Misconceptions that Foreigners Have about Koreans

Most Koreans can’t understand English

Okay, you’re right, this is somewhat true in a sense; most Koreans can’t speak English proficiently. However, it is inaccurate to say that most Koreans can’t understand English — otherwise why would there be so many sign-boards and advertisements that use the language? The fact is that Korean education focuses on reading and writing skills and for this reason Koreans are usually uncomfortable when encountering foreigners in public, meaning you may receive response like: “English, no”. Try breake your question down into a simple phrase like: “Coex, where?”  and you are likely to at least be pointed in the right direction. (Tip: Also, when you need help with directions, younger Koreans tend to be more proficient in English so look for the first 20 something person that makes eye contact with you for several seconds and doesnt have a terrified look on his or her face.)

All Koreans eat dog meat

Sorry dog lovers, it is true that some Koreans eat dog meat (usually in the form of soup). However in Koreans defense, it is only a spesific breed of dog that is raised for eating. Koreans recently had the misfortune of having to deal with the international press exposing the fact that some restaurants in the country serve some dog meat soup. Although there is truth to the charge, in all fairness what the press reported was a little blown out of proportion, and besides if one understands this country’s history then most would tend to be more forgiving of Koreans. 50 odd years ago Korea was gripped by severe poverty and food of any substantial nutritional value (such as pork or beef) was scarce. In those days, especially during times of extreme heat, Koreans had no other choice but to supplement their meals with the meat of stray dogs.

But in fact, the practice of eating dogs has been around for at least 500 years, beginning probably not coincidentally during a time when the country was experiencing some of its harshest economic conditions. Perhaps owing somewhat to Koreans relatively superstitious nature, as well as their immerse sense of national pride, dog soup never become a smybol of poverty, but instead was touted Although (from what i hear) dog meat soup is not increadibly appetizing, having been raised to believe that dog meat soup is exceptionally nutritious (probably an exaggeration) many elderly members of Korea have continued to profess the nutritional benefits of a hardy bowl of woofie! However, speaking with younger Koreans about dog soup one will find that many of them either find the taste disgusting, the practice of eating dogs cruel, or both. Henceforth, coming from your neighbor’s kitchen it’s most likely a variety of seafood that, few modern restaurants serve the meal – so if you smell something strange you are not familiar with – as opposed to man’s best  friend.

All foreign men find Korean women extremely attractive

For many men visiting this country the answer may be “Yes, sure.” for after all, most Korean women tend to be more slender than the average American women for example, and in Seoul women also tend to dress more provocatively. Nonetheless, it often evokes a feeling of discomfort for many expats when put on the spot in front of a group of people to answer question like: “So do you think Korean women are the most beautiful in the world?”, or “sexier” than women from one’s own country. The answer they are certainly looking for is an unqualified “Yes, of course!” Feeling uneasy I usually give a vague response referring to average rates of prevailing obesity or nothing that there are beautiful women to be found in all areas of the globe – but these answers usually disappoint my Korean hosts.

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