"What is culture?" "What is your subculture?" "When have you felt 'out of culture'?" When I heard these questions I was frustrated. Because I had no idea at the moment, I was not ready at all. I expected that I was going to learn about how to teach English properly things. After the class I thought about my subcultures, 'out of culture' experiences.
I think my subcultures are my family, teachers society, Gimhae migrant worker's center. My family is the most big part of my life like others. My husband and I have similar ideas of life so we can share lots of activities, ideas of politics, education and so on. I have learned from him and I hope he has learned from me, too. One of our big concerns is raising our children properly, not from other people's point of view but from our point of view.
I volunteer Gimhae migrant worker's center every Sundays. Most of workers are from the Philippines and the center is run by 임호 Catholic Church. I started it as an Korean teacher, now I volunteer as an advisor for their work problems or marriage problems(there are multicultural families too) I know I learn from them more than I do for them. I want to live to share with my neighbors what I have. So this volunteering subculture is also important part of my life.
I am a teacher so my subculture should be teacher's culture. The relationship with other teachers was good so we keep in touch. We got along with each others so whenever we had break time we gathered to drink teas and to chat. I learned a lot of things from the teachers which I never learned from my professors. That time teacher's society was a hierarchial society than nowadays. Nowadays teacher's society is changed a lot like Korean society. Less hierarchical more responsible, less respect more limitation, from teacher centered to students and parents centered(kind of customer centered), some part of them are reasonable, good, however some part of them are not always good.
When I first have felt 'out of culture" was in Turkey and Greece in 2001. That was my first travel to overseas. I was shocked about tall and big people with extremely simple cloths, kissing and hugging at the public places(we were very conservative in those days) it was a kind of culture shock. The natural environment was totally different and the people were totally different, too. So totally different experience for me. After that I traveled some European countries, America, some Asian countries, however I never felt that kind of feeling.
I remembered the first day of "school birthday' as a teacher. It was a holiday not for everyone but for only my school staff. That day I was anxious about not going to school. It seemed I was in a wrong place. When I am getting old, I never felt that feeling. Now, I am delightful just imagining of not going to my school, though.
I felt 'out of culture' when I worked at my previous school a few years ago. That time I enrolled an open university to study English so I did not have much time to spend with my fellow teachers. Besides, I had my own English classroom which had to share with my co-teacher. I talked most of time with the co-teacher who was a new native teacher. I felt I was isolated from the other teachers which I made the circumstance.
I asked myself why I felt 'out of culture' those time? Firstly, I had never been to another country, it meant I probably was nervous. And actually I had not much expectation because I did not have much information or preconcept. I was an alien.
Secondly, I had my daily routine however I broke out my daily routine. I guess that made me uneasy. I assume if I had a day off national widely with other teachers I could enjoy the day off maybe. Because difference from others made me uneasy that time.
Lastly, I belonged what I had to belong that time. Teacher's society is my subculture now and then(in all ages?) so I was supposed to be a sincere member of it. I think Korean society respect homogeneity. We usually look at something same point of view and there is no doubt that can be wrong. Therefore difference is not acceptable including me.(I guess I am not.^^; I am not sure about it though)