisting the temptation to fight ignorance with ignorance, or generalizations with generalizations is really freaking hard when you’re also experiencing cultural fatigue.

10.  Are you ‘normally’ a very positive and easygoing person but have noticed that your personality is changing, and becoming more negative in general?

I used to be the kind of guy who would always say “annyeong haseyo” to every Korean I’d see; I used to be the kind of guy who would always try to have a friendly expression on my face . . . but for too long now I’ve found myself not smiling, and not having a friendly look on my face.

Now when I go shopping I don’t smile much when the cashier greets me at the register in Lotte Mart, or when I get into a cab and the taxi driver says a cheerful “Hello!” I don’t meet his eyes in the rear-view mirror and return his greeting with a smile and my own “Hello” back at him.  I have disconnected from my naturally friendly and polite self because it requires more energy than I have after teaching all day and striving to maintain a positive teaching energy and the friendliness I know to be so necessary to have a good rapport with my co-teachers and students . . . and this saddens me and worries me because I have to wonder what kind of long term effects my experiences in Korea will have on my personality, and whether I’ve gone past the point of no return in terms of rejuvenating these parts of myself that now lie dormant . . .

Anyways . . .

All of these things I’ve written about, and more, add up to Julianne and I deciding it’s time to leave Korea.  We’ve found jobs at a top ranked university in China, and are very excited about starting them in September.

I’ve been doing tons of reading on the Internet about China’s culture and history, and while there are many similarities between China and Korea I think that there are enough differences that the move from Korea to China is going to help me rediscover being happy to live and teach overseas.

I know that I’m still going to be stared at, pointed at, and talked about by people in China because I’m a big chubby shaved head white foreign guy . . . but I’m hoping that with a better teaching and working environment this sort of thing will not bother me as much.  Also, Julianne and I have talked about how there are different ways that Koreans stare at us, and when it’s simple curiousity mixed with a friendly spirit there’s no problem.  It’s when you get a pervert-ajusshi looking at your girlfriend like she’s a prostitute, or staring at you with a ‘what the hell are you doing in my country?’ aggressive anti-foreigner look . . . those are the kinds of stares that drain the spirit, and poison one’s experiences in Korea.  I’m hoping that China won’t be quite as bad in terms of things like that . . . though I could be totally deluding myself and my naivete is probably quite amusing to people who have spent time in China . . . only time will tell.

Well, my hands are tired and I’ve written everything I have to say about Julianne and I leaving Korea for now.  I’m sure I’ll write more over the next 71 days as we count down to our departure date.

Wish me luck.


While walking home from school on Friday afternoon I was suddenly surprised to see Santa Claus, to learn he was Korean, and to see him dressed up in full Red Devil fan costume–wow!  I didn’t have my Canon D400 with me so I fumbled for my cell phone to take a picture.  The man saw me trying to get my cell phone out, turned and said “It’s okay” before I could even ask if I could take his picture, and posed . . . lol.

Here’s a close up . . .

Seriously awesome!

I’m thinking about going out tonight to watch the Korea vs. Greece game that begins just after 8pm, but it’s been raining all day, and supposed to rain tonight.  I’m not a soccer fan nor do I have World Cup fever like all my students and co-teachers do . . . but taking pictures of Red Devils going nuts watching the game–THAT I could see myself having a lot of fun doing . . .

Hmmm . . . decisions, decisions . . .


Last weekend I chatted with Joe McPherson of Zenkimchi Korean food blog, and Stafford from Chosunbimbo blog, on their Seoul Podcast interview show . . . Seoul Podcast #99: Kimchi Icecream in The Fridge.

We talk about everything from why Julianne and I are leaving Korea to live and teach in China to co-teaching in the public school system to what is in my fridge (nice one, Stafford, lol).

Anyways, if you have two hours to kill check it out.


I got an email this morning with a press release pdf file attached about ATEK‘s new national communication’s officer, Rob Ouwehand–also known as Roboseyo.

In my last post, If ATEK falls in the forest, does it make a sound? Musings on why ATEK isn’t communicating with the expat community . . ., I wanted to elicit reactions from ATEK members, its leadership, and the general native teacher community . . . and I think I succeeded in provoking some thought and action about the general issue of TWO-WAY communication between ATEK and the native teacher community, and also the general lack of outgoing communication from ATEK’s leadership about what it’s doing.

You can read the full text here,  ATEK: New Communications Officer Plans to Get the Word Out.  I’ll share a few of the more salient points . . .

Rob is going to be a busy busy BUSY guy: “His duties will include communicating with the press and other media, developing and maintaining communication channels with the expat community, and responding to interview requests and inquiries from other media.”

I like how specific Rob is in describing the “goals for his term include working with ATEK’s webmaster on maximizing the website’s usefulness, finding new ways to more regularly update the public on ATEK’s actions, and plotting and producing materials useful for teachers at different stages in their life in Korea, from deciding to come, arriving, and adjusting, to maximizing their experience here and contributing meaningfully in their communities” (my italics and bold).

I think if ATEK, and Rob in particular, is creative in its communication and public relations strategies that reaching over 20,000 teachers won’t be a problem, “However, Ouwehand has his work cut out for him: there are estimated to be over 20 000 foreign English teachers in Korea, and it is difficult to reach them all.”  If one teacher is reached in each of the hundreds (if not thousands) of groups out there, and within each group that ONE teacher shares their knowledge about ATEK with their group members/friends about how to access ATEK’s resources, and sign up if they’re interested, then the problem is nowhere near as ginormous as it seems to be.   Twitter, Facebook, and blogs will facilitate this goal if they are used strategically and creatively, I think.

“Ouwehand believes ATEK is an easy sell: “It’s hard to refuse a group that is doing everything it can to make your life easier.””  I recently sent Rob an email in which I made some suggestions for ATEK, one of which was: “Why should I join ATEK? [Make a list of] “100 Reasons Why You Should Join ATEK” [and publish it on ATEK’s site].  People need to be sold on why they should join ATEK . . . Post it on the website, and blogs.”  I can see some of what ATEK is doing to “make [my] life easier” in Korea, but I think having ONE HUNDRED specific small, or big, things it can do would motivate more teachers to join.

Rob is definitely a good choice, in my opinion, for communications officer. “He has been published in The Korea Herald, Newsweek Korea, and been featured in the Canadian Embassy newsletter. On his blog he talks a lot about community, and the need for expats to become more connected; “Writing about it is easy; now it’s time to take action.””

I was impressed to read a member of ATEK’s leadership say something similar, I think, to my post about the critical need for regular and consistent communication between ATEK and the native teachers community, “Russell Bernstein, ATEK’s National Membership Director, is hopeful about the change as well. “Building a great support system for teachers in Korea is nice, but it only helps them if they know about it,” he explained. “We think Rob is the man to spread the word, and help ATEK connect with the people who need our services and support”” (my italics and bold).

Considering how often new teachers arrive in Korea, which is literally on a DAILY basis, there is a need for consistent and daily communication (which could be done via Twitter, and Facebook).  New teachers need to be informed of all the resources they can access, and if ATEK becomes the primary ‘hub’ (sorry, had to do it, lol) of ‘all things native teachers need’ then it has to repetitively send out messages about what they can offer, and why new teachers should join their association.

If ATEK does something in the forest, now Rob can tell everyone about it, and we then have a chance to learn about it, think about it, and make an informed choice to help each other out.

Congratulations Rob!


Update:  I noticed that there is a link to my If ATEK falls in the forest, does it make a sound? Musings on why ATEK isn’t communicating with the expat community . . . post at an ATEK open discussion thread.

Breanna Horn starts a thread titled, “A different Take 0n ATEK” and says,

“A post I found about ATEK’s online visibility at Kimchi Icecream and ease of access for teachers. Any thoughts on the post? Is there anything about this we can/should/have already addressed?”

If you have the time please go and post what you think about the issue.

When I first came to Korea back in March of 2005 to live and teach on Ganghwa Island I had no idea what to expect in terms of Korean children school yard games . . . and I would have to say that I experienced some pretty big culture shock when I saw the ‘riding horse game’ (note: I just asked what the name of this game was and a major debate ensued among four ajusshi Korean teachers in my office, so there could be other translations/names for this game).  Another suggested translation was ‘dancing children’ but I think the other name makes more sense.

One student is a kind of ‘anchor’ and they stand with their back against something sturdy like a wall, or in this case a fence.

Then four or five guys (I only saw the girls play a few times, mostly it was guys because it’s a VERY rough game) bend over and put their heads between the legs of the guy in front of them, and grab the legs to brace themselves . . .

. . .for the IMPACT of the opposing team’s jumper–yes, I said JUMPER!

In case you didn’t believe me here’s another shot of the 3 guys who have already jumped onto the horse.  They all make sure to take about a five to ten feet running start and then launch themselves into the air to land on the backs of the ‘horse’ . . . after each jumper lands, or in some cases falls off the horse, everyone screams and yells and laughs in delight . . . meanwhile I watch with an intense look of horrified-oh-my-god-somebody’s-going-to-break-their-neck-should-I-stop-them-or-what-face . . .

The goal of the game is to get all your team’s jumpers onto the horse without falling off, or for the horse to not fall down and survive while some of the jumpers fail to land successfully . . .

Later on I found out that this game had indeed been banned at schools because of student injuries–but the school I was posted to had all of 99 students, and was located in Hwado: a two-street hamlet located next to Mani mountain.  I realized pretty quickly that enforcing ‘modern’ rules from ‘big city education offices’ out on an island that was only a few kilometers from North Korea didn’t really get taken seriously, lol.

Ah, memories . . .


For a more updated blog post about this topic please visit and check out Where can I get a good hair cut in Seoul with foreign friendly, English speaking, western-style customer service? Hair & Joy (Honggik University Station, Exit #8)

Julianne and I went to Hongdae, Seoul this afternoon to get her hair cut.  The last time Julianne got her hair cut it was a little nerve-wracking because we chose a small Korean hairstyling shop in Chuncheon, Gangwon province, and had to hope they wouldn’t do anything too extreme because neither the hairstylists, nor Julianne and I, could communicate much with each other.

A little while ago Julianne was walking around Changdeok Palace and a Korean handed her a magazine called “Maps and Guides” that has maps, lists of shops, touristy places, and other things for foreigners visiting and living in Korea.  It’s probably the best info/map/tourist source I’ve ever seen on paper in Korea.  In the magazine it recommended Hair & Joy as a good place for foreigners to get their hair cut and styled.

It looks like Seoul Selection produced the magazine, and if so they did an amazing job!

We decided to check Hair & Joy out.  Julianne called the phone number in the magazine (02-363-4253) to see if she needed an appointment.  The Korean who answered the phone could speak English, and Julianne made an appointment very easily.  Not something that happens often in Korea–wow.

We arrived at Honggik University Station and went out Exit #8. UPDATE: Apologies for having the wrong exit here!

The map from the magazine was dead on the money, and after turning right at the side street immediately outside the exit we walked about 20 feet and then turned left.  There was a small Y-intersection, and at first we weren’t sure where to go, but after seeing the mildly amusing Dokdo Tuna bar, we saw that the hair salon was to the left and about 50 feet away.

The entrance leading up to the salon is to the left of this coffee shop, once inside the doors turn left, and go up to the 2nd floor.

Walking into the hair salon we were greeted by a friendly Korean who spoke English.  We asked if it was a problem that Julianne was 30 minutes early–no problem, and then they immediately offered to take Julianne’s coat for her–wow.

I was ushered over to a waiting area with nice modern looking plastic chairs and some couches.  There was also a table with a computer and Internet access for people waiting for appointments to use (and in my case the boyfriend waiting while the girlfriend gets her hair cut–never a fun thing to do).

About 10 seconds after I sat down an assistant asked me if I’d like something to drink.  I declined, but again was impressed.

About 3 minutes later I was asked again, and this time I accepted.  Some of the choices were green tea, coffee, and orange juice.  I chose orange juice.  Oh yeah, and it was free.

Julianne got her hair washed in a clean and pleasant looking washing area, and the stylist then moved her over to a cutting station–also clean.

As I wrote my blog I kept walking over and snapping pictures, and checking that Julianne was happy and that the hairstylist hadn’t somehow decided Julianne needed a Sinead O’Connor cut.

The two girls working with Julianne were very friendly and also spoke English.  Julianne asked me to show them exactly how much she wanted cut off the length of her hair.  I think this was overkill in terms of explaining to the hairstylist what she wanted but we both still wanted to make sure everything was clear.  Having seen how good the stylists were with all the other foreigners getting haircuts I’d say the next visit we’ll be much more relaxed.

The general atmosphere of the salon is extremely western English culture friendly, and they truly understand western cultural hospitality and customer service.  Soft jazz and instrumental music play at a nice volume in the background, and all of the staff were comfortable interacting with foreign clients–male and female.

I strongly recommend any foreigners visiting Korea and/or living and working here to visit Hair & Joy if they need their hair taken care of by professionals who speak English and understand western culture customer service standards.

Oh, and the cost for a hair cut? 30,000won for a wash, cut and styling (for Julianne, I forgot to ask if it’s different for guys, sorry).  Julianne asked about dyeing and was told it starts at 75,000won and depending on length and other factors it can increase slightly.

Go check it out.


When a new foreign teacher first comes to Korea and walks into their new school and teacher office it could be compared to an actor walking into a play in which they don’t know the following: how to speak the language the play is written in, the cultural behavior rules for how to interact with other characters, power dynamics and hierarchies, and the social conventions for the different situations which arise in each scene of the play.

After working in Korea for five years and having attended several orientations and workshops for foreign teachers I have yet to see a presentation that addresses the most common situations and challenges that new foreign teachers experience during the first couple of weeks at their new schools, while settling into their new living environments, and throughout the course of their first year in Korea.

If any of the following materials are used as a part of an orientation or new foreign teacher training manual I would appreciate being cited as the author (if it’s something that I wrote) and or as a source from which the materials were taken from (if it’s something I found and arranged and posted on the Net). I’ve spent a lot of time and energy writing and blogging and would appreciate the citation. Thanks.

Now I should preface everything I write below by saying that I’m pretty sure most if not all foreign teachers can adopt and embody several Korean aspects to being the ‘ideal model new foreign teacher.’  (The definition of what is ‘ideal,’ however, seems to vary a lot.  Sometimes it also boils down to just saying yes all the time and doing whatever is being asked of you–this meaning that you’re being a ‘good’ foreign teacher.) But the flip side of this coin is that everybody has psychological and behavioral boundaries they just won’t cross, or modify, and there’s a limit to how much one can assimilate themselves into a culture that may at times be incredibly alien and stressful–from a foreign perspective.

With this in mind I decided to write about the following situations below.

14. Failing to be patient with the bureaucratic school culture paperwork and how Koreans get tasks done that are directly related to your work and living situations.

New foreign teachers often complain about how slow and inefficient public school bureaucracy is when they first arrive in Korea.  They need to bear in mind, however, that they really don’t understand the processes involved, and generally the large number of Koreans involved in completing one seemingly ‘simple’ task.

Try to keep in mind that there is generally little to (usually) no cross-cultural training for your Korean co-teacher (and when there is it’s only for your ONE primary co-teacher, and fails to include all the other Korean English teachers at your school, some of which you’ll likely be working with, but who never get the training) let alone all the other Koreans in your school that will be involved with things relating to your life in Korea. As a result of this when Koreans are talking about something and/or doing something for you they don’t know how to include you in the process. If the ritual way of doing a task hasn’t been modified to include the foreigner in a situation in Korea then the foreigner pretty much doesn’t exist.

New native teachers are often frustrated about the language and cultural barriers that exclude them from active participation in decision-making processes, lol.  For example, when a school is setting up the teacher’s apartment, or perhaps even just learning that they need to find one for you AFTER you’ve already arrived at the school straight from orientation (yes, it’s happened to me, and may happen to you) the new foreign teacher needs to keep in mind that the school admin office manager, a secretary or two, their co-teacher, the vice-principal, principal, the apartment building manager, the apartment owner, and toss in a few Koreans I’m probably forgetting . . . they are ALL involved in completing this ONE TASK.   Add to this that Korean culture is a very ritualized culture with what to a foreign teacher appears to be an ‘obsession’ with attention to rank and respect and only one way to do something and yeah, everything begins to look like it’s moving in slow motion IF you compare it to how things get done back in your home culture–DON’T DO THAT!

Sit back and let the Koreans work out what needs to be done and how, and occasionally ask your co-teacher to translate the key parts of what is going on but be prepared for most if not all decisions to be made for you, without asking for your input, to HELP you (though you may not like how you’re being ‘helped’).  The assumption is being made that since you can’t speak Korean, and have never lived in Korea, that you must not know how to do anything in Korea–literally!  This is not to say that the Koreans are being mean, or negative in any way towards you; it’s just the way Korean culture views a young unmarried adult in their mid to late twenties . . . especially one who doesn’t have any older family members present to make decisions and do things for them–which is the norm here even if you’re a 25+years old university graduate.  After you’ve been in Korea for a while and met some Koreans who are in this age bracket you may realize that it’s pretty true that older married mid-30s to mid-50s Koreans have to help the  20-something generations to do things that in western culture it’s taken for granted that the young person can do–in Korea, that’s just not the case.  For example, a 20-something Korean guy cooking a simple meal or doing his laundry . . . many have no idea how to do these things.

Another issue that new teachers may not consider is that how work tasks are prioritized is very different.  The task that gets given priority is always the task coming from whoever has the highest social and workplace rank in the school.  If a school office admin manager is working on doing 10 tasks, and one of them comes from the vice-principal or principal, it’s pretty safe to assume that completing the bank account deposit form for the new foreign teacher’s monthly salary deposit is going to drop lower in the task priority rankings–even if pay day is tomorrow, or even worse, yesterday.  The Korean admin office manager is in Korea for life, and has to do what is best for their career and future; dropping all other tasks regardless of the social and work rank of the Korean who needs it done in order to do something for the new foreign teacher who is likely to only be in Korea for ONE year . . . yeah, not likely.  Be patient and be friendly to the admin office manager in your school because this person especially handles tasks that you NEED done.  Also, if you’re the first foreign teacher at that school, and/or the admin office manager is new to their job, they may not know what to do and how to do it which will also make the whole process take longer (add to the mix that every public school office admin manager and university secretary/co-ordinator I’ve worked with has never been given any training or mentoring on what foreign teachers need done, and how to do the paper work–expecting them to do their jobs quickly and well when it’s a task they’ve never even heard of before is not really fair so be patient and know that things will eventually happen . . . eventually, lol).

13.  Failing to adapt to what may appear to be an extreme loss of independence and autonomy at work and in your personal life.

A lot of new foreign teachers arriving in Korea, myself included, are shocked at how much independence and autonomy they have to surrender at work and in their personal lives.  I’ll never forget the first time I told my primary co-teacher in 2005 that I was going to go to Seoul (from Ganghwa Island) for the weekend and how she showed extreme agitation and worry about how I could possibly survive 72 hours without her, or someone older than I was, to ‘help’ me.

Now remember, she was operating under that general assumption that if you can’t speak Korean, don’t know the culture, and don’t have an older family member to supervise you that you’re pretty much a helpless child . . . and no, I don’t think that this is an exaggeration.

I looked at my co-teacher and told her that if I could survive basic training in the Canadian Army that I’d be able to ‘survive’ traveling to Seoul and back, finding a place to sleep, finding food, and walking around Seoul amusing myself.  She continued to ask “How will you . . . ?” questions in spite of my attempts to reassure her and I finally just gave up and told her that I’d call her day or night (HA!) if I needed her help (I didn’t, lol).  Telling her that I’d rely on her to tell me what to do if I needed help calmed her down a tiny bit, but I’m sure she probably spent a good portion of the weekend worried about me being ‘all alone and helpless’ in Korea, lol.  (As an aside I think it’s much more preferable to have a co-teacher who cares about your well-being than one who has no interest at all in helping you and/or how you’re doing during the first month or so in Korea!)

There are a huge number of situations in Korea that you actually will feel ‘helpless’ to a lesser or greater extent.

a) getting a cell phone

b) getting Internet and Cable TV installed and an account set up

c) getting a bank account (though KEB is pretty decent if you want to go alone)

d) going to the hospital for your health check, or if you’re sick (go with a Korean co-teacher who can help translate things (it’s 70-30 that  you’ll get a doctor that has fantastic English) and be willing to sacrifice your privacy for the sake of accurate translations to aid the diagnose and treatment.  Also bear in mind that everything your co-teacher hears and sees is fair game for discussion with other Koreans back at your school!

e) going to the immigration office to apply for your alien registration card and to get a multiple re-entry visa (I cannot urge you strongly enough to NEVER go there alone, always go with a co-teacher or a Korean from your school)

Some foreign teachers manage to accomplish tasks in spite of the language and cultural barriers on their own, but I suspect that many if not the vast majority need help from their Korean co-teacher when they first arrive in Korea.  You can do the things I list above, and more, ALONE . . . but they often exact a high cost of stress and difficulty if you go it alone; getting your co-teacher or another Korean to help you generally speeds things up in ways that you may not understand right now–just trust me, 99% of the time it’s easier if you have a Korean helping you.

It’s a really really hard thing to do, however, giving a Korean stranger/co-teacher complete and utter power over you in a situation to get something done for you, but it’s something that often has to be done no matter how much you might hate it, resist it, and really don’t want to do it.  It can be very surreal to sit in a bank setting up a bank account and have no clue what is going on most of the time because your co-teacher is speaking in Korean, and the bank officer is speaking in Korean, and very little translating is going on other than the bare minimum.  Yet the alternatives are not being able to get something done, it taking a thousand times longer than if you’d just let your co-teacher help you, and the thing being done incorrectly (often because of misunderstandings, and often a Korean will make assumptions based on Korean cultural norms about what you need and want that are the OPPOSITE of what you have specifically said in ENGLISH and they didn’t understand or just assumed they know better because you’re new to Korea) which can cause more problems in the future.

12.  Failing to understand that there is a hierarchy and you are at the bottom of it (most of the time anyway).

In Korea there is a very highly structured social hierarchy based on age, gender, job title, and other factors (whether or not you’re of Korean ethnicity, in my opinion, also plays a major role in this).  In public school culture a new foreign teacher who is in their mid-to-late 20s, unmarried, can’t speak Korean, doesn’t know Korean culture, and doesn’t have a high ranking job title . . . well, you have about as much rank as a ‘recruit’ entering army boot camp in the minds of the Koreans you’ll be working with.  Do not be confused by all the attention and flattery and compliments you’re getting from students and faculty because in terms of having the authority and/or power to request something you need or want  you have to go through the chain of command first.  Even if you’re an older foreign teacher, for example someone in their fifties, you’ll not be treated the same way as a Korean teacher in their fifties; I should add, though, that most Korean teachers who are younger than you will be fairly deferential to you, but that that is not always the case (as I’ve heard from older foreign teachers, and also witnessed first hand).

When a fresh out of teachers college graduate/new Korean teacher arrives at their first school to begin their teaching career they’re pretty much everyone’s ‘lackey’–to put it lightly.  Every task that nobody else wants to do–give it to the newbie.  I’ve talked to several young Korean English teachers and ALL of them, especially the young unmarried female teachers, tell me that they have a really stressful time at work because of the rigid social hierarchy within the school culture.  Basically, they can’t say ‘no’ to pretty much anything a senior ranking teacher tells them to do without severe social and professional penalties being enacted on them by their ‘seniors.’

Juxtapose what young new unmarried Korean teachers go through when they arrive at their new jobs and schools with how new native teachers are treated and I think it’s safe to say that in general we’re treated a lot better even though we’re at the bottom of the school’s social/workplace hierarchy.  (Oh, and if you’re Korean-Canadian or Korean-American and you can speak Korean semi-fluently to fluently YOU SHOULD HIDE THIS FACT!!! If you don’t you WILL be treated almost exactly like a new Korean teacher.  You’ll be asked to do translation tasks, stay late, and basically you’ll lose the ability that new foreign teachers have to claim “I am not Korean” and say no to things like doing extra classes on Saturday  mornings, and other extras that most Korean teachers cannot refuse to do.)

If you think you can somehow LIVE AND FUNCTION as a teacher outside this social hierarchy and somehow sidestep it, and create your own power dynamics with the Koreans you work with–well, let’s just say you’re in for a really long and stressful year in Korea.  I am NOT suggesting you say yes all the time and act like you’re in the Korean army.  I am suggesting that a drastically increased sensitivity to rank and power politics and cultural issues is a good idea.

11.  Getting visibly and openly upset/angry/negative about something in the teacher’s office (or anywhere in the school where faculty and/or students can hear and see you).

For most new foreign teachers there will inevitably be something that makes you so angry you could spew molten lava out of your mouth and it still wouldn’t convey how angry you are with whatever is going on.  DO NOT YELL or use an angry/critical tone of voice with a Korean teacher/office admin manager/vice-principal/principal . . . you’ll lose 99.99999% of the time in terms of getting whatever it is you need or want from them.  You’ll also likely make every other Korean who is within earshot immediately label you as ‘the enemy’ and the school’s faculty will likely close ranks against you; you’ll be ostracized to a degree that is generally not seen in western culture workplaces.  You may still get what you’re fighting for–but at the same time you’ll be PAYING a severe social penalty in terms of the damage you’ve done to your reputation and relationships with Koreans at your school.

During my first year in Korea I got really sick in about my second month.  I had a high fever, cough, and flu symptoms, and in general felt like I was dying.  My apartment, unfortunately, was only 50 feet from the main school building.  I told my co-teacher that I just wanted to be left alone to rest and try and recover as quickly as possible.  I told her that I would not answer the door for anyone (it’s VERY common for your co-teacher, vice-principal, principal, and others to ‘visit’ a foreign teacher when they’re sick-which is NOT fun) because I was sick, taking medication I’d brought with me from Canada, and didn’t want visitors.  This drove my principal bonkers and I later heard that he stood for hours one day watching my apartment door from the teacher’s office windows to see if I’d come out.  At one point during the day I ran out of juice and water so I hauled my sick butt out of bed and began slowly walking across the school courtyard towards a nearby store.  The principal saw me and literally ran through the hallways to catch me.  He wanted to interrogate me about every detail of my illness in KOREAN, and didn’t think to bring my co-teacher with him to translate.  He fully expected me to stand and communicate with him in spite of the fact that I was terribly sick and DIDN’T SPEAK  A WORD OF KOREAN . . . oh, and the other thing he wanted to tell me: he’d set up a dinner meeting with a friend of his he wanted me to meet on a Monday night at 7pm and expected me to go no questions asked.

While standing in the courtyard of the school with this 61 year old Korean principal talking to me in lightning fast Korean I didn’t have the first clue what he was saying or what he wanted from me, but when I tried to walk away he stopped me by grabbing my arm, and speaking even faster to me in Korean.  I snapped . . .

I became furious and gestured to him that he follow me.  I marched through the halls of the school and up to the teachers office, and in front of the entire school’s faculty I read him the riot act about how he was not to bother me when I was taking a sick day.  I asked my co-teacher to translate this, which looking back now I find hysterically funny because I assumed she would actually translate a nobody-rank criticism of the god-king-ranked-principal . . . and after she asked the principal what he wanted from me, she told me about how he’d set up a dinner appointment for me outside of the 8 hour work day, on my personal time, without asking me if I wanted to go . . . well, I lost it and got really angry and lectured the god-king in front of all of his subordinates.

The principal pretty much turned nuclear-red (if such a color hadn’t existed before it was born that day) and stalked out of the office.  He didn’t talk to me or even look at me in the school hallways for almost 3 weeks.  Later, when I wasn’t feeling like death warmed over from my illness I realized how big a cultural taboo I’d broken by figuratively spitting in the face of the highest ranking Korean in the school, and in general Korean society also a very high ranking person.  I went into the principal’s office and ate probably the biggest crow (‘eating crow‘) of my entire life.   The principal, after hearing my co-teacher translate and seeing my meek attitude and desire to beg his forgiveness (don’t forget, I was 12,000km from home and living in a two-street village next to a mountain on an island–yeah, I needed the guy who could make my life a living hell to forgive me!) . . . said he accepted my apology a little coolly and that was that.  It took about another two weeks before we were back to being on friendly terms, and later I found out his nickname for me was “The General” because of what had happened.  I WAS DAMN FREAKING LUCKY, and I think if, for example, I’d been living in Seoul and had done something like this things would have been really really bad . . . I don’t think I’d be fired, but I imagine that going to work would be a nightmare for a very long time.

All of this boils down to one simple rule: if you think you’re going to lose control and speak to another Korean in a very angry or critical tone of voice GET OUT OF THE OFFICE!  Go to an empty classroom and call a friend to talk to them and cool down.  Go outside the school building and take a walk and cool down.

If you really feel the need to talk about whatever is bothering you ask the person you’re upset with to go with you to an empty classroom or somewhere where you can talk alone.  But I’d suggest that it might be better to wait a couple hours, if not a day, and think things over.  There are not many issues or problems that cannot wait a few hours, or until the next day, till you’ve thought things through, and calmed down a bit before you start a conversation you may really regret afterwards.

NOTE:  You should also consider that most Koreans will almost never express anger or criticism to anyone who has a higher social/workplace rank than them.  If you decide to express anger or criticism or anything negative towards a Korean who is older than you are, or has the higher social rank, you should expect things to get very very difficult, and most of the time it is highly unlikely that you’ll get what you need or want from them or the situation–it is more likely that you’ll make things worse, and it will be even harder after that to try to accomplish what you need or want.

The indirect approach is generally the best strategy to get what you need and want in Korea.  Ask a Korean who is older and has a higher rank than you, and most of the other Koreans involved in the situation/issue (this is great because the older Korean outranks the others and can put pressure on them if they choose to) to help you solve your dilemma.  Then let the backroom social politics play themselves out.  This is really hard to do for people who are very assertive, proactive, and independent when it comes to problem solving . . . but unfortunately it is almost always the only way anything might possibly change.  The backroom politics allow for the Koreans involved to save face–which is a HUGE thing here.  Believe me, I know, and this comes from really stressful experiences I’ve had in Korea.  Think about it.

10.  Open confrontation and being assertive.

In western culture there is a very different sense of the cultural behavior rules and norms for when it’s okay to openly confront another person, and when it’s not.  The same thing applies for when it’s okay to be assertive and not.  In Korea the rules are different, and if you don’t know them you can set yourself up for some bad experiences.

There may be problems that happen at your school regarding teaching, administrative things, and/or living condition issues.  Whatever understanding you have about the concept of professionalism back in your home culture/country you SHOULD ERASE THEM FROM YOUR MIND for the duration of your time in Korea–often these standards, procedures, norms and values are NON-EXISTENT in Korean culture. Do not expect and assume that professionalism will support your efforts, and direct how Koreans respond to whatever the situation is.  You are NOT in a western cultural work and living space anymore!

The problems you’re dealing with may be really bad (for example, severe mold in your apartment that threatens your health), and you will probably tell your co-teacher about the problem, and then expect the school to do something about it–and nothing happens, or nothing seems to be happening and no one seems to care.  Whether or not this is the case (sometimes it’s hard to read what Koreans are truly feeling, and you may misread attitudes so be careful), you should try to avoid open confrontation and being assertive about whatever the issue might be . . . even if your apartment looks like there are giant black mold clouds on the walls and ceiling.

If you decide to openly confront a Korean about an issue/problem that you think is serious enough to warrant it (based on WESTERN cultural norms) things will likely go from worse to terrible very quickly, and you might have even more problems getting what you want and need.  Confronting an older, higher social and work rank Korean, EVEN IF YOU ARE 10000% IN THE RIGHT, usually only results in one thing: damaging the relationship between native teacher and Korean teachers/school faculty, and damaging the native teacher’s reputation and image in the group consciousness of the school.

Taking the indirect route is almost always the best thing to do.  But it’s also freaking hard to do especially if you’re an independent person who is used to being very proactive about problem solving.

Some strategies for getting what you need and want in a crisis.

1) Politely tell your co-teacher what the problem is.  Then leave it for at least a day or two.  (Unless of course it’s something truly critical like a fire in your apartment, or infestation of fleas, etc).

2) After politely telling your co-teacher about the problem, send them an email repeating what you’ve said (sometimes the teacher’s English ability may be low and they need to have the problem written out so they can dissect it and figure out what you’re saying to them) or give it to them in a polite letter (actually, a letter is probably better as Naver and Daum tend to see Gmail, Hotmail, and Yahoo as spam and your co-teacher might never see the email).

3) Talk to other teachers at your school.  Tell them about the problem.  Paint a picture of yourself needing help, and how you hope someone will help you (basically, paint a picture of yourself as a  helpless victim who needs to be rescued), and avoid placing blame and openly criticizing any Koreans at the school.  Korean public school gossip networks are incredibly efficient about spreading any and all stories about a native teacher.  By the end of the day EVERYONE will know about your problem, and this will likely make it a higher priority to be taken care of.

4) If you can talk to an OLDER Korean English teacher (older than your primary co-teacher) and get them to understand what is going on, what you need and want . . . they will often talk to your co-teacher or the office admin manager about the problem when you’re not around and push for things to be dealt with.  This is a fantastic way of getting things done that helps to build relationships with co-teachers, and at the same time avoid confrontations and being overly assertive (in the Korean context).

5)  The NUMBER ONE THING YOU MUST DO: Keep your relationship with your primary co-teacher, and school faculty, in good condition.  (I just asked my co-teacher about strategies 1-4 and asked her if there’s anything else I should add.  She said, ‘keep the relationship good’ very emphatically.)

Every native teacher will deal with problems and issues differently, and I know that I haven’t always followed the advice I give here, but it’s good to know what the ideal way is to do things in Korea even if you choose not to use these strategies or are unable to for whatever the reason.  But remember that if you damage your relationships with the Koreans at your school you’d better hope that the reward is worth the VERY HIGH COST.

9.  Asking “Why?” when a higher rank teacher, office admin manager, vice-principal, or principal (pretty much anyone who is Korean and older) tells you to do something.

In Korean culture when someone who is your ‘senior’ (meaning a higher social rank) tells you to do something you’re generally expected to obey, and to do it right away.  Everyday life culture in Korea has a lot of military-style power dynamics because all able-bodied Korean men do military service; military culture is embedded in everyday civilian culture to a very large degree.  A lot of new foreign teachers experience pretty big culture shock when they arrive in Korea, especially when they think the school workplace is not an army base–but in some ways it is.

Also, Korean Neo-Confucianism has very strict rules for power relationships and hierarchies.  I would use the military example again as a way of explaining that every person (solider) has a rank (both socially and at work), and that the rank is extremely specific in terms of what you can say and do, and what you CAN’T say and do, and how you can and can’t interact with higher ranking and lower ranking Koreans.  This takes a lot of adjusting to, and most foreigners figure out what they’re able to conform to, and then try to develop coping strategies for those things they just can’t do.

A good example of this strictness in social interactions might be experienced during the first month or so at your new school when you may be asked to sign forms that are in Korean language and your co-teacher may or may not translate and explain everything on the form.  When you try to insist they explain everything they’ll likely be shocked, and perhaps even insulted or hurt.  It is expected and assumed to such a degree as it is usually unconscious on the part of the co-teacher that you should blindly trust them because you have been assigned to their care, and they are your ‘senior’ (they outrank you).  Think of this as a kind of modern day patron-client type relationship wherein your patron does things to help you be successful in your career and daily life while at the same time expecting a high degree of respect and obedience to whatever they ask you to do in return for their patronage.

8.  Refusing to accept gifts.

Koreans will offer you gifts of food and other small things as a gesture and offering of welcoming and/or friendship when you arrive at your school.  Regardless of what you think or feel about the gift you should accept it.

Even if it’s a food, for example dried squid (a common snack food in Korea), that has an insanely pungent aroma (I’m being diplomatic here, lol), you should accept the food.  If you can do it you should also try to eat a little bit of it in front of the gift giver, and tell them no matter what you truly think and feel about it that the food is ‘delicious.’

7.  Refusing to drink with other teachers during dinner parties

Native teachers should know that public schools often have teacher dinner parties.  Drinking soju and beer is very common at these dinner parties for most of the male teachers (the female teachers generally do not drink at these dinner parties, though I have been at a few where they did).  Eating and drinking together, especially for Korean men, is a HUGE BONDING RITUAL in Korea.  This is one culture shock experience that still boggles my mind: if I get drunk with another Korean, even a Korean who can barely string together 3 words in English, they will vehemently tell everyone the next day at school that they’re now ‘best friends’ with me.  This is no exaggeration.  This is also not limited to Korean-foreigner drinking episodes.  I also have seen this happen between Koreans who are strangers  to each other.  During one of the 6 month Teach English in English training programs I taught in, two young female teachers enthusiastically told me that they were now best friends, in the early stages of the program, because they had gotten drunk at the previous night’s dinner.  That’s how powerful sharing food and drink is in Korean culture (though this is NOT the case for all Koreans, it’s usually male Korean teachers).

If you refuse to let another Korean pour you a shot of soju you are causing them to lose face, insulting them, and publicly announcing you do not want to be their friend.  Of course, the teacher’s personality type and other factors influence how they react to this, and some just chalk it up to you being foreign and ‘not understanding Korean culture’ and they move on down the table to find a more compatible drinking buddy–but other teachers will write you off in terms of trying to develop a friendship, and they may influence other teachers at your school to see you as ‘unfriendly.’

If you don’t drink alcohol then it’s a really good idea to start planting this idea during your introductory conversations with teachers at the school.  Ask them what the drinking culture is like in Korea, and then say you’re worried about what to do at a teacher dinner party (see, indirectly manipulating the situation is always best, you’re painting a picture of yourself as needing the help of the Korean you’re talking to), and that you don’t drink alcohol, and need some advice from the Korean teacher on what you should do to avoid being ‘disrespectful’ when someone offers you soju.  Ask a Korean co-teacher to explain to the other Koreans at the dinner that you don’t drink alcohol.  But you should still expect that a few Korean teachers will make exploratory invitations to drink.  They’ll walk over to where you’re sitting, and offer to pour you a shot.  In this case, do what the female teachers do.  Hand them a bottle of chilsung (Korean version of 7Up/Gingerale), and let them pour you a shot of the soda, and then you should take the bottle of soju, and with your left hand held under your right forearm, pour them a drink holding the bottle with your right hand.  This will impress them greatly because you’re pouring them a drink in the traditional Korean style.  Also, keep in mind that Koreans will insist, sometimes rather forcefully, that you accept something from them THREE TIMES; each time they offer they will increase the enthusiasm and forcefulness of their offer.  This can be intimidating to some new native teachers, especially young female teachers, and you should just firmly and politely say “I’m sorry.  Thank you.”  Try not to say ‘no’ directly and firmly, especially to the older male teachers.  Make sure you sit beside your Korean co-teacher, and try to get them involved in the situation so they can help you by speaking in Korean to the enthusiastic Korean (who may be anywhere from mildly drunk to red-faced and VERY ‘happy’ to see you).

Also, some people who do enjoy a good alcoholic beverage, whether it’s occasional and you consider yourself a social drinker only, or those that really like to hammer it back, you may find that soju is . . . well, ‘unrefined strong wine’ (that’s the most diplomatic way I can think of putting it) that is about 20 steps away from reaching the definition of what western culture would consider a good drink.  (Actually, I’ll confess the first time I did a shot of soju I thought the Koreans I was with were pulling a practical joke on me, and that they’d given me  a shot of rubbing alcohol–yeah.)  If you can handle doing a few shots of soju, regardless of how you feel about the taste (and ‘interesting’ sensations of the fumes running into your nasal cavities) it will earn you huge social points with the other male teachers.

The best way to get out of drinking the mass quantities of soju that can be consumed at teacher dinner parties is to apologize several times and explain that you have to teach the next day and don’t want the principal to get angry with you for being hungover.  Make sure your co-teacher translates for the other Koreans who don’t speak English.  This usually works fairly well, though the drinking teachers will still be disappointed that you’re not ‘part of the gang’ hammering back the shots, and bonding.

Oh, lastly, Julianne just reminded me to give this cautionary: don’t say you think soju is disgusting or any other negative thing about it–for many Koreans who love soju this would be tantamount to saying you don’t like kimchi!

6. Rejecting invitations to go out for dinner and other social outings.

Say ‘no’ once to a Korean making an invitation and you very likely guarantee they’ll never invite you to do something again.  In Korean culture it is generally expected that if someone who is ‘senior’ to you invites you to dinner or to do something (i.e. go hiking on the weekend) you should say yes.  Saying ‘no’ to higher ranking Koreans even if it’s an invitation to do something on ‘your time’ (private time and public time/work time is pretty much a foreign concept in Korean public schools) you should try to rearrange your schedule if you have something else planned and keep the senior ranking Korean happy and accept their invitation.

If you really don’t want to do the outside of work time activity, make sure to use an indirect response/excuse.  Apologize many times and explain that you ‘must’ do something with someone else who is older than you, or that you have a doctor’s appointment, or something that a Korean will see as important in the Korean cultural context.  Do NOT say ‘no’ explicitly, and if possible don’t refuse the invite right away . . . say you will have to check your schedule, or need to think about it, or something like that.

But be aware that saying ‘maybe’ is, in Korean culture, usually interpreted as a ‘yes.’  There is no middle ground, or negotiation of probability, for this kind of thing.  You’re either saying yes, or you’re saying no . . . ‘maybe’ is a ‘yes’ to most Koreans.

5.  Refusing to eat snacks with other Korean teachers in the office.

Eating is a VERY communal activity in Korea.   Korean teachers will often bring in fruits and other snack foods into the office and put it on a table (there’s usually one somewhere in the office with a few couches and chairs around it, often in front of the vice-principal or head teachers desk where they entertain guests/parents when they come to visit the school) and begin preparing it.  Everyone in the office will usually take a break from whatever they’re doing and have some of whatever is on the table.

If you refuse to join the group bonding through eating you risk creating an anti-social reputation with the other teachers in the school.  In Korean culture the maintenance of relationships within the social hierarchy is critical to being accepted as a member of the group, and if you refuse to fulfill your group eating role it will negatively impact how other Koreans in the group treat you when you’re in other situations.

Also, it’s a good idea to bring in some snacks you buy (get a bag of apples from a fruit truck vendor, or buy some bread and jam at a bakery) and share the food with your fellow teachers.  The Koreans will be very impressed and happy that you are actively participating in the teacher’s office social culture.

4.  Getting upset about ‘last second notice’ aka ‘last minute notices’ about schedule changes.

“Short term planning is ‘what’s for lunch?’ and long term planning is ‘what’s for dinner?'”  This pretty much sums up organization and planning in Korean school culture.

There are some things to keep in mind when you are told your class schedule times have changed.

Often Korean teachers themselves don’t know what is going on with the daily school schedule, and are not told by others about schedule changes.  Getting upset that your co-teacher didn’t tell you about a schedule change can sometimes backfire on you because it was IMPOSSIBLE for them to tell you cause they didn’t know and weren’t told by whoever is in charge of scheduling.

During the first two to three weeks of every semester, and especially in March which is the beginning of the school year, the public school schedule is subject to several changes on a daily basis.  As a native teacher there is NOTHING you can do about this other than keep politely asking your co-teacher if there have been any changes to your class schedule every morning as you arrive at school.

Again, keeping your relationships with the Koreans at your school positive and friendly is, unfortunately, far more important than any western cultural education standards and professionalism norms you might be upset about . . . keep the peace with others and just do your best to adapt to the changes as they come.

You can read more about Korean public school scheduling culture here.

3.  Refusing to eat Korean food, refusing to eat in the cafeteria with Korean teachers, and/or saying Korean food is disgusting.

When new native teachers arrive at their schools they often have to overcome food culture shock in the school cafeteria surrounded by several Koreans all watching their reactions very closely.  There will be many completely ‘alien’ (try to think “different”) foods that you have to eat (there’s only one menu each day for lunch), and it’s important that you don’t freak out and say things like “That’s gross!” or “That’s disgusting!” about every day Korean foods.  Especially, NEVER say anything bad about kimchi!

Also, I’ve heard some native teachers say that they go into the cafeteria ONCE and walk out without trying anything, and openly criticize the food quality and type.  This is a really bad idea as a nation’s food culture often combines with the national identity, and if you criticize the food or say you hate the food or refuse to eat the food . . . you’re essentially, for many Koreans, rejecting Korea.

My suggestion is to take a little of everything and fill up your lunch tray.  Even if there are foods you don’t like, take a small portion and everyone will be happy to see you have a ‘full’ tray like they do.  They may notice you don’t eat some things on your tray but you can claim you’re full or make some excuse that allows you to avoid being painted with the stereotype about foreigners not liking Korean foods.

Eating with your co-teachers every day is one of those critical relationship building times, and if you don’t eat with them you lose this opportunity to develop and grow your work relationships.  If the only contact you have with co-teachers is in class, and sporadic chats in the office, it is much harder to create a good relationship; without the foundation of a good relationships it is almost impossible to co-teach successfully in Korea–in fact, I’d say it is impossible.

2.  Refusing to answer personal questions–it’s how Koreans ‘place you’ so they can talk to you.

As I said earlier Korean English co-teachers do not get cross-cultural training about English cultural information (although that seems to be changing a little from what I hear in a few places, but I’d like to seen what the cross-cultural content is, and how it is approached before I say this is changing), and they typically use Korean cultural norms for getting to know you.

Koreans ask questions in order to place you in the social/workplace hierarchy.  Based on your answers they then know how to talk to you (unfortunately using Korean cultural norms while speaking ENGLISH, often because they just don’t know what the English cultural rules are for being polite and avoiding English culture taboos like talking about your body weight and appearance openly).  While teaching a 6 month teach English in English program one of the courses I taught was “Understanding English Culture/s” and in it I gave a 3 hour lecture about how to be polite in English.  As I taught the material I realized that in the past I’ve been a little too harsh in my criticisms of Korean English co-teachers for how they’ve spoken in English to me, and how they’ve interacted with me.  They DO NOT KNOW many of the English cultural rules for how to be polite, and also what the taboos are too.

To make things even more complicated is the negotiation of power between a NET and KET as to which language culture rules will dominate the relationship.  Some KETs feel that since you’re in Korea you should follow the Korean cultural rules all the time; some Koreans go with following the English rules all the time; a very small minority of Koreans are open to negotiating the rules and creating a cross-cultural hybrid kind of relationship that is fluid and open to communicating and evolving as time passes.

I’ve actually heard some native teachers tell me they refuse to answer many of the common questions that Koreans and Korean English teachers always ask.  Refusing to answer personal questions is your right IN WESTERN CULTURE, but in Korean culture some of the questions we might normally refuse to answer need to be reconsidered if as native teachers we are to build strong relationships with Koreans.  Otherwise the road blocks you set up with privacy barriers will cut short any kind of journey you might share with your co-teachers as you go through your time in Korea.

1.  Refusing to bow to Koreans of higher rank.

This has to be one of the biggest, if not THE biggest Korean cultural acts I’ve ever heard native teachers say they refuse to do.  Refusing to bow to the god-king also known as your principal is tantamount to refusing to stand when, for example, an American president walks into the room.  Actually, it’s a BILLION TIMES worse in Korea.

In western culture bowing is generally framed in the sense of a master-slave relationship.  It is seen as anathema to equality, independence and individuality.  Yet in Korean culture bowing is the primary visual representation of social order and harmony–refusing to bow is a direct attack on the very fabric of Korean social reality, and the dissonance this causes is HUGE.

Koreans may not exact a physical punishment on native English teachers who refuse to bow, but the native English teacher who doesn’t bow is committing a form of social suicide in which any positive image they may want Koreans to have of them is destroyed, and any positive relationships (which are the foundation of life in Korea) they need in order to survive and thrive in the public school environment, while they may not be destroyed, they certainly are severely diminished in terms of their potential.

I’ll finish with two final thoughts.  It is important that new native teachers realize that for every taboo a native teacher breaks their primary co-teacher has to bear the brunt of the responsibility and shame according to Korean cultural rules.  Before a native teacher considers saying to hell with following Korean cultural rules, they might want to consider that while the Koreans in their school will ostracize them as punishment if they break a big enough taboo, the punishment dished out to their Korean co-teacher can and may be worse.

While many Koreans might wish native English teachers could just ‘become Korean’ for the duration of the typical 1 year contract (I think something like only 40% or so re-sign for a second year contract) this is just not possible.  Decide for yourself what aspects of Korean culture you can follow, and what aspects are just too much of a sacrifice in terms of your own cultural identity and well-being.  As for the Korean cultural elements that you cannot adapt to it is then critical to research them so that you can find coping strategies that will help you to deal with any problems and stress that arise due to cultural misunderstandings and conflicts.

Good luck.


I’ve been back teaching in a Korean public high school now since last fall/winter’s semester . . . and I’m revisiting a lot of issues that native English teachers face when working and teaching in public school jobs.

One of the biggest challenges a native teacher faces is being patient and flexible with Korean public school class schedule culture.

The first issue that native teachers run into is Korean teachers who make schedules have a hard time figuring out how to integrate the native teacher’s classes into the already insanely busy schedule.  I think there are now 4 English classes per week in high schools, and one of those classes is given to the native teacher.  It would appear to be easy to just pick 22 time slots and type in the native teacher’s name . . . but for some reason it never is.  Often native teachers simply sit at their desks in the teacher’s office twiddling their thumbs for days until a schedule is finally made that has their classes on it (though this can be a good thing as it gives them time to acclimatize to their schools and prep for classes).  For native teachers new to Korean public school culture it is a really big culture shock if they make the mistake of comparing scheduling culture in Korea to that of their home country.

The second issue is that in the spring/summer semester (which in Korea, is the beginning of the school year) the schedule is never made before the first day of classes . . . I’m not sure exactly when Canadian high schools have their class schedules planned and distributed to teachers but I know that it’s BEFORE THE FIRST DAY OF CLASSES.  It is now day NINE of the semester, nearly two weeks of classes have been completed, and there is no officially finished master schedule for the school’s classes (and I’ve heard the same thing from nearly every foreign teacher I know in Korea).

The third issue native teachers run into is that their classes can be canceled or ‘appropriated’ (the most diplomatic word I can think of, sigh) at any time by their Korean co-teachers.  There is a gross lack of respect and value for native teacher class times because native teacher speaking/conversation classes are generally not tested.  This results in the class time being seen as disposable in whatever manner is needed by the ‘higher priorities’ of whatever is going on in the school.  Often, in the week before midterm exams, or final exams, Korean English teachers will approach native teachers and ask them if they can use the native teacher class time for test review.  This is extremely disheartening to motivated and professional native English teachers because it makes everything they have prepared for the class a complete waste of time.  It makes native teachers question why they were hired if they’re not being used to teach students . . . Also, when native teachers attempt to teach classes in the week before midterms or finals classroom behavior management is nearly impossible; students do NOT want to spend time and energy in a class that cannot help them attain higher test scores, and since speaking is not a tested skill the native teacher’s class is actually, and sadly, a waste of their time and energy.   The lack of testing for my classes has led me to believe that I’m simply in the school as a walking propaganda poster that tells parents and students that ‘something’ is being done to help Koreans learn English.  It looks good on the surface, but underneath it’s almost completely meaningless.

(Some readers might be wondering why native teachers can’t do test review of relevant and tested content from public school textbooks . . . this is an issue that I won’t get into here, but suffice it to say that a number of (I don’t know how many, but I think it’s a majority) native teachers try to avoid using public school English textbooks because they are designed with Korean English teacher teaching methods and the public school testing format (rote memorization, multiple choice style testing) in mind.  Korean teachers generally teach through a grammar and translation-based lecture style which is something a native speaker cannot do.  Until you’ve actually sat down with a Korean public high school textbook and attempted to pull out vocabulary and language content to then make a conversation lesson based on that it’s hard to explain in terms other than . . . it’s like trying to take one color of toothpaste out of a swirl of colors,  and then fill up another tube with just that one color to use to brush your teeth.)

In regards to issue #3, my experience is radically changing . . . as this semester my speaking/conversation classes are finally being included as 10% of the English final grade, and there will be speaking tests for my classes.  You can read more about this in these two posts.

Thoughts on designing speaking tests and their relationship to native teacher respect and authority in Korean public schools

The relationship between the power of tests, corporal punishment as the primary classroom behavior management system, and respect for a native English teacher in Korean public schools….

As a result of the third issue native teachers have to produce their own personal ideas about how they value their classes, and cling to them like a life preserver.  They have to teach the Korean students to value things like learning for learning’s sake–a VERY difficult concept for Koreans in an education system where the only thing that counts is what your test scores are, and what your overall academic ranking is.  Native teachers have to teach their co-teachers to see their classes as valuable time where both the Korean English teacher and the students can get exposure to native speaker pronunciation, intonation, idiomatic expressions, etc, and learn about English culture from them too.  I’ve had a very small degree of success doing this, though, because of the realities of the EFL environment in Korea outside the English language classroom.  English conversation and speaking skills are only used in the following situations: job interviews, university entrance interviews, romance and dating, being friends with a foreign person, and a few other situations.   For most Korean high school boys it’s almost impossible for them to imagine using English outside of the classroom because of the small numbers of native English speakers in Korea, and the small number of situations where they MIGHT be required to use English.  As for Korean English teachers, the same thing applies.  If I had to make a guess I’d say about 40-50% of Korean English teachers speak English in an out of the language classroom situation in Korea–note: I have no research to back this up, it’s simply based on observation and conversations with several hundred Korean teachers over the past five years.

A fourth issue is the plain and simple fact that the school schedule has too many classes.  Korean teachers and students get burned out and exhausted by the mind boggling mass of class hours they have to study/prep for, attend, and then take tests for . . . I can’t imagine, as a native teacher, what this must be like for them.   I have a great deal of sympathy for the situation because it’s something that only the powers that be at the top of the system can change.  The grunts in the trenches just have to bow and say “Ne” (“Yes”) and do what they’re told.  Oh, and the school schedule doesn’t end when regular classes finish but continues on into the late afternoon and evening.  After school program classes run until 10pm at night.  Imagine having to be at school around 7am every day, and then work until 10pm at night . . .

Fifth, even after the school class schedule is finished being made days after the semester begins there is a blizzard of events that cancel classes from the schedule: national holidays, school birthdays, practice test days, school festival days, school field trips, medical health checks (a medical van/truck comes to the school and students line up outside to get checked), midterm and final exams, national test days, and more all cause classes to be canceled.  If a native teacher is lucky they have a co-teacher who keeps them informed about the million different things that can cause a class to be canceled.  If a native teacher has experience in Korea they know they should sit down with a calendar and write down as many of these dates as they can find out at the beginning of each semester.  And if a native teacher is really savvy they ask their co-teacher every morning when they arrive at school if there are any changes that day for the native teacher’s classes–but even after doing this every morning when you arrive at school you can still be told at the very last second, or even after the school chimes have rung sounding the start of a class, that you are teaching a class . . . a class that is at a different time than is on your schedule.

The sixth issue that generally appears after a native teacher has been in their school for a few weeks is the lack of a clear chain of command and communication between the teachers who make schedule changes, the co-teachers, and the native teacher.  Sometimes one Korean teacher will be in charge of making the schedule for one grade level, and a different co-teacher will be in charge of making the schedule for another grade, and then yet another teacher is in charge of putting all the class schedules together . . . this whirlpool of disorganization often births a chaotic eight-armed monster, and all too often its four left hands are not aware of what the four right hands are doing . . . all the while the native teacher is tossed about willy-nilly as all eight hands try to direct it to do what they want it to.

Even if a native teacher gets the emails and cell phone numbers of all their co-teachers, and tries to maintain daily contact with all parties involved in setting up schedules, and tries to act as a communication vehicle to keep everyone informed and acting as a team . . . it is likely that miscommunications will happen, and mistakes will be made because plans are made without consulting all the necessary parties, without sharing updates and changes, without sharing information, and the list goes on . . .

I don’t have much else to write about this because I experienced yet again nearly every scheduling issue I’ve described above for the Nth time this morning.  I personally visited each of my co-teachers several times every day of this week, emailed them, and called them–and yet I still had a co-teacher come to me 4 minutes after a class had begun to tell me I was supposed to be teaching . . . and then a blizzard of conversations happened with myself, several co-teachers, and it all headed nowhere really fast . . .

Only 18 weeks left in the semester . . . yikes, beginning a countdown like that in week 2 is usually not a good sign.

30 hours till the weekend . . . next week is a new week, and I’m hoping I can recharge myself and come back with my usual irrepressible attitude . . . wish me luck.


Update: Brian in Jeollanamdo pointed out a few things I forgot in a comment, and they’re big ones for native teachers that have to teach at MULTIPLE schools, and other things that should be added to this post.  See the comments for more info.

Tonight is the Wild Women’s Performing Arts Festival.  Click here to check out their website.  You can also see videos from Wild Womens Performing Arts Festival in Hongdae, Seoul South Korea Jan 09.

The event starts at 8pm on Saturday, Feb 27 at Mongwhan in Sinchon.

Date: Saturday 27 February 2010
Time: 7:00PM to 5:00AM
Admission: W16,000 includes free drink and prize-draw ticket
Where: Mong Hwan (Club) in Sinchon
Directions: Sinchon Station, Stop 240 Exit 2 (see attached map – English)
(Info from Korea4Expats)

Also from some information about who will be performing,

“Up and coming artists from two of South Korea’s indie labels, Electric Muse [Orgeltanz and Dringe Augh] and Pastel Music, Inc., will be performing at the event as well as Bigbabydriver, Oriental Lucy and a solo performance by Zee of The Pines, just to name a few. The evening will also include powerful spoken word performances delivered by female representatives of Word Food and beautiful dance pieces by several Eshe performs with Orgeltanz at WWPAF II.”

Here’s info from the website in English and Korean.  Also, here’s the facebook event link.

“Hello everyone!

The Wild Women’s Performing Arts Festival is back to raise more money for the Korean Women’s Association United! This year the event will take place on Saturday February 27th as part of the run-up to International Women’s Day on March 8th. The night will feature a fresh list of performers, poets and dancers, as well as a silent photography auction, raffle and much more! So make sure to clear some space in those busy calendars to show your support for gender equality in South Korea.

Volunteers are needed before the festivities begin. We need help to place flyers around Hongdae and the surrounding area on Feb 19th, 20th, and 26th. We also need volunteers for the event itself on the 27th in three different shifts: 8:00 – 10:00, 10:00 – 12:00 and 12:00 – 2:00 If you can offer any of your time, we would really appreciate your help. To learn more about the Wild Women’s Performing Arts Festival, please explore this website and see the amazing artists who will be contributing to the event.

For more info or enquiries, contact:

Wild Woman in residence: Shawn McRae


Phone: 01030403755

Thanks for your continued support.”

여러분, 안녕하세요!

한국여성단체연합 후원을 위해 개최되는 Wild Women’s Performing Arts Festival은 오는 3월 8일 세계 여성의 날을 기념하여 2월 27일 토요일에 열릴 예정입니다. 시 낭송, 댄서들의 멋진 공연과 사진 경매, 경품추첨 등 다양한 이벤트가 준비되어있습니다. 한국의 성 평등 의식 확산을 위해 꼭 참석 부탁 드립니다.

축제 시작 전 자원활동가분들의 도움이 필요합니다.

2월 19일, 20일, 26일에 홍대와 그 일대에 전단지를 붙이는 작업과, 2월 27일 행사진행을 위해 시간대별로 자원활동가들이 필요합니다(8시-10시, 10시-12시, 12시-2시). 여러분의 많은 참여 부탁 드립니다.

Wild Women’s Performing Arts Festival에 대해 더 알고 싶으시면, 저희 블로그에 놀러 오셔서 각종 행사 정보와, 행사를 빛내줄 훌륭한 예술가들을 만나보세요! ^^

질문사항이나 그 외 더 필요한 정보가 있으시면 아래 연락처로 문의주세요.

※영어 문의

–         숀 맥클리(Shawn McRae)


※한국어 문의

–         박지연(한국여성단체연합 인턴활동가)


여러분의 많은 성원에 감사 드립니다.


Flickr Photos