Then there are the people who stop to talk to you out in public, with the obvious purpose of not actually caring about your presence, but seeing you as a tool to practice English. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of people who start talking to me who are generally interested in me, and why the hell I want to be in this country. Those are generally the people who are willing to speak with me in Korean. Then there are the people who, though I speak Korean to them, continue to speak English at me, either trying to prove their mastery or trying to get some TOEIC/TOEFL practice.
Today on the subway the girl sitting two seats down from me asked the man sitting in the seat directly next to me to change seats. It seemed kind of strange to me, but I shrugged and continued studying my Korean homework. A few minutes later she said "Can I talk to you for a moment?" I looked down, and written in her notebook was this exact phrase, she must have been practicing it in her head for 5 minutes while I was focused on 했다고 했어요 in my Korean book. She continued to explain, in broken English, that the was studying for the TOEFL test and was hoping to study at Texas A&M.
Anyway, she practiced her English on me for the next 20 minutes until she had to get off at her stop, one stop before mine. I find it really hard to talk to strangers. You can't make conversation if you know nothing about a person, right? Especially a person you will probably never meet again... It's not that I mind helping these sort of people, but I just feel like I'm seen as a sort of tool to be used by these random people, rather than a real human being.