Blog 5. Cutural difference in Korea

I watched three videos on youtube for my blog assignment. The first video was to be honest, was just about the speaker’s experience in China. . The first video was good but I didn’t feel so special things about culture from the first video. The woman speaker start her speech by praising chinese and end her speech by urging us to go China and to experience like her. The first video just want to say that ‘experience’ matters in understanding other countries’ cultures. The second video , however, was more interesting than I expected and helpful for me to really think about the culture communication and to learn how to handdle the cultural differences as a global citizen. The second video was really good. The speaker has lived in several countries in his life time. He defined culture as ‘ a system of behaviour that made us act in an accepted or familiar way.’ I had to come up with at least one example of that in Korea, to write this blog interesting. I tried to think about an unique culture example in our country that can fit that. The speaker of the second video talked about ‘communication style’ that can be formed by a country’s system . But my example focus on different kind of culture that can be formed by the ‘system’ of our country. I’m not sure whether I could call this as ‘cultural difference.’ but I will introduce this because I think that’s probably Korean’s unique feature. The example that I want to introduce is that we koreans are reluctant to ask question in public. I think other countries are not severe than us. When I lived in France 12 years ago,people really liked asking question in public . But I think koreans especially don’t like to ask questions for some reasons.and I’ve heard from middle school, high school foreign teachers several times that they can’t understand that. Look at the video below. This video is the parts of EBS documentary which was made 8years ago to criticize our country’s education culture and system. I can’t show you the full documentary because it’s too long. The title of this video is “Why koreans don’t ask question?-Then why we go to college?” I remember my middle school teacher showed us this video in class.

In this video, the former president of United states of America Barack Obama was trying to give the opportunity to Korean reporters to ask any questions for him. As we all know, it was not so common opportunity, that the leader of the most powerful nation give opportunity to ask any questions for one nation. But as you can see.. no one ask questions to him.. no one ….. if you watch the full video….actually ….for more than 20 seconds …. korean reporters don’t ask question…. there was just long silences …….so eventually one chinese reporter asked question instead of us. It’s very funny that even the reporters don’t ask question. After I watched this video I read the comments on this video to see the foreigers’ reactions on that.

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Many people in comments blame chinese reporter, but many of them also questioned about our country’s reporters’ behavior. To be honest, for us as koreans, such scene is very familiar. As the speaker of the second video said, in Korea this is very natural and normal to do so , and I think it’s not exaggeration to say that our country’s education system made us to act like that.

As I said, this EBS documentary video was actually made to point out the problem of our country’s education culture and system.We didn’t interact much with teachers like other countries do in their school. The cramming education made us very passive and not to think any kind of creative thinking and not wondering any questions. And as you know, koreans pretty mind the others and care too much of how other people would think about them if they ask questions. But, anyway this video was taken 8 years ago. And I think we’re still having problem but at least we’re getting better than before as many teachers like my middle school teacher realize that problem and try to fix that and as many foreign instructors have come to our country and put efforts to do different kinds of interactive class in schools. It will not be easy to fix at once…. any change takes time.

The third video was about the 10 surprisng ways to offend people in other countries. One surprising thing for mrme personally was Japan.. When someone in Japan gives me their business card, handled with care….this is very unusual culture….Making a compliment in Arab and African nations can make your host feel awakwardly obliged to give you the item… can’t believe it.. I don’t believe that will be all true… The third video shows that how same behaviors and signs can be interpreted totally differently by the countries’ values and culture..

After I watched my video and the three videos on lms, I think they just speak one thing. They all want to say that we need to consider the country’s system and social context to truly understand one country’s culture or one country’s people’s behaviors. And I think the best way to understand those cultural differences and respect other cultures is to really experience that. As the speaker of first video did , I think ‘experience’ lasts long than anything. Although many foreigners laughed at our country’s reporters in the comments,if they could experience our country’s education system , I think they can understand us. But I’m not saying that we should accept any kind of culture passively. The speaker of the first video said at the end of her speech that we need to have long-term view, to be patient , to be open and to be a good listener. I agree with that. but if we meet bad culture we don’t necessary need to passively accept that. we can contribute ourselves to try to fix that culture.

But first, I think we need to travel worldwide when we are young to better understand and to know about other countries to be prepare ourselves to be better global citizens.

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