First of all, I'd like to thank Kia for giving me a chance to write this. Writing it reminded me of the beautiful memories about my trip to Vietnam.
I'll start with how I managed to start traveling. I used to be a English teacher at a private academy in Korea. I am 100% Korean which means I am an Asian. From my point of view, living in Korea was quite boring. I had to work 6 days per week and the longest holidays is about a week. Everything is very competitive in Korea and the living cost is very high especially when it comes to purchasing a flat or something. These days you have to work at a very good company for about 15 years without spending a dime to purchase a decent flat. I had to teach the same thing over and over again to my students and I got tired of doing that. I looked back to my life and I realized that I want to do something new and refreshing. After thinking for about a month, I decided to quit my job and just start traveling. I started from Spain and went to Taiwan, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam.
I met Kia when I was traveling in Vietnam. I was at a small hostel in Hanoi waiting for a bus to go to SAPA, a city famous for its beautiful scenary. I was all alone and I like to socialize so I had every reason to talk to Kia and her friend Yeru who were also waiting for a bus. We talked for a short while and realized that we were going to the same place on a different bus. We managed to meet up again in Sapa and that's how we became friends. I taught Kia how to drive a scooter and we drove around the city with her friend Yeru. Although the weather wasn't so nice but I had a wonderful day with them.
Yeru was an Asian girl and Kia was African-American. There are so many good memories I want to write about Yeru, as well, but since I'm writing this because I agree to Kia's opinion that Black students in the States should start traveling to other countries more, I'll focus on this subject.
Although I lived in Canada, I haven't had a chance to get to know black friends well. I am pretty sure that how I view race is not so same as a view from other people in Korea. I am very open and I like to make friends all over the world. I heard there are some stories that people in Asian countries are not very friendly to black people. However it is not true. People in Asia are not so open as people in the States. We don't usually just approach someone and ask how he/she is doing, especially in Korea. Asian people are usually considered more introverted so you guys might feel a certain difference when you are talking to us (or them, because I consider myself a bit different lol). However, when you get to know them you'll see that people are friendly to foreigners. Moreover, many people are really eager to learn English and to make foreign friends. So there's nothing to worry about, there is a big world that you can discover and I can't even explain how valuable experiencing this different part of the world is for you guys. When I was in small cities in Europe, sometimes I was the only asian guy in the town but I kind of liked it. When you think about going somewhere out of your 'boundary', it might seem a bit scary or weird, but when you actually get into it you'll love it.
It is true that we don't get to see many black people in Asian countries so we do not have so much chance to get to know you guys. For me, I am really happy that Kia is a friend of mine now (officially she is my first black friend) and I would like to make more friends from all over the world. I know that America is the land of opportunity. I'd say Asia is also a land of new experience and opportunity for you guys!! Come on, buy a plane ticket and start packing!!