This question became more intense for us to answer as the video went on. We don’t often consider how different it might be from an American’s perspective living in Korea but apparently it’s quite possible. Our experience can be starkly distinct when you take having a military station in South Korea and protecting the country into consideration.
Some statistics: Chinese are the largest foreigner group in Korea followed by Americans. U.S. citizens living in the Korea equal roughly 12% of all foreigners, and the main reason so many Americans live in Korea is due to the amount of U.S. military stationed there.
Because of this, there are a lot of overarching stereotypes that you tend to see. In some cases, one bad encounter can change an entire society’s perspective. There’s the example that Richard gave in the video where Koreans were enraged when two military personnel were acquitted for accidentally killing two young girls with a tank.
There was another story I heard about some military guys getting drunk at a major water park and were being obnoxious. They filled up squirt bottles with booze, squirting them at people and were generally being rude. I don’t even know exactly what came of that incident but instances like this actually quite rare. It makes all of us Americans in Korea frustrated when situations like this happen.
I think some people from our country come over here, and expect it to be the same or similar to what their experience is back home. To be clear, I said ‘some’. Obviously not everyone is the same. There are plenty of people that come here from all over the world that do all sorts of different things. Literally. Even trying to break it down to ‘some people are like this’ and others ‘are like that’ would be too complicated and probably wouldn’t make any sense.
More than anything, we are expats like any other in the world. We try to be respectful and hope that people don’ stereotype us. I think this is something that can be a common thread for most people around the world. Because in the end, we are all just human.
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