Foreigner’s Korean Holidays
Foreigner’s Korean Holidays
  • Reporter Park Min-young
  • 승인 2014.11.19 11:06
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As bilingual campus, POSTECH has many foreigners. In Korean holidays such as New Year’s Day and Chuseok, many Korean Postechians spend holidays with their family, but most Postechians who come from foreign countries are alone during the holidays. Foreign holidays have some differences with Korea’s, so foreigners can think it is a little distinct. Some foreigners have experience about Korean holidays and Professor Raymond Close (HSS) and Jared Dittmer (HSS) were interviewed by The Postech Times about their Korean holidays and holidays abroad. Both professors have Korean wife and they have lived Korea for a long time, so they have enough experience about Korean Holidays.
Prof. Close had his first Korean holiday in a hospital because he broke his leg at that time. He said he sometimes felt uncomfortable during holidays because most facilities such as bank and restaurant were closed. An interesting thing that he saw was Korea’s traffic jam in holidays. Every holiday, many Koreans go to their home by car and there are many heavy traffic jams, unlike in his hometown where the population density is much lower. He knew the New Year’s bow and cash gifts (handsel) and he thought it is an admirable culture on New Year’s Day. He also said the New Year’s cash gift was similar to Christmas presents in U.S. He spends his Korean holiday in Gwangju and he eats and likes skate and dolsangat kimchi, which is a specialty in Yeosu.
Prof. Dittmer also participated in an interview and mentioned a couple of things he found interesting. One of them was the idea that a plate of food becomes lighter after being offered to deceased ancestors. He has never tested it, but found that concept amusing. Another interesting difference is greetings Koreans use when they have not seen each other in a long time. He said he often hears, “Wow! You look a lot older!” or, “Why did you gain so much weight?!” and it doesn’t seem like a pleasant greeting. He also knew about Korea’s handsel culture and he said it is great sign of respect. He thinks Korean holidays are a little different from U.S’s. In U.S, there are many sports games on television in holiday, but Korea does not have them, as far as he knows. Also, in the U.S, Christmas seems to be more of a family holiday, whereas in Korea it is more of a romantic thing. Korean holiday food he likes are Skate and soup. He said Songpyeon is delicious but he doesn’t really like making it.
Both Professors thought that foreigners in Korea can feel lonely in holidays. Prof. Close said most facilities are closed in holidays, so it is very uncomfortable for foreigners and they feel lonely because there is nobody around them in holiday. Prof. Dittmer said most foreigners in Korea feel lonely not in Korean holiday, but in their hometown’s holiday because they miss their family. There are an increasing number of foreigners in POSTECH. We should be friendly and hospitable, especially during our holidays.