About whatawaygook

Who am I & what am I doing here?

I’m Shauna Browne all the way from Roscrea, Co. Tipperary.

When I was in my final year of university, I won a scholarship to come to Chung Ang University in Seoul for a 3 week International Program.  While enjoying every minute of that trip, I realised that there were opportunities for English teachers here so I went home, graduated, did a T.E.F.L., saved money and came back in 2009.  I’ve been here ever since.

I lived in Paju, Geumchon about 40kms from the border with North Korea from 2009 until the summer of 2014. Then I moved to Ilsan and I’m still here causing all kinds of chaos!

I’m currently teaching in a Kindergarten  in Ilsan.  In my spare time, I’m actually the world’s finest Tin Whistle player.  I play at sessions and other random events in Seoul and do some ceili dancing when I can find enough victims, sorry, volunteers to dance with.    I also serve as Chair with the Irish Association of Korea so I get to speak proper Irish English to all the amazing Irish people I meet here.

I started writing whatawaygook after I realised I was the only one without a blog in South Korea

What is a Waygook?

In Korean, the word for “foreigner” is 외국 (waygook). If a Korean doesn’t know your name, they simply call you “waygook”. It’s a long running joke between my friends and I that any silliness that happens have Koreans saying “what a waygook”, hence the name.


I love comments so feel free to leave one!


19 thoughts on “About whatawaygook

  1. Hi, I’ve been offered a job teaching English in Gyunggido, Paju. I came across your blog when looking up info on it and to be honest it’s the only positive thing i’ve come across! I’m from Monaghan and im going on my own. I’m happy about going on my own but im worried about not meeting anyone especially if i go to Paju? Anything you can tell me will be of great help! Thanks, Dearbhla

    • Derbhla, first congrats on the job offer. Like you, I came here by myself and I havent left so that will tell you something!. My email address is shaunabrowne87@yahoo.co.uk. If you have any questions at all just drop me a few lines. Live in Paju is excelllent. We have about 60 foreigners in the city and we have our own facebook page so we hang out together all the time. No need to worry that you wont know anyone. Also Im with the Irish Association of Korea and we have loads of meet and greets, Irish dancing and music meetups so if you dance or play music bring your stuff along!. Anyway I’m delighted to have another Irish person in Paju, this season it’s just me and 1 other Irish girl, the others are from everywhere else. So email me with the details of the location of the school and any questions you have and I’d be delighted to help in any way I can!

  2. I have no idea how I ended up on your blog, I have no special affinity with Korea, Ireland or teachers, but I had a blast reading through regardless! All the best 🙂

  3. How weird the internet is! I google searched “foreign children hagwon” and came here. I live in Ilsan too – very small world. 🙂

  4. By the way, my friend has a free return ticket to Ireland that he is giving away. The only catch is that you have to travel on specific dates. I think you would have to travel the week which has the 18 of August in it. If you are interested, let me know.

  5. Fantastic blog! I truly am enjoying it – also Irish, also in a small town in Korea. So many of the experiences you are having remind me of my own. I love your positivity too and it’s really contagious and inspiring. Way to go!

    I have a list of my favourite Korea blogs on my site and yours is definitely up there!

  6. I just would like to say that I’m leaving on Friday to visit my friend in Seoul, and I’m so excited and so nervous that i feel like I’m going to vomit. I’m going to try and use this blog to kind of document what I did, instead of Facebook. I’m staying from the 9th to the 22nd.

    I hope that you are having fun there and enjoying yourself!!!

  7. I love your blog. 😀 I found it through the How to be Korean in 8 easy steps post. You’re really funny and make learning about Korea fun. I’ve been wanting to move to Korea for a while and this blog and ‘eatyourkimchi’ help a lot. Thanks!! ^^

  8. You may want to consider editing your work. I had to re-read your sentences to even understand a fraction of it i.e,” Live in Paju is excelllent. ” ” a Korean … ” etc. I guess, Koreans are way too polite or the standard for waygooks must be below average. BTW, do you really speak English or Galic? The latter would explain everything.

  9. I was also once a waygook … many years ago. In Chonju. it was a blast. I was the only Irish person there (there must be loads now). Congrats on making the shortlist for the Blog Awards Ireland

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