Editor’s Note: Allison Scobee is an 8th-grader at Humphreys Middle School. Allison, thanks so much for sharing your story!
For those people coming to Korea to live for the first tiime, the cultural differences can be a shock.
The food can be extremely different from food in America, the language is very different, and what is culturally acceptable is different. The differences between the United States and Korea seem large, but you can get used to the differences fairly quickly.
There can be confusion picking restaurants, attractions, paying tolls and getting around the country. Korea seems confusing at first, but don’t worry, soon you’ll find it easy to get around and enjoy its ancient culture.
Going to the right restaurant can be especially difficult considering that the health standards in Korea are different from the ones in the States. One of the interesting things in Korea is the fact that there is so much more food than just Korean food.
The Korean version of McDonalds is actually really good and English friendly. If you order off the machines, I would suggest getting the chicken if you prefer plain cheeseburgers because there is no option for plain.
Outside Osan’s main gate in the “Ville” there is a small Thai restaurant. The sign outside of the door simply says “Thai Food,” but the restaurant is wonderful with good service. Even though it isn’t on the menu, if you don’t like spicy food, order the kid’s meal, which is plain, crispy chicken and rice.
Getting around Korea can difficult as well. The buses can be confusing, and many of the taxi drivers don’t speak English. I would suggest leaving your car on the post because finding parking can be difficult. Before leaving, I would write down on a piece of paper in Korean where you are planning on going, . Simply had it to your taxi driver.
Keep a large amount of won with you for transportation, especially if you aren’t sure how much a taxi or bus fee costs. Also remember to keep extra won in your car for whenever you pass thorugh a toll.
While the cultural differences can be a shock, living in Korea is a valuable experience that many are unable to have. It is important for those coming to live here to take advantage of this amazing and ancient culture and all that it offers.