The main title for the show My Neighbor Charles

My Neighbor Charles - Korean Drama Overview

Despite having a strong aversion against kdrama and romances in general. My Neighbor, Charles is absolutely fascinating, educating and a little inspirational at times. If you are interested in learning about other cultures through the lense of people living in Korea, then this is the show for you.

Being a foreign country is not easy, particularly if you are learning the language meanwhile adjusting to the cultgure. Misunderstandings and communications will happen frequently; How would you overcome them?

My Neighbor, Charles | KDrama 이웃집 찰스

Genre:Reality Show
Recomendation:A solid experience
Nomad Ratings:7.5/10
Number Of Episodes:300+
Production:KBS World

My Neighbor Charles is full of heartaches and fustrations but it is also beautiful to watch them overcome the woes in their own way; The initial 30 episodes follows 3 different foreigners per episode, this changes to following the life of a single person around episode 60 or so.

Its not quite a kdrama but more of a reality show.

Korean culture is very hierarchical, seeing the KPOP trainee going the ordeal of bowing over 30 times within a few minutes is quite funny; Welcome to Korea; or the numerous foreign-son-in-laws that cant seem to understand that its not okay to have their hands in their pockets when talking to elders or addressing them by specific titles.

I tend to immediately skip over the parts where foreigners describe descrimination and laugh heavy at their attempts to adjust to the wonders that is Korean culture. No matter how many times its explains, sometimes you just gotta do what Koreans tell you to do because they have to do it too!

I would strongly recommend everyone interested in Korea to give a few episodes a watch when they have time free.

Where can they watch it.

Full Episodes:Here On Youtube
Highlights:Here On Youtube

[There may be an advertisement here, thanks for your support]

A Poor Mans's Demographics of My Neighbor Charles

Along with the guests on the show, I too, am a non-korean foreigner learning the language. To keep myself motivated, I kept track of some details about each guest and created various statistical categories.

I was initially interested in how many years it took before a person became proficient enough to live in Korea.I am not a data scientist, purely a My Neighbor Charles enjoyer trying to do stuff; The data is not an accurate representation of foreigners in Korea as the show does not feature heavily the large Chinese, Philipino, Vietnamese and other Asia ethnic groups that live in the country.

The show is heavily skewed towards "Western" foreigners. Probably to help sell Korea as a romantic place to be? That's my monkey brain guess.A fair warning, if you want to use these statistics, go ahead, but it was done purely for my own amusement.

If you want to belittle people for trying to improve their lives, please go somewhere else. I am proud of most of the guests on the show for trying to live in Korea, making the attempt to learn the culture, language and better their lives.The data includes guests up to episode number 94 of the show, with 84 individuals counted total; any guest that had a spouse was not directly counted but cross referenced as a spouse.

The following definition was used to evaluation Korean ability.

  • No Ability없음 - They were unable to say their name, age and where they were from.
  • Beginner초급 - Where they able to introduce themselves in Korea? (eg: Hello my name is Nomad, I am 30, I am from America.)
  • Intermediate중급 - Where they able to answer a follow-up question? (eg: Why did you come to Korea)
  • Highly Proficient고급 - Were they able to speak without a microphone in their ear or speak with their spouse in Korean?

All data was collected directly from the show, no outside sources such as social media profiles were used for anyone featuring on My Neighbor Charles.

On average, it took 8.36 years before a guest was able to use Korean at an advanced level. This is quite suprising as it matches quite a few studies regarding how long it takes to become proficient in Asian languages such as Korean. But in contrast, the number of years between a person with No Korean, Beginner Korean and Intermediate Korean was roughly the same at 4 years.

I initially expected there to be a huge hurdle between Beginner and Intermediate, but there does appear to be on average.

Listening to the experiences of the guests on the show, the common complaint by those who are beginners or have no Korean is that they have no time to learn the language. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any data to track to give more colour to this. So, let's all make up a headcanon for ourselves.

To be honest, im quite shocked that only 42% of people's Korean ability was no at "No Korean". My experiences meeting soo many English teachers at meetups who had been living in Korea for 10 years and spoke no Korean made me salty.

I cannot lie. I was expecting it to be closer to 80% unable to speak Korean. On the other hand, 22.9% having advanced Korean is amazing and a joy to see.

In the context of the show, many of these individuals had some kind of job which required them to speak Korean on a regular basis; The Mongolian Actor who wanted to act in movies, the young Russian girl working for an import company or the new father working at a car dealership.

Many of the guests either worked in Food & Beverage, particularly at resturants; The entertainment industry in some capacity; Or, they were teachers/students at the time of the recording with future plans.

I am unsure if I will continue to keep track of these stats. Its quite time consuming. My korean ability is "sluggish", even with subtitles it takes 3 hours to watch 1 hour of a Korean TV show!!! Welcome to the pains of learning a language as an adult folks, I am especially a slow learning.

I hope this data brings you joy.

I am currently watching 'I Am Solo', Its quite entertaining watching people look for someone to potentially marry. I may do a similar sort of break down for that show? Stay tuned.

  • romance
  • reality show