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Conv. Topics for Teachers New to Korea

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So, you just arrived in Korea and you don't know much about your new home. Well, even if you know a lot, if you are new to the country, you can pretend ignorance and ask your students to "teach" you. They speak English, you learn more about Korea.

Two things I want to warn you about though,
1. Some Koreans don't actually know much about Korea, they've been so focused on whatever they study or do that they've never picked up much general knowledge. This means they can inform you falsely. That's why you'd better ask more than one group of students the same questions.
2. Some Koreans (many Koreans) will not want to give you a bad impression of Korea and may massage the truth to be more (in their opinion) more palatable to a Westerner.


PC rooms. Why so many? Regulations on children's use.
Biggest political/social/environmental issue/problem in Korea
Abortion of female fetuses
Coed versus single sex education
uniforms for students
hair length rules for middle school girls and all boys
entrance policies and methods for Korean mid/high/university
how Koreans choose a major BEFORE entering college
problems in Korean education/Korean English education
Korean movie industry.. screen quotas.. competition with Hollywood
Pets/ eating dog
military service (mandatory for men) what's it like? want to go?
best place in XXXcityXXX, best place in Korea
where i should visit in Korea
Korean History in brief
famous Koreans introduction
Korean dating style
How Koreans like to hang out with friends
Who is Tangun? (mythical first Korean)
What do Koreans think of Japan/China/the USA?
Why do young Koreans eat so much fast food?
Do you use Korean (oriental) tradish medicine?
Favorite vacation you've had in Korea
Why so few family names?
Religion in Korea (Korean Christians are more ardent than most)
President Noh Mu-hyun... failure or misunderstood? confidence vote?
Who is Anton Ohno? (speed skater from the US)
Why was Korean world cup fever so extreme?
Why so many demos and protests?
Is Korean democracy mature?
Is Korea a developing or developed nation?
How has Confucianism (yoo-gyo)permeated Korean culture?
Construction and Architecture (similar bldg style, shoddy, collapses)
Used or new?
Quality or low price?
Houses or apartments better?
Sex before marriage
ethnocenticity (treatment even of Korean-Chinese, Korean-Americans)
adoption in Korean history (used to export lots of babies)

This is just a quick list, things I've thought up in less than an hour of the subway and a walk to a school that has a new teacher... there are many more, of course and many ordinary topics, too.

Many of these topics are very controversial. It's best to be as quiet as possible and just ask questions such as "Why?" or "When did that start?" and NOT contradict the truth as they see it or give your own opinionated Westernized views. If you start stating your opinion, it'll be instinct for them to stick as close to that as they can. If you simply must say what you think, wait until you think they are DONE with everything they have to say on the topic.

Cedar - Korea and China

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