Danielle Davidson is currently studying abroad in Seoul, South Korea. This is her first hand experience with living abroad.
Before I came to Korea, communication through language was something I took for granted, but now that it’s gone, I’m like a fish out of water.
The first few times I ordered food was like entering the lottery. The menu has to be deciphered and then a choice has to be made based off prior knowledge of Korean food. There are moments when I order and then think: “I guess I’ll see what it looks like when it gets here”. There was one instance where I mistakenly ordered soup with an octopus in it (I’m not a huge seafood fan), but I made do and even tried a piece!
Restaurants aren’t the only place where communication is needed, but at the store, the pharmacy and pretty much anywhere outside in general. But since I have no clue what’s being said to me 90 percent of the time, I just walk up and down the aisles looking. For the most part the employees don’t try to approach me and ask if I need help, because, well, I’m a foreigner and don’t speak Korean.
However, I did have a good experience at a TonyMoly store where one of the saleswomen walked up to me. When she saw me pick up a compact powder and study it, she picked a different one up and showed it to me. She said something in Korean to me, and I gave her a ‘deer-in-the-headlights’ look.
But, with a few words here and there, hand gestures and facial expressions, the language barrier was conquered! Enthusiasm exuded from her and she seemed to be having fun.
Even though language is a wonderful thing, it isn’t necessary for survival. I’m taking Korean
language courses! For two hours, five days a week, I’m studying the language, and even though it’s hard, it’s