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Being Korean-American in Korea


(Note: This transcript has been edited for readability.)

"For me, I think when I was working there, I was kind of always treated as a foreigner. I mean, there was that part where like, you're Korean, but you're still a foreigner because you've spent so many time—so many years abroad. I think schooling has a lot to do with it. If you haven't attended elementary, junior high, or high school in Korea, and there's a lot of things that you learn while you're going to school—I guess it's quite different from the U.S. system. If you weren't brought up with that kind of schooling and that kind of experience, then they tell you, 'Oh, you haven't learned this,' and 'This is the Korean way of doing things.' So in that regard, I think they treat me as a foreigner. But when they hear me speak Korean and some of my mannerisms are instinctually Korean as well, they're like, 'Oh, you're Korean.' So it kind of goes both ways, and it's confusing for me sometimes, and it's like—so you consider me a foreigner, or Korean...? [laughs]"

A Korean-American civilian discusses being of Korean descent while living and working in South Korea.