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TLDR – What do Students Think of North Americans?

May 27, 2011

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Ok, so hopefully we won’t get any comments about us overgeneralizing, or painting Koreans in a bad light, or painting Westerners in a bad light, or us doing something that gets some hypersensitive person butthurt. This was a difficult question for us to answer, and we tried to do so with trepidation.

If you’re new to this segment of ours, every Thursday we answer the top rated question from our Google Moderator page. Last week we were asked about our funniest stories in South Korea. This week Pinkpancakes18 asked the top-rated question which was “What are some of the weirdest things your students think about america/canada?”

Now, this wasn’t an easy question to answer. We wish there was something like “oh they think all Canadians/Americans like chicken and watermelon” or something clearly inaccurately stereotyping. But it wasn’t that straightforward. There were just some cultural differences that lead to some misperceptions. Again, allow us to say that not all of our students think this way. The three points that we go over are just the common reactions we got from our students. And so, on with our list!

1) North Americans have lots of guns:
This is an easy one for us to dispel. Martina’s never even seen a gun before in her life. Simon, for all his gangstaisms, has only seen one before, but never actually held one. In fact, it was his father’s hunting rifle. Anyhow, we don’t know anyone else who has guns, either. We see guns all the time on TV, though, and in video games, but never in real life, and we think this is the case for a lot of people. Moving on…

2) North Americans are rich:
This is an easy for one as well. We sure ain’t rich! We’re not poor, either, but we’re not wealthy. We would get this reaction from our students whenever we showed them pictures of our homes back in Canada, which are by no means large. Martina’s parents live in a nice bungalow, but it’s…just a nice bungalow. You’d probably drive by it and be like “oh, that’s a nice bungalow.” The reactions we’d get from students, though, would be far more extreme. Like “WOW TEACHER YOU ARE SO RICH!” and lots of oohs and aahhs. We’re assuming their reactions are so strong not because Korean people love bungalows, but just because houses aren’t really common in the Seoul and surrounding area. People mostly live in apartments and officetels. We haven’t seen anyone with a house in Bucheon or in Seoul. Korea doesn’t really have a lot of land mass, and since the population density is so high here, there isn’t a lot of room to build houses everywhere, while in Canada there’s oodles and oodles of land, and a smaller population than South Korea.

3) North Americans are…floozier?
This one’s a bit more difficult to explain. Students have asked us if we kiss or hold hands on a first date, and, well, yeah, we sometimes do. And that’s amazing to our students. Then they watch stuff like Gossip Girl and think that we’re skanks. Oh boy.

Anyhow, what’s interesting about this is the difference in propriety. Hugging between sexes isn’t common in Korean culture, while we – as Canadians – don’t really have much wrong with hugging someone goodbye. But that’s a big deal here! On the other hand, Korean people of the same gender can hold hands when they walk together and it not mean anything, while to us, it would mean that they’re dating. Hmmm.

So that’s it for this week. Woohoo! We almost answered the Love Story question that keeps on making it almost to the top of the question list. We’re glad that we didn’t answer it yet. Three Thursdays from now, though, will be our 4 Year Wedding Anniversary, so maybe then it’ll be appropriate? :D On a side note, this was the first video we ever shot in our new apartment! Yay! What you saw is a bit of our kitchen, which is what we did for our last TL;DR, so we thought we’d keep it kinda consistent :D

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TLDR – What do Students Think of North Americans?

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  1. I lived in the South (Kentucky/Tennessee) for about 5 years, and all I can say is….pretty much everyone I know has at least one gun :) my dad has about 5, and i even know a few people who make their own rifles, they even give high school students extra days off during the fall (i.e. when hunting season starts) because they know kids will skip school to go hunting anyway. So maybe that stereotype is true for Southerners :) 
    -and yes I have shot a few guns before :) even though I now live in Utah, where guns are once again, an uncommon sight (at least in SLC/Provo)

    5 years ago
  2. Thanks!  We found the decals on Gmarket.  They’ve got loooooads, and it’s really difficult to pick one out from the thousands they have.

    5 years ago
    • Ha ha! Some of those decals look like Wonderful Treasure Finds. Like this one: http://hej0217.hubweb.net/SG3A016.jpg

      XD

      5 years ago
  3. it’s too bad 미녀들의 수다 doesn’t come on anymore especially with kbs subbing a lot more shows now.

    5 years ago
  4. it’s too bad 미녀들의 수다 doesn’t come on anymore especially with kbs subbing a lot more shows now.

    5 years ago
  5. ps.LOVE the spudgy animation!! BWAHAHahahaHA

    5 years ago
  6. Do your Korean students realize that Canada and the US are different places?? I’ve had friends in Australia (very intelligent friends) who didn’t realize that there are two separate countries in the same CONTINENT of North America. They thought that “America” was one huge country. Too cute.

    5 years ago
  7. Do your Korean students realize that Canada and the US are different places?? I’ve had friends in Australia (very intelligent friends) who didn’t realize that there are two separate countries in the same CONTINENT of North America. They thought that “America” was one huge country. Too cute.

    5 years ago
  8. Do your Korean students realize that Canada and the US are different places?? I’ve had friends in Australia (very intelligent friends) who didn’t realize that there are two separate countries in the same CONTINENT of North America. They thought that “America” was one huge country. Too cute.

    5 years ago
    • Migook saram?  Ha, some people don’t understand that the two countries are different.  It’s just…too big of a battle to fight.

      5 years ago
  9. I REALLY LIKE THE BACKGROUND PLEASE DO A HOUSE TOURRR~~~

    5 years ago
  10. I couldn’t help but laugh at the gun part.  I’m from Tulsa, Oklahoma, and I can say that Oklahoma, Texas, and most of the South is pretty gun crazy.  I’m a Civil War reenactor, so my interest lies in historic firearms.  The guns I own are all reproductions.  An 1853 58 caliber smoothbore Enfield Carbine, an 1851 36 caliber Army Colt revolver, and a single shot percussion 45 caliber horse pistol.  I do not have much interest in modern firearms.  But the majority of people I know and talk to from this part of the country, are gun crazy and “right dang proud of it.”  In their defense, if you have spent any time on a farm in rural OK, you understand the need for a gun.  My friends have spotted several Mountain Lions on their farm over the years and have lost several of their animals to those and to the wild dogs out there.  A lot of us our country folk and have to know how to use a gun for those situations.  That all said, I find that stereotype rather funny, as it fits this part of the country perfectly.  

    5 years ago
  11. I’m from the United States and I have never seen a gun either nor do I not anyone who owns one. The reason I fell in love with South Korea and the dramas though is because they are conservative. You can’t however think though that all of North America is that way though because TV is very misleading. To be honest, I didnt even have my first kiss until I was 21! I’m engaged now to that same person. I think in reality it depends on the persons personal morals and beliefs. Also, Something I always wonder is why Korean dramas always have the people going to America and it being such a big deal? I never did get that? Oh Oppa, you studied in NY?? Tee hee….

    5 years ago
  12. Congrats on your new apartment.

    5 years ago
  13. awww..!! Your new kitchen is so pretty.!! Well at least the part that is show in the video.. XD

    5 years ago
  14. When are we going to get a tour of your new apartment??!!

    5 years ago
  15. True, ture about the houses. All my kroean friend are really impressed when they see my parents house (which is so small and in the countryside) but like matina said. and also i think a house in seoul would be really really expansive, so they compare there price of a house to others.
    Canada and the USA have the same amonud of guns but it happen more with guns in the US…. maybe Canadians are the nicer people ;))

    And new kitchen looks gooooooood, i want this stickers!! Where did you get them???

    5 years ago
  16. JH

    ahaha~ your students should see the houses on Bridle Path.

    5 years ago
  17. Hey…how’d y’all find out >.>
    And yeah I’ve never seen a gun either :) I guess I’m a bad Texan :(

    5 years ago
  18. kt

    what?!? how did you find out??
    signed, Texas

    5 years ago
  19. kt

    what?!? how did you find out??
    signed, Texas

    5 years ago
  20. haha i live in Texas and my dad owns a gun haha. My dad (especially when we go to my grandpa’s house a.k.a. hickville) my dad will keep a fully loaded gun by his bed. It freaks me out….

    5 years ago
  21. haha i live in Texas and my dad owns a gun haha. My dad (especially when we go to my grandpa’s house a.k.a. hickville) my dad will keep a fully loaded gun by his bed. It freaks me out….

    5 years ago
  22. Texas-Georgia-actually most of the South  is VERY gun friendly but yeah me and most of my afircan-american family have never seen or owned guns and we live all over america.  (the one exclusion is clearly those fam members who were in or are in the military)

    5 years ago
  23. Yeah, I’m also from Southern Ontario and I have never seen a real gun either!

    5 years ago
  24. My host family own like three or four guns too (They live in Iowa)

    5 years ago
  25. We in Norway got a lot of guns too, I think my family got like 9? I got one myself I’m like…soon 16 and have had it for like, 3 years now? My dad owns a lot of guns and pistoles,  and my mom owns one too so yeah ._.’

    5 years ago
    • ooh i read from scandinavia and the world comics that there are a lot of wild animals in northern norway and thats why you have guns?

      5 years ago
  26. Hmmm, I think Koreans are pretty close as far as assuming Americans are a bit “easy”… it’s not always true but one of things I dislike about the U.S. is that the morals are getting waaaay too relaxed. I’m not even conservative but I work with a lot of younger girls… they brag about hooking up with guys that already have girlfriends or are even married :-/ Then they wonder why it doesn’t turn into something more serious *facepalm*. I know some countries are even more liberal but I think there’s a difference between owning your sexuality and throwing it all over the place and particularly with the worst people. 

    5 years ago
    • I don’t know if that really reflects US morals so much as bad parenting and kids rebelling.

      5 years ago
      • Yeah, it just seems to be so common anymore :-/ One of the things I like about Koreans is they aren’t talking about sex all the time :p I don’t mind sometimes but seriously, everyday?? 

        5 years ago
  27. It’s funny cause I live in Oshawa (about 30-45mins from Toronto) and in the south end. Everybody, and I mean EVERYBODY. Is scared to come down to my house because I live in the ‘ghetto’ People think that they’ll be just walking down the street and get shot up because apparently everybody has a gun or does drugs :

    5 years ago
    • I live in the Eastern part of Toronto and when I tell people I come from so-and-so, they automatically recoil and say “Oh…” It’s like dude, do I LOOK like I’m going to shoot you?! Mind you, I’m skinny and my sense of style does not comprise of guns and chains, idek.

      5 years ago
  28. MSA

    Wah guysss, your kitchen looks so nice! 8D I can’t wait to see your whole apartment.

    Thanks for your answers! I think you managed to be perfectly politically correct while still being truthful and sincere. It’s not always easy so, thumbs up!

    5 years ago
  29. There just one think I really need to say about this how north american’s being really open about touching and kissing, etc. For a while I was dating a Korean guy and it was always driving me nuts when he would saying goodbye to me from a distance and just do a little wave to say goodbye. I’m cuban raised in the US and where I’m from is considered very rude to not greet or say goodbye to someone without at least giving them a hug and a kiss, so you can imagine I’d be pissed at him when he’d leave the way he would.

    If Koreans think that north american’s are really open then they have not seen anything until they seen spanish television!!!! Openly touching, hugging, kissing, AND MUCH MORE IS EXTREMELY COMMON IN SPANISH DRAMA! And to top that on spanish talk shows it very normal to see woman dancing with less clothes on than a swimsuit model. North America is not as open as they think when you start to compare. If you check out a very popular talk show in Miami called “el show de Fernando Hidalgo” you’ll see what I mean.

    5 years ago
    • SPANISH TELEVISION IS DEFINITELY SOMETHING ELSE! 
      i watch novelas with my mother, and there is major skinship there! intense bed scenes are so common that you ultimately end up seeing it as nothing else, especially if you’ve grown up watching that stuff, like in my case. 

      also like you said, talk shows are really something else. i know this one show that focuses on a guest’s chest while the host is talking and is completely out of frame. it’s something else. 

      but i guess it’s like they say, “sex sells”

      Novelas are still wicked awesome though! :D

      5 years ago
    • SPANISH TELEVISION IS DEFINITELY SOMETHING ELSE! 
      i watch novelas with my mother, and there is major skinship there! intense bed scenes are so common that you ultimately end up seeing it as nothing else, especially if you’ve grown up watching that stuff, like in my case. 

      also like you said, talk shows are really something else. i know this one show that focuses on a guest’s chest while the host is talking and is completely out of frame. it’s something else. 

      but i guess it’s like they say, “sex sells”

      Novelas are still wicked awesome though! :D

      5 years ago
    • MSA

      Hell yes! In fact, korean dramas have probably screwed me forever now than I’m more used to them than to my own TV series. Although, to be fair, Mexican soap operas tend to be way over the top (Mexican soaps seem to be the most known ones in the States, so…)

      5 years ago
      • True, most of them are Mexican and they are probably the most over the top ones, but I have seen others and overall they are all much more over the top than anything Korean.

        5 years ago
  30. After looking through the comments I wonder if guns being common in the US changes with where you live. I’m in Lower Michigan so hunting is really important, deer hunting especially (the first week of deer season school are usually closed!). And I also live pretty close to some bad neighborhoods so it’s a weird mixture of hunters and gangsters. Maybe that skews my image of how many guns Americans really have?

    5 years ago
  31. I don’t think your experience with gun ownership is typical of everyone in the US.

    5 years ago
    • It’s fairly typical for Michigan though… there are tons of hunters everywhere here. I went through hunter’s safety as soon as I was able… it’s been awhile I think i was… 13-14? You can shoot a bow around that age and I totally forget when it’s legal to shoot gun because i’m pretty sure I started practicing before I was supposed to (supervised of course.) 

      It didn’t last long though, I wanted to do it just because a ton of people in my family do including my mom, her boyfriend, etc. But I turned out to be a girly girl… my first big hunting trip where I could shoot and we didn’t see one buck, I just sat in the snow reading a book trying to be quiet with my mom. Kinda boring. 

      It should be taken more seriously though, my cousin was playing with his dad’s gun and it went off with me and his sister there. He accidentally shot the window behind us… a little to the left or right and either of us would not be here :-/ 

      5 years ago
  32. : )

    5 years ago
  33. : )

    5 years ago
  34. CJ

    I’m from Canada and even I think Americans are scary and have a lot of guns lol.

    Which is funny, because there are actually a lot of guns where I grew up – in northern Alberta – and I never think anything of them. My grandpa has tons of guns for hunting, some of my friends go hunting, my mom has been hunting, my other grandparents go hunting. It’s a popular pastime. It’s weird how that works isn’t it?

    I think it’s mostly the movies where you see gang shootings and people carrying handguns in the big cities to blame for the misconception lol.

    5 years ago
    • No no….not ALL american are scary….as an US citizen who lives in Atlanta I will attest to the fact that on 71% of us freak people out on a regular basis…don’t worry the other 29% will welcome you with open arms….then whip out their guns and demand for you to give them all your money…^^….(most of us are really normal….i think…^^)

      5 years ago
    • I think this is so funny because as an American I always had this assumption that canadians were very lazy! I really dont know why but I agree that TV gives us this impression. I use to see a canadian based show on tv and it had so much drug use in it that I got this phobia about canadians lol.. I know of course thats not true but it really is the media that does this to us.

      5 years ago
  35. lol I think the answer to the first question would be VERY different if you guys lived in the States. Most families in the US have at least one gun and it’s not unusual for people to have gun cases full of them. My dad for example has three (or four?) and we dont’ even hunt. :x

    5 years ago
  36. Martina I love all your hairbands.. You should do a video showing your cool and pretty hairbands!

    5 years ago
  37. Martina I love all your hairbands.. You should do a video showing your cool and pretty hairbands!

    5 years ago
  38. LOL….another Texan weighing in here. Personally I’ve never owned a gun…but my grandfather had rifles because he had ranchland, and while I’m a vegetarian, most people aren’t. Now that cattle/pigs are slaughtered with machinery – guns aren’t neccessary for ‘meat farmers’…but the culture of gun ownership runs deep here in (former) Cowboy Land.

    Also, lots of deer hunters in Texas….because um…we have LOTS of deer, and people eat them. So yeah, I’ve known plenty of people who own guns, but not gangsta-guns….hunting rifles.

    As always…you two are the cutest…enjoyed it. (please take us on a tour of your new digs) :)

    5 years ago
  39. SIMON RANDOM SINGING FTW!!

    5 years ago
  40. One thing I’ve noticed from my Korean friends is that they are rather….touchy-feely with each other, mainly between members of the same sex. Some of my male American friends have been shocked by the ‘touching’ or closeness that the Koreans sometimes do. Seeing this, it always makes me laugh when they say touching and such isn’t allowed in Korean culture. Between male and female, sure, but they have noooo problem being close with members of the same sex, even while we as Americans might interpret it as being slightly intimate. Hahaha.

    5 years ago