It has been a month since I came to Korea, to the country I could previously read about only in books. I’m a stranger in familiar country, but even if have lived here for a whole life, nothing will change. People will wave me on streets on daily basis and ironically toss into “한국말을 잘 하시네요!1)”.
I was born in Czech Republic and I’m 23 years old. I had been studying Computer Science at Palacky University as sophomore. The reason why I applied for JGSP program at Pai Chai University was sought for one nation transcending understanding. For me, to live in Korea for five years, is more worthwhile than whole life in ignorance in Czech. Sometimes I’m wondering how I can live in a country, where population of the capital city slightly exceed overall population of Czech. South Korea with its eleventh highest developed economics in the world and tremendous proliferation of information technologies becomes a state-of-art technology conscious society. Participating in a highly motivated environment, a contribution in receiving multinational experiences and focus on the growth are fundamental needs I would like to represent.
In fact, my life hasn’t changed for me after arrival. Only I became two years older and less one dream. We call our most desired wishes dreams, because they are so hard to reach. One has just become true for me when I came to Korea. Nowadays, majority of people are familiar with Korea to some extent, mainly thanks to mass media. However a few can truly say that they understand it well. Such a study provides me with necessary insight, it helps me better understand complexity of Korean system, so different from our own. I hope to use received knowledge in building mutual relations between our nations.
At the first glance, you may be tempted to assume, that Korean life is very same like in every country. People have same problems, to make a successful career, to find an adequate job and bring up children. But Koreans do this in different, community (brother and sister) like way. Everybody have its place and “We are one people.” common idea. One’s individuality is suppressed on account of team work with more or less consequent advantages and drawbacks.
Korean lifestyle factually leads the whole society. People are bustling inside overcrowd cities and trying to use every minute to work or study. High school students return home around midnight only to prolong study to early hours. Furthermore, weekend is used for study as well. One night, I was awaken by the light penetrating to my room from a nearby playground. People were playing a baseball and at that time it was 2AM. For the rest of the night I joined them, but only in my imagination.
If I meet somebody, he surely thinks, that I’m American, Spanish or Russian. Still, I’m being surprised every day, by what Koreans know about my country. Intentionally or unwittingly, I let other people to make an image of Central Europe, its cultural background and people. Certainly I’m first and more likely last Moravian person they encounter in whole life. I would like to represent plums of national characteristics, however nonpareil person I’m in native scale and far more here, on the other side of the world.
Among a few difficulties, which an inexperienced visitor can encounter, the worst is a troublesome language barrier. For average European student it takes three times more to acquaint with Korean, rather than English. Sometimes it’s hilarious. Once we went to a restaurant and ordered a meal. They forgot to bring a knife, so we asked for two knifes. In a while they returned with two Coca colas. Another time I entered a hair salon and wished to have my head washed by a hot water. And hairdresser did it by cold water. All this happened to me, because I can’t speak Korean well enough.
Life here is based on system of rules tightly connecting each other. If you learn the language and associate yourself with daily routine, you will become more familiar with Korean idea, its culture and background. I will study hard to achieve that.
1)Your Korean is very good!
(Článek pro Pai Chai University)