Saturday, December 27, 2008

"Living and Surviving in South Korea"

Like I mentioned before, I have totally immersed myself into the whole Korean adoption thing. I bought several books on to read on the topics of adoption, with a focus on foreign/Korean adoptions. As I read these I will post my comments about them.

This was the first book I got in the mail. Here is a quick synopsis:

First off, Let me start off by saying, I highly recommend this book to any Korean who will be visiting Korea for the first time. This book touches on several key "issues" that you will not think about or read about anywhere else. There is also information that might be helpful to non-Koreans, but the target audience is for ethnic Koreans.

This is a broad overview guide of living in Korea from a Korean-American's perspective. The subtitle of this book is "What you won't learn in this Lonely Planet for Ethnic Koreans".

In case you don't know "Lonely Planet" is guide book for pretty much any country in the world. It is an excellent tool for traveling. However, Lonely Planet does not prepare Koreans returning to their motherland for the first time.

This book covers some basics such as public transportation, renting, and food. Actually I found that this book is much better at teaching the customs then "Lonely Planet". "Lonely Planet" is definitely a better guidebook with recommendations of where to go and what to see. "Living and Surviving in South Korea" is more of what to expect, in particular what to expect as a Korean visiting Korea for the first time.

I found this book extremely entertaining, and truthfully I wish I had read this book before my visits to Korea, however now that I read it, I find it very entertaining because I can laugh and say I experienced exactly what the author is writing about. The biggest thing for me was the language barrier. For the first time in my life I "fit in" and blended in with the crowd. That is until I opened my mouth! This is just one of several "issues/items" this books talks about that ethnic Koreans will face in their travels.

This book also talks gives a lot of history on the author and his personal experience. Which I always find interesting! I love reading or hearing about other Korean-Americans/Adoptees experiences.

Lastly the Author also discusses the "drive" to return to the motherland. The author discusses becoming an ESL teacher, gives hints on how do go about doing it, and other methods or ways to consider working in Korea. As I'm sure many ethnic Koreans have, the auther also weighs the pros and cons of living in Korea. The author is a definite supporter of Koreans wanting to return to the motherland.

I would highly recommend this book! I loved it from the moment I picked it up. I did "skim" through the hints section where he gives helpful hints to people on their first visit to Seoul (such as how to use the subway) because I already learned and experienced these hints.

Not only was the information excellent, but a look into the authors personal life was fascinating. Lastly, his arguments for living in Korea and his discussions about how to make it feasible was fascinating! The author almost had me packing my bags! While being an ESL teacher is perhaps the easiest way, the author does recognize people in situations such as myself where our careers are not exactly tailored to taking 2 years off to teach ESL (I'm a chemical engineer in the oil industry, so this would be a career killer), however the author recognizes this and gives other viable alternatives!

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