Koreans work hard, Indians work smart!
Just stopping by to say I enjoyed this post and look forward to more of your perspective as an Indian in Korea. I saw “Just Another Indian in Korea” and, pardon my ignorance, didn’t realize there were others blogging about it in English.
I’m curious if you have any experience in the English education business in Korea. I ask because I wonder if you could compare the intensity with which Koreans study—for purely domestic purposes—the language compared to what you experienced in India.
Well, to reply to your comment Brian frankly speaking I do not have any experience in the English education business in Korea. But I do interact with a lot of Koreans on a day to day basis. Also, the native speakers I bump into are mostly English Teachers and I do have a few exchange language friends here in Korea who teach me Korean in exchange for English. So my views are completely based on my day to day interactions with these people and my observations. Coming from a non native speaking country the demarcation is more evident when it comes to learning / speaking / applying English in your daily life in Korea as compared to India.
Agreed that the intensity of Indians to learn English as compared to Koreans is much much lower, because we Indians don’t have to. English is very much a part of our education system from the time a kid starts attending school. Local languages are taught as language subjects much later when the kid is around 8-9 yrs old whereas other subjects are taught in English. An Indian would study English with greater intensity for higher studies and immigration abroad, as he would be expected to clear his IELTS, TOEFL exams. On the contrary if he has to work / study in India he would not be expected to give any English exams, which is not the case in Korea. Koreans if they have to apply for a job in Samsung, LGE or any other Chaebol then he would be expected to clear his TOEIC. And I know this for a fact from the experience of my Korean colleagues who are finding it difficult to switch jobs in Korea. And when I say that an Indian would have to apply for a job in India it translates to jobs in various Fortune 500 Multinational companies in India like Accenture, AT&T, Vodafone, ABN Amro Bank, Fidelity, Pfizer, Siemens, Unilever, Glaxo, Novartis, Sanofi Aventis, Mckinsey, Ernest & Young, Delloit, LG, Samsung, Hyundai to name a few.
Other facts about India which I’d love to highlight is that India has a large number of call centers which is thriving purely on English Speaking Indians. Apart from Call Centers there are various BPOs and KPOs in India which offers Business and Knowledge Process Solutions to their Clients across the world. In my past, I have the experience of working for more than 5 yrs in the eLearning industry in India. I was employed with TATA Interactive Sytems which is the world’s leading developer of learning solutions. One of our job was to provide Content Solutions, Content Strategy and Instructional Design for Simulations, Enterprise Application Training, K-12 Education, Soft skill training, Sales training to various clients across Corporate, Education and Government segments. Apart from Singapore and some Middle East countries I don’t think so any other Asian country offers such diverse solutions like India, not even Philippines.
So my point is that if we can teach the world (subjects beyond English in English) then why not Koreans. The entire purpose of writing this and the previous blog was to plead the Republic of Korea to look at India for solutions beyond trade. Yes, we know that Korea has signed a MOU with India to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) of both the nations. But we’d also like to request ROK to look at India for education solutions and to hire teachers from India to teach English too. As per the current scenario when Korea needs English Teachers they look at Native Speakers where as if they need Engineers they look at India. So with this blog I would like to bring it to your notice that India has much more to offer if (you = any country) care to dig a bit deeper. We have an extremely talented pool of technical writers, instructional designers, content writers, copy writers, educational writers, usability and accessibility experts, creative writers, accent trainers and above all TEACHERS to be hand picked by ROK and other countries.
In the past few years India has seen an exponential rise of readers giving rise to new stream of writers in both fiction and non-fiction segment – Karan Bajaj, Chetan Bhagat, Siddharth Shangvhi, Rajashree, Kunal Basu adding to our gamut of talented, Man Booker, Pulitzer and other award winning writers like Aravind Adiga, Kiran Desai, Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, V. S. Naipaul, Shobha De, R. K. Narayan, Manju Kapoor, Vikram Seth and many more. Also, the movies these days in India are more or less bilingual which is a strong indicator that given a few years Indians “on an average” would be at par with native speakers.