|Globalization is happening, true enough. But there are
still significant differences between the cultures of the world. As English
becomes a more widely used language in the world, it is vital that the
cultural differences are respected so that the world maintains its diverse
and colorful cultures. After all, I don't think anyone wishes to live in
a homogenous world. How boring that would be.
I think to assist as Korea is maintaining its unique culture and heritage foreigners must above of all perceive themselves as guests in Korea. That is what we are... guests. And responsible guests ask permission from their host when they are unclear or unsure if what they want to do is allowed. Herein lies the difficulty: most foreigners in Korea don't speak Korean and don't understand Korean culture, which makes asking permission very difficult.
I would like foreigners in Korea to recognize two things: that they are guests in Korea and that they represent their native country. It is my hope that foreigners will act in accordance to this recognition. Any disregard of Korean culture and values constitutes a step towards disrespect.
This past year, I have been living in shared housing with other English and Japanese teachers. The Japanese have not been difficult to live with as they are always respectful and considerate. But the Americans, British, and Canadians are another story. On at least two occasions, young Korean women have been brought into our home by one of our foreign teachers without permission or even regard for his housemates. This attitude is disrespectful and inconsiderate to everyone where the result of such behavior can be dire.
young Korean woman attempted suicide after being in our home with this
foreign man. The consequences of this have been far reaching and have affected
many people. The effects of pleasure-hungry foreigners are having a very
negative impact on life in Korea. If you aren't interested in Korea or
can't respect its ways and manners, go home. If you are interested in Korea
and want to learn to appreciate its culture, please proceed slowly and
in all humility. This is not the "Wild West."