Q. Why did you choose Korea, especially Ajou University?
Felicien (F): When I stayed in Vietnam for eight months as an exchange student, I traveled in Korea for about a week this January. As soon as I arrived, I fell dramatically in love with Seoul. I was amazed by the streets that were covered with snow, the lights that shone all night and the kind manners that Koreans showed to me. My friends and I were trying to take the Incheon train to go to Seoul station, but the process of payment was complicated and hard to understand as a foreigner. However, group of Koreans kindly told us to buy T-money and gave us specific directions where we should go. So, after I came home from traveling, I decided to go Korea as an exchange student. And here I am.
Q. Have you ever experienced any rude behavior by Koreans or Korean students? What was it?
F: I believe most people are kind, but still there are some small manners that Koreans miss. Firstly, Korean students don’t hold the door open when someone is behind them. Since they do not care so much about others, they don’t even know who is behind them. Also, when people climb mountains, they do not wait for others to come down but rather they push and go their own way. Except for these small rude behaviors, most Koreans are kind and sweet.
Q. When do you miss your country most?
F: I miss family and friends, of course, but other than that, I strongly miss my home country because of food. Although I like Korean barbeque and kimbap, I still miss the cheese, wine, and tacos that I can only taste in my hometown.
Q. Have you visited Paris Baguette, which is a famous franchise bakery in Korea?
F: Yes, I went there three times to buy cakes and baguettes. I didn’t try them all, but the taste was pretty good and similar to that of France, but it’s not exactly the same. I wonder why so many markets in Korea, such as Tous Les Jours and Avenue France use French words in their names. Is it because it directly relates to the sale? Personally, I believe it would be better if they use Korean words instead.
Q. Are there any stereotypes that Koreans have toward the French?
F: Yes, I’ve heard many stereotypes related to the French. The first stereotype is that French boys are gentle, romantic, and charming. The girl that I met in Vietnam told me that French boys have an image of gently offering flowers to their girlfriends. But, as you can realize, that is a fantasy that people make up. I believe some boys are romantic, but it depends on the person. The second stereotype is that French people like to go to bars and drink on the terrace. I can tell you that’s not a stereotype, because it’s true – hahaha. The third stereotype is that the French do not answer when foreign travelers ask questions in English. I’ve been asked about this stereotype a lot, but I think it’s not true. Many foreigners might believe that French people are fluent in English but, surprisingly, many people are not. I believe they didn’t answer the question because they didn’t know how to express it in English. If they can speak English, then I believe they would have kindly answered the travelers.
Q. Any last words that you want to say to Korean students/school?
Don’t be shy, people, be confident! I wanted to say that to Korean students and other exchange students who are shy when they face foreigners. I was also shy when I was in Vietnam, because I was not confident about my English. However, through my experience in Vietnam, I learned that you shouldn’t worry and feel the need to get rid of your mistakes. This is because people honestly don’t care about your accent and pronunciation. I’m so glad and happy to be here in Suwon. I’m hoping to make more friends at Ajou University. 감사합니다.
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