Are You a Runaway Or Just Brave?

It pains me to admit that it still surprises me just how many foreigners I come across in South Korea who are exposed to one of three stereotypes about why we’re here. The pigeonholing usually comes from well-meaning friends and family still in their home country. They are either asked what they are running away from, put on a pedestal of bravery that they could never muster up, or that they’ve consumed too much K-pop and K-dramas and have culturally lost their mind. Why does this happen?