Tag Archives: Cross Culture Kid

K-Jeossi/Ajeossi in My Father

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Been a while since I wrote my last blog post. The past 3-4 years were the worst parts of my life. I was stressed out. My health declined so badly. Massive PMS attacks that doctors have nothing but to say “here’s your pill” or “I know it’s hard but try to relax” or “maybe it’s allergy…?”  Let’s not even go to academics. I basically fought with my nails and teeth with useless admin/authorities. Good news is, I didn’t die and I graduated. Then, a week later, a dumb teenager rear-ended me with her giant Lincoln Navigator. None of my bones broke and there was no blood, but still I had to limp and yelp for a month or so, and it took a good 4-5 months for me to feel ok to go out and work out.

For the time being, I’m back in home and I’m glad to have some time to relax. Well, not absolute relaxation, but it certainly is less chaotic.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I’ve had a fair share of conflict because of my TCKness and my Korean family…especially father. My being away yet again for years and being a bit more matured in socials helped somewhat for me to deal with my family. It’s pretty simple – I try to go out and set the time so I don’t face my dad a lot in person. I get up later than him, and don’t come back until he is in bed or about to go bed. And I try to not to talk to him a lot.  Things were alright…but then things happen.

I asked whether anyone would like some tea, and my mom said she’d like some. We have a water purifier pot, and a water purifier from fridge. I don’t know why, but my mom says use the water from purifier pot if I’m making a soup or tea. Because I was about to boil water, I thought it would be less work for me if I make my Dong Quai tea as well (because of my PMS, I boil a lot of Dong Quai tea, cool it in a bottle and drink it like water).

Now you can imagine what’s in front of me in the kitchen. Three different cups/steel bowl with different teas, and a big pot of water boiling. Not a good situation to turn my eye away. So I made an agenda in my head: wait until the water boils, pour them in to the cups and bowls, and fill up the water purifier. Then 30 seconds later, the father came in to the kitchen, was about to pour the water form the purifier, and found that it’s gone. Then he saw me with all kinds of cups and bowls with tea in it.

F: You used all the water for the tea, right?
Me: Yeah…
F: Well why didn’t you fill it up? I wanted some water.
Me: (still looking at the fire) You can drink from the fridge. 
F: Well I wanted to drink from *here*. Whoever used the water purifier should fill it up. 
Me: Umm…you literally walked in to the kitchen right after I finished pouring.

Then he started complaining how this takes forever. I didn’t say anything. Then he brought up some old story that I don’t even remember – I fixed everyone’s PC with a tool back in high school dorm? Clumsy way to be friendly. I didn’t say much except “I don’t think that’s true. Where did you hear it?” “Your mom.” “That never happened. Not true.”

By then, the teas were done so I took it to my mom and took one for myself. My father still said “well, from now on, whoever used the water purifier should fill it up, ok?” I said, “Again, you walked in literally like 30 seconds after I finished pouring.”

Then he yelled stuff like I’m talking too much, I should just do what he tells me to do. I just said “yes, yes, sure” and went into my room.

Honestly, I just want him to leave me fucking alone. I respect his territory or whatever it is, and I don’t want to get into trouble. I expect him to do the same. Just because you are paying someone/gave birth to someone doesn’t mean that you can just enter and throw trash in without the person’s consent. I fucking hate when he slaps my butt as being “friendly.” I say something then he’ll scream at me again.

And really, what’s the big deal about getting the fridge water? If I find that there is no water and someone in the kitchen is boiling something, I’d just shrug it off and go to the other source. Or wait. If someone feels like he has been disrespected over kitchen water or someone explaining what happened to the water, all I can say is you have a damn low self-esteem.

That’s what I hate about many Korean ajoessi (40+ years old Korean men). They see everything, even their family, as a ranking game. They never imagine that they can be wrong and those with different opinions can be “right.” If there’s something they don’t understand, everything is “impolite” or “rude.”

Sadly, I see one in my father. And I just hate it. I know I can’t fix it. And honestly, I kind of don’t want to be too close to him because of it, as long as he is not ready to give some credit to those who are different from him. One of my fantasy is, as soon as I get to move out, I will contact my family – especially father – as little as I can.

 

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Things I would do differently before coming to law school (or, tips for studying smart in law school)

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I bombed by 1st year in law school.  After agonizing whether I made the right decision and whether I should stay in school or not, I got to do a bit of reflection, and here’s what I realized.

Before coming to law school, I got all the right advices. Don’t pay too much attention in classes, what your professor says, or readings. Get the outlines, commercial study aids, old exams with answers as early as you can and practice writing exam answers with it.  So I did so.  I even took a pre-law school course.  And I massively failed. So how come I bombed my first year after following all the right advice?  I didn’t have anyone who could check whether I am on a right track and give me necessary feedback. Yes I was doing everything I was supposed to do, but there was no way to tell whether I am doing it correctly or not.  I was learning to play a sports on my own – which can easily lead to incorrect way of playing or posture.

When people ask me “so, how bad is the law school?” I usually give this hypo:

You want to be a tennis player, so you signed up for a tennis school.  You would expect learning by actually playing it with an instructor, with the instructor giving you corrections and feedback.  Well, instead, all they do in class is learning the nature of tennis tools, watch videos of old games and learn about famous tennis players and coaches.  And one day, the instructor hands you a tennis racket and ball, and say, “go out and play, I’ll grade how well do you play in comparison of others.”

In terms of efficient learning, this is wrong in so many ways, right? There will be people who somehow learn how to play tennis in this way but the number will be very, very small.  This is how things are “taught” in law school.

If I could go back in time, I would definitely to the following:

1) Get a good idea of rules and how to do legal writing BEFORE you get into law school. 

The point of law school legal writing, including exam, is how to apply the rules to facts and explain it to the reader.  And of course law school doesn’t teach this.  There is no need to give an absolute, clear conclusion.  At least for me, it took a while to realize this because I was in habit of writing “academic English writing” (and English isn’t my first language!).  Get a tutor, or someone who knows legal writing and can spend time with you, doing questions together, explain the rules even generally and give constant feedbacks on how to write.  Trust me, it will make your life so much easier.

When I was still unsure whether I should go back to school or not, I happened to meet a very personal and kind law school professor (not from my school) to talk about this matter.  Here’s her answer. “Law school doesn’t teach what you need to know upright.  Some people just do it well in their 1st year, probably without realizing what they are doing.  Some people get it in their 2nd year. Or 3rd year.  And unfortunately, some people just don’t get it until they graduate.  Based on your email I read, you have it but you either just didn’t realized it yet, or how to apply it to the legal writing.  What you need is someone who can sit down and spend time and do problems and give you a constant feedback.  Ask your school whether they can provide this.”

“Okay, what if they can’t?”

“Well, then get a bar tutor.  That’s what they do.”

So I did after I came back to school, and I’m kicking myself for not doing it early on, instead of spending $ on some not very helpful pre-law program.  Before getting a tutor, just do your research and talk with them. I did a test-drive with two tutors on separate subjects.  One was awful.  As time goes by, I was under the impression that tutoring just isn’t really high on her priority and she’s not taking it seriously.  Another one was so much professional and timely in communication and scheduling.  Of course I dumped the former one after the test drive is over. One of the person I called called ridiculously high price.  Some tutors can offer a discount if you do multiple subjects or stick with them for a long time.  So get a tutor, do your research with their professionalism and pricing.

2)  Use commercial aids!

Most cases, many professors describe commercial outlines as evil stuff that you should avoid at all cost.  They say “do the readings, go to classes every day and you’ll be fine.”  WRONG unless you are one of the small number of lucky ones, as I described in the above-mentioned tennis hypo.  Here’s what I would do if I go back to my 1st year.

Get a used textbook with lots of notes and highlights.
Get a casebriefs matching your textbook – commercial study aids what provides you a summary of each cases in your textbook.

For preparing your class, read the casebrief first.  You are ready for in-class cold calls…unless your professor is a pervert who asks every single details.

3) Get help for your legal writing class…from outside. 

Granted, the legal writing class will take almost all of your 1L year time, although they carry a lot less credit then your other classes (which is BS but I will probably write this in a separate post).  You’ll be lost how to find relevant rules, how to organize them, etc.  Does professor help? Probably not.

Here’s what happened in my first year legal writing class.  We were supposed to write a thing called “brief.”  My professor never provided a sample we can refer to: to the request, she simply said “you can find it from internet.”  When someone asks about something with the issue or how to put stuff on the paper, she answered “it depends on you.”  When I say that English isn’t my 1st language and I would like to get an extra help, she said she will be glad to help and I can contact her TA.  So I had a few extra meetings with TA but later on TA intentionally started to ignore my e-mails and texts, probably thinking I’m trying to cheat or get unfair advantage.  Of course I shitbombed that class.

After that, I asked a friend of mine to provide me some relevant secondary sources for each of my writing assignments.  I didn’t even ask to review my paper – just provide me relevant readings.  Then my writing grade started to get so much better.  Again, I kicked myself for not doing so early on.

 

Law school is like South Korean public education in many ways.  In South Korea, students actually learn from tutors and private prep institutions and get tested in school.  With a very small exceptions, it’s a norm that to be successful in school, you have to grind with tutors and private prep institutions.  If I were a Korean who went through Korean education system, I probably knew this early on.  Ironically though, I’m the Korean who didn’t really go through the national education system: most of my education was done in American system where people don’t really rely on tutors except special occasions.

In summary, get out of your undergrad habit.  Get help from outside early on, and don’t really expect to learn a lot from school.

 

* Some other thoughts
– Many law students are people who aced in small, local colleges and did not experience much failures.  So it’s pretty natural that a lot of them think they are in the top of the world.  Also, given that a lot of them doesn’t really have real life experience (paying your own bills, arranging your insurance, living on a payroll and dealing with various clients and bosses) they think they are entitled to something…not sure I am doing a good job describing the law school world.  Basically it’s pretty elitist.
– If you talk to the students individually, a lot of them are nice and friendly.  If you group them together, they all go a bit nuts.
– Don’t expect to get a help from your classmates.  I had instances where people (even upperclassmen who are not in the same class with me) said they can help me with exam prep, can give me old books, can talk with me for future scheduling, etc., only to disappear, ignore my contacts or meet me but make it pretty clear that they are annoyed.  Was I the only one? No, my friend – the only person I can actually call friend and would like to keep touch even after graduation – said same thing.

Should I Quit?

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It has been a bit more than a month since I started my law school.  Maybe it’s a seasonal thing, but as the time passes, I am disappointed on a daily basis. Fast.

I was warned, but the 1st year of law school education is so inefficient and broken.  It’s a lot like South Korean public education system, which has been malfunctioning for a good 10-20 years.  In South Korea, learning doesn’t happen in schools.  The actual learning happens outside of school – tutoring, study aid books, and hagwons.  These are all for to be graded in school.  The entire education is focused on one-shot-per-year college entrance exam.  In sum, you don’t really learn anything from a school.  You learn through out-of-school institutions, and the school is there to grade you for your out-0f-school efforts (and, arguably, financial means to do that).

People say it has to be reformed.  But the more you delve into the problem, you realize it’s such a complex problem.  The whole “prep” industry is based on the broken system, and I bet there are so many strong ties between the Ministry of Education, schools and the prep industry.

1L is so much like this.  You don’t learn jack shit in class.  All the professors talk about is how this case is related to that case, the history of such-such concept, how certain element is related to the case, etc.  There’s too much material to be covered in the short amount of time.  It’s not about what the law is, what the principles of law application, let alone the technical skills of a lawyer.  There are schools that are more focused on practical skills, such as learning how to interview and write court documents from day 1.  But, a lot of these schools are out of ranking system.  They are not highly deemed, and for a foreigner like me, with high possibility of getting a job in oversea (and I don’t mind that), it’s a highly risky choice.  If I had a proper residence-ship, I wouldn’t mind going into one of these schools and be a mom-and-pop lawyer.  Well, I can’t.

Just like South Korea, there is a massive industry leaching on the system.  There are myriad of study aids, advisory service and exam preps, charging students.  I don’t know how many study aids I bought this time.  I have never bought this many study aids during my journey in the American education system.  Everyone does buy.

And the only practical course of the 1st year – legal writing and research – gives you far less credit, if not ungraded.  I honestly think it would be better if all 1L students take the legal writing and research first and then do all that “mandatory” courses.

So, I don’t know.  If I were an American, I would have quit and look something else.  But I’m not an American, and I really don’t want to be tied down in Korea.  I really don’t know – should I just quit and go to interpretation school? Or just suck it up and wait for a brighter day, where I can actually socialize with more like-minded people and take more practical courses?

Let me know what you think, please.

Drama Kings. Ugh.

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As a student who is slightly older than the average, the stress from law school isn’t only from the workload, psychotic professors and oh-so-breached system (which is a lot like Korean public education).  Social dynamic is one of them.  It’s not about me being a CCK or the only Asian person or the only international student in the lot.  So many people here don’t have any work experience, and their life and social interaction are limited to the school they are attending.

The school population is pretty small.  I see almost every one of them every single day.  There’s not much to talk about.  I don’t necessarily want to see them even in the weekends.  When asked, “hey, how was your weekend?” all they did was either work or drinking with yet another classmate.  I never enjoyed hardcore drinking even in college, and I don’t like drinking with people I don’t know well.  So, so far, I spent my weekends with my college alumni club, a friend living nearby with two kids, and another friend who is working nearby, happy with his partner for 10 years.  At week 4, people started to talk about who dressed trashy and who is sleeping with whom.  Not my thing since high school, especially so if you are well over mid 20.

Today, a great exemplary event has occurred.  Ken, a Korean-American classmate of mine, sits next to me.  He’s nice, but he is still pretty immature young – never serious, talks a lot, somewhat careless.  I never went out with him for a meal or drink, but I tried to keep things friendly.

So today, as I sit down, take books out and getting ready for the class, he started talking.

Ken: Yo, I went out with this Chinese kid, and he thinks you are Ajumma.  We were talking about you, and he was like “yeah I think she is Ajumma.  She looks like one.”

For those of you who doesn’t know what Ajumma means, here’s the link.  It’s not the most flattering word.  I can’t say I was in the best mood after hearing this, but honestly I really don’t care what these kids do or say.  I replied, “well, I’m older than most of you guys anyway.”

Then Ken said, “see, that’s why you have to come out and hang out with us more often.”

Oh wait…I think I’ve been in this situation.  Back in the college, a b*tch in Korean students community did pretty much same thing.  The difference is, she meant bad.  Ken just doesn’t know better. Oh lord, forgive this naiveté.  There’s a reason why you should not pass bad words, because it gets you in trouble, not the person who said it.

And, if you want to make someone to hang out with you, you should keep passing positive things, not “hey, so-and-so said you are like a pot dealer.  That’s why you should come out more.”  It should be more of trying to please the person – “hey, come on, it’s gonna be fun.  I know you like video games, we’ll play Wii.”  I wasn’t mad at Ken – but my frustration with these “young kids” was let loose.

Me: Well, why do you pass such words to me? They aren’t necessarily good words.  Why make troubles?

Ken: No, no, it was just that, nothing more than that.

And then he started to think I’m mad at him.  He messaged me how he is sorry.  Well, that’s not the point, is it? So I replied again:

You don’t have to be sorry because it’s not your fault. It’s just that if you expect someone to hang out with you, you guys should think twice and not pass the words, or talk things about people who are not present with you guys.

Then, like 10 hours later, he sent me an e-mail: details about how the conversation went, how they have better things to do than talk about me (then why pass the words to begin with?), how he was just throwing jokes and that’s what friends do, and how he’s going to keep things strictly ‘professional.’

First, I don’t care about what went on at their drinking table.
Two, I don’t think we are friends.
Three, even if you thought it as a joke, if the person hearing it isn’t very pleased, that’s not a joke.
Four, “professional?” since when we are “professionals?” Are we in the same workplace?  To my knowledge, we are full time students.
Five, if you want to apologize, drop all the bullsh*t and stick with your apology.  No background, no explanation, no sh*t.
Lastly, why sending me all these details 10 hours later?

I guess this is what guys feel when a girl they dated once or twice send them some long, mad letter with all these details and BS.  But hey, I gotta thank that he figured we are not BFF and how to leave me alone.  If I were a few years younger, I would send some long reply.  But as I age more, one of the life wisdom I realized is that it’s just not worth it.  Some people just don’t understand no matter how hard you try to explain.  If you see the sign, just walk away and leave it there.  As the Beatles said, let it be.

Drama Kings are no better than Drama Queens.  Boy I just can’t wait until the first year ends.

I’ll Be Good Catholic Again

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I am baptized Catholic, but I wasn’t all that religious.  I believe in spirituality, though.  I don’t necessarily agree with all Catholic teachings (such as, women still not allowed to be priest, contraception, not accepting LGBT, etc) but I never had any bad feelings on Catholicism itself.   In fact, I admire what sisters and fathers are doing in some of the poorest and most dangerous places of this world.

But I stopped going mass.  I am not a morning person at all.  And, even if I went to Catholic college, I didn’t go to mass.  I was busy doing my works and papers.  I didn’t feel it was all that necessary.

Today, I went to the local community service organized by my college alum club here.  The church is located in one of the poorest neighborhood, and it is run by a Franciscan father, who is also an alum.  We started off with a mass.

As I mumble prayers (CCK’s catch: in addition to not really remembering prayers, I get mixed up with Korean and English prayer), out of blue, I thought: this is home.  This is where I belong.  The thought grew stronger as people finish the mass with my school’s alma mater song (which, obviously, is almost like hymn and about praising Mother Mary).

When I was living in Japan, my wonderful host family – without them, my Japan experience would not have been this great – were Christian.

My best friend, whom I met in high school in Michigan, was also Catholic.  We didn’t ask “hey, are you Catholic?” right away.  After we got close, we found out that we are all Catholic.

When I first moved to Indiana, a great local family who made my life in college so much easier was also Catholic.

As I entered the Church today, everything was so familiar.  Fathers, Eucharist, big sculpture of Jesus and Mary – all that.  Then I thought, maybe, it is something I can’t escape.  Something I must accept.

After I came back from the church, a neighbor down the hallway knocked at my door.  Red, a cheerful retired man, was at my door.  He has been very friendly ever since I moved to South Jersey.  He took my package and wrote me a card.  He came to check whether I’m doing alright, and got all the furniture I need.

“Oh, yeah, mostly.  I got them from Ikea.”
“Ikea!” Red replied, “No, you shouldn’t by that cheap stuff!  Come on, I’ll show you my furniture and pictures, and let me give you some furniture shop address.”

As we walk down the hallway, he asked what I did today.  I said I bid farewell to my mom and aunt, and went to the local church for community service.

“Oh, you Catholic?”  said Red, “I’m too.  I go to St. Andrews, you should come along for a mass there.”

I felt like crying.  This entity/system/religion/spirit/God/whatever has been watching me and following me for my entire journey up to now, helping out whenever it can. Yet I never really paid attention.  I’ve been taking it for granted.

I can’t escape this.  And I’ll be happy to accept it.  I felt destiny.

Rule of Good Biz 101: Don’t be an Ass.

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My law school has started, and the first month has been absolutely crazy.  Thanks to the superb infrastructure and service industry of South Korea, I’ve been taking a lot of things for granted.  For instance, Comcast installation took a good three days.  DHS took forever to update my status.  DMV registration took almost two full days (I never stayed more than 1.5 hrs in DMVs of Seoul).  Insurance took forever.  ‘Nuff said.  And then professors kept throwing assignments.  They don’t really explain things in class.  I feel very fortunate to have some friends living nearby (one of the benefits of CCK!). Though many students are nice, it can be frustrating because I see them every day, and majority of them are kids fresh out of college.  On the other hand, I’m the “unconventional student” with several years of work experience.  I feel more at ease when chatting with other “unconventional students” (no offense, but teaching English for 1-2 year doesn’t really count unless you really meant to be a professional teacher).

One of my professors is quite a character (I’m using politically correct statement here).  Here’s the history of our interaction.

First.

I sent e-mail to all of my professors to explain my every-delaying Comcast installation situation, how I’m new to the area and there isn’t really any place to use internet, so it would be great if they could provide me some hard copies of online reading if there is any.  I said it is likely to be sorted within next 1-2 weeks and added an apology.  Most were friendly.  One provided hard copy.  Another reserved a book in the library.  Another said the readings are from textbook so I shouldn’t worry.

Well, this…”special” professor’s reply was: No, I can’t.  You just have to figure out.

So as you can tell, my first impression of him wasn’t the most positive one.

Two.

He posts on the webboard constantly, from his iPhone, 9 pm, whenever wherever.  Then one night, he sent the whole class an e-mail with a picture of his puppy, and how it’s late Friday and how his spouse is working late so it’s only his dog and him in the home, so we all need to post on the webboard.

Why an earth would you send everyone an e-mail about your spouse, life, and pup?  To STUDENTS?

Three.

He started to bring beam projectors.  I don’t know why, but he doesn’t use screen.  He doesn’t turn off the lights completely.  He doesn’t really use zoom in features.  He projects it right on the board.  The board reflects light.  So unless you are sitting right across from the screen, it’s hard to see. He restricts seating to first four rows.

I knew what’s going on and what’s being projected, but I couldn’t really read.  Then he called me and asked question.  I answered, “the thing is…I can’t see it from here.”  So he said to come up.  I came up and answered his questions.  That evening, he personally sent me an e-mail, saying I should sit up closer.

I couldn’t help thinking “what the fuck…” I’m not a pre-schooler.  I replied:

Dear professor,

Yes, the same thought has occurred.  I guess it was the lighting and small letters, because I can see the board mostly fine.  But I will sit up closer.  Thanks for your concern.

Kind regards,
Ceberus

And next class, I pulled up two rows closer.

No change in lighting.  No zooming.  He called me again.  Same thing happened.  I was thoroughly annoyed.  I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only person having this trouble.  One girl was called, and she, too, answered: “professor, I can’t really see.  Could you zoom in?”  Now that I think about it, most questions and answers came from the other half side of the class, but not my side.  So I posted on the class webboard:

Dear Professor,

When you are using the beam projector, could you please either turn down the lights further and utilize zoom in, or provide us hard copies of what is projected?  I know I’ve had the most problem regarding this matter, but I don’t think I’m the only one with this problem…

Kind regards,
Ceberus

Guess what his answer was:

Sit closer or speak up, otherwise I wouldn’t know.  Lights are already turned off, and hard copies are useless.

And then his TA told me he was annoyed, and somehow thought it’s rude for me to post it on the webboard.  His TA’s word of wisdom was, that that’s just the way he is, he wants his students to treat him like God (btw, Miss TA, teaching English in Korea for a few years…doesn’t really count as “work experience.”)

If I were a few years younger, my reaction would be fighting it.  But now that I have a bit more life experience, I know I’ll just have to suck it up.  After all, he’s the grader and I’m being graded.  I hate such kind of people.  I don’t readily give my respect.  I’ve seen a lot of not-so-respectable sides of big name people and wealthy family.

I bet he would love to be a professor in Korea.

Few weeks ago, a classmate of mine – another unconventional student, ex- Marine recruiter – had a chat, wondering why this professor left his job at some big Philadelphia firm after 7-8 years of practicing.  I said he’s the hard type to work with.  The classmate was basically thinking the same thing. “You see, even the law firm, in the end it’s business.  He talks and writes e-mail in a very condescending manner.  It’s hard to do business with that kind of person.”

After those three interactions, I think my classmate is right.  And it was a learning moment (even if it involved emotional roller coaster ride).  Even if you are a professional with the best performance and skill, or seller with the best product in the world, it can only take you to a certain point.  In the end, it is human interaction.  As long as you are not doing hopelessly lousy job, a lot of people will end up doing the business with someone who might be less in terms of the performance but has better personality and listens to you.  I certainly would.  If he was attorney and I am his potential client, I think I will go to someone else.

The success of business, or anything, isn’t a hidden skill or higher knowledge: be nice.  Don’t be an asshole.

Mad World

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I took a TOEIC (Test of English for International Communication) today.  TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) isn’t much of a big deal for me, so TOEIC isn’t too hard either, if not easier.  Listening and reading boring 200 questions can be tiresome though.

These tests are not big deal for me, because I grew up in the United States and got good education, thanks to my parents who were dedicated and could afford to do so.  But for many others, these tests are big deal.  A lot of people did not have same experience with me (which is why I dislike people who credit no one else but himself for good outcome).  So far, I took TOEIC twice in Seoul – one in a high school building right next to my home, and another high school a bit away from my place.

These are 4-stories building, and I think their capacities are about 3-500.  Every single time I take TOEIC, the whole building is full.  The entire classrooms and wings are posted with test room numbers.  As the test is finished, a big crowd heading down to the 1st floor fills the building.  Many of them are college students, taking TOEIC for their job application (and this is why I took TOEIC, too – they just need it).  I saw more than five people, talking on the phone, saying things like “oh shi*t, that was so tough,” “How was it? I frigging bombed it.”  The sight of it makes me frustrated every time.

This just shows how system in South Korea is massively flawed.  English is a language.  It is a tool for certain purpose.  For instance, based on our common sense, someone who works in a domestic sales or teaching young students does not use English on daily basis for her/his job.  This person doesn’t really need to be a good English speaker.  Or, a college student who majored in Classic Korean Literature probably won’t need good English skill either.

The opposite is truth in South Korea, though.  You just have to have that TOEIC number even to apply for…everything.  A reporter once asked several Korean companies why they require TOEIC/TOEFL for candidates, and the candidates would actually use English on daily basis if hired.  Not one company could answer.

There is no evaluation system to make a good analysis of each candidate.  Well, to begin with, many of them don’t know how to write a job description, let alone the necessity of it.  So the only “standardized evaluation” they depend on is TOEIC and TOEFL.  How sad.

This is the core of problem in South Korea and its education.  It is so competitive.  Failure is not an option – especially in a world where certain behaviors and positions are expected depending on one’s age and gender, and being different is frowned upon.  So people end up spending loads of money, time, and energy on their kids, to make sure their kids to go to high-ranking college.  The finished products are dozens of test-taking grinders, who can’t do anything but getting a good grade and excel at tests.

The Korean public education is destroyed long before, but the government is turning blind eyes.  Sick and tired of the situation, the parents who can actually afford it (or have a chance to do so) send their kids abroad.  Those who can’t send their kids even temporarily, even if it’s not developed countries.

It’s more of “looking good” than the quality.

Mad world, it is.