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You are a Celebrity in Korea: You can speak English, and therefore everyone will want to talk to you… Be nice.

After 3 and a half years in Korea I would say the amount of times that a random kid said hello to me was in the tens of thousands.  In a big city like Seoul or Busan this won’t happen often, but in smaller or mid-sized cities children will be excited to see you walking towards them on the street and they will almost always say hello, and sometimes ask more questions.  Sometimes their parents will even tell them in Korean, “look, a foreigner, practice your English…”  You don’t need to stop and talk to them of course, but smile and say hello. It may get annoying over time, but enjoy the celebrity and try not to get annoyed; they are just so interested in seeing non Korean because it is so rare for them.  The impression you give them will result in how they view westerners, so be nice, especially to the kids.

People with more advanced English skills may want to have conversations with you, or ask you within 1 minute of meeting if you can be their friend (seriously). They aren’t trying to be creepy; they just probably don’t know any other foreigners and want to practice their English.  I was on the bus one time and had my headphones in. The young guy next to me would not stop starring at me, so I took off my headphones and said hello. The first thing he asked was, “can I have your phone number?” Then he told me I looked like David Beckham and I must have many girlfriends. Flattering stuff like this happens all the time. haha. It is not worth getting an ego over however, but enjoy it because it probably won’t happen back home.  🙂

Post Credit: Mitch Benvie