Last week Stephanie experienced some interesting cultural differences.
She has been staying at a house with twin girls about her same age. One day, after breakfast, she was helping to clear and wipe the table and the twins stared at her like she was doing something wrong. It turns out that the twins don’t do any sort of housework or chores. They were amazed that she would help (like it wasn’t her place). She has noticed that the school children don’t get home until late and then stay up even longer doing homework. But they don’t do housework.
We have noticed with the children that have stayed in our house too, especially boys, that they don’t do chores. Now it may be that chores have disappeared from American society too and I am just a relic but we have had homestay children do chores here. In fact, the boy who just went home said that he was helping his mother dry dishes (but I think he may have been joking). The “gentlemen first” attitude seems to be fairly normal in Korea, as opposed to “ladies first” here in the states. But Stephanie was somewhat surprised to find that children are not expected to do chores at all.
Another thing Stephanie was impressed about was that Korean children’s study habit. She amazed that even seven to ten year olds would study until 10 o’ clock at night without much parent superivsion, and that middle school students (중3) wouldn’t get home from 학원 until after 11:00pm. She really has a hard time understanding how they do it every day.
One parent wanted Stephanie and her son to go out to the movies together; he is one year younger than her. Stephanie thought that is felt like a “date” and it worried her a little. We had to explain that it wasn’t a date, just that his mother wanted him to get some more opportunities to practic his English.
Despite all that she really enjoys life in Korea. This past week she has gone to 노래방, made 김밥, had 산낙지 and 개불, and taken a tour on a sailboat. I think she is doing so many things that she doesn’t have much time to fill us in on everything.