KFC is giving me a job offer to work in a subsidiary located in East Asia. I have to choose between South Korea and Taiwan. The following is a discussion on the pros and cons in settling and working in either country. A Casual Survey A casual glance at both countries would lead an American citizen – living thousands of miles away – to the conclusion that both South Korea and Taiwan are similar. First of all both are countries are in Asia. Both are in the same region called East Asia (see The World Bank).
For a foreigner like me, moving to any one of these nations will require major adjustments. On the aspect of learning and adventure, both countries can be an exciting place to live in. The amount of learning and cultural understanding that will be experienced will truly be at a level that is both exhilarating and rewarding. Moreover, the inhabitants of both countries are Asians and it would be no problem to build relationships with anyone of them. In short both nations are very much alike in so many ways. But the similarity ends here.
South Korea and Taiwan are different as apples and oranges. South Korea A Little History In the website www. korea. net one can find the following information concerning Korea’s ethnic history: Koreans are primarily one ethnic family and speak one language. Sharing distinct physical characteristics, they are believed to be descendants of several Mongol tribes that migrated onto the Korean Peninsula from Central Asia. In the seventh century, the various states of the peninsula were unified for the first time under the Silla Kingdom (57 B.C. – A. D. 935).
Such homogeneity has enabled Koreans to be relatively free from ethnic problems and to maintain a firm solidarity with one another (see S. Korea’s official website). The above-cited information explains the cultural difference between Taiwan. The Mongol ancestry also explains why Koreans have that distinct characteristic in their cuisine which was described by the following: Two foods that people have come to identify with Korea are kimchi, a fermented vegetable dish, and bulgogi, a marinated meat dish.
Whereas kimchi is a staple dish that is eaten at every meal, bulgogi is more like a party food (In a bulgogi style of eating) The grilled beef slices can be eaten as are or wrapped in lettuce along with slices of fresh garlic and green pepper and a dab of soybean paste (see www. korea. net). A considerable amount of space here was given to the discussion of food because KFC is in the food business. The cuisine of the nation to be chosen should not only be considered for the sake of personal preferences but also in looking at the bigger picture.
A person working for KFC must not only be immersed in helping run the day to day operations but also able to understand the taste preference of the customers. This means that the expatriate must also contribute inputs in how to improve products and it begins by regularly sampling the menu. To make this hit home one has to understand that a kimchi is fermented vegetable but not pickled like the usual pickled foods found in the US but pickled using herbs, spices, and in the method reminiscent of the age where refrigeration is unheard of.
In other words this stuff can be so appalling to many Westerners. Not to mention that it leaves a terrible after taste. Now if this is not enough consider that in KFC-Korea, kimchi is part of the menu, like fries is in the KFC-US. The Economy According to the CIA World Factbook, “Since the early 1960s, South Korea has achieved an incredible record growth and integration into the high-tech modern world economy […] In 2004, South Korea joined the trillion dollar club of world economies. Today its GDP per capita is equal to the lesser economies of the EU” (see CIA).