My Experience with Korean Culture

I would like to talk about Korean Culture that I have been experiencing since the first day of my exchange student life up to now. I can say that it’s very difficult for me and I believe that many other international students who came to study in Hanyang University feel the same. he reason for these difficulties is the fact that we all have different cultures such as language, food, and life style etc.

For me the hardest thing that I should learn more is Korean language. I can say that I have never studied Korean Language before I came to study at Hanyang University and I would have been a good idea to prepare a little more for the new life over here. I knew that most Korean people don’t speak international languages like English and mostly prefer to speak their domestic language. I realized this difficulty already on the very first day of my student life. I wasn’t able to communicate with any of the other Korean students and I wasn’t even able to order food by myself in the cafeteria. So, I think that before the international students come to Korea, they should learn some language basics beforehand. It is an important thing to consider as Koreans tend to be very proud about their culture and, therefore, expect that incoming people also learn their language to a certain degree.

The second cultural aspect that I want to talk about is Korean food. For me the food is not bad at all, actually it’s quite good for me because Korean food is similar to the Thai food I am used to in term of the taste such as spice level etc. And I can say that I really love Kimchi! Kimchi is like a national symbol of Korea and I think it is a really great dish. Korean restaurant always serve food with Kimchi, so I am very happy everytime I am eating Korean food.

Regarding the Korean lifestyle, I got the impression that Korean people prefer to live as a group. I got this idea because when I go around the university I see that most of the students will do the activities as a group. For foreigners it is often hard to become a member of such groups. I made the experience that Koreans let foreigners start the communication first rather than inviting strangers to join.

Another interesting cultural difference concerns the hierarchy among people. I saw that Korean people really respect the seniors and they have to use different kinds of word to speak with the senior and older people. My roommate, for example, made the experience that, when she asked the staff something in Korean, but used general words when speaking to him, she was told by the staff: “You shouldn’t speak with me like this I am older than you”. This experience kind of shocked her, but the good thing is that it made her practice harder and her Korean really improves quickly. ;)

These are just some thoughts and experience I made during my time in Korea. Do you share my opinion? Did you make other experiences? Leave us a comment! :)

By Saranya from Thailand


  1. Nice post, and welcome to Korea! I’ve been living in Busan for a number of years, and also blog about life here, trying to see the humorous side of things. Our blog is called Sweet Pickles and Corn, and my recent post may interest you as someone who is learning language – it’s about a badly faield (but funny) attempt to communicate with a pharmacist some years ago. Enjoy, and good luck!

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