While I understand that finding those that look like you is comforting especially abroad but how many of you really took the time to immerse yourself in the culture of you new home? I ask this because while in Korea and now even in Dubai I tend to see the Americans especially the black American always together.
Cha Jones Tasha Blackwell my first year I did many things alone or just ventured out into Korea to see what it had to offer, which is the thing I think most military people don't do (just my point of view from the interaction I have had). However, I think that what I miss about being home is having those that understand me around me, and so I tend to gravitate to those who look like me or understand my pain. I almost don't want to leave Korea because I know I will not have the possible population of color in other places. However, I never came to Korea with the expectation of finding some many blacks/colored people. So, I will do just fine.
December 1 at 12:07am · Like · 5
Andrea Tee Before I left the states, I had the mindset that I did NOT want to exclusively be cliqued with just skinfolk. When I moved to the UAE, i ventured out and socialized with people that looked and didn't look like me. In some instances though it's kind of impossible to not naturally be drawn to people with similar experiences. At my school, I hang with a black american, Indian South African, white american, latina american and a londoner by way of India. We all enjoy each other, but my black american colleague and I just mesh better because our experiences here in the U.A.E are identical and our other counterparts just cannot relate to what we go through being black american women in this country.
December 1 at 12:30am · Like · 4
Cha Jones I will also say that in the US I never worked with people of my same race and when I got to Korea I was in the same boat. I lived in Seoul but in a part that was a little on the outskirts of town and I never saw anyone all week who looked like me until I went to Iteawon (the foreign market area), but one day out of the blue I saw this African girl and I was so happy. I had to speak to her. I saw her one more time, but it was a bit of a breath of fresh air to identify with someone even if it was just based on skin color.
December 1 at 12:36am · Like · 2
Trecia Em I'm an information junkie so I definitely did my research before coming here. I knew some of the basics of the cultural structure here based on some studies, and a friend set me up with a Korean language tutor who became a good friend and taught me a lot about the culture as well. I am so grateful for all she taught me before I left Toronto because not much has come as a negative surprise. I would say though that with people coming and going all the time it has been somewhat difficult to make friends here of any background. Tons of acquaintances and buddies, but very few real friends. I'm a Black Canadian in South Korea by the way... Here I try to take every opportunity I can find to learn more about the culture and improve on learning the language.
December 1 at 1:02am · Like · 2
Andrea Tee So Trecia Em, Korean. students have significant behaviors too? (ie. walking on desks, opening and jumping out classroom windows, tribal dances in class)
December 1 at 1:11am · Like
Trecia Em Andrea Tee actually no, it's quite the opposite. I'm very fortunate in that 1. I only teach english majors 2. Professors are extremely highly respected here. I can count the behavioral problems I've had since my time here beginning in february on one hand. Students here are skilled in being polite, considerate and even giving gifts like fruit, chocolate or some canned/boxed drinks. Compared to working at Canadian universities, the level of harmony and the desire to learn is well and truly at a 10. I'm spoiled rotten. I know this!
December 1 at 1:15am · Like · 1
Kim Tae-Hee Cha, Andrea, n Trecia... You all nailed it! It's not necessarily comforting to always be around our own, but just to have a moment where we let our guards down n just relax, relate n release gives us the will power n strength to carry on as the obvious minority!
December 1 at 1:21am via mobile · Like · 2
Trecia Em Andrea Tee in terms of behaviours the biggest issue with Korean students is extreme fear of making mistakes and fear of losing face or looking bad in front of their peers. This normally manifests as zero class participation, fear of speaking, and certainly fear of telling you any ugly truths, like saying yes when they have no idea what the hell I'm talking about. If my tutor, who was korean never taught me that, I would never have known to look out for it. Many things here are so subtle that it's easy to miss.
December 1 at 1:25am · Like · 2
Andrea Tee Trecia Em....ok you teach adults. I thought you were a Early Childhood teacher. I teach 4th grade. Well good for you. That's a blessing you're having a great experience.
December 1 at 1:29am · Like · 1
Kim Tae-Hee I taught children (middle school- HS) in Korea and the behaviors are the same as mentioned above! Everyone wants to be perfect and smarter than the next! If you do happen to have a student who admits they don't know whats going on, it's either because they don't care about class work, they'll just cram for tests, or they chose to play the role of comical relief since everyone is always so serious, and children will laugh!
December 1 at 1:46am via mobile · Like
Jessica Fry When your working in a different country I think that you are immersed by default as opposed to a vacation. When I started dating a local I got a deeeep understanding, deeper than I ever needed,lol... J/k
December 1 at 1:59am via mobile · Like · 5
Trecia Em LOL@ Jessica Fry
December 1 at 2:12am · Like
Jamasian Kiana Christie I only hang out with the homies when the locals are busy. That being said I paid for school in China to be in China, not pretend it's just Chinatown. I'm off to Korea for work and I will immerse myself during the week because I can't stand not knowing the language well.
December 1 at 4:48am · Like
Brittany Menifield Me too I definitely made some good Japanese friends in japan friendship is so deep over there that they'll do anything and above and beyond for you! I feel Japanese people are so much more appreciative when it comes to friendships compared to Americans! Also I found a lot of black women to be haters over there (in my opinion) due to the fact that they want all the attention and want to be the only black woman yet complained about the culture and everything w/o even trying smh! But other than that if u immerse yourself you'll get a lot more out of it! Plus foreigners r willing to meet u more in different countries compared to Americans wanting to meet foreigners!
December 1 at 6:41am · Like
Trina Roach Because I have often lived in places in Germany where there wasn't a large US military presence (and wasn't affiliated with the military when I did), it was a necessity that I immerse myself in the local culture. When I was still teaching, I had a number of American friends, but (also due to my ex-husband) also had a lot of contact with Germans.
I don't understand the logic of moving abroad, then surrounding yourself with exactly the same type of people you would have associated with back in the States. I came here to expose myself to different cultural influences, and that can only be done if I make a concerted effort to interact as intensively as possible.
Of course, there are times when it's comforting to be around people with more of the same cultural touch points - and that's perfectly alright. But if you find yourself "cocooning" with them for an extensive period, maybe it's time to consider relocating again or going "home".
December 5 at 11:55pm · Like · 3
Stacey Foster I was totally immersed in Korean culture and loved it...somewhat anyway. Nothings perfect.
Tuesday at 2:45pm · Like · 3
Stacey Foster The problem is when you assimilate to one culture you can forget about your other culture especially if the 2 are very different..as are the US culture and Korean culture. I remember coming home and bowing to people (even my doctor) and people were looking at me like a mental case...seriously....lol
Tuesday at 2:47pm · Like · 3
Sophia Walker Yeah I don't like that when my "group" has too many black people in it I tend to shy away although you are more comfortable with people who have things in common with you... right?
Tuesday at 2:58pm · Like
Stacey Foster I am comfortable with anyone with an open mind and open heart...and that can be anyone of any color or culture.
Tuesday at 3:00pm · Like
Monica Walker I'm of two minds on this...the first is as a foreigner in another country. It is difficult (like others have said) not to immerse yourself in the culture since you live/work in the country. It's not as if I'm going to a Korean restaurant in the States and thinking...ohhh this is so exotic, lol. And then when I walk out the door I'm back in "America". But unlike the two countries (UAE and Korea) I've worked for that are culturally exclusive, America is truely a melting pot of many. Does it always work perfectly? No,I'm hardly that naive, but I can appreciate that I live in a country of immigrants (even if my people were brought here by force). My second thought is how many people in the culture are seen with people outside their own? Do we even ask ourselves that question? Most Arabs hang with Arabs (and even go as far as to only associate on a close basis with those from their country) and Koreans hang with Koreans. I am not looking at them pondering if they are being exclusive/racist/closed-minded...whatever. I think people 'hang' with those who share similar ideas, activities or life experiences. Yes, this can extend across cultures/races...but this requires an effort and I think 98% of the worlds population doesn't make any MEANINGFUL progress towards that level of cultural diversity and inclusion.
Tuesday at 3:28pm · Like · 2
A.G. Barlewi Wow! What am I reading hear? " I tend to shy away whn my group has too many BLACK ppl" thts crazy ridiculous, if I may say so myself. While ur shying away from your own ppl, u cld/shld encourage those tht perhaps are afraid or simply a bit uncomfortable to emmerse themselves in their new environment to open up a bit more and take steps out of their isolated boxes. Ur shying away is just as bad, if not worse, as only wanting to communicate wth othr Black Americans or othr Black ppl period.
@Stacy I understand your question and I agree tht while living in anothr country/culture/way of life other than our own, sure it is quite important to engulf urself and become acclaimated in the new environment. Its important for survival, for understanding their way of life aside from our own norms and traditions, but to shy away from or turn your back to/on othr Blacks simply bc we are Black or bc YOUR "group" has too many Blacks, is simply THE MOST! Wow!
If I may ask Sophia, which country are u currently living in and how long hav u lived there?
Tuesday at 3:30pm via mobile · Like · 1
Alona Elisha Ballard I try to hang with people of ALL different backgrounds. I have learned so many beauty tips, recipes and of course the language when I'm not around the people that look like me.
Tuesday at 8:59pm via mobile · Like · 4
Jamasian Kiana Christie I think Sophia has a point. When I studied abroad hanging out with "too many" black people really detracted from the experience of being abroad. Not many wanted to explore and immerse.
Wednesday at 2:54pm · Like
A.G. Barlewi Wht is then considered "too many"? So then, whn there are so-called "too many", do you then elect not to endulge or interact? So should I b counting Black Americans or Black ppl in general? "Ugh oh, thts too many black folks. Let me make a conscious decision and not "hang" out wth thm bc I'm not going to get the full experience of this country." Thanks for the tips guys. I'm taking notes, and sure to have an awesome and more cultural experience starting now and when I relocate to my nxt country. " Look, ladies, sure it is absolutely important to interact and mingle wth locals of the country to experience and learn many things tht u typically wld not and cld not learn and or experience wth anthr expat, hwevr alloting not to engage othr Blacks simply bc they r black, is, in my opinion, discriminative. Many of you ladies are teachers, I presume, or students and or othr professionals, tho as teachers, a sense of learning and sharing togethr. We are all abroad bc we subscribed to new experiences and ways of thinking outside our normal "Black American" box..some of us more agressive than the othr. We are all students in these foregn lands, but its equally important to serv a educator as well. Each one Must Teach One.
Much love WOCLA!
Wednesday at 6:16pm via mobile · Like
Lisa Hayes WHen in Korea (back in 1990-1991) I lived with a korean family who spoke very little english. I used and was studying Korean. I had some western friends, and some black and african included, but saw them seldom. I spent my personal time in coffee shops writing letters to friends, and visiting sites with Korean friends who also spoke little english.
Wednesday at 6:23pm · Like · 3
Sophia Walker WOW 1991!!! You should come back one day and see how much it has changed if you haven't already been to visit!
Wednesday at 7:59pm · Like · 1
Sophia Walker Tasha I was thinking about your farewell dinner and I loved how there were so many different people and backgrounds at your party!
Wednesday at 8:00pm · Like · 2
Ms. Cha Jones (Seoul)
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