When in Korea

Janèe’s Story

Born in Germany. Raised in Nashville, Tennessee. Naengmyeon (냉면 – Korean cold noodles dish) lover.

Meet Janèe Crenshaw.

For Janèe, it was not the pumping sounds of Big Bang or Girls Generation that gave a glimpse into South Korea. It was through her Korean neighbours that she experienced their culture and traditional foods such as kimchi (김치).

Her military father was based in Korea for a little over a year and would tell her of his experiences. These stories and glimpses painted a picture of the country for Janèe.

Janèe does, however, admit that Korean movies and television drama shows did pique her interest in the country and the possibility of teaching English abroad.

Janèe shares that before arriving to the home of Samsung, she had two fears approaching this life changing experience. Jokingly, she laughs that her first barrier she had to overcome was her fear of flying.

However, Janèe ponders more on that time period leading up to her arrival to Korea and begins to share another fear she did have.

“There was also the fear of being a black girl in Korea, being a brown minority in Korea. I was afraid of what my experiences could be and living in a rural city, Sacheon, I was very apprehensive, but at the same time I was like, ‘go big or go home’.”

The 28-year-old recalls her first month in her new surroundings as very lonely, difficult having to deal with the language barrier and feeling like “being in a zoo”.

Janèe admits that learning the Korean language can be daunting. However, so others can avoid her unfortunate incident of mistaking pork trotters for beef, she strongly recommends anyone looking to live and work in Korea, learns it.

She has a tip when starting out learning Korean.

In Nashville, Janèe would drive where she needed to go. Now, Janèe is walking or using public transport to get from A to B.

When arriving in May 2015, one thing she could not shake off as she roamed the streets of Sacheon and other cities in Korea was the…


Coming from a different country, one can reasonably expect to encounter stereotypes, biases and misinformation.

Being an American, Janèe raised her right eyebrow when her students and co-workers believed that all Americans ate only hamburgers. Hamburgers for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Being a black American, Janèe could not get her head around the comments she would receive about her hair.

Janèe will continue to teach at Samsung Elementary School and Jeongdong Elementary School in Sacheon city till the end of April 2017.

What the young expat from Tennessee would tell people interested in teaching in Korea is that you have to learn how to roll with the punches.

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