I was talking to a friend the other day about her Japanese study (she has reached a very high level of Japanese and has worked in Japan). I asked her specifically about the claim that Japanese never accept foreigners as real people or as insiders. Her reply was very interesting. She told me, “If you act exactly the way you’re supposed to act in the situation you are in down to a ‘T’ they will treat you as an insider.”

Although I don’t know Japanese or Japanese culture, I wonder if the same thing is true (in part at least) for Korean.

It seems there are two ways one can approach Korean study. One can approach it either in a cognitive approach — where the language is a code to try and convey your original identity, values, and opinions. In that way you’ll always be an American speaking Korean, or a German or Australian speaking Korean. And then you complain about being treated as an outsider.

The other way is to to think of it as a rebirth into a new world. You will be a new you. You have to create the world completely from scratch again probably eventually something along the lines of the growing participator approach.