I really liked today’s topic. So often Richard and I get the feeling that this world is a place full of dark and evil things. And, to be 100% honest, it is. But it is also filled with wonderfully awesome people like Taylor Loves Squirrels who want to know about random acts of kindness and how they would be perceived in Korea.
First off, everyone likes nice people. That’s pretty universal. To add to that, nobody is going to dislike somebody for being nice. Additionally, if cultural barriers are overstepped, there is the possibility that as a foreigner you could play the ignorant foreigner card in case you embarrass or upset someone. (Not that we recommend you do this very often.) I mostly doubt that you would ever really have to do that though if you really want to be a nice person. Just be careful giving random strangers hugs on the street.
Generally the Korean people are all about random acts of kindness. I’ve encountered this myself on public transportation where if I’m overloaded with shopping bags people are often extremely willing to help me put them in overhead areas or offer me seats. And for people who are pregnant, have little kids or are just older, you almost always see people giving up their seats for them. Something I experienced often working with little kids was that they would almost always offer me candy or some other treat (sometimes gross unwrapped and straight from their hands) but it’s always cute. There are other instances that I’ve encountered, people offering to help me when I’m lost, and I’ve had plenty of Korean friends who go out of their way to assist poor old me when I have an important phone conversation or need help. Good examples of this are my friends Seung-Hee and my classmate Amy (English name) when I was looking for our little Maki. Seung Hee helped me do a lot of research and found the animal hospital where our little girl was at. Amy helped with making the necessary phone calls. I’ve had a lot of great experiences like this, or my landlord and his wife giving us homemade kimchi or a neighbor helping save me a spot to park my car.
If you ever find yourself in Korea and want to get involved in Volunteering in Korea, here are a few great places:
PSCORE (English tutoring for NK refugees)
Angel House (disabled residency)
Local Soup Kitchens
Animal Rescue Korea
Korean Kids & Orphanage Outreach Mission
Habitat for Humanity
Itaewon-Hannam Global Village Center (kids)
House of Sharing (Help former Comfort Women)
Women’s Human Rights Korea