Friday, August 13, 2010

A Foreigner who has Adapted Exceptionally to Life in Korea

There are many talented foreigners living in Korea and some are making those talents available for the good of society. Cristina Confalonieri, recently interviewed by the Catholic Times, is from Italy and had worked at the headquarters of the EU in Brussels, Belgium. She now happily shares her many gifts with the Korean people. She is well known for the television program "Chit Chat of Beautiful Ladies." She also heads the Yeoksam Global Village Center that helps foreigners adapt to Korean Life, lectures at the Catholic University in International Law, and teaches Italian at Seoul National University. As if this were not enough, she is an essayist, works as a civil servant, and is always willing to help the disadvantaged in our society.

She told the interviewer she prefers to be out doing things than staying at home. Since childhood, she prefers to keep busy: studying,  teaching, experiencing things; her talent to multi-task is obvious from what she has accomplished in such a short period of time in a culture not her own.

Since marrying a Korean, she has been asked most often why she picked a Korean? "It  is not that I love a Korean," she says, "but the one I love happens to be Korean. If you are with the one you love, it doesn't make any difference where you are."

She has, however, found it difficult to deal with most Koreans because of their tendency not to say what they think and feel. Adapting to this trait has not been easy for her, although she is now more accepting of this behavior.

During the interview, she mentioned a number of things she wants to spend more time doing. Helping foreign women married to Korean men become more comfortable with the culture is a top priority. She feels sorry for those who have come here from less developed countries and encounter discrimination. She is especially concerned for the mothers-to-be. Unless they are helped now, she believes, their children will feel alienated and have difficulty in being accepted, and this will likely be a problem for the country in future years. The country has not been very accepting of non-Koreans; she would like to change this attitude. Although the culture of our foreigners is, of course, different from the Korean culture, there is no difference in their desire to be loved and to live happily. She wants to be a part of making this a reality in Korea.

1 comment:

  1. I am a foreigner in Korea, I have been here six years and have not really experienced any overt discrimination.
    OK I am from a developed country and I have a white collar job, but again my experience has been nothing but friendly and welcoming overall.
    Some few negative experiences, but that would be the same anywhere.
    Koreans have been very kind and good to me, so the idea that they are not accepting of foreigners is not all together true.