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Why I'm Living in South Korea

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

The most common occurance while living abroad, no matter the country, is meeting new people. The earlier you are in your expatriate lifestyle the more strangers you'll meet. Some of the those strangers will become friends, and some well....won't.


But it seems the prequisite, whether becoming friends or remaining strangers, is asking the burning question: Why did you come to (insert country here)?


Why did I come to South Korea?

The tl;dr of it all is that Korean men are pretty. Pretty boys are why I moved to South Korea.

How shallow of me, right? I know. But before you slowly morph into Judge Judy, give me the chance to clarify that statement. I hope you're ready for the long version!


In December of 2012, my first attempt at gaining a college education came to a hault when I ran out of bargaining chips with the financial aid office at Columbia College Chicago. About seven months prior to that, I ran across a video on YouTube in which an African-American woman was attending a wedding in South Korea. At said wedding, the bride was African-American and the the groom was a native Korean. Two things about this video fascinated me: The first was how the Black woman had managed to live in South Korea. Secondly, I was intruiged by the international couple, whose wedding was being presented in the video. Upon watching more of this woman's videos, I learned that she was indeed a Native English teacher. Curiosity about the couple led me into a corner of YouTube (and the web, in general) that I had no idea existed: AM/BW relationships. Black & Yellow! Black & Yellow! Black & Yellow!


AM/BW is an abbreviation for romantic relationships involving Asian men and Black women, and there are entire hashtags, Facebook groups, and events dedicated them. The abbreviation may also be inversed to read AW/BM, but for obvious reasons I was less inclined to gain more information about that group. Initially, while watching AM/BW videos on youtube, I felt flattered by the appreciation shown by men from Asian backrounds. However, a tinge of concern lingered within me. Is the love these men have for Black women simply vain fetishism? Or is it purely genuine?


Eventually, I stopped watching AM/BW videos and still don't have a definite answer to the latter question. I was no longer concered. Instead, I continued searching for resaurces on how to teach and live abroad in South Korea. The free time I wasn't spending in school, I spent self-studying the Korean language online. Additionally, I began watching Korean movies and TV shows, and listening to K-pop music. Each form of media encourged my desire to learn the language...And pretty Korean boys. Need I say more? *wink wink*


Before I continue any further, I must shamefully admit that my deep dive into all things Korean caused me to place Koreans and Asians in general on a pedistal. I revered the modesty and class that they seemed to to possess in the television shows I watched. They keywords here being televison show. As in scripted...as in staged...as in fake. Duh! I was in so deep that I found myself subtley bowing to Asian-Americans or behaving awkardly in their presence. *cringe*


I started over and enrolled into Purdue University as a freshman in August 2013. In January 2015, I began working in the International Affairs Office. Specifically, I was hired as a student worker for Korean Student Affairs. Getting that job was an age old tale of being at the right place at the right time. There was an influx of Korean students studying abroad at the university and my co-workers and I were there to assist and accompany them on trips. And during the summer of 2015 I went on a trip of my own. I studied Korean at Hanyang Summer Institute for one month in Seoul.


I secured an additional bag working at the Writing Center in April 2016. Working at the Writing Center was the highlight of my college career. I made many new freinds, gained confidence in my writitng, and utlimately, it was my home away from home. At times, working for the IAO and the Writing Center crossed paths. Some of the Korean students I knew would visit me for tutoring sessions. Also, that same summer the Writitng Center held a six week workshop specifically for the Korean students who were on a short term study program at the university. The more time I spent with the students the more the modest, pretty boy facade faded. No TV screen. No cameras. No scripts. Just freindship.


In Decemeber 2016, I visited South Korea again for two weeks. I met old freinds and made new ones. I went to Seoul. I got lost. I cried. I laughed. I ate too much. I lost my bag. I went to Daegu. I got lost again. I played. I laughed. I lost. I cried. I learned my stregnth.



So now you know why I came to South Korea.


To marry a pretty Korean man. Duh!


In all seriousness, my interest in Korean culture has played a huge role in my transition into adulthood. I am capable of doing more than I ever imagined I would as a child. Maybe I won't live in South Korea forever. I may not even teach English forever. What matters is the most living my best life now!


Tinder awaits!

Xo,

Miya Marie~

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