Take 5 – The Waygook Book: A Foreigner’s Guide to South Korea

Take 5 – The Waygook Book: A Foreigner’s Guide to South Korea

Take 5 is an interview series where Greenheart Travelers answer five quick questions about their time abroad. This week, we are featuring alum Matthew Caracciolo, who after teaching in South Korea wrote his debut novel, The Waygook Book: A Foreigner’s Guide to South Korea. For new teachers moving to Korea his book is a great way to get to know your new home country ahead of arrival. You can read the prologue here and it will be released on December 4, 2018 for purchase on Amazon!

1. What inspired you to write a book about your time living in South Korea?

While I was in South Korea, I kept a Google Drive document of amusing things that happened to me. I also kept a blog going with a Hobbit theme called “There and Back Again: The Caracciolo’s in Korea” to share updates with my friends and family back home. About two years after returning to the States, I realized that I had a pretty good list of unique experiences that very few people have, even among ESL teachers in Korea. I also realized the later I waited, the less I would remember, so it was time to get writing.

2. What sorts of things can way-gooks (foreigners) expect to learn in your book?

Waygooks will see what the day-to-day life of an ESL teacher in South Korea looks like, with all its glories and peculiarities. Readers will also get a good idea of where to visit in South Korea, what to eat, and they’ll get a few history and cultural lessons along the way.

3. What is your favorite memory or most embarrassing cultural mishaps from living in Korea?

Koreans attach personality attributes to your blood type like we might with the zodiac, so everyone knows what their blood type is. I don’t know mine off the top of my head, and I didn’t think to memorize it before heading over, but anytime someone, usually a student, asked me what my blood type was and I told them I didn’t know, they looked at me like I didn’t know my name.

4. One thing you wish America would adopt from Korea?

Universal healthcare. There, I said it.

5. If someone was on the fence about moving to Korea what would you tell them?

That fence must be very uncomfortable. Jump down and just go!

They take such good care of you over there, at least with EPIK, that you really don’t have much to lose and a whole lot to gain. But don’t expect to come back the same person.

Find the links to buy Matthew’s book when it hits shelves on December 4th by clicking here:

Matthew Caracciolo is a travel writer who primarily focuses on South Korea, the Midwest, and his hometown of Columbus, Ohio. His work has appeared on Amateurtraveler.com, in the Daegu Compass, Columbus Navigator, Columbus: A Book Project, and his blog on matthewcaracciolo.com. The Waygook Book: A Foreigner’s Guide to South Korea is his debut novel. He lives in Columbus with his wife and their son. 


Inspired by Matthew’s experience? Click the link below to read more about how you can teach English in South Korea!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *