Being a Korean American in Korea

THIS IS TOO PERFECT THOUGH. While I was worried about how to exercise my writing skills about Korea without just relaying my day’s itinerary, I headed over to Youtube because…why not, and I found an inspiration!


So, who is eatyourkimchi? They’re Simon and Martina, a Canadian couple living in Korea, posting videos about living in Korea, Korean music, wonderful treasure finds, and many more epic things.

In particular, the epic video they just posted that got me all hyped was the video “The Gyopo Experience ft Jen”. And it talked about being a Korean American visiting Korea, which perfectly applies to me right now. I completely COMPLETELY resonated with the video and thought, why not share my own thoughts about this? Because I’ve been thinking a lot about what it is being a Korean American…

Before I launch into this going to be long post, check you eatyourkimchi’s video below!~


SOOOO TRUE. Seriously. When we hailed a taxi, we didn’t have to say anything and the taxi ahjussi was already like “Where are you from?” -.- And even I can tell that we don’t fit in. I didn’t think that a certain style could differentiate us but it really can. It’s weird for me because I never really cared about what others were wearing or what the fad is but now I feel really conscious about what I’m wearing…


This is what makes me the most embarrassed. And it’s also what throws a lot of Koreans off about being Korean American. Yes, I am Korean but no I’m not fluent in the language. (but I can speak English!- Brownie points, maybe?) So many times I draw a blank on a certain word and then instead of trying to use Korean to communicate I resign to English. In fact, I’m almost scared to speak Korean sometimes because I feel like they will judge me.

I mean, I get it. We Korean Americans are a weird phenomenon. But at the same time, our ‘weirdness’ brings something new to the table. Cheesy as it sounds, we get the best of both worlds (cue Miley Cyrus’ song~). We get the English all around us as we grow up and the Korean in the safety of our homes with our parents and particular traditions (like taking off our shoes and the mystical rice cooker that always amazes my Western friends).

But, just from my perspective, we also have the most pressure. If you’re a Westerner, you’re let off the hook if you don’t know Korean. But if you’re clearly Korean and don’t know, it’s like what’s wrong with you. At least, that’s how I feel. I’m probably being too harsh on myself but yeah.

I feel like I’m stuck in a lingo between being Korean and American. And it’s kind of hard to squish the two together since they are so different. I mean, when I’m in Canada I’m immediately the Korean. But as soon as I come to Korea, I’m the American.

As of now, I do want to be more Korean. I want to master the language and adjust/adopt the style and get used to the traditions. But does that mean I have to ditch the Americanness of me?- Not necessarily. I’m both Korean and American. It’s something that I’m blessed with and so I have to embrace both parts of what I am.


2 thoughts on “Being a Korean American in Korea”

  1. Hey Wings,

    Welcome to the group of blogging 🙂

    It’s definitely a unique experience that kyopo go through which is relatable when talking with other kyopos.

    The ‘too Korean for Americans, while too American for Korean’ feeling is all too true for myself as well. We just don’t seem to be accepted, am I right ? 😉

    Anyway, look forward to reading about your journey in Korea!


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