Adventures in Busses…

Since today was Graduation Day here at the university, I only had 2 students show up for my afternoon class. We opted to go to the coffee shop for the 2nd hour of class, which created a nice, casual atmosphere. Both students had spent some time in Canada, and we began talking about a variety of culture shock issues between Canada and Korea.

While a journey on (or near) a Korean bus has often caused me a great deal of stress, I never imagined that a Canadian bus could do the same. Busses here travel well above the speed limit, resulting in a rather precarious balancing act as it careens around a corner. Furthermore, upon aproaching a string of cars waiting at a stop light, the bus will ‘jump the queue’ and cut infront of the first car in line ~ usually well into the intersection. These are the two major complaints I have against Korean busses.

It came as a shock to me then, when one of my students said he hated Canadian busses! He hated that if the speed limit was 60 km/h, the bus never exceeded 60 km/h. He also hated that a bus would actually stop at the indicated stop line at an intersection! He said that it was frustrating, because the bus was so slow and pokey, he felt like he wouldn’t get to his destination on time! Wow. It had really, truly never occured to me that a quiet, orderly, safe, methodical transportation system could possibly prove to be frustrating for someone from a different culture. It made me realize that when it comes to Korean transportation, I’ve fallen into that horrible traveller’s trap of thinking “Oh, they only do it the way they do because they don’t know any better.” Gotta love Cultural Diversity!

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