Monday, September 3, 2012

Multimedia Monday: Culture Shock

Usually foreigner-in-Korea blogs/"vlogs" make me cringe (like Eat Your Kimchi...seriously? seriously you guys?), but this girl doesn't make me crawl the walls, so that's a point in her favor.

Anyway, the topic in the book this week is "culture shock," which is a good one for conversation fodder. There were also a whole lot of foreigner-in-Korea videos about it, and all the assorted little things that are different when you come to Korea.

Speaking of "little things," it's too bad that I couldn't show them the infamous "Royale with cheese" dialogue from Pulp Fiction, but so it goes.

It seems Expat Kerri has a whole series of videos on this very topic. Normally I would write this off as an egregious and self-indulgent exercise in nihilism, but hey, it was good listening practice for my kids, so thanks Kerri!

Before I played this for them, I asked them two things:

1. What was confusing for her?

2. Why was it confusing?

This particular entry happens to be about the Korean expression, "밥 먹었어요?" but as I said, she has some other entries too.

It segued into a short little lesson about how in English we say "What's up?" or "How are you?" as a similar greeting: people don't say it because they necessarily care about the answer, but because it's become a convention among greetings. Likewise, I pointed out, if you're doing really bad, you still tend to say, "I'm okay" or "I'm fine" because you understand the person is just asking to be polite, not because they really want to know your sob story.

If you want to download this or other videos to use in class, I recommend using YouTube downloader HD. For other videos (some useful, some not), please check out my Multimedia Monday tag.


  1. "밥 먹었어요?" still throws me for a loop sometimes. I forget that you don't _really_ need to answer the literal question, but just say that you're OK or busy or happy or whatever.

    1. All of my small talk gets conducted in English, so I never get "밥 먹었어요?" I also never get it in English, either, unless the person really is asking after my food consumption.

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