Friday, December 10, 2010

Korean culture: private time = community time

An interesting aspect of Korean culture popped up this weekend. The Office of Education(POE) is having a traditional Korean games event Saturday from 10am-3pm. Its not mandatory but it is being treated like it was by the administrators. I had to remind myself that this is a different culture with different rules. In the US, non-work time is your private time to be used for whatever you like. Here your non-work time still belongs to the communities you are a part of. As a teacher, my communities are my two schools and the office of education. Therefore, when my school or the POE sets up something after hours, they expect me to always attend.

This can obviously create a conflict when something is planned that I don't particularly want to attend. Like say the occasional friday night round of dinner, drinks and korean karyoke that schools arrange. After a long week, the last thing I want to do is spend 5 hours having extremely broken conversations with my increasingly drunk vice-principle. This would be quite a problem if I was more accommodating. Fortunately, I'm not :) In a trait no doubt inherited from my grandfather Earl, I do what I want to do, when I want to do it and I don't give a damn what people think of me for it. It may not make me the life of the party but it does make me happy!

1 comment:

  1. It might also make you miss an otherwise life changing inter-cultural experience as you become part of their community. Of course, that may not be the cultural experience you are there for, if you are mainly concerned with the sites and not the people. ;)