Discussion Questions for
These questions can be used by book clubs, teachers, or parents to spark discussions.
- Many Americans serve their country by living and working overseas. What kinds of jobs do they do and what government departments do they work for? (Examples include military personnel working for the Department of Defense (DOD), embassy personnel working for the State Department, contractors working for either DOD or State Department, and volunteers working for the Peace Corps.)
- Mack shares his experiences of learning about a different culture. What about the Korean culture was new to you?
- The United States has maintained a force of about 37,000 troops on the Korean peninsula since the armistice of the Korean War. Why has the US maintained its commitment to the security of South Korea? What are the differences between an armistice, a surrender, and a peace treaty?
- A number of Korean proverbs with their English equivalents are included in the book. Were there any in particular that resonated with you and your experiences?
- What did you learn or find interesting about where Mack lived while he was in South Korea?
- While he was there, Mack learned how to read the Korean alphabet and communicate simple things. Do you think learning the language of a host country is important? Why or why not?
- The book has several recipes for Korean foods. Which Korean dish would you try and why?
- A number of the funny things that happen to Mack occur because he is not familiar with the language or culture. These types of things happen to anyone who is in an unfamiliar environment. Have you had anything like that happen to you? You don’t have to have been in a foreign country. Circumstances like this might occur when you enter a restaurant which has a different set-up than an ordinary restaurant or you might have visited someone’s home where their way of doing things differs from the way you do them in your own home.
- On average 17 to 20 percent of the US military forces are female. Today’s military has more married personnel than in the past, however, it is still uncommon for the wife to be the service member and for her husband to be the civilian. Discuss how this might affect the every day life of both the service member and the spouse.