An English Teacher Speaks Frankly: What I Like about Korea
Dr. Neal D. Williams

    Because I have taught English in Korea now for four years, I have come to know with great precision exactly what questions students will ask on the first day of class.  On that day, it is my custom to allow them to ask any questions, including personal questions.  Korean students are very predictable, so I am rarely caught off-guard by unexpected questions.  The usual questions include: How old are you?  Why did you come to Korea?  Where do you live?  Are you married?  Do you speak Korean?  However, my favorite question of all is: What do you like about Korea?  Because students always seem to ask this question, I have given careful thought to it and have developed a standard answer: There are, in fact, three simple things that I like about Korea.
     First, I like Korea because Korean students show a lot of respect to teachers.  Korea has been influenced more by Confucianism than any other country in the world, including China where Confucius lived.  In Confucian thinking, there are three great authorities in society to which every person must pay great respect: the parents, the king, and the teacher.  Due to this background, students in Korea usually show great respect to teachers.  That fact makes my job very enjoyable.
     Second, most Korean foods are very appealing to me.  For example, I especially like “dol-sot bi-bim-bap,” which is rice mixed with vegetables and red pepper.  It is served in a heated stone pot, and you must mix the vegetables and red pepper together so that the flavors are mingled. By the way, while it is true that I love 99% of Korean foods, there are some foods that I simply cannot eat. Among these, is something called “bun-dae-gi,” or, in English, “silk worm pupae.”  The awful smell is matched only by the terrible taste!
     Third, I feel lucky to be teaching in Korea because I think Korean women are the most beautiful women in the world.  Those brown eyes look so incredibly exotic and mysterious!  I am always enthralled and mesmerized by them.  In addition to their beauty, Korean women have a very strong inner character.  They are intelligent, faithful, charming, thoughtful, and often playful.  If I am really lucky, maybe God will give me a Korean girlfriend!
     In conclusion, I enjoy teaching English in Korea, and I especially enjoy talking about my three favorite aspects of life in Korea.  Therefore, I am always pleased when a student says, “Teacher, what do you like about Korea?”  It gives me an opportunity to express my opinion of Korea. Also, I think that answering this question in such a positive way gives me good rapport with my students.  They are pleased to hear that I enjoy their country so much.


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