As I mentioned in the last posts, I currently have a Chinese roommate. This is the very first time in dormitory, but I also have the other ones. I had a pen-pal experience in 2004 to 2006, and a homestay experience in 2006, so I’m going to explain my cultural experiences with Chinese friends
Firstly, my elementary school had a sister school in China and it was a Korean Chinese school, so we used to send Korean letters and sometimes some gifts to each of our pen-pal friend; my pen-pal’s name was Seolmae Kim. Through the letters I admired her Korean abilities because she was a bilingual just the age of 10, and I realized that K-pop had a real popularity; she gave me some pictures of Korean pop stars like H.O.T. and Dong Bang Shin Ki. Our connection had ended in the second semester of 2006, because all of our pen-pal friends had become middle school students ─ Chinese students’ school life is a half year faster than Korean.
The second experience was my visit to China in 2006; I visited my elementary school’s Korean Chinese sister school, and I had a homestay in a house of Korean Chinese friend who had attended that school, and her name was Hyeja Seonwoo. I visited just before she graduated. There were some experiences that I was surprised. We usually use dried towel, but in her house I used wet towel to dry my hands; I didn’t believe wet towel did work, but surprisingly, it did. Second experience were about the taxi. I visited Shenyang, and I don’t know whether other Chinese cities had it or not, but in there the taxi had only three wheels, so I felt some big movement while I taking the taxi. The last experience was in the karaoke room; we ordered some main dishes like corn, bread, and soup in there while Korean karaoke just provide some drinks and snacks.
Finally, now I have a Chinese roommate, so I have learned some new cultural things. First of all, Chinese government blocked most of foreign internet sites and mobile applications like Facebook, Instagram, and Kakaotalk etc., so Chinese usually use their own sites and applications ─ but some people can use them through the other path; my roommate did, she now has Facebook, Instagram, and Kakaotalk. For example, their mail is 163.com and their messenger application is WeChat. Secondly, they are banned from taking a semester off in university except really special cases like being hospitalized. However, the weird thing is if a student want to repeat the university entrance exam, then he or she can attend high school again, so there are more lower burden than Korea about this issue. Lastly, the average marriage age of Chinese is lower than Korean’s; their average is the 20’s while Korean is the 30’s.
I have learned living with Chinese friends through pen-pal, homestay, and being a roommate. Even though it had been almost 10 years since I had Chinese pen-pal and homestay friends, I remember vividly about that time because it was very dynamic, new, fun, and exciting experiences; I even remember their names! I can’t believe there’s just 2 weeks and few more days left that me and my Chinese roommate get together, so I’m going to make more meaningful times with her until the end of this semester so I can recollect her more vividly in the future.