Is it difficult to be an “expat” in Korea? It depends.It certainly isn’t for me. And it hasn’t been from the very beginning.
Why is that? Is it because I am an “international freak” always on the move, and unsatisfied unless I experiment something new? I do not think so (though I may be rightly classified as an “international freak” – I lived in 4 different countries so far J).
I think one of the answers is COMMUNITY.
More specifically, it is CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY.
As soon as I arrived in Korea I was surrounded by a loving Christian community. It wasn’t only at the school where I teach, but also at the church that I started to attend with Dr. Steve Chang (New Testament Professor and Pastor of this ministry).
There is much to be said about this community, but it is simpler to offer a clip from our last Christmas party. If a picture is worth 1000 words, a video clip (even though it is very short) must be worth thousands of words. Here you will see a “mixed multitude” singing a Christmas carol.
Korean Americans educated in the United States (lawyers, dentist, teachers etc.) rub shoulders with Canadians (the blonde guy is British-Canadian J) and Americans married to Korean women. Single Americans from the South, Manitoba, and the Midwest (most of them teachers) will sing carols with English speaking Koreans (engineers, counselors, workers etc.). There is even a Romanian-American-Canadian (born in Romania and with dual citizenship) living and teaching in Korea J.
Expecting mothers enjoy the company of recent young mothers. Small children are playing together, and a Korean American mother is holding a Romanian-American-Korean baby (that is how the clip ends)…
It is not all perfect and “heaven-like” (we are still on earth after all), but Christ is in our midst, and we sing for His glory.
What better way to celebrate Christmas?
No – it is not difficult to be an “expat.” At least not where Christ has been proclaimed and a Christian community was formed.
For where Christ is, there is love, joy, and forgiveness. And most important, the presence of the Holy Spirit is promised. And the fruits of the Holy Spirit are love, joy, peace … (Galatians 5:22). I pray that these fruits will be evident in our lives.
P.S. Feel free to add your comments about the Christmas party, our community, and everything else you would like to add.
Blessings and JOY,
*HEM stands for Hallelujah English Ministry: http://hem.hcc.or.kr/.