In South Korea, Foreign Professors Can Have a Hard Time Fitting In

Growing Pains for Foreign Academics in South Korea 1

Mark Abramson for The Chronicle

"One of the students in evaluations said that I insulted Korea," says Michael Foster, who felt unwelcome at Korea U., in Seoul. The university said Mr. Foster broke campus rules and fired him. He has moved back to New York.

It all began well enough. Michael Foster joined his wife, a South Korean, in Seoul in 2010 with a new doctorate in English literature and a three-year, tenure-track contract at prestigious Korea University. His aim was to build a life in a country that seemed increasingly cosmopolitan and vibrant. Two years later, Mr. Foster, an American, has abandoned his job and is involved in a bitter dispute with his former employer.

Now back in New York with his wife, he says that he felt