Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Differences between Personal Information & Forms in U.S. vs Korea

Somewhere in mid September I posted some lesson plans on Introductions. This lesson is for Personal Profiles/Information but it's also relative to Introductions.

Personal Profile:
Name:   ____________________________________
Nickname: ___________________________________
Address: ____________________________________
Country:  ___________________________________
Email Address: _______________________________
Phone Number: _______________________________
Birthdate:   __________________________________

I never realized the importance of learning how to fill out forms or mailing addresses until I got to Korea and had to fill out applications for various things-- opening a bank, point cards and discount
cards, etc... After having to have a handful of things translated to me as I filled out application forms, I realized--- 

When living in foreign country, we often take the simplest things for granted. Of course the lifestyle and language we expats live in, is different from the one knew back home, but sometimes, you fail to consider that you'll have to do the most standard procedures outside of your own language. 

How to Fill out applications and forms. 

I've traveled abroad before and had to fill out customs forms, but either a bit of it is dubbed in English

or the visual layout of the form is pretty standard to what I'm used to filling out. What happens when you have neither of this to fall back on? Afterall, the application for opening a bank account in Korea is not in English.

Formatting Dates  (comparing U.S., Europe, Asia) :

Country time zones change and so do their ways of formatting dates. Did you know that the U.S., Europe and Asia all have different ways to abbreviate dates and birthdates?

U.S.        month-day- year
Europe    year- month-day
Asia        day- month- year

Formatting Addresses (comparing U.S. vs. Korea):

There's a hierarchy to where you live. Did you know?

Bob Smith
407 West 55th St., Apt #5
New York, NY 10019
In the U.S. and Europe, addresses are labeled from smallest (the individual) to the biggest (city, state, country). But in
South Korea, addresses are labeled from biggest to smallest.

Bob Smith
Dong-gu, Singi-dong, Daegu, Korea
Ansim Jungang Road
25 Beongji, Nuriel #30

Bob Smith  <--  name
Dong-gu, Singi-dong, Daegu  <--   district, area, state/region, country
Ansim Jungang Road  <--   road (only if given) 
25 Beongji, Nuriel #123  <--  specific street location and apartment number

While Korea does accept and recognize a western approach to addresses and labeling letters, amongst Koreans, it's formatted the way above.  So, the country mentality about formatting and hierarchy is subtly different and can feel confusing.

Activity #1
Filling out Forms and Mailers
Word Placement

Activity #2
Magazine Cutouts
Tear out pages in a magazine of people
Have students create information and bios for the people.
Have students create profiles of them. The more students are encouraged to be imaginative, the better. It should be fun. I give students 10 minutes to come up with 5 things about the person in the picture. Then they introduce and present them.

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