Friends in Korea

During my orientation back in August 2010, one of the presenters started talking about how it was a great idea to make really strong friends with other foreigners and join the foreign community to do things together and just basically develop strong friendships.  I kind of rolled my eyes at this, thinking that I would rather have friends with Koreans: the locals.  Before I moved to Korea, I had this idea in my head that I really wanted to get into the Korean culture and make a lot of Korean friends.  I had been warned that there are 3 types of Koreans (or any nationality if you’re working in a foreign country): those that want to be friends, those that want to just practice English, and those that don’t want anything to do with foreigners.  Despite these three categories, I felt pretty good about what was going to happen.

First Few Months (2010)

When I first moved to my placement, I was quick to realize that there were no locals around my age.  The people in my village were either old grandparents, parents, or children.  The twenty or even thirty-somethings were nowhere to be seen except for teachers at my school.  As  a result, I could only turn to my ‘foreigner community.’  In my village, there were only two other foreigners at the time.  I became quick friends with one and on peaceful terms with the other.  Needless to say, I ended up going out to other larger towns/cities on weekends to be with more foreigners in better locations.

weekend friends

2010 Weekend Friends

2011

I had already moved to a larger town (a very small city) but was still traveling every weekend to hang out with my other friends.  Unfortunately, I had a fall-out with one of my best friends so I had to turn to the foreign community near my apartment.  There are A LOT more foreigners here and we get together 2-4 times a week for drinks, bbqs, games, and dinners.  I love the majority of the foreigners here and I look forward to hanging out with them every weekend.

New crowd

Not even half of my new ‘community’

Koreans

What’s nice about this city is that there is a university here with twenty-something Koreans who are keen to join in on foreigner company.  On at least one night of the week, there will be two-five Koreans that will join the company of the foreigners and join in or listen to some conversation.  I’ve spent a little additional time with some of the Koreans that have joined our social circle.   I have also met a twenty-something Korean in the village that I work in, and we meet weekly to talk. (I think we’re becoming friends even though it was initially set up as English practice.)  Although I can’t be 100% sure if I’m only the token foreigner/person to practice English, I feel like I’ve finally made some Korean friends.

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