Monday, December 14, 2009

Hey everyone! matthew254 here and I've decided to reveal my true identity - my real name is "Matthew". Yes, yes, I know - shocking, right? I'm excited to join the galaxy of stars known as KoreanClass101's blogging team and can't wait to get started. First, a small introduction of sorts.

I was born the same year that Star Wars: Return of the Jedi premiered and am originally from a city that neighbors the largest Army base in the world. I am currently a senior at the University of North Texas majoring in English as a Second Language for students Early Childhood through Fourth Grade. I grew up in Killeen, TX which houses over 100,000 people with an estimated 3% of the population being Korean. Doesn't sound like much, but due to Fort Hood, and Killeen's recession-resistant economy, it's been cited as the 49th fastest growing city in America in 2007. I bring up my hometown largely due to the fact that it helps define me. Koreans (among other ethnic groups) have always been a part of my everyday life. I didn't really know that Caucasians were the majority in America until high school geography class. As such, one develops a unique perspective of other cultures in an Army town like Killeen - it has been called the "Melting Pot" of Texas due to the sheer number of cultures, religions, races, and ethnicities represented.

On the language side, I started seriously studying Korean around March of 2007. I have a couple private tutors (more like friends really) that I meet once a week, as well as a small number of "just" friends to practice my Korean with. I enjoy Korean dramas, music, and especially history. Although I'm as white as they come, I genuinely feel a strong sense of comfort among Korean people.

So, now onto the good stuff. Nowhere in my introduction does it say that I am an expert on Korean culture nor would I ever claim to be one. I simply want this blog to be a place where cultural and linguistic differences can be discussed as a group in a safe, no-judgments-made environment. I encourage students from all levels (especially our more advanced learners) to participate and share their views. Each week I will present an observation and pose a question or two about it. I would like steal an idea from a great philosophy professor I once had: You don't have to change your mind on any given subject - rather - just recognize that each of us has a cultural lens in which we see the world. I've always been partial to this idea; that an objective truth exists but before we see it, we look through lens that change our perspective.

So, having said all that, I eagerly look forward to next week's post and I hope you do too. Until then!

Matthew Smith WTF