America Vs. Korea

Some people say South Korea is like a mini America and in some ways it is but there also are some glaring differences. Today I will list 10 differences between America and Korea. Whether you are traveling to Korea or thinking of living in Korea, maybe some of these will interest you.

  1. Language- The biggest difference is of course language. Americans speak English and it is the native language and the native language of Korea is Korean, but because Korea is so small many Koreans put a heavy emphasis on speaking English because Korean is not a language that is in demand outside of Korea.
  2. Education System- The education system in Korea is very tough and students attend classes sometimes late into the night. English is pushed onto students because it can open many doors for them in the future as far as jobs. Students take an exam called 대학수학능력시험 in there last year of high school and the higher the score the better the University the student is allowed into. This exam can also determine the type of major in college you can be accepted into so students study late into the night and have a lot of pressure on themselves to do well on this test.
  3. Hierarchy- In Korea there is a distinct hierarchy when it comes to people depending on your age and position in the workplace. If you are younger in age even by a month you are required to speak to that other person in the higher more respectful language which is called: 존댓말. If they are your elder you are also required to speak to them in higher language to show respect. Sometimes pouring them drinks in a social setting, bowing to them, or carrying their possessions might be needed to show respect.
  4. Transportation- In America you almost certainly have to own a car, or have access to a car to get around, but in Korea the public transportation system is not only cheap but everywhere. There is the subway, bus, and taxi. You can find some sort of public transportation no matter the hour of day or night for a relatively cheap price. The prices do jump after midnight for taxis and subways close down around midnight, but there are a few late night bus routes.
  5. Alcohol- In Korea social drinking is acceptable and it is looked down upon if your boss or company take you and other workers out for dinner and do not drink. Since the public transportation is immense and everywhere in Korea people do not have to worry about drinking and driving like in America. They can walk, take a bus, or subway home and unlike America won’t face the consequences of drinking and driving and possibly losing their driver’s license. Drinking is acceptable in Korea, and as long as the person does not harm others it is not looked down on near as much as in America.
  6. Appearances- Appearances play a big part in Korean culture. Men and women alike put a big emphasis on looking good day and night at work or at home. Korean people believe in having their hair, nails, clothes, and skin looking on par. Women are not big pants wearers in Korea unlike in America. Skirts are the norm. Shorter on the weekends and longer skirts for the work week. Men dress in suits for work and on the weekend in fancy t-shirts and sweaters. Koreans do not spare any time or money on their looks whether for new clothes or a new face via plastic surgery.
  7. Food- Food is a major difference. Koreans love pork and chicken because beef is very expensive in Korea since it is mostly imported. Pork and chicken are cooked in every way imaginable from soups to fried. Cheap vegetables such as: kimchi, and radish are always in demand. Kimchi is spicy Chinese cabbage and many swear by its health benefits.
  8. Housing- Most Koreans live in a much smaller apartment in compared to America. One reason is because space is limited in Seoul and many other cities in Korea to build big apartments with huge rooms. Second the bigger the apartment the higher the bills such as: electricity and gas.  The smaller the apartment the lower these bills will be for the electric in the summer for the air con and the gas in the winter for the ondol(heated floors).
  9. Appliances- In Korea some appliances are not used. For example, dryers are not found in abundance in Korea. Dryers tend to run up the electricity bill so many households air dry their clothes on drying racks. Bathtubs are also not found a lot because of the cost of filling up a bathtub each night for a bath would cause the water bill to rise exponentially. It is much more efficient to use a shower in Korea.
  10. Air Quality- Air quality in Korea goes back and forth between great and awful. This is due to China and the winds from China that tend to blow over a lot during the summer. It is caused by both the yellow dust and factories from China putting out a lot of pollution and smog particularly during the summer months when the winds blows straight from China to Korea.  The spring, fall, and winter have much better air quality, but in the summer the air flow from China comes across Korea and the air is usually not where it should be in terms of quality from the yellow dust, factories, and volume of cars in China.

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