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COMMENTS

This week’s question is, how do Korean people react to us in Korea: more specifically, how do they react to us trying to partake in Korean Culture and the Korean Language? Do they approve, or do they find it insulting?

We’ve been in Korea for over three years now. As many of you can tell, we really love living in Korea and we’re having a great time here. From our experiences, we’re finding different reactions to different kinds of engagement with Korea. The first one we talk about is our engaging in Korean culture, which – all across the board – has been positive. Whenever we show our interest in Korea, and try to engage in Korean activities, we’re met with really warm and happy responses. We mention in the video our World Cup Soccer experience, which is – really – one of our fondest memories of Korea.

We were at the fried chicken restaurant, in a swarm of people all surrounding the TV. We wore red shirts, had the red devil horns and pitchforks. We had the stickers under our eyes. We cheered our guts out for Korea. When Korea scored, we screamed with everyone, jumped around, hugged and high fixed random people. We were just happy watching the game and rooting for Korea. Some people, though, were really touched by our passion towards the game, and bought us a lot of chicken and beer. They thanked us for cheering for Korea, and – I swear – we felt so close to Korea at that moment. We felt like we were a part of Korea, for that moment, and didn’t feel like outsiders at all.

 

Really, one of the most difficult things for us in Korea is the constant reminder of being foreigners, of being outsiders. We are not Korean. We don’t look Korean, as people constantly remind us when they point at us in the streets and say “Oh! Foreigners!” Even in a small elevator, people will talk about you as if you aren’t standing right beside them…even after you spoke to them in Korean. It’s really baffling. And so, after being reminded so often of being outsiders, that World Cup Soccer moment made us forget about that for a moment. And it’s really those times where we engage with Korean Culture that we feel a little more accepted here.

Speaking Korean, though, is a different story, and we have two different reactions to us speaking Korean. Most of the time, whenever we use whatever Korean we know, we’re met with “wow he speaks Korean very well!” or “wow your Korean is good!” Now, we know that this is not mean spirited. It just feels similar to those times that we’re pointed out in the streets as being foreigners. I think this is hard for us to explain fully without an example. Recently when we were walking Spudgy, we told a Korean couple (who were looking hesitantly at Spudgy) in Korea, “Don’t worry, he doesn’t bite! It’s okay to pet him” and the boyfriend turned to his girlfriend and said, “he speaks Korean very well” and we said, “Oh thank you” In Korean, and he once again turned to his girlfriend and said, “Oh they speak Korean very well.” Now, we totally know he wasn’t trying to be rude, but COME ON! We’re standing RIGHT THERE, and we can clearly understand you! He literally added nothing to the conversation except that point.

The result of this kind of reaction is a constant reminder of our distance from being a part of Korea. You remember our Korean Like a Pro segments? At the end, when we’re pointed out as being foreigners, and then complimented for speaking awkward Korean…yeah, that’s not really a joke, it’s really what happens.

 

Now for us, it’s not as bad because we only speak basic conversationally Korean, but for our friends who are planning to live permanently in Korea and speak Korean fluently, their intellectual conversation can be disregarded because it’s a foreigner saying them. Again, it’s not to say that foreigners aren’t allowed to have good points in a conversation. It’s more that their good points are lost in the surprise that people feel at hearing someone speak Korean well. It’s like, if you heard a toddler give you his position on James Joyce’s “Ulysses” and how it affected postmodernism, instead of listening to his points, you might be more amazed by the fact that the toddler made it through that book, let alone formed an opinion of it. And so it feels the same way for us.

The other experience we get from Korean people when we speak our little bits of Korean is simply the “well, why don’t you speak MORE Korean? Why don’t you speak it more fluently?” position, and this position can be held both by Koreans, and Korean speaking foreigners, with an air of disdain. Now, we don’t experience this all of the time, but we have experienced it enough that we feel that we need to comment on it.

But how can we comment on it? It annoys us. Yes, we don’t speak Korean fluently, and that’s been our choice. We’ve dedicated every free moment to making a video blog. Instead of learning Korean, we learned how to shoot and edit videos (seriously: have you seen our first videos? They’re TERRIBLE!). We learned how to code a website, and we spend a vast majority of our time trying to talk to different people online, respond to their comments and answer their emails. And, hey, we also taught full-time. Plus, when you’re a happily married couple, you don’t have that urgency to get out there and start talking Korean to meet a hot Korean guy or girl.

But, even if we didn’t run a website, even if we weren’t that busy, it’s still not fair to ask that of people. Some people just don’t want to learn languages, not out of stubbornness or out of a sense of elitism, but because – hey – maybe they don’t like learning languages. Maybe they’re not good at it. Maybe they like the experience of newness. Maybe they don’t have long term plans for Korea. Whatever that person’s reasons may be, we don’t think it’s fair to ask them why they haven’t learned how to speak Korean as if it’s a requirement that comes with every country you visit.

The only time we feel a bit upset at people for not learning Korean is when they EXPECT that people in Korea should all speak and understand English, and then they are upset when Korean people don’t understand them. That, we totally disagree with. If you’re expecting all Koreans to understand everything you say in English, and you refuse to learn any Korean, then we feel it’s right to ask you why you haven’t made the effort to try and compromise for the sake of communication.

Anyways, despite our few discomforts with living in Korea, we hope that most people can see that we really appreciate the eye opening experiences life in a foreign country has brought us. We wonder if other people have experienced similar feelings of “foreignness” here in Korea, or what their position is on learning a foreign language in a country that isn’t necessarily their home.

ToFebruary
Gmarket
  1. People will sometimes say to someone not of the Caucasian persuasion that there English is so good not out of racism but out of sheer ignorance. I will give a personal example. I live in Milwaukee,Milwaukee is located in WI (a very white state),it is a very segregated city(not a lot of racially mixed neighborhoods). I lived in a part of the city with basically no Hispanic people(I am on the north side of the city and most Hispanic people are all on the south side of the city) so during my early childhood I hardly ever saw a Hispanic person let alone heard Spanish. So I automatically thought that if someone was Hispanic they were not from the United States. I then met a hispanic girl in grade school who became my best friend. If someone is raised in the right environment it can be this way at any age. Whether it is out of racism or plain old ignorance that they said that try not to let it irk you and hope that that little encounter helped change there views.
    tidbit – less than 3 percent of Milwaukee’s population is Asian and of course because someone is Asian does not automatically mean they go around speaking an Asian language and since that is the case not a lot of people here really bother to learn one so I have never heard any of the Asian languages except on TV/online.
    Well I will stop now before I bore you to tears if you even bothered to read this far. :)

  2. which friend were you talking about? do they have a youtube channel? if they do, can you please post a link?

  3. Even though I understand perfectly your point, I’ll continue to be happy when the Korean owners at the korean restaurant near my house tell me my pronouncitation is really good. I think I even go there more often just to hear the compliment rather than to enjoy the food. Ok no, that can be it, the food is as delicious as the compliments then…

  4. …So wait, am I the only one that doesn’t say “Oh your English is good!” to a foreigner? Judging by the amount of people commenting on how often they get that phrase, I guess I might be one of the few. I never assume that, just because someone looks Asian or Latina or Hispanic or something like that, that they can’t speak any English. I know some Asian people that have grown up in America and therefore speak English fluently and often times better than the language spoken in the country their ancestors lived in. I also know foreigners that come to America, learn the language, and could probably school me on English rules that Americans seem to overlook. So I just don’t assume, unless they come up to me and say “Sorry, my English isn’t very good, but can you help me with such-and-such?” and even then, I don’t really simplify myself unless they look like they don’t get it, then I’ll try to simplify things.

  5. totally agreeeee that World Cup was superrr awesome in Korea. I had the blessing to experience World Cup back in 2002, and i never knew Korea could be so…loving?? and united and there was just this spirit of togetherness. :) :) :)

  6. Oh thank you for this blog!!!! I’ve been trying to get answers if Korean people do the same as Japanese when you speak Korean. I was in Japan for 4 years and constantly got that infamous “nihongo ga jouzu desu ne.” (your Japanese is great). They also switched to English even when I started off in Japanese, so I continued in Japanese and let them fumble around in English.
    Now if I do get to go to Korea one day, I know what to expect from the Korean people and I will just continue in the language. :)

  7. culturally insensitive lol

  8. Hmmm… my english is not good. Sorry.
    Your video is wonderful and comments are so interesting. As always :)
    After all of that i have one question: why `russia saram` with `eyebrows` means `prostitute`?
     I’m Russian, so I really wonder why Koreans say it. >_<
    As for the language …. every time I talk to foreigners, they say to me: "Oh, you have a good English!" Although I know very well that it is not. Especially funny when they say it, for example, in the Czech Republic or Finland. Most want to answer "Yes, you too, good English"I also teach Korean. And my teacher says other Koreans, "She's fluent in Korean," I replyin Korean, and they are looking at me saying, "Yes, she has a good Korean" are not embarrassed by the fact that I'm standing next to them and understand it. Sometimes it's so … strange. 

  9. They’re not reminding you your korean is good because they think it’s good. they’re trying to encourage you because you’re barely scraping by and you sound cute.

  10. I’m a foreigner in Korea working as part of a diplomatic staff.  
    I can say that honestly, with the 95% of foreigners who are in Korea as teachers, the main problem is that their minds are in vacation mode and they feel that they are complete submerged into a brand new novel world.  What you often hear foreigners talking about in public and on public transportation is their efforts to analyze Korean culture and girls, with one friend speaking rather authoritatively (confidently) about the matter to the other friend.  Many Korean have a good grasp of English, so you should be careful what you say as it’s quite possible there are people who understand you (i.e. me). I conduct my daily activities in Korean, and do not go out of my way and actually actively avoid meeting foreigners.  

    Cultural sensitivity is very important.  It’s one thing to not know not to speak loudly in public transportation (in other words, be obnoxious), and it’s another thing to have absolutely zero social skills and social tact in noticing that around you, people aren’t being as loud as you are.  Take a moment to look around and realize that even though you and your other English speaking friend are the only people in the world right now because both of you are the only ones the other person can understand, outside of that safety bubble you are in is a whole other world of people who are citizens of the country that is hosting you.  

    Lastly, if you find yourself in love with Korea for all the stereotypical reasons, start studying your history, politics, and economics books and understand the many challenges that Korea is facing now, has faced, and will face, and no that just like any other country in the world, it has nuances that are neat yes, but many of which also pose a challenge to its long term sustainability, which it is trying to tackle in a mature manner.

    I have lived and worked in about 9 different countries on five continents, so here is the advice I have to give to you, no matter where you live (FOR THE PURPOSE OF WORKING or STUDYING FOR A LONG TIME) in the future (though if you are an English teacher, the likelihood is that you are treating your stay as a vacation and have no future as a person working abroad on business)

    1. Be culturally sensitive.  You’re also in a different country under different laws.  respect it the same way you expect other visitors to your own country.

    2. Get rid of your superiority complex and humble yourself.

    3. Don’t complain about anything in your host country unless you have studied the matter and the different perspectives the same way one would do to complete their PhD Doctoral Thesis.  If you don’t, you have no right to comment on it.

    4. When you meet members of your host country, treat them like normal human beings, and treat yourself like a normal human being as well.  There’s no need to patronize each other for how cute, neat, or different the other culture is.  You’re in the country, live in it like it’s your own rather than be some wanderlust completely flabbergasted by everything.  Treat others like normal human beings and the same way you would treat meeting a new person in your own country.

    5. Get a fucking grip on the language.  I mean it.  I appreciate it when I see a foreigner making a concerted effort to learn the language by not being shy, practicing, 

    6. Stop hanging out with other foreigners and expats.  They are not your pillar and comfort bubble.  You are not helping them and they are not helping you.  Don’t want to feel isolated in Korea?  Start adapting.

    6. Listen to your superiors and respect seniors.  I know this is counter to the labour-union and right oriented culture of the west, but YOU made a choice to come to Korea.  Unless you have a very liberal boss, know to sit down and shut up when you know it’ll help you keep your job.  The job market is tough here, you are always replaceable.  

    7. Stop taking pictures of everything you see and eat.  You are embarrassing yourself as well as your friends.

    8.  Make an effort to speak full sentences, and don’t drop random Korean words.  You sound ridiculous.  If you’re not going to learn the language, at least work on your pronunciation.  I don’t think you came to Korea in order to sound like a donkey.   

    9. For the men - when you speak Korean, you don’t have to go back to sounding like you’re in the midst of hitting puberty.  But don’t be flat either.  

    10. Eat your food.  If it won’t kill you, just eat it, and stop making faces and comments.

    11. If you are unable to do at least 5 of the above, return to your place of origin.  You either do not want to adapt, have tried to but unfortunately were not able to adapt, completely failed to adapt, or simply the place is not for you.  Before your own dignity and self-esteem is completely demolished, recede back into your home of comfort, and do not go to another country for the purpose of a long-term stay again.  You were not made for it.

  11. Yeah. Actually, I’ve done like that when non korean speaks korean even just a word. Because, I think it’s hard to learn, memorize and pronounce. When I say “you speak korean very well”, it means I’m so impressive and not just encourage. :) I didn’t know it makes you guys get annoyed.

  12. I’m wondering if this would only happen with people who are distinctly foreign, like a non-asian. Would this happen to another asian? hmmm…

  13. interesting. pretty much the same as in japan, i guess. although there is one thing that sometimes happens here, that you didn’t mention,  so i’m wondering if it happens there too…

    i speak pretty decent japanese, and i don’t live in a big city, but this sometimes happen if i go to Tokyo or Osaka and whatnot. i’ll go to a restaurant or something, and start speaking to the staff in japanese, and they’ll imediately switch to this completely bastardized, unintelligible english. now i KNOW my japanese is fine, but it’s like they have a mental block or something that the foreigner cannot speak japanese, so they carry on in that weird english that i can’t even understand… it’s REALLY annoying…

    • What I figure is probably the case, is that most Japanese people have learned at least a tiny bit of English in schooling. But they probably normally don’t have that much of a chance to ever use it often. So when they see a foreigner that knows English, they probably jump on the chance to practice their English. Just what I was thinking.

  14. I think stuff like that happens where ever you go in any country when you are always a foreigner.
    In Japan, it’s sort of a similar situation and instead of 외국인 you would hear gaijin whispered or right in your face.
    For me, living in the Middle East for almost all my life and only being born in Korea has its quirks too.
    Here there is quite the diversity of nationalities as expats make up a lot for the workforce as the locals will never do anything for 3D jobs. Hence just because I’m Asian, the locals will come up anytime even though I’ve never met them or even talked with them and ask me right off the bat, “where are you from?”.
    Or some come up to my face and immediately go “Chinese? Japanese? Thai? Filipino?” And when I say no to all of them, then they’ll wait for my revealing answer.
    So now when I get that and I get that often, I say “None of your business”. Or sometimes I do the same, “Pakistani? Bangladesh? Saudi? Irani? Omani?”.  I don’t want to be rude but they are being rude. If we got to know each other and then it came up, then it wouldn’t be such a problem.
    Once I was buying printer ink at a store and when ringing it up the guy asked where I was from. I told him why he needed to know that and what it has to do with me buying stuff at the store. I then asked, if I told you where I’m from would I get a special discount for telling?

    I now even tell my wife that when anyone asks stupid questions like that to not get the image they are being friendly and don’t bother taking the time to tell them where. They just find it amusing to ask…

  15. I guess unlike in Canada, an English speaking country where you’ll see tons of foreigner speaking english, in Korea, it’s not common to see a foreigner speaking Korean.

    For me, I still think it’s absolutely completely necessary for a foreigner to try to speak Korean; I take it as the very least thing one has to do to live in Korea, and if a foreigner ask me a direction or something in English, I would never bloody answer despite being able to speak English without much trouble. Even if you’re just visiting for a couple of days, one should try learning how to say hello, how to ask direction, simple stuffs that you can learn in a couple of hours. Imagine if you come across someone in Canada, who’s asking you for direction in Italian.

    However, whenever I do come across one, I get surprised, because not many people do try speaking Korean (or, respect the country they’re in). The person will be instantly much more memorable, and I think that’s why people point out.

    People who scold foreigner for their not-as-good Korean, I don’t know about them, I just think they’re idiots.

    • The problem is that many foreigners come to Korea with the intention to at least attempt to learn the language. However in all cases, particularly mine, they are met with hostility from Koreans who are either guarded about their homogenous culture (uncomfortable with a white face speaking their tribal tongue) or just see a caucasian as a means to free English practice. I can’t count the amount of times when I’ve built up the courage to talk to a stranger in Seoul, then been shot down by a 영어시키는상대방 who tells me that everyone knows English and I “dont need to” or “shouldn’t” speak Korean because it sounds strange.
      You’ll notice that foreigners in other countries make more effort to learn the local tongue because we are encouraged to. I didn’t feel that encouragement often in Korea. If you are as you suggest in your post, then you are one of the few decent ones.

      많은 외국분들이 적어도 간단한 한국말만 배우려는 의도로 한국을 찾아요. 그분들 특히 제가 백인으로써 같은 경우엔 옛날생각 가진 한국인들이나 영어연습을시키는 한국인들에게 적대적 반응을 많이 받더라고요. 저는 용기가 나서 낮선 한국인에게 말걸으려다가 제가 한글로 한 말에 영어로만 계속 댑하거나 우리말로 하지말라는 사람들이랑 접한 적은 셀수도 없고요. 여러 나라에서 거주하는 외국인이나 서양인의 모습을 보면 그나라의 말을 열심히 공부하는 외국사람이 많다는것 볼수있을거에요. 저는 한국서 있었던 동안 저 주변에 그만큼의 한국말 열심히 배우라고 격려해주는 사람들은 없었던 것같는데요.
      그런데 요셉씨가 글에서 말씀하셨던 것처럼의 생각이 가진 분이라면 반갑고 요셉씨의 마음을 가진 한국인들 더 생겼으면 좋겠어요.

  16. I could not agree more. I don’t know much Korean. I can read and write, but my vocabulary is small, but even when I try to speak Korean I always get the “wow, your Korean is really good!” thing. The Japanese do the exact same thing, but without the “why don’t you learn more” part. It still has that awkwardness to it, ’cause you know they don’t really mean it (they’re just being nice). Anyway, I’ve also had experiences where I’ve felt like a total outsider, and experiences where I felt they were a lot more accepting of me as part of their “group”. 

    This is totally off-topic but… your apartment is awesome! It’s so nice looking! Would I sound like a crazy person if I said it would be super awesome to meet you guys? I’m not, I swear! But I live at the end of the #1 line, so it’s a little far from you guys. :(

  17. About the
    speaking, i think you are right. I experience the same. But I think is kind of
    the Korean behaved to non-korean- people. A lot of people said I am pretty, which
    flattered me at the beginning, but now a lot of people said it to everything
    (new dress, new hair…)and I do think now it’s just the be nice, not that the
    really mean it. And I think it’s the same with the language. The “Your Korean is
    good” is more like “you Korean sucks, but thanks for learning my language” kind
    of. >.<

    And what
    really annoyed me is everyone things you are American, tried to speak English
    with you or in my case thinks you are from Russia. Why can’t they just ask instant
    of guessing around…

    But all in
    all Korean people are really friendly and they feed you a lot^^ =) And they are
    really concern if the food is to your taste or too spicy.

  18. I’m a Filipina and I can speak English really well. When I’m outside with my non-Filipina friends, I talk to Filipino staff in Tagalog, using honorifics such as “po” and “opo”…like “yeo” in Korean–and they’re so surprised I’m a Filipina. xD They say “Wow, you can speak English really well.”

    I’ve been fluent in English all my life, but my accent’s all over the place– I sound American/British/Australian/Canadian, all at the same time. :D
    This is really interesting, my Korean friend say that her friends were fascinated by how well she spoke in English. :)

  19. I’m a Filipina and I can speak English really well. When I’m outside with my non-Filipina friends, I talk to Filipino staff in Tagalog, using honorifics such as “po” and “opo”…like “yeo” in Korean–and they’re so surprised I’m a Filipina. xD They say “Wow, you can speak English really well.”

    I’ve been fluent in English all my life, but my accent’s all over the place– I sound American/British/Australian/Canadian, all at the same time. :D
    This is really interesting, my Korean friend say that her friends were fascinated by how well she spoke in English. :)

  20.  was born in Nigeria but moved to Canada and then the U.S. I have spoken English (albeit with a slight British accent). When I tell people I am Nigerian, they go, “Aw, your English is so good.” I am tempted to tell them that I probably speak better English than they do :-). 

    My mom has lived in Canada and the U.S. all her life but because she retains a bit of a Nigerian accent, I get addressed more often than she does when we are together in grocery stores. They think she doesn’t speak English. Sometimes, I want to tell them that she went to college, got a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and PhD, speaks fluent English and is a tenured professor at a prominent university in the U.S. but I refrain.

  21. I was born in Nigeria but moved to Canada and then the U.S. I have spoken English (albeit with a slight British accent). When I tell people I am Nigerian, they go, “Aw, your English is so good.” I am tempted to tell them that I probably speak better English than they do :-). 

    My mom has lived in Canada and the U.S. all her life but because she retains a bit of a Nigerian accent, I get addressed more often than she does when we are together in grocery stores. They think she doesn’t speak English. Sometimes, I want to tell them that she went to college, got a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and PhD, speaks fluent English and is a tenured professor at a prominent university in the U.S. but I refrain.

  22. I was born in Nigeria but moved to Canada and then the U.S. I have spoken English (albeit with a slight British accent). When I tell people I am Nigerian, they go, “Aw, your English is so good.” I am tempted to tell them that I probably speak better English than they do :-). 

    My mom has lived in Canada and the U.S. all her life but because she retains a bit of a Nigerian accent, I get addressed more often than she does when we are together in grocery stores. They think she doesn’t speak English. Sometimes, I want to tell them that she went to college, got a Bachelor’s degree, Master’s degree and PhD, speaks fluent English and is a tenured professor at a prominent university in the U.S. but I refrain.

  23. i went on exchange to Germany and i got a few “your German is so good” but never to the point that it got annoying but I did experience a similar frustration when I was got angry with someone and all they did was laugh at my poor German because I couldn’t concentrate on the language while being so frustrated and it just frustrated me even more because I wasn’t able to express myself

  24. hi pplz! i am a person that lives in japan and speaks fluent japanese and english. kpop is my life and i went to chilies once saw a guy that had the same hair as simon and yelled at the top of my lungs. OMG!!!!!! its SIMON!!! HI SIMON!! YOU PROBABLY DONT KNOW ME BUT HIIIIII!!! once i noticed it wasnt simon i ran to the bathroom and started to laugh at my self and said, thats not simon!!!

  25. Hi I have lots of guy friends that really like me and  think one of them is going to ask me to be their girlfriend so I just wanted to know in case, they invite me to their house how should I address the mother and father and what kind of manners should I show inside the house?

  26. i’m super about the adventure videos and seeing more of korea and the culture.  I’d think it’d be really cool if you guys featured some food in the adventure segment because the few episodes/videos you two do with food i find really interesting, like the kimchi making video was fascinating to me. 

  27. Oh man! I can so identify with this video! Haha. Well, I’m Asian so I think many Asians find it truly amazing whenever foreigners pick up our language. I can’t speak for Koreans but I think it’s cool that Simon and Martina knows the language and are sharing so much stuff about Korea to us in ENGLISH~ :)

  28. I loved the points you made and I find quite interesting that the whole “your (insert target language here) is pretty good” seems to be more the rule than the exception in lots of cultures. I’m Chilean and I’m also an English major, so my level of proficiency in that language is quite decent. I still can’t get over your English is pretty good phase when I meet for the first time a native speaker. At the same time, my family and most of my friends who don’t speak English (or Chinese or Portuguese or whatever the native language of the person they’e talking to is) automatically make that compliment and spend some time talking about their language level no matter what. It is annoying, but it is part of our culture

  29. I loved the points you made and I find quite interesting that the whole “your (insert target language here) is pretty good” seems to be more the rule than the exception in lots of cultures. I’m Chilean and I’m also an English major, so my level of proficiency in that language is quite decent. I still can’t get over your English is pretty good phase when I meet for the first time a native speaker. At the same time, my family and most of my friends who don’t speak English (or Chinese or Portuguese or whatever the native language of the person they’e talking to is) automatically make that compliment and spend some time talking about their language level no matter what. It is annoying, but it is part of our culture

  30. I loved the points you guys shared in this one.  I have to share:  My experience with the many Korean people that I know here in the States is mixed.  About half have come here recently; within the last 5 years, so their English is either pretty darn good or non-existent.  But I have found that even though they are very respectful in communication as a rule, they are ALL very blunt.  I think most of the time it translates as a bit forward and rude but when I apply this rule to dealing with them, they are NEVER offended.  (Or they’re lying…LOL)  When I am blunt, (which is often no matter who I’m talking to) I apologize for my frankness and ALWAYS my apology is met with “no, you did nothing wrong, I understand you completely.”  (In fact, Americans CANNOT handle frankness quite as well as Koreans.)  I think Koreans believe in feed back and confirmation of their actions through statements that point out…well, the obvious.  Ah, the things that make the world go around.  Love & Peace.

  31. My sister Hyeon-Jin once told me about how her friend Jen, also an exchange student, had a very funny moment with a school principal. She went to great her, and not realizing that Jen had been speaking English since the third grade and had lived in America for 3 years already said “HELLO.WELCOME…TO OUR…COUNTRY! I AM YOUR…PRINCIPAL! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THAT IS???”  And Jen just looked at her and said in perfect English, “Yes I do know what that is. Also, I am foreign, not deaf.”  Best embarrassing moment ever xD

  32. as an asian-american, i’ve gotten plenty of ‘oh your english is very good’

    but what’s worse is when making small talk with new people, there’s always that one guy that asks if i spoke ‘asian’

    • Lol I’ve had that too. I grew up in New Zealand and I’ve encountered the odd ignorant mong face here and there that after I converse with go, “Heeeey… your English… You speak English really good!” And I’m all, “You mean I speak English well. Better check yo’ grammar, son.” (30 Rock reference somewhat).

      Or another thing that annoys me is when the first thing out of a stranger’s mouth is, “Where are you from?”
      Does it really matter?? What irks me about it is that the asian population in New Zealand is huge. HUUUUUGE I tell you!
      And if the first thing they say to me is not, “Hi, how are you?” or “So what do you do?” or “Nice day today huh?” but “Where are you from?” it tells me they’ve been living under a rock for the past 25 years and I’m the first asian they’re encountering and it’s BLOWING. THEIR. MIND. So ignorant!!

      Sadly I’m part of the generation that was pre-Korean-immigrant-influx. The kids now are all bilingual and have an understanding of each other. When I was growing up, the new Korean kids mocked me and my brother for not speaking Korean and the white kids were all ZOMG CHINAMEN!!
      The worst is when they thought me and my two other Korean friends were triplets. Da fuq.

  33. Haha I know what it’s like! We have a couple Korean exchange students at my school here in Canada and one of my best friends (who is Korean) will introduce me and be like: “HEY SHE CAN SPEAK KOREAN” and they’ll get all giddy and excited. Even though I only know really simple things, they’ll always encourage me and stare, etc. It’s both a little annoying and encouraging, haha. They’re always amazed about how much I know about music and little bits about their culture. Since I’m also fluent in French, they seem to say “I’ll teach you that in Korean, if you teach me it in French”, because they, for the most part, are really interested about learning our culture and our languages. It is, however, like you said, kind of annoying.

    But even in my small school, exchange students get critised for not being able to speak “fluent English”. So I suppose it’s as much as a problem here as in Korea? Even if a student’s English is really good, a teacher or other student will go, “Oh! Your English is very good”, and I know it annoys them. Other exchange students have problems with students finishing their sentence for them. It’s fine to help them out, but talking for them won’t help them learn anything.

  34. OMGsun …..reminds me of when people tell me all the time that my English is good….Guys just because i am chinese and lived in NEW ZEALAND my whole life {14 years} that i need to be reminded that i speak better english….Gosh its annoying…

  35. Is it really that surprising the reactions you get from Koreans as foreigners? Not so long ago, countries like Canada and the US had a mostly homogeneous population, and for the most part, it still is that way. Caucasians would offer those same reactions that you receive from Koreans, to non-Caucasians. 

    As an full-blooded Asian born and bred in North America, I distinctly remember going to the grocery store with my mother many years ago, and the cashier exclaimed [about my mother], “Wow! You speak English really well!” Gosh, I hope so, she’s only been living here for 20 years…

    We might pride ourselves on being multicultural and accepting here in North America, but although the situation has improved a lot over the past few decades, it is not totally different from South Korea. Minorities still get the outsider treatment at times. We might speak English like you, enjoy good Western food like you, watch football like you, but we’re still not like you and we don’t always get to forget that. Maybe it’s just something like the odd glance when we walk down the street, the surprise when they realize we’re not that different from them, but it’s still there.

    It’s funny when the tables are turned aren’t they? I don’t mean to be offensive or anything, it’s just that you have to remember that these racial/foreign issues do go both ways. Foreigners in America get treated just like you do in South Korea. Maybe not to such a great degree, maybe not everywhere, but we still have a long way to go.

    • perfect comment.

      • That kind of praise is more than a bit unwarranted…

        • perhaps, but you pretty much said everything that I wanted to say. I’m also an Asian-American (born and grew up in the states). while I don’t frequently experience ignorant/racist comments (intentional or not), it happens enough that it makes me a bit defensive.

    • I don’t think they ever meant to say that it WASN’T the other way around. That wasn’t ever brought up. Of course this unfortunately happens outside of Korea. They never said it didn’t. They were simply addressing the question at hand, which they did perfectly.

      • Of course, I’m sure that they didn’t mean to do that. It’s just that the problems they face really shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s the same problem any foreigner faces in any country. You have to come to expect to not fit in.

        It’s nice that they got free chicken and beer during the World Cup, though! If I walked into a sports bar in Toronto and went all out for Team Canada, I probably wouldn’t get anything besides the odd drink from some drunk trying to get lucky.

        • Depends on the people really. I remember once when our department was out for a party. There was a big TV there and it was showing a match of Liverpool Vs something … One of my colleagues was a big football fan and he hit it off with a British sitting near us cause he happened to be a LIverpool fan as well.  After the match was over, he said “Glad to see more fans here. Let me buy you guys a drink!”

    • you said the words right out of my mouth. Although North America (US and Canada) are multicultural countries, I have experienced every bit of “insensitivities” Simon and Martina have talked about in those two countries. From the way Simon and Martina compared the “multicultural Canada” and “culturally insensitive” Korea, I don’t think they were thinking at that time that things can go the other way around. It might be because they were never a minority in their own community and didn’t see someone get that kind of treatment around Toronto.

    • you said the words right out of my mouth. Although North America (US and Canada) are multicultural countries, I have experienced every bit of “insensitivities” Simon and Martina have talked about in those two countries. From the way Simon and Martina compared the “multicultural Canada” and “culturally insensitive” Korea, I don’t think they were thinking at that time that things can go the other way around. It might be because they were never a minority in their own community and didn’t see someone get that kind of treatment around Toronto.

  36. You two make me so stinkin’ happy, I’m seriously all smiles and laughs when I watch your videos! Love it! Keep up the AMAZING work :)

  37. Yeah… I constantly realize how ignorant Koreans are in engaging foreigners. It even seems bit like a racism. I apologize on behalf of Koreans…Sorry. People are just not used to meeting foreigners and I hope it will improve over time.

    • 솔직히 이런거같고 사과안해도 될듯싶어요. 우리나라에서만 이런일이 일어나는것도 아닌데 꼭 사과를 하고 미안해야할 필요가 있나요? just fyi it happens in a lot of different countries.

    • 솔직히 이런거같고 사과안해도 될듯싶어요. 우리나라에서만 이런일이 일어나는것도 아닌데 꼭 사과를 하고 미안해야할 필요가 있나요? just fyi it happens in a lot of different countries.

      • 다른나라에서도 그런다고 고치지 않는 것보다는 직시하고 고치는게 낫다고 생각해서요. It’s better to  acknowledge and change than to shove off because other countries are the same

        • 그래도 한국사람을 대표해서 사과하는건 좀 아니라고 봐서요.. sometimes I feel like Koreans are just too self conscious of what their people do and tend to apologize for every single thing. It’s not a thing to apologize for. Just recognizing that it’s a thing to improve on is enough.

        • 확실히 오버한 면이 있을지도 모르겠네요. 그 부분을 지우겠습니다.True…. I admit that was a bit over reacting of my part. I will erase that part then.

  38. are you guys talking about your friend Jennifer? She was on running man too for the cooking ep right?? i was surprised by her korean but i obviously didnt know she was fluent haha but yoo jae suk and everyone had the same reaction!! i totally get what u mean. even my korean friends here in the US always say “wow your korean is really good” even though i only know like five words but still lol

  39. Great video again guys!!
    One thing I just wonder….did you guys go to clubs or disco in Korea, and if so, do they played lot of K-POP for party people to dance with? Here in Hong Kong some small club/disco bar will play a few K-POP, but usually SJ-Sorry Sorry and Wonder Girls_Nobody only! Last night I’ve been to disco bar that the DJ play lots of K-POP from f(x), 2pm, SNSD, T-ara and so on, with the PV played on the screen as well!! Really really cool!!

  40. Yes, yes, yes!
    Korean people love other people who join their culture :D
    well, I gotta admit that Koreans will be impressed by how foreign people speaks Korean,
    because it is hard to get Korean accent, you know.

  41. Yeah .. I’ve had similar experiences while playing World of Warcraft. I’m chatting with my party/raid team and then when we venture into the topic of who lives where, many a times I have got a reaction like ..”Ooo, you are from India? You speak English!!!!!” 
    The first couple of times it was amusing. After that, I usually either roll my eyes or let loose a few swear words in Hindi .. >_< .. Seriously, what has my command of English got to do anything with my strategy for killing Halfus

    • I’ve been jokingly called a race traitor for being a Korean who doesn’t play Starcraft. Frankly this online gaming thing is a bit overblown. But then you hear of people playing games 2 or 3 days straight with no rest and dying.

    • I’ve been jokingly called a race traitor for being a Korean who doesn’t play Starcraft. Frankly this online gaming thing is a bit overblown. But then you hear of people playing games 2 or 3 days straight with no rest and dying.

  42. I love watching your videos, in fact I watched since 6months ago..!
    and every videos are REALLY awesome..
    it seems like you guys know about Korea more than I do..!
    I always complain about school life.. I’m 9th grade (middle school 3rd yr!)
    maybe you can talk about School life in Korea..!
    but I don’t think it will be cool… It’s really frustrating and all..
    I wish Simon or Martina is my school English tr! that will be so cool..!

    well once again, I LOVE EATYOURKIMCHI..!
    (and can you record a video about Dokdo issues?)

  43. Wow, as a Korean, I was quite surprised after I watched this video. I didn’t think it would be annoying to be commented on your communicating skills. On second thought, however, I could understand that. because if that goes on nonstop, it would even get in the way of communicating itself!
    Though, let me tell you something; we Koreans are very proud of our language-and evidently, it is thought to be the most scientific and easy-to-learn language worldwid.:)  So it is natural to see people being excited at the fact that you speak Korean at first, whatever you are saying. The fact that excitement clouds over your intention-communicating-is a downside, apparently.I understand perfectly how you would feel in that situation, and I’m thankful for your speaking up. I couldn’t have known about it but for your video, and I’m sure I’m speaking for a lot of other Koreans. Thanks again!!!!! :)

  44. I’m really glad you addressed this topic, I actually think about it a lot and have been having similar experiences recently. I go to a prominent public university with a pretty large Korean population, and I’m almost so intimidated by them that I sometimes hide a huge part of who I am so as to not incur negative responses. I’m currently taking an introductory Korean class, and through my love of korean culture I’ve actually been decent at the language for the last few years. Whenever I’m walking to class with a classmate and practicing my pronunciation, or even just playing around with a fellow kpop fan and speaking Korean, the Korean kids on campus (Korean-Americans and natives alike) give me the strangest glances. I’m Indian, so I realize it must be weird/fascinating/a wtf moment to them, but they seriously look at me like I’m some sort of animal that was dropped off by aliens. And when I’ve actually met Koreans on campus and told them that I can speak a little, they are totally baffled. And then, like you said, they’ll often proceed to talk to their friends about me in Korean as I’m standing there looking dumbfounded at how brazenly obvious they are…

    I don’t know, maybe it’s just a cultural thing but I’ve personally found it hardest to connect with Korean people on my campus above all else. I know they’re a very homogenous society and it’s not their fault for the most part, but it actually hurts to be pointed out as distinctly foreign, as someone very “different” from them. I feel trapped. 

    And about learning a foreign language in someone’s non-native country, I think it’s essential to truly absorbing the culture of that nation. But by no means do I think you should be fluent, or spend endless amounts of time on it — just the effort itself says that you’re willing to participate in their culture and heritage, that you actually CARE about being there and communicating with society. :) Languages are a beautiful thing to me, so hopefully everyone becomes more appreciative of people trying to learn/partake in their own language and traditions. 

    • hi tuhina! this is super super creepy since you dont know me, but I saw your comment and I was like, where have I seen this name before? and I was like OH you’re shilpa sure’s friend  at berkeley! haha anyways I just wanted to let you know. 

  45. It’s weird… I had this interview for another job the other day and the woman giving me my interview kept asking me about myself, more on a personal level and I mentioned my love of anything Korean. 

    Wouldn’t ya know she has a Korean aunt and she started going on and on about thinking twice about moving over there when I mentioned teaching there… she said that while Koreans will be nice to your face, that they will say a lot behind your back? She kind of compared them to how Southerners can be in the U.S…. super duper friendly but they gossip a lot (I do know this is true based on my family that lives in Georgia). 

    While it sounds horrible… I got thinking about it and where does talking behind other’s backs NOT happen? I’m convinced at this point that it’s just human nature and it just depends on bad the gossip or trash talk gets… 

    • Oh and on actually trying to speak the little bit of Korean I know… I always want to try it out on Koreans but get shy about it. I did however tell one of my customers Kamsamnida after she tipped me… but only because I knew for sure she’s Korean and she doesn’t speak English very well. 

      Her face totally lit up… I don’t think her smile could have gotten any bigger :) 

    • Everybody talks about everybody else. It doesn’t matter if you are Southern or not. I’m a Southerner born and bred and once I moved out of the South most people think I’m stupid because of my accent or at the very least comment on my “elongated vowels”. Who cares what people might  or might not say about you behind your back? That is giving the gossiper WAY too much power over your life. If they have nothing better to do than talk about you behind your back then let them. They obviously need a hobby anyway. 

  46. I loved Simon’s last comment. xD And yay for outside adventure videos! TL;DR is my favorite segment now, right above Kpop Music Mondays. I love all of your stuff, though!

    I’ve heard a lot of people complain about hearing that their Korean is so good all the time. I think some people have a bad attitude about it, but yours is really good! I’m glad I’ve heard so much about it so I can kind of expect it when I go… I’m sure it’ll still get on my nerves, but at least I know ahead of time.

  47. A few more questions… it seems like the concert atmosphere is very different in Korea vs. US. Is the majority of k-pop listeners girls? Do these idols have as crazy fans as they show in the dramas? How does the k-pop business work, exactly? It looks like singers sign up at an early age, train with an agency, and then get assigned into a group. Until when? What happens after they are no longer popular? Are they allowed to date while in a group?

    • as a Korean girl,
      YES, majority of kpop listeners are GIRLS… boys only like female entertainers cos they are pretty…
      YES, fans are crazy and i think dramas showed the craziness in a mannerful way… in reality, ppl get injured while getting into the concert so they can see the celebrities closer… It’s WAR…

      In Kpop business I have to say I’m quite embarrassed about it…
      I mean, almost 90% of the “singers” seems to be just “dancers..” they don’t sing that well…
      (but they are really good groups but they’re few…)

      And In Korea, many groups are made and gone.. some disappears in a month or two..
      and when they are no longer popular, they have to go back to their miserable life…
      And this is not that complicated issue cos most of them aren’t really reconised by other ppl..

      And you may think they don’t date but they do. in secret ways…(as other girls say so..)

      • Yeah really. I wish they’d stop cracking out girl groups and boy groups because a lot of them a pretty crappy. I think I’m going to stick to old timers mostly like Seo taiji, Kim Gunmo, Baek Ji young(amazing voice!), and uhm jung hwa. However there are a few who are worthwhile checking out. 

  48. A few more questions… it seems like the concert atmosphere is very different in Korea vs. US. Is the majority of k-pop listeners girls? Do these idols have as crazy fans as they show in the dramas? How does the k-pop business work, exactly? It looks like singers sign up at an early age, train with an agency, and then get assigned into a group. Until when? What happens after they are no longer popular? Are they allowed to date while in a group?

  49. Hi Simon, Martina, and Spudgy, I have a question for you guys. How are the celebrities in Korea different from those in US? I’ve been watching some dramas, and it seems like their idol status and persona is very controlled…to the point where it reminds me of watching wrestling because it’s all so fake, why bother looking up to someone who is not being themselves? Anyways, I am also curious about the ratings and the amount of skinship dramas allow. Is Korean movie business very conservative? 

  50. I get attacked my Mexican mercenaries every morning on my way to the bus stop. When they realize I have trouble speaking they automatically assume I don’t understand Spanish, it’s annoying that my own culture alienates me ;~;

  51. Would you guys actually recommend people to go live in Korea? Is it worth it? :D

  52. So, I can relate in a weird way.  I”m white but I married a Mexican/Italian/Navajo man with a Spanish last name. I speak  enough Spanish to get by and everyone is accepting of that UNTIL they see me in person and I don’t “match” the image they have in their heads. 

    My daughters on the other hand look Mexican/Italian/Navajo/White mix but they speak Japanese and Korean because they like the cultures.  Again, they don’t match the mental image and conversation grinds to a halt for all of us because of this. I call this un-intentional racism because the intent isn’t malicious but there is a bit of homogenous thinking there.

    Of course, they also are routinely asked “what are you” and my youngest (if they are clearly racist) replies “human, what  are you?”  Pretty funny to watch that reaction.

    Oddly, we experience more racism from Korean-Americans than Koreans. When my youngest and I have attended K-Pop concerts in the US she is routinely asked if she is Korean adopted by Korean-Americans since she doesn’t look like me and speaks the language, has long straight black hair etc.  When she says no, these same people aren’t always very polite and they KNOW she understand what they are saying! The Koreans assume she isn’t and are welcoming and polite. Strange.

    Here in the US when I meet people for whom English is clearly not their first language, I slow down my speaking and take the time to listen carefully but never comment on the quality of their English.  Instead I show them  their English is good because I understand them.  The point of learning any language is to communicate not ridicule or quantify fluency level.  -sigh- 

  53. So, I can relate in a weird way.  I”m white but I married a Mexican/Italian/Navajo man with a Spanish last name. I speak  enough Spanish to get by and everyone is accepting of that UNTIL they see me in person and I don’t “match” the image they have in their heads. 

    My daughters on the other hand look Mexican/Italian/Navajo/White mix but they speak Japanese and Korean because they like the cultures.  Again, they don’t match the mental image and conversation grinds to a halt for all of us because of this. I call this un-intentional racism because the intent isn’t malicious but there is a bit of homogenous thinking there.

    Of course, they also are routinely asked “what are you” and my youngest (if they are clearly racist) replies “human, what  are you?”  Pretty funny to watch that reaction.

    Oddly, we experience more racism from Korean-Americans than Koreans. When my youngest and I have attended K-Pop concerts in the US she is routinely asked if she is Korean adopted by Korean-Americans since she doesn’t look like me and speaks the language, has long straight black hair etc.  When she says no, these same people aren’t always very polite and they KNOW she understand what they are saying! The Koreans assume she isn’t and are welcoming and polite. Strange.

    Here in the US when I meet people for whom English is clearly not their first language, I slow down my speaking and take the time to listen carefully but never comment on the quality of their English.  Instead I show them  their English is good because I understand them.  The point of learning any language is to communicate not ridicule or quantify fluency level.  -sigh- 

    • I think your last point is the most important one: language is a tool, albeit a shoddy one, to get the thoughts in your head into someone else’s head.  It’s not a social status.  In Korea, we have encountered many Korean people who speak English very well, but never speak it, because they’re worried – supposedly – that if they don’t speak it perfectly they will be thought of as less.  It’s better for them to not communicate, to maintain a distance and confusion, rather than risk the possibility of not seeming perfect in English.  Ah!

    • It’s a similar story to me. I’m of a descent that is more Indian, but i speak Japanese well. But some people, mostly family, find it embarrassing since it’s not “my native language”. I don’t really know how to react to that.

  54. I can say, as a “foreigner”, that people in USA got very surprised every time I opened my mouth and said more than three full sentences in a state where most spanish-speaking people could only say “thank you” and “one coffee, please”. And even after that, they tried to speak low and/or fast to make some comments they didn’t want me to understand, as if I wouldn’t be able to just because they didn’t pause every.single.word.

    Likewise, whenever I met a foreigner in my native country, both me and my friends felt compelled to congratulate them for their broken spanish and their willingness to try and make a conversation – but often it felt like taking to a child, and I know some of my friends would make comments about them right in FRONT OF THEM, which (as someone who’s been on that end of the stick) I found incredibly rude.

  55. I can say, as a “foreigner”, that people in USA got very surprised every time I opened my mouth and said more than three full sentences in a state where most spanish-speaking people could only say “thank you” and “one coffee, please”. And even after that, they tried to speak low and/or fast to make some comments they didn’t want me to understand, as if I wouldn’t be able to just because they didn’t pause every.single.word.

    Likewise, whenever I met a foreigner in my native country, both me and my friends felt compelled to congratulate them for their broken spanish and their willingness to try and make a conversation – but often it felt like taking to a child, and I know some of my friends would make comments about them right in FRONT OF THEM, which (as someone who’s been on that end of the stick) I found incredibly rude.

  56. I agree with the overall sentiment that, while that type of double-edged
    reaction is never meant in a mean way, single-minded reactions can be
    very patronizing regardless of where you’re from or what you look like.

    For instance, I am Korean adopted and grew up in the USA. My entire
    life, people have told me that my English is good. They ask where did I
    learn to speak and how long have I been living in the states. (“Oh
    aren’t you so cute! And you speak English!!” /grrr /facepalm). In fact, I
    find that people are extremely disappointed if I tell them which state
    I’m from rather than that I was born in Seoul, SK. Very often I am told
    how “ethnic” I am. It becomes annoying and patronizing when people
    assume I cannot speak English and that my personality will be aegyo;
    both assumptions are pretty horribly inaccurate! (I also have gotten
    extremely negative and racist reactions to my physical appearance in the
    US, but that’s a different topic).

    However, on the same note, most Koreans become very awkward around me
    when they learn that I do not speak Korean (beyond the basics). I think
    it’s because they feel like if you look Korean you should act Korean
    (just like if you don’t look Korean it’s a novelty if you act it). I’ve
    had Koreans insult me and talk about me in Korean, while I’m sitting
    right there, once they learn I’m adopted. I’ve had people get mad at me
    for not doing things according to Korean custom and try to teach me that
    I’m doing it “wrong”. (The worst was when I dated a Korean guy and his
    family hated that I didn’t “act right”. Stop scolding me like a child)!
    My Korean friends call me a “Twinkie” and introduce me around as a
    novelty, which I’ve often told them bothers me. I will note, though,
    that if Koreans make fun of me my Korean friends jump to my rescue with
    “Oh! She can’t help that she isn’t Korean! It’s not funny, it’s sad!
    She’ll learn”. The intent is not “mean” for most of these people, but
    the delivery is irritating.

    I kind of digress, sorry about that. I just wanted to throw in that I
    concur with your view that living with people treating you as a novelty
    can be quite aggravating! Stay strong and know that you’re broadening
    narrow horizons.  =D  Your insight into aspects of Korean culture is refreshing.

    • Thanks :D  You know, we didn’t mention the reactions our Non-Korean Korean friends get, but it’s very similar to your response.  We complain a bit about our position, but – from the stories we’ve been told – yours seems to be the bigger burden.

  57. I agree with the overall sentiment that, while that type of double-edged
    reaction is never meant in a mean way, single-minded reactions can be
    very patronizing regardless of where you’re from or what you look like.

    For instance, I am Korean adopted and grew up in the USA. My entire
    life, people have told me that my English is good. They ask where did I
    learn to speak and how long have I been living in the states. (“Oh
    aren’t you so cute! And you speak English!!” /grrr /facepalm). In fact, I
    find that people are extremely disappointed if I tell them which state
    I’m from rather than that I was born in Seoul, SK. Very often I am told
    how “ethnic” I am. It becomes annoying and patronizing when people
    assume I cannot speak English and that my personality will be aegyo;
    both assumptions are pretty horribly inaccurate! (I also have gotten
    extremely negative and racist reactions to my physical appearance in the
    US, but that’s a different topic).

    However, on the same note, most Koreans become very awkward around me
    when they learn that I do not speak Korean (beyond the basics). I think
    it’s because they feel like if you look Korean you should act Korean
    (just like if you don’t look Korean it’s a novelty if you act it). I’ve
    had Koreans insult me and talk about me in Korean, while I’m sitting
    right there, once they learn I’m adopted. I’ve had people get mad at me
    for not doing things according to Korean custom and try to teach me that
    I’m doing it “wrong”. (The worst was when I dated a Korean guy and his
    family hated that I didn’t “act right”. Stop scolding me like a child)!
    My Korean friends call me a “Twinkie” and introduce me around as a
    novelty, which I’ve often told them bothers me. I will note, though,
    that if Koreans make fun of me my Korean friends jump to my rescue with
    “Oh! She can’t help that she isn’t Korean! It’s not funny, it’s sad!
    She’ll learn”. The intent is not “mean” for most of these people, but
    the delivery is irritating.

    I kind of digress, sorry about that. I just wanted to throw in that I
    concur with your view that living with people treating you as a novelty
    can be quite aggravating! Stay strong and know that you’re broadening
    narrow horizons.  =D  Your insight into aspects of Korean culture is refreshing.

  58. Hey Simon, Martina, Spudgy, I find that it’s not only in a country that you visit you get the “oh! You speak __ so well!”. I live in Canada and I know a few languages fluently so if someone comes by and they’re struggling with what they’re saying I ask what they’re more comfortable with.
    Example, I know Japanese and this Japanese woman was asking me for directions and she was struggling with her English because we couldn’t understand each other. She muttered a few words to her self before she started to tell me what she wanted. I replied back to her in Japanese and she was pretty surprised instead of thankful that I could understand her. I got the “oh! You speak Japanese so well!”.

  59. I always go into stores, markets, and restaurants with zeal and once I get up to the counter, am horribly reminded that I don’t speak Korean.  -_-

    But that won’t stop me!

  60. I always go into stores, markets, and restaurants with zeal and once I get up to the counter, am horribly reminded that I don’t speak Korean.  -_-

    But that won’t stop me!

  61. I always go into stores, markets, and restaurants with zeal and once I get up to the counter, am horribly reminded that I don’t speak Korean.  -_-

    But that won’t stop me!

  62. isn’t it lovely panda???????????

  63. to me, when i hear foreigner speacks korean, they looks soooo cute, and feel proud of our language.
    its kind of manner say “you speack Koran very good! ”  
    i’m living in AUS at the moment, sonetimes i heard same thing; “your english is good” but it feel like different with Korean. i think they said that, means “your english is better than that i thought”   anyway, you guys speck Korean sooo lovely~ especially Martina say Oppa~ kkk    have a good day:) 

  64. Was the friend you were talking about on Running Man with you guys? Because I remember something exactly like that happening in the Nichkhun epi. (one of them). She was critiquing the food and she spoke to them fluently in Korean and they were all like’ WOW, You speak Korean really well’ right in the middle of her speech.

    P.S I was super stoked when I saw you on RM.

  65. I first got interested in Korean culture because two of my best friends in high school were exchange students from Korea. I’m also very fascinated with languages and I would always ask them what certain words were in Korean, how to say some things, etc. What’s weird is that depending on who I asked they reacted very differently. 
    One girl would sit with me for twenty minutes happily correcting my pronunciation, while if I asked the other one, she would try to tell me once, then laugh at my attempt and change the subject. It was like she was uncomfortable having me “try out” her culture. So I think it really depends on the person and situation.
    BTW your videos are amazing, they have made me seriously consider teaching in Korea as well, keep up the good work!!

  66. i find it really interesting that you guys experience this kind of thing, because i have a lot of friends who live in the US and get the same remarks. i live near san francisco and there it’s rare to hear some kind of “oh! you speak ______ really well” comment, because of how incredibly diverse the city is. but going out an hour or two into the other parts of the bay area means it gets a lot different. i have second generation mexican-american friends who will speak english to their customers at work and they’ll be told, “oh, your english is so good!” and it definitely IS patronizing, particularly when my friends were born and raised in america, speaking english all their lives. it surprises me that it happens in other countries too.

  67. Funny how your description matches with my own. Over time (I lived about five years abroad), I made my own theory about it, which goes like this: If you come from a rather multicultural country (being Swiss, a country with four official languages and a foreign population of about 23% of the total population, I think it is fairly safe to say that I grew up in a multicultural environment) and move to a rather mono-cultural country (which in my case was Denmark – a country with less then 10% foreigners and a very strict immigration policy) you will experience what you and I experienced: That even though people are getting more used to foreigners not only as tourists but long-term immigrants, they are still not all that familiar with the concept. The differences between the two European cultures (and languages) I experienced were of course nothing to the differences you guys go through. Nevertheless, there are differences that go far beyond the language barrier. But that’s a different topic altogether. :)
    Back on track: I remember the first phase, when people would just complementing me on my language skills all the time but not really helping other than that, when I was eager to learn Danish. They would quickly switch to English in order to make the conversation easier for me to follow. That totally wasn’t my point as I was trying to learn Danish. Over time, my Danish got better and people wouldn’t switch languages anymore – they’d still comment on my Danish far more than on what I’d say. I remember telling my friends that it would be my goal to have a conversation with a random person without them commenting on either my language skills or me being a foreigner. I got to that point – it took quite some time for the comments to move from the initial reaction of me saying anything to later points of the conversation until they eventually disappeared. By that point I really felt part of society. Hurray – time to move. :)
    Anyway, I totally agree with all your points – with not everybody being interested in really learning the language but rather wanting to experience the cultural from a more touristic point of view, so to say. I know lots of people who did that as well. For both, the more “indepth-involved” and the “just-for-fun” foreigners, a more tolerant attitude would be very helpful. It’s not about perfect grammar nor smooth pronunciation but communicating, getting your point across, building a bridge between people.
    This totally was a case of TL;DR by a non-native English speaker – how apt. ;)

  68. Hum… I went to a trip to argentine, and I can’t speak Spanish at all but because the language is a bit alike to mine (the sounds, words and all) we can understand what they say, we just can’t speak… but funny thing is, they make fun of us! We trying your best to be friendly and trying to speak in their language and all they told us was ”Next time come knowing the language, you need to learn our language before comming” WTH? And then started laughing and saying we should learn over and over again … since I understand their language but not when they speak too fast I asked the man to slow down a bit (he was a guide!)  And he said to me ”But I’m already speaking slow, more than this is impossible” and laughed in front of me, actually he was speaking pretty fast at times and confusing us… I believe he didn’t repeat again what he said when he asked him to, on purpose, because we should have to know their language…. It kinda of sucks…

    I think it’s rude the person laugh at you when you are trying to speak in their language… when you want to be friendly. Very rude.

  69. Hum… I went to a trip to argentine, and I can’t speak Spanish at all but because the language is a bit alike to mine (the sounds, words and all) we can understand what they say, we just can’t speak… but funny thing is, they make fun of us! We trying your best to be friendly and trying to speak in their language and all they told us was ”Next time come knowing the language, you need to learn our language before comming” WTH? And then started laughing and saying we should learn over and over again … since I understand their language but not when they speak too fast I asked the man to slow down a bit (he was a guide!)  And he said to me ”But I’m already speaking slow, more than this is impossible” and laughed in front of me, actually he was speaking pretty fast at times and confusing us… I believe he didn’t repeat again what he said when he asked him to, on purpose, because we should have to know their language…. It kinda of sucks…

    I think it’s rude the person laugh at you when you are trying to speak in their language… when you want to be friendly. Very rude.

  70. Hum… I went to a trip to argentine, and I can’t speak Spanish at all but because the language is a bit alike to mine (the sounds, words and all) we can understand what they say, we just can’t speak… but funny thing is, they make fun of us! We trying your best to be friendly and trying to speak in their language and all they told us was ”Next time come knowing the language, you need to learn our language before comming” WTH? And then started laughing and saying we should learn over and over again … since I understand their language but not when they speak too fast I asked the man to slow down a bit (he was a guide!)  And he said to me ”But I’m already speaking slow, more than this is impossible” and laughed in front of me, actually he was speaking pretty fast at times and confusing us… I believe he didn’t repeat again what he said when he asked him to, on purpose, because we should have to know their language…. It kinda of sucks…

    I think it’s rude the person laugh at you when you are trying to speak in their language… when you want to be friendly. Very rude.

  71. Hum… I went to a trip to argentine, and I can’t speak Spanish at all but because the language is a bit alike to mine (the sounds, words and all) we can understand what they say, we just can’t speak… but funny thing is, they make fun of us! We trying your best to be friendly and trying to speak in their language and all they told us was ”Next time come knowing the language, you need to learn our language before comming” WTH? And then started laughing and saying we should learn over and over again … since I understand their language but not when they speak too fast I asked the man to slow down a bit (he was a guide!)  And he said to me ”But I’m already speaking slow, more than this is impossible” and laughed in front of me, actually he was speaking pretty fast at times and confusing us… I believe he didn’t repeat again what he said when he asked him to, on purpose, because we should have to know their language…. It kinda of sucks…

    I think it’s rude the person laugh at you when you are trying to speak in their language… when you want to be friendly. Very rude.

  72. I had similar experiences in Japan, speaking Japanese. However, I learnt that if I follow a simple routine of “your Japanese is very good – oh no, I still have a lot to learn – oh, but it is – no, no, but thank you” the conversation usually goes back to where it was. Plus it only applies to people I meet for the first time. Do your Korean friends praise you for speaking Korean well whenever you open up your mouth? Now, that would be awkward…

  73. I think it’s a common thing even between countries that speak the same language, I am from South America but moved to the caribbean and although I’ve been living here for half my life, when people find out I’m from another country they always comment on my accent (i.e. “Wow! really…but you don’t have the accent” <- Think American English vs Brittish English but with Spanish) My answer is always "I learned to speak in your accent to avoid getting pointed out like this".
    That's why when I watch Korean shows and someone starts speaking in Saturi, I can understand why  nobody really cares about what they are saying as much as they are amazed at the way it sounds.I guess we all just have to live with it…

  74. I think it’s a common thing even between countries that speak the same language, I am from South America but moved to the caribbean and although I’ve been living here for half my life, when people find out I’m from another country they always comment on my accent (i.e. “Wow! really…but you don’t have the accent” <- Think American English vs Brittish English but with Spanish) My answer is always "I learned to speak in your accent to avoid getting pointed out like this".
    That's why when I watch Korean shows and someone starts speaking in Saturi, I can understand why  nobody really cares about what they are saying as much as they are amazed at the way it sounds.I guess we all just have to live with it…

  75. I think it’s a common thing even between countries that speak the same language, I am from South America but moved to the caribbean and although I’ve been living here for half my life, when people find out I’m from another country they always comment on my accent (i.e. “Wow! really…but you don’t have the accent” <- Think American English vs Brittish English but with Spanish) My answer is always "I learned to speak in your accent to avoid getting pointed out like this".
    That's why when I watch Korean shows and someone starts speaking in Saturi, I can understand why  nobody really cares about what they are saying as much as they are amazed at the way it sounds.I guess we all just have to live with it…

  76. omg this concerns me now, i’m planning to go to korea in the winter, i know basic korean as well i’m afraid if i ask for directions or something i’ll just get brushed up.

  77. *another note

    I guess you guys (simonandmartina) don’t understand what it is like when someone speaks your language because you guys speak english and almost everyone knows the language.(i said ALMOST everyone) It is when it is not one of the top 3 languages spoken that someone starts speaking in that people get surprised and are amazed.

    You guys feel that just because there are quite a few people who are foreigners living in Korea that do speak the language, most Koreans are aware that foreigners can speak the language but in reality, most people aren’t aware of that so when they do hear you korean, they are genuinly amazed.

    I am amazed when I hear african-americans speak spanish even though I know they could have learned it by the simple fact that they live in a city populated by spanish speakers. I am a “wow your Spanish is good” type of person lol

    • It’s not the fact that people are genuinely intrigued/surprised/pleased that an unexpected person can speak the native language that is disappointing. It’s about how Korean people still regard foreigners who can speak Korean quite well as someone to be distanced. Like the couple with the boyfriend. Instead of trying to engage a conversation with Simon and Martina, after they both showed capability of at least carrying on a simple conversation in Korean, the boyfriend doesn’t say “Oh, you’re good” to them, he says “Oh, they’re good” to his girlfriend. It doesn’t make sense, since Simon and Martina have shown they know what he’s saying. He still doesn’t engage them as people, rather refer to them as if he was standing in front of an attraction.

  78. I guess that’s in any culture when a foreigner is joining in at events, but idk I am mexican-american and when foreigners start speaking the Spanish, at first it’s “oh wow you speak it well” but after it is alittle annoying. I really don’t know why but I suppose it is me secretly wanting Spanish to myself? like if more people can speak it, then your language is less unique? Idk

    It is also irritating when like the Koreans who work near the us/mexican border learn Spanish (not english) and they insult ME in SPANISH!! In MY language!!  It drives me nuts.

    But hey who wouldn’t want to learn a language? If it is being taught, learn. Besides, learning is free =)

  79. I guess that’s in any culture when a foreigner is joining in at events, but idk I am mexican-american and when foreigners start speaking the Spanish, at first it’s “oh wow you speak it well” but after it is alittle annoying. I really don’t know why but I suppose it is me secretly wanting Spanish to myself? like if more people can speak it, then your language is less unique? Idk

    It is also irritating when like the Koreans who work near the us/mexican border learn Spanish (not english) and they insult ME in SPANISH!! In MY language!!  It drives me nuts.

    But hey who wouldn’t want to learn a language? If it is being taught, learn. Besides, learning is free =)

  80. I guess that’s in any culture when a foreigner is joining in at events, but idk I am mexican-american and when foreigners start speaking the Spanish, at first it’s “oh wow you speak it well” but after it is alittle annoying. I really don’t know why but I suppose it is me secretly wanting Spanish to myself? like if more people can speak it, then your language is less unique? Idk

    It is also irritating when like the Koreans who work near the us/mexican border learn Spanish (not english) and they insult ME in SPANISH!! In MY language!!  It drives me nuts.

    But hey who wouldn’t want to learn a language? If it is being taught, learn. Besides, learning is free =)

  81. The whole being surprised thing is one point that annoys me a tiny bit. It gets on my nerves when Koreans are always surprised to see KPop known around the world. I mean not like it’s huge everywhere but you will find fans in every country and Korean media/artists seem so surprised like they never thought their music/culture would be known outside of korea/asia. We live in a time of internet and news spread around in seconds. I just don’t get why they are being so surprised. I would understand it when it a few years back when the internet was still improving/in progress but now … it’s called globalisation~ Sorry for the rant :P

  82. I’ve had this happen to me with just about every Korean person I have met. Each new Korean student in my school basically gives me the same reaction.
    Me (In korean) “Hello. What’s your name?”
    Her “Oh, your korean is really good!”
    Me “Thanks, but, what’s your name?”

    I’ve had several Korean women buy something from where I work, and I’d give them a friendly thank you and have a nice day in korean, and their reaction were both just shock. The one even pointed out to her son that I spoke korean. However, I did notice a slight gender difference when I checked out a korean man, where he simply asked “Do you have a friend that is Korean?”.

  83. It’s the same in Japan. You can say the simplest thing in Japanese and the response is always, “WOW YOUR JAPANESE IS SO GOOD ZOMG HOW DID YOU EVER LEARN OUR MYSTICAL AND COMPLICATED LANGUAGE>@*(#&@&^# *head explodes*.” You get this and also, “Wow!! You use chopsticks very well!!! Better than me!! How did you learn to use chopsticks!!?!? HOW!?!? *head explodes again*”

    But you gotta take it all in stride. And like you guys said, it’s not malicious. Just ignorance, really. And North American’s are guilty of it too. “Oh you lived in China?” No, it was Japan. “Well same thing.”

    FALSE. -_-

    • LOL OMG I totally get that when talking to my friends about South Korea. They’ll be like “Oh yeah, you said you wanted to move to Vietnam right?” And I’m like “No….. South Korea…..” *facepalm* And when I post K-Pop vids on Facebook, I know for a fact some of my friends think they’re Japanese vids lol

  84. You guys are amazing. You never ever fail to make me laugh and inform me all in one video. I guess now I really need to learn how to say “I know, but can you answer my question/give me some feedback?”

  85. I’m a vampire too. D: Sun is ebil!!!!

  86. haha imagine if you go to a mcdonalds over there “yea… can i get a cheeseburger with large fries*  whoa your korean is very good.. “thank you”

    *stares at person*

    ummm can i get my meal…

    *stares at person*

    ooooooooooooookay,,,

    STALKER!!!! haha idk what im talkin about :(

    *leaves*

  87. This is very interesting because I’m a 1.5 gen Korean-Canadian immigrant, and I’ve experienced exactly the same reaction living here in Canada, especially in the early years.  Yes, the reminders are subtler and less frequent here, which is given since I live in Vancouver, where practically everyone’s a foreigner. In fact I had a born-and-raised-in-Vancouver-only friend who felt isolated since she wasn’t “from” anywhere like everyone else.

    Anyway, thanks for the very interesting and informative post, TLDR’s becoming my favourite segment.

  88. This is very interesting because I’m a 1.5 gen Korean-Canadian immigrant, and I’ve experienced exactly the same reaction living here in Canada, especially in the early years.  Yes, the reminders are subtler and less frequent here, which is given since I live in Vancouver, where practically everyone’s a foreigner. In fact I had a born-and-raised-in-Vancouver-only friend who felt isolated since she wasn’t “from” anywhere like everyone else.

    Anyway, thanks for the very interesting and informative post, TLDR’s becoming my favourite segment.

  89. Just wanted to say, from a Korean’s perspective, you guys are 100% right on this issue. I agree with you that Koreans, while not being malicious, tend to get very impressed when a non-Korean speaks their language even just a little. I guess it’s because Koreans are still not that used to having foreigners (I hate this term) living around them. So, my apologies on behalf of my race, if you were offended at all by our attitude. Keep up the good work, Martina and Simon! I’ve been watching your videos for quite awhile now, and I must say, you guys do really try to keep an objective voice. Thanks for all your hard work!!! 

    p.s. Has Spudgy been extra frisky lately? lol I’m just thinking it’s time he met a nice girlfriend…

  90. Just wanted to say, from a Korean’s perspective, you guys are 100% right on this issue. I agree with you that Koreans, while not being malicious, tend to get very impressed when a non-Korean speaks their language even just a little. I guess it’s because Koreans are still not that used to having foreigners (I hate this term) living around them. So, my apologies on behalf of my race, if you were offended at all by our attitude. Keep up the good work, Martina and Simon! I’ve been watching your videos for quite awhile now, and I must say, you guys do really try to keep an objective voice. Thanks for all your hard work!!! 

    p.s. Has Spudgy been extra frisky lately? lol I’m just thinking it’s time he met a nice girlfriend…

  91. As annoying as it can be to having the constant comments about how good you’re speaking Korean or how you should learn more.  It’s far better then being discriminated against because you’re not fluent. I’ve hear in France that they will ignore you if you don’t speak enough french to ask them in french.

    • The worst thing about France is that they do speak English…but if you don’t make even a token effort at French they will pretend they don’t speak English and make you try to communicate the other way.  I’ve seen this happen SO many times to where I would walk up and be like, “Where are you trying to go?” while shooting the other person an evil eye. They just grin.  Granted I only have conversational French but that meant I never had to say more than a sentence before we switched to English.

  92. lol loved how it ended on the note of : Also known as a psychopath …. who wants to bet Simon editted this vid ? LOL 

    Apart from that I can understand how you feel.  I’m half viet and speak a lil bit of viet.  Cause I look so much more western viet people are like. Wow! your Vietnamese is good! all the time. 
    Then later they are like you should learn more…. >..<

  93. Here in Vancouver there’s a large Korean population, especially where I live. At school you always hear Korean conversations in the halls and a lot of people (non-Koreans, but still mostly Asians) listen to K-Pop, watch K-Dramas, etc. – most people will at least know who SNSD and stuff are. But sometimes people still get surprised when they hear that I can read and write in Korean, and that I speak a little bit; even though there’s a lot of people who can because they listen to K-Pop and watch K-Dramas stuff. It’s happening less and less now that the Hallyu is spreading more though. But maybe because I haven’t tried lengthy conversations (and because I’m not actually in Korea) I haven’t gotten the “why don’t you learn more?” question. 

    Anyway, great episode this week! :D

  94. Here in Vancouver there’s a large Korean population, especially where I live. At school you always hear Korean conversations in the halls and a lot of people (non-Koreans, but still mostly Asians) listen to K-Pop, watch K-Dramas, etc. – most people will at least know who SNSD and stuff are. But sometimes people still get surprised when they hear that I can read and write in Korean, and that I speak a little bit; even though there’s a lot of people who can because they listen to K-Pop and watch K-Dramas stuff. It’s happening less and less now that the Hallyu is spreading more though. But maybe because I haven’t tried lengthy conversations (and because I’m not actually in Korea) I haven’t gotten the “why don’t you learn more?” question. 

    Anyway, great episode this week! :D

  95. Here in Vancouver there’s a large Korean population, especially where I live. At school you always hear Korean conversations in the halls and a lot of people (non-Koreans, but still mostly Asians) listen to K-Pop, watch K-Dramas, etc. – most people will at least know who SNSD and stuff are. But sometimes people still get surprised when they hear that I can read and write in Korean, and that I speak a little bit; even though there’s a lot of people who can because they listen to K-Pop and watch K-Dramas stuff. It’s happening less and less now that the Hallyu is spreading more though. But maybe because I haven’t tried lengthy conversations (and because I’m not actually in Korea) I haven’t gotten the “why don’t you learn more?” question. 

    Anyway, great episode this week! :D

  96. Here in Vancouver there’s a large Korean population, especially where I live. At school you always hear Korean conversations in the halls and a lot of people (non-Koreans, but still mostly Asians) listen to K-Pop, watch K-Dramas, etc. – most people will at least know who SNSD and stuff are. But sometimes people still get surprised when they hear that I can read and write in Korean, and that I speak a little bit; even though there’s a lot of people who can because they listen to K-Pop and watch K-Dramas stuff. It’s happening less and less now that the Hallyu is spreading more though. But maybe because I haven’t tried lengthy conversations (and because I’m not actually in Korea) I haven’t gotten the “why don’t you learn more?” question. 

    Anyway, great episode this week! :D

  97. this reflects my feeling as well

  98. I can’t wait to move to Korea.  I have been diligently learning the language and have the opportunity to speak to other Koreans in America quite often.  The lady at the Bulgogi place I frequent has made the comment twice that I may be Irish on the outside but she’s convinced I’m FULL Korean on the inside.  Of course this is based on my use of the language when speaking to her, bringing my own Korean chopsticks and the fact that I am addicted to Korean foods (I have make Korean food at home at least 4 or 5 nights per week).  Some of my Korean friends have accused me of being ‘more Korean’ than they are!  LOL

  99. I can’t wait to move to Korea.  I have been diligently learning the language and have the opportunity to speak to other Koreans in America quite often.  The lady at the Bulgogi place I frequent has made the comment twice that I may be Irish on the outside but she’s convinced I’m FULL Korean on the inside.  Of course this is based on my use of the language when speaking to her, bringing my own Korean chopsticks and the fact that I am addicted to Korean foods (I have make Korean food at home at least 4 or 5 nights per week).  Some of my Korean friends have accused me of being ‘more Korean’ than they are!  LOL

  100. I had very similar experiences to what you described.  When I did anything cultural, my experiences were always fun & favourable (I had a similar World Cup experience in 2006).  Speaking Korean was mixed but generally very favourable – I used to get extra fruit in the market and good deals in Dongdaemun – but occasionally  someone would question why Korean wasn’t better.  It’s hard when your job is to speak English all the time.  But I loved my time in Korea and reading/watching your posts often bring back happy memories :)

  101. This has been the best episode for tl;dr. Now, I’m a little bit disappointed with Korean people. It seems like they don’t appreciate what foreigners do just to be closer to them. When there are Koreans who visit our school, I usually talk to them in Korean (basic Korean) then they would say ‘oh, you’re Korean is really good’ then I would be like (wtf my Korean is not good). Now, I understand the meaning of that ‘compliment.’ It’s actually sarcasm or what so ever. 
    Here in our country whether you speak broken or very poor Filipino (tagalog), we still appreciate it. And we won’t let foreigners to study our language for the purpose of being friendly and not to offend them. 

    Seriously! Now I know why they don’t like idol groups whose members speak very poor Korean. 
    Now I know why I shouldn’t focus myself too much in learning Korean and Korean Culture. 

    P.S This is only my own rant and opinion. I hope I’ll be understood by all. 

    • it’s not sarcasm, and obviously Simon and Martina never said it was either in the video. A lot of Koreans are fascinated by foreigners knowing Korean language because even a decade ago Korea was not one of the most popular country in the world (the most famous Korean in the world is still ironically Kim Jung Il). A lot of people will say “you speak Korean very well” out of politeness also. it’s just a pattern of speech, like how you can tell a parent that their child is very pretty as a courtesy even though the child may not be the prettiest child you’ve ever seen (not being mean)

      and also, it happens in the US and Canada. Living in Canada and the US, I’ve heard “you speak English very well without an accent” just about every single year, at my school or from my parent’s friends. 
      these are 2 people out of the entire people in Korea who are stating their own opinion. Do some research on your own, ask Koreans yourself and then decide for yourself what it is you want to do with your Korean learning-efforts.

  102. When I was in Korea, I found that if I made an effort to learn about Korean culture or speak the language, people were very accepting and helpful.  They were surprised of course, mainly because I am not Korean,  but they were happy that I was trying.
    I find that when you travel to a country where the culture and language is different than yours, if you make an effort to learn about them, people treat you a lot differently.  They are more kind, accepting, and respectful.  You can not travel somewhere and NOT make an effort to learn about that country, your entire experience there will change once you start to know about their history, culture and language.
    My time in Korea was one of the best and I can’t wait until I can go back.

  103. When I was in Korea, I found that if I made an effort to learn about Korean culture or speak the language, people were very accepting and helpful.  They were surprised of course, mainly because I am not Korean,  but they were happy that I was trying.
    I find that when you travel to a country where the culture and language is different than yours, if you make an effort to learn about them, people treat you a lot differently.  They are more kind, accepting, and respectful.  You can not travel somewhere and NOT make an effort to learn about that country, your entire experience there will change once you start to know about their history, culture and language.
    My time in Korea was one of the best and I can’t wait until I can go back.

  104. When I was in Korea, I found that if I made an effort to learn about Korean culture or speak the language, people were very accepting and helpful.  They were surprised of course, mainly because I am not Korean,  but they were happy that I was trying.
    I find that when you travel to a country where the culture and language is different than yours, if you make an effort to learn about them, people treat you a lot differently.  They are more kind, accepting, and respectful.  You can not travel somewhere and NOT make an effort to learn about that country, your entire experience there will change once you start to know about their history, culture and language.
    My time in Korea was one of the best and I can’t wait until I can go back.

  105. When I was in Korea, I found that if I made an effort to learn about Korean culture or speak the language, people were very accepting and helpful.  They were surprised of course, mainly because I am not Korean,  but they were happy that I was trying.
    I find that when you travel to a country where the culture and language is different than yours, if you make an effort to learn about them, people treat you a lot differently.  They are more kind, accepting, and respectful.  You can not travel somewhere and NOT make an effort to learn about that country, your entire experience there will change once you start to know about their history, culture and language.
    My time in Korea was one of the best and I can’t wait until I can go back.

  106. When I was in Korea, I found that if I made an effort to learn about Korean culture or speak the language, people were very accepting and helpful.  They were surprised of course, mainly because I am not Korean,  but they were happy that I was trying.
    I find that when you travel to a country where the culture and language is different than yours, if you make an effort to learn about them, people treat you a lot differently.  They are more kind, accepting, and respectful.  You can not travel somewhere and NOT make an effort to learn about that country, your entire experience there will change once you start to know about their history, culture and language.
    My time in Korea was one of the best and I can’t wait until I can go back.

  107. I’m a lazy person but I love learning languages. I know Russian, Engish and I was studying Chinese and Japanese and now I’m learning Korean ^^ But because that I’m lazy I can’t learn it perfectly..and it’s killing me but I can’t do something about it… ^^

  108. Omo, Simon was so (over-) hyped today..! I got scared at times ^^

  109. Ok mb it’s because I’m not actually living in Korea (planning to do so tho) but am outside of it and am learning korean, but I have had a very different experience with speaking korean. I had a a korean women as a customer in cafeteria where I’m working and when I asked her where she’s from (just to confirm and not be rude by speaking korean when she’s not) and she asked me if I know where is Korea, and then i said to her in korean that i do know, and that i do speak a little bit of korean, and of course she was baffled and she was practically shouting in joy about how my korean is good and that she got goosebumps, but after that she did start to ask me if I know SNSD and say that i definitely should come to Korea and that I will really like it. And I had pretty much similar experiences when people tried to actually engage in a conversation and try to know me more. But once again mb it’s just because it was outside of Korea, mb if  it would happen in Korea they would be more demanding or treat me more as an outsider. I hope it’s going to be the same in Korea.

    • Sometimes people in countries that don’t speak their native language get overexcited about hearing it due to familiarity and ease of use. I spent a while in Japan and, while my Japanese is good, it was always a bit of a relief to be able to speak in English since it’s easier to express myself.

  110. Yay for more outside videos! :3

  111. Yay for more outside videos! :3

  112. Spudgy owl is the cutest thing ever. When are you going to sell plushies of him!?!

  113. Spudgy owl is the cutest thing ever. When are you going to sell plushies of him!?!

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