[Q&A] I don’t fit in. Help me find a Korean to connect to.

Azzie says:

I have been a fan of Korea for a long time now, ever since before I was a teenager. Their culture and everything just blew my mind, in a good way, haha. It’s always interesting to read about its culture, what’s new in the music industry, sit back and watch their drama’s. Though, it’s always been a hard time for me to ever meet a Korean, because I’m surrounded by… anti-Korean everything… My story is a bit rough, but maybe you will all be able to help me. I am a sixteen-year-old teenager turning seventeen in October, I have a very big attraction to anything Asian, not just Korean, although, everyone around me thinks I’m being weird by liking it. I get bullied in school just by listening to Korean(or any Asian) music, this boy even made fun of me for even listening to such “garbage” in front of the whole class, and they just laughed, and nobody wanted to make me feel better, NOT even my best friend, her excuse is that she doesn’t find Asian cultures attractive and she doesn’t want to be around people like me. One day when I was out with my friends, like normal teenage girls we were talking about boys (normal, huh?) my friends started talking what types they like and they asked me, I’ll be honest, I was very nervous at first to admit it, but I swallowed the fear and admitted that I find Korean guys very, very attractive, as I expected they only laughed at my face, I felt so devastated that I couldn’t hang out with them anymore, I just ran off home in tears. My family doesn’t give me any support either. My Mom is very racist towards Asians, especially Koreans since she thinks their music is “bad”, something I’ll never understand. I once won a raffle on a site where they shipped posters of a certain K-POP group, which happened to be one of my favorite bands, when I got the poster, I felt so blessed, so accomplished, I loved it, I hung it on my wall above my head, but when my parents saw it along with my sister (who only laughed how stupid they looked), my parents took the poster and threw it out, ripping it in pieces, my Mom kept repeating that if I’ll ever bring a Korean boy into the family, I’m no longer her daughter…Kind of hurts, huh..? Having that said to you by your own mother…but I got over the poster. And even till this day I keep my interests the same, and my urge for Korean music grows stronger and stronger. My question for you is that, maybe you could help me find a Korean friend for me? Or suggest how can I meet a person like that? Even though it sometimes looks like the world is against my interests, I would really like to meet someone who I admire so much, who I think his culture is amazing. It doesn’t need to be dating, no no, I would like someone there for me, to understand what I like and just be alright if I like it. Could you tell me how could I find a Korean like that? When my town is empty when it comes to Koreans?

Haha, just by typing this out and looking at the past events that happened to me brings a tear in my eye… Thank you guys so much for helping me!

Stand out in Korea

This question hits close to home because I was always the odd one out. It was never more obvious then when I started attending school. I wasn’t especially bullied but I never fit in. And I have never felt as alone as when I was surrounded by the many people from my class. I completely understand that you are looking for someone to connect with, someone who can understand you.

I believe that in some way, it is this not-fitting-in that led to me be in a relationship with a Korean now. I never had special interest in Koreans. I was barely aware they existed before I met Kimchi Man. But what I did learn through my school years is that if I didn’t want to be alone, I was not going to have the luxury of choosing people based on their nationality, proximity,  sex, age… There are many people just like you, but they are not going to be gathered at one place.

I did the same thing as you – I idealized. I imagined that somewhere out there, there must be a place where I would fit right in. A place full of people who were just like me. Let me tell you right now before you get disappointed – that place does not exist. And that place is not Korea. It is great that you like their culture, and it is great that you are interested in them. But Koreans are foreigners and you will be a foreigner to them. That is going to make it even less likely that you will fit in there than you do at home.

I don’t want to sound like the rest of the people crushing your dream. Because the truth is, you don’t need to fit in to not feel alone. And I think you might just as well find some Korean who will make the world seem a friendlier place, the way Kimchi Man did for me . But keep in mind that it is going to be A Korean, not KoreanS.

Additionally, you said “I would like someone there for me, to understand what I like and just be alright if I like it.” Doesn’t that sounds more like you are looking for other fans of Korea, not Koreans themselves? It is going to be much easier to connect to people who share your interests.

And finally, to answer your questions, here is how to meet South Koreans.

– Oegukeen



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22 thoughts on “[Q&A] I don’t fit in. Help me find a Korean to connect to.

  1. I was, at one time, the lone Korean enthusiast in my circle of friends. However a few years ago, I discovered the Chicago Korean Language Meetup Group through Meetup.com. In this group, I met other Koreanophiles who love Korean food, K-pop, & Korean folk arts. When I moved to Detroit for school, I started the Metro Detroit Korean Meetup Group! Next week, we’re going to have dinner together at a Korean restaurant, and in July, we’re having a Korean movie night. You might not be able to find an enclave of Korean enthusiasts, but you should be able to build your own virtual/face-to-face group of people who share your passion for all things Korean! Good luck!

  2. Azzie, you sound like such a sweet and misunderstood kid! I too am someone who is in love with Korean language, art, music…and so is my son(I am in my 30’s, he is almost a teen). My son gets picked on in school sometimes too, but more so for correcting the other kids for being rude about Asian people in general(my sons father and I split up and my bf now is Asian, so my son feels a special closeness to Asian people).
    I would say to you – as a mother – that you\’re in for a big struggle, especially with your parents, and as hard as it will be never lose yourself to the pressure to fit in. What part of the world do you live that there is SO much hatred/disrespect for Koreans? Is it a national pride thing or just ignorance?
    My general point here is you need to be around more open-minded people…not just k-pop lovers, but people who are accepting of differences. Are you planning to go to college/university? That may be a good place to meet people who like what you like. I\’m sorry your having such a rough time with people being so judgmental and mean to you.
    Good luck in the future!

  3. Hi, im in my late 20’s and app. 2 years ago i discovered K culture and its beauty. Now I realise that I find Asian, but especially K guys, really attractive. I remember my father saying to me something like “I hope you wont bring home a Chinese etc.” At that moment I did not really care, but now I do and actually I do want to “bring home” (meaning marrying) a K man. It is just that where i live…there is none!!:) And honestly It’s quite a struggle to meet any K at all.
    I listen K pop ( i have a favourite band and even favourite band member), but few people know that my mp3 player is filled with K tunes. If they find out they are in disbelief. But I dont really care. And so should Azzie. When you grow a little bit , it is up to you what music you like, what poster you hang in you room and who you date. Follow the things that make you happy. Even if you keep them in your heart. I hope you meet great people around you who would share your passion and that a Korean wiil enter in your life, be it a friend or colleague. Look for some association, group on the internet that can exist in your area. Maybe that can help.
    Keep your head up. There are many people who are ignorant in this world and just because you like different things does not mean your dreams are useless. It is our dreams that make us achieve great results!!

  4. hello..

    I don’t know if you are gonna read this..

    believe or not, I’m korean male..

    I have been living at indonesia for quite long time..
    I went to chinese school so there wasn’t many problems but some peoples at street and some places do hate foreigners..

    Some peoples have told me that they hate foreigners cause act arrogant..
    but they stared at me with unpleasant look even though I haven’t do anything yet..
    even when I ask for directions..
    not all do that, some peoples are really nice..but there’s good, bad and the worst..

    I don’t know if you still want to have relationship with koreans or not,
    I just want to tell that koreans are really arrogant..

    It’s up to you want to believe what I said or not..

    You can try to learn korea
    maybe i could help you if I didn’t sell my pc..

    Wish you luck whatever you do..

    • Hello and welcome. I’m sure girls will be happy there is another Korean guy around here.

      It is not difficult for me to believe that you are Korean because the way you write is very similar to the way Kimchi Man does. :)

      He also sometimes says Koreans are arrogant, or something along those lines, but I think he is just trying to be modest. Koreans I met so far have certainly not been arrogant at all but very nice people.

  5. My aunt like to criticize the koreans a lot. She said that they’re rude n told me not get my high hopes on koreans. But this is what i always tell myself, whether or not they’re arrogant, i will be the judge to that. I hv friends who went to korea n they said that koreans are more n less like malaysians as well. Being arrogant is kinda normal bcuz pretty much where ever u go, u can find plenty of arrogant people. I’m an invigilator for international exam, so i met with a lot of korean students. Honestly, they can be naughty but what can we do when they’re juz a kid n we were a kid before so its understandable. I dont hv much of friends who like or crazy in love with the whole korea culture or wht ever it is but i like when i can still enjoy n care less what other think about what i like cuz at the end of the day, it’s gonna be me, not them. Parents can be lack of understanding with what most kids these days look like n what they like.

    • You are right, and I am glad you are so open-minded.

      But please note there is a huge difference in parents not understanding their children’s likes when it comes to things like modern music, way of dressing, social networks, technology and then a whole nation of human beings.

      Koreans are not a fad that you can like or dislike. They are people.

  6. Azzie,

    I’m ethnic Korean who has lived in numerous countries and in 4 continents even before finishing high school. I can relate. I always felt misunderstood so different and out of touch with my friends back in school as well as my parents. I changed schools very often, new friends, new language, new culture, new country I was going crazy and getting very lonely at times. I was made fun for looking different because I was the only Asian in a country of a majority of whites. I was marginalized well because I was a minority at most times in school. I was treated differently even in Korea because of my horrible Korean skills. I never felt I belonged to a group, a nationality, or culture. I felt I was going to explode because I must be the only one.

    Good news for you, I’m now in 20s and those problems seem so much smaller. It will get better for you, Azzie. I always try to dwell on the positive and point out the grateful aspects of my life. For example, my father is quite liberal having lived overseas for decades I didn’t have the parental pressure to excel academically like many Korean parents give. I may not have deep relationships and close friends but I got to meet so many people from unique backgrounds and cultures with stories to tell. I’ve meet ethnic Koreans from other lands like Uzbekistan, Russia, Brazil and New Zealand who I could relate a bit. I thank internet connectivity (quite sloppy where I am at atm) for having the opportunity to read stories and connect with other people I wouldn’t otherwise.

    Don’t feel hopeless because as you get older you’ll get to meet people who’ll share your interests and people like you either offline or online. All the best, Azzie!

    @oegukeen, I was searching english teaching in Korea and ended up in your wonderful blog. I am amazed there are people out there with the fascination of everything Korean. I feel I must appreciated it more!

    • @ nicky

      Honestly when you meet a variety of people, we’re all the same, I can say Korean can be racist at times but so are people from other countries. Honestly we’re all the same although I am guilty or stereotyping at times.

      @ Azzie,

      I’m not so up to date on Korean pop and popular culture however I’m sure I can enlighten you on other things Korean. I enjoy talking with people from other countries so if you need to vent, rant or chat. Oh I’m a Korean guy :0

      • You noticed that so well. As I got close to people from different cultures the more I realized people are the same. It comes out in slightly different forms, but the underlying motives and opinions are all the same. Tragically, racism does exist in every country.

    • You’ve certainly had an interesting life.

      I was white among white majority so it was never as difficult for me as it was for you, but I can at least partially relate because I always stuck out for them like a sore thumb. As much as it was painful back then, not changing to please them has taught me value of being my own.

      I completely agree it is so much easier now that I am in my 20s.

      Internet connectivity and knowledge of English has given me opportunity to feel less alone and definitely less prejudiced (I hope not at all, but that’s just wishful thinking).

      Every culture has something valuable to offer and I am really looking forward to moving to Korea.

  7. I know this post is from 2 years ago, but I came across it today. I wonder how Azzie is doing. I hope Nam has found some good friends with whom he can feel at home.

    In high school, I had 3 friends. None of them shared my biggest interest at the time, which was science fiction novels, Dr Who, and Star Trek. High school can really seem like a time when you feel like no one shares your interests. My world view barely encompasses my town in high school. Then I went to college, and my whole perspective changed. I met so many different people, and that included people who shared my interests. I didn’t feel like a freak anymore.

    The internet makes it easier now to find people with shared interests.

    Finding the Dramabeans.com community of like-minded Korean drama fans helped me 2 years ago when I felt like I was the only white person in America who had a Korean drama obsession. Now I know people around the world like Korean drama, and I am not alone.

    I have to admit to making assumptions about what Koreans are like based on the 150 Korean dramas I watched. Watching entertainment and knowing real Korean people is different. Three months ago, in an effort to start learning the Korean language, I met some Koreans on Interpals. I got a bit of culture shock, and after having conversations with 8 different Koreans, found that I had to throw out what I thought I knew of Koreans. People are people, basically. They come in many varieties in all cultures. Many are good, a few are not, and we must spend our lives trying to spread understanding and compassion to offset the racism and bigotry that exists everywhere.

    I think I am a bit of a freak for being a white, anglo-saxon protestant WASP from a very white corner of the United States who is now interested in Korean culture. Then I realize that one of my first dolls my Grandmother gave me was a Japanese geisha, that I have a Japanese garden, that I studied Tai Chi and Taekwondo for years. Taking an interest in another Asian country to better understand another place in the world isn’t so far fetched. I think it makes me a more interesting person :-)

    I spend a lot of time telling my pen pals about my culture and heritage – the history of Massachusetts that is also my family’s history having settled here 400 years ago. I can love my own beautiful nation while respecting other countries too. It is about balance. It is about being open-minded. There is so much that is wonderful out there in the world to learn about.

    So for Azzie, who is feeling teenage angst and obsessing a bit about Korea, take heart. Be open to making new friends. Learn about the world. Understand not everyone you meet will share your interests. Learn to be confident in your own skin. Know that your parents are concerned for you in what they perceive as an unhealthy obsession. Being too fevered a fan of anything can be unhealthy. Korea is not utopia. Enjoy the KPop and KDramas, but make connections with people near you too.

    Teenage awkwardness can be outgrown. This stage will pass, Azzie. There is a bright future ahead. May you have many friends and exciting adventures in the years to come.

    • Wow, this is a really great comment, I wish I could publish it as a post!

      I agree wholeheartedly about the internet. I loved Star Trek, and even more Star Wars when I was a kid, and I was certain I was the only one. I was lucky that my family was one of the first ones to get access to the internet, and I was shocked to find out that Star Wars was actually a big deal with millions of fans. Not only was I not the only one, but it was a very common thing. Go figure :)

      I hope Azzie can outgrow her teenage awkwardness as well. But this remains one of my favorite questions on Loving Korean because it hit close to home.

      I was always a black sheep, and I remained a black sheep even now, long past my teenage years. But the great thing about being a grownup is that it’s much more comfortable being in your own skin.

      You put is so well, I am a freak for the unusual obsessions, but also a more interesting person. It’s all a matter of perspective. And when I find my group of freaks, I feel right at home :)

      • You may not realize it, but to me you have been a great inspiration. You taught me how to type Hangul and where to find Korean pen pals. You were the spark that made me change from a passive Korean drama watcher to an active Korean language learner. Thanks for all you do.

  8. Having someone to talk to regarding the same topic/ interest can really makes someone happy. it makes you feel somewhat relieve. knowing that you’re not the only one who’s into liking those kind of stuff. It’s really great to meet people with different ethnicity but can understand you well.

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