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Traveling solo in a non-English speaking country

I never ask for directions whenever I travel in Korea. 
I knew, since the first few times I tried, that I will either get 1) a brisk wave of the hand the moment I utter “Excuse me…”, an embarrassing turn down even before I get to ask my question; or 2) the person I asked for help will voluntarily WALK me to my desired destination no matter how far or out-of-the-way it is for him, just to avoid any conversations. One funny incident was when an ahjussi (a middle-aged man in Korea) walked with me through several streets, all the while just leading me to the nearest taxi stand!!
Most Koreans still use their own language as major mode of communication. Even a Kpop group I recently watched on Youtube unapologetically received their international award with partly Korean language injected in their acceptance speech! In my experience, only around 20% of the people I met in the four times I’ve been to Korea can engage in an English conversation. This includes the tour guides and subway tourist i…

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