Urs Raebsamen

Seoul Searching

An Expat’s Tale of Thriving in Korean Corporations and Culture

Seoul Searching
€24.90 *

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  • Item/ISBN: 9781565915176
  • Publisher: Hollym
  • Year: 2023
  • Cover: Softcover
  • Pages: 192
  • Language: English
  • Class: Book

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Join the author on a captivating journey through the heart of South Korea, where personal... more
Product information "Seoul Searching"

Join the author on a captivating journey through the heart of South Korea, where personal experiences blend seamlessly with cultural insights and workplace adventures. Seoul Searching offers a unique perspective on Korean culture, life, and work, providing valuable information for Western expats looking to relocate to Korea and an engaging read for anyone curious about this dynamic nation and its people.

In this enthralling narrative, the author shares how the idea for this book was born during an arduous twenty-six-mile hike along the Han River, a team-building event of the local firm he worked for that turned into an endurance test under unexpected snowfall. These moments of challenge and camaraderie were just one aspect of the author’s deep exploration of Korean society.

Drawing from over twenty years of experience in the asset management industry, including work in a Korean corporation, the author provides a rare insider’s view of the intricacies of Korean corporate culture, hierarchy, and protocols. Unlike many other books about Korea, this author’s firsthand knowledge of the corporate world sets this volume apart.

This book, however, is not limited to the workplace; it delves into the rich tapestry of Korean culture and politics. Amongst other events and insights, the author’s visits to the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) and North Korea offer gripping accounts of encounters with history and geopolitics.

Seoul Searching is an informative and entertaining resource that combines personal stories with facts and figures about Korea. This book is your passport to understanding the diverse facets of Korea, making it an invaluable guide for those considering relocation and a delightful read for anyone interested in Korean culture.


About the Author

Urs Raebsamen, the author of this captivating book, which delves into the heart of Korean culture and corporate life, was born and raised in a Swiss village. But his journey of exploration and discovery took him to various countries and settings, including Switzerland, Malaysia, Korea, and Hong Kong.
This author, with a master’s degree in business administration from the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, has over two decades of experience in asset management. His career includes roles as an equity portfolio manager, client relationship manager, and investment specialist. Yet, beyond the office, he finds joy in travelling, skiing, and martial arts.
A significant milestone in the author’s journey was serving on the Executive Committee at his employer’s asset management joint venture in Korea. This role provided unique insights into both Korean corporate life and culture, enriching his experiences and broadening his horizons.
As a seasoned expert in financial markets and an avid traveller, the author offers readers an enthralling blend of practical insights, intriguing facts, and personal anecdotes in this book. This journey through Korean culture is bound to be both enlightening and inspiring. So, join the author as he takes you on an entertaining and informative journey through Korea’s vibrant tapestry.

 

Contents

PREFACE 10

CHAPTER 1 ARRIVING
The First Very Temporary Arrival in 2002 / 13
Of Aggression and Friendliness / 14
Cats Are Trouble / 20
How Not to End Up in an Expat Bubble / 21
Flamenco in the Wee Hours / 23

CHAPTER 2 BBALLI BBALLI (QUICK QUICK)
Weddings / 29
At the Hospital-Common Sense Is Not So Common / 31
Technology Supports Speed / 34
Reverse Culture Shock / 37
Counterculture / 38

CHAPTER 3 AMERICA’S INFLUENCE AND DEMOCRACY IN KOREA
Not in Kansas Anymore-Or Rather Not in Europe Anymore / 44
‘Be Careful Out There’ / 48
East Meets West-Sometimes with Bewilderment / 49
Baseball-Crazy, But No Craze Displayed When Cheering / 50
The Fight for Democracy / 51
Fairness Versus Negotiation / 56

CHAPTER 4 THE WAY TO A MAN’S HEART IS THROUGH HIS STOMACH
Humble Culinary Beginnings / 59
Na Zdarovye-Korean Drinking Etiquette / 62
How Not to Die / 64
The Creative Side of Drinking / 66
Hoesik-What Koreans Do When They Don’t Work Long Hours / 68
Letting One’s Hair Down / 70
A Wealth of Culinary Surprises / 73
Where’s the Tea? / 78
Prove Your Chopstick Skills! / 81

CHAPTER 5 HOW TO SURVIVE AT WORK
Looooong Working Hours and Few Holidays / 87
It Starts at a Very Early Age / 95
Morning Gymnastics at Work and Other Health Programmes / 98
Fun and Games / 102
The Importance of Hierarchy / 103
How to Tell? / 105
‘You’ve Got the Wrong Rank! Or the Wrong Age!’ / 109
Authority Works Better Than Sympathy / 110
When Respect Is Expected, But Not Deserved / 112
The General! / 116
A Befitting Set of Wheels / 117
Envy Culture / 121
Today’s Youth… / 122

CHAPTER 6 OF FRIENDS AND DAILY LIFE
Making Local Friends / 127
The Third Gender and the Conservative Side of Society / 130
Hot Quickly, Cold Quickly / 135
National Pride / 136
Cleanliness and Recycling / 138
Winter and Heating / 140
Fans, the Silent Killers? / 147
Making International Friends / 149

CHAPTER 7 THE LANGUAGE CHALLENGE
Objectively Difficult to Learn / 153
There Is Hope-the Ingenious Writing System / 157
Educated Guessing Gone Wrong / 161
English-English Translation / 163

CHAPTER 8 THE NORTH
From the DMZ / 167
The North in the Media and in the Public Perception -Western Media vs Korea / 169
Experiencing the Real North / 170

POST KOREA / 187
NOTES / 190

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