Korean Cultural Differences

Getting Engaged and Married in Korea

This is a one stop mega post with links to all my posts about getting married in Korea. If you are getting married in Korea or just curious about about what it's like from an outsiders perspective, this is the place to start. <read more>

Korean Wedding Cultural Differences

Here is a summary of the main differences between getting engaged and married in Korea and Australia. Customs are changing and traditions are fading in both Korea and Australia, but I am going focus on the main stream cultural differences between the two countries. <read more>

While other western teachers were busy traveling Korea or various exotic destinations around Asia on their 5 day weekend, I was fully immersed in chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving). Chuseok (좔석) is a major harvest festival and 3 day holiday in Korea celebrated on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Up until only a few decades ago Korea was still a heavily agrarian society so celebrating a good harvest is still an central part of Korean culture. During chuseok Koreans visit their ancestral hometowns and share a feast of Korean traditional foods. <read more> 

Giving (and receiving) gifts is seen as an important part of life in Korea. I am not sure I can cover all scenarios, but I will talk about some of the situations I have found myself in and the types of gifts I have given and received. <read more>

As with all birthday parties there was food and cake. The food was great. There was smoked duck, bulgogi, seaweed soup (standard thing for Koreans to eat on their birthday) and a large array of side dishes (which were all great) and rice (standard with every meal). We all sat on the floor around a low table and ate until we were about to burst (well, I ate until I was about to burst) and then there was cake….. <read more>

Thursday last week was a public holiday here in Korea so I traveled to Iksan to visit Jihyeon. We went to.... a DVD room. In Korea because people live with their parents until they get married there is a market for places such as this.....

In America, Australia and Europe a question that may come up when you meet someone (particularly if you are dating) is "what is your star sign?". In Korea however, you are instead likely to be asked "What is your blood type?". In fact, Facebook in Korea and Japan allows you to list your blood type as part of your profile. <read more>

Historically it was not safe to drink the water (as with any developing country), but a lot has changed in Korea. When you consider that only 25 years ago many Koreans still lived in huts and cooked over a fire it is not surprising that there are many (older) people that still think it is unsafe to drink the water...... <read more>

In Australia I was brought up to always take your shoes off when you enter someones house so adjusting to this custom didn't take a lot of effort on my part, but there are a few differences to how things are done in Korea which I will talk about. <read more>

Something that you will probably see a lot of in Korea is people doing strange things with their second hand when giving things to people. Just like bowing, this is used as a sign of respect. When you give something or receive something from someone who is older OR more senior you should use two hands. <read more>

Even though many Korean businesses litter the sidewalk with business cards (either by high speed scooter or someone walking and randomly dropping piles of business cards at your door), if someone hands you their business card and you would like to do business with them someday you need to be super respectful. <read more>

When I first came to Korea in 2011 with my Taekwondo club, my instructor left his camera tucked into the pocket on the back of the bus seat and one of the students traveling with us did the same with a large sum of money. After a panicked phone call to the bus company and a 4 hour wait..... <read more>

Crossing the road can be dangerous in Korea. Even if you wait for the green man at the cross walk, you should look left and right CONTINUALLY as you cross the road. It is very common for people to run red lights. <read more>

In Korean culture, respect for age and seniority is still important and influences how people bow to each other. There are quite a few rules about when and how to bow, but some general rules of thumb you can use to get you buy are:... <read more>

In Australia (at least, back in the good old days when I went to school) students take their lunch to school. Not so in Korea! Students eat a hot meal which always consists of soup, rice and kimchi with some kind of meat side dish. The soup and meat side dish is often very spicy hot too. <read more>

College Entrance Exams - Sooneung (수λŠ₯)

Sooneung is the national college (aka University) entrance exam in South Korea. It started in 1994 and happens only once a year, every 3rd Thursday in November. About 700,000 students sit the almost 9 hour exam, which starts at 8:40am and finishes at 6:05pm. <read more>

Not all Korean apartments are this small, but small one room apartments are very common, much more so than my home country of Australia. Here are some pictures of my my first apartment in Korea, a very small apartment just 2 minutes walk from my school. <read more>

I've been thinking about posting my thoughts on the Korean work ethic, office productivity and politics for a while now. I spotted this excellent article that discusses many of the things that frustrate me about working in Korea, so I thought I would share it. <read me>

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