5 KOREAN CULTURE YOU MUST KNOW
- Soju (Korean alcohol): I guess it will be surprising to some people that Soju came first on my list. Well Soju is a widely sold alcohol in Korea and it has become part of the Korean culture. Not only do Koreans enjoy drinking soju but it creates the atmosphere for work colleagues to get closer and friends to enjoy time together. If you enjoy soju, it is more likely that you will be able to make Korean friends. This is sometimes called Sul jinju (alcohol friend haha). A note of caution. Some soju come in plain bottles like mineral bottle water. A mistakenly bought soju instead on water haha.
- Koreans love USA. This is not surprising considering that the US has been helpful in building and protecting Korea from its northern neighbor North Korea. In Korean USA literally means wonderful land (mikuk). The word comes from the Chinese characters known as hanja. The ‘mi’ means wonderful and the kuk means country.
- Buses. There are different color-coded buses in Korea. Some are called intercity buses. Intercity buses are cheaper and they travel between cities. One is called the city bus (shinae). City buses move in the city. When you get into the bus, be prepared to pay and get to your seat as soon as possible. Bus drivers are diligent and work with time. I was surprised on my first day. The bus sped off before I could find a seat jostling me around. It happens to anyone so be prepared.
- English. Don’t be surprised to find out that most Koreans don’t speak English even though they understand a little bit of English. It is best to walk with a translator easy translation
- Recycling. Korea has a wonderful recycling culture. Its common to find colored coded bins for sorting waste materials. There are bins for plastics, paper and even food. In some places, you have to a fine if you are caught putting the wrong waste into the wrong bin.