Both Koreas can be a bit of a mystery to the West, but the way they blend modern technology with Asian tradition is quite beautiful…if you know how to look.
#12. You can taste test food in the supermarket.
You can try as much as you want and buy it or not – no one will say a word.
#11. Kids stay at school late.
Young children attend school until 6pm, secondary kids until 8 or 9, and high school kids often study until after midnight. Likewise, libraries are open 24/7.
#10. Themed subway cars are a common sight.
They’re often themed for cartoon or anime characters.
#9. They’re short on trash bins and heavy on public toilets.
Koreans are tidy and have little need for public trash bins – but everyone needs a public toilet now and again (looking at you, Europe).
#8. Treatment of pregnant women.
Along with designated parking spaces, all South Korean pregnant women receive $500 from the government to spend on treatment and medicine. They also receive a trinket that lets them ask for and receive seats on public transportation.
#7. Gift-giving is a practical affair.
A traditional housewarming gift is a couple rolls of toilet paper.
#6. Couples dress alike…on purpose.
Local shops sell paired clothes and shoes for young people in love.
#5. They’re not up on Western anything.
The isolated island doesn’t study geography, and most people don’t listen to Western music or watch Western movies. But don’t worry – they have plenty of culture of their own!
#4. Bus travel is nice.
Every bus stop has an informational panel containing the schedule, the buses are new and air conditioned, the drivers wear white gloves and sunglasses, and the buses operate 24/7. They are pricier than they are in the US, however.
#3. Every kindergarten has their own uniform.
It helps teachers and staff keep track of their kids, especially on crowded field trips.
#2. Teacher gifts are coffee or sweets.
Big gifts are considered bribes and are frowned upon.
#1. They love dogs.
They don’t eat them as a practice (you can get it, but it’s expensive). South Korean cuisine is actually very healthy and (surprise!) they love coffee.