“Wherever you visit, let the place you visit remembers you well!”
Just as Korea has a soft power policy in endearing people to their music and arts culture they also have a concept call ‘jeong’ which entails a special love between people and society. People are expected to share things, like food, drinks etc. and if you don’t you will be perceived as a mean unfriendly individual. Jeong is not only sharing, it also includes love, compassion, sympathy and a strong community attachment.
Unlike in the West, where people playing music or talking loudly on their cell phone is quite common and generally hardly noticed by fellow travelers, in Korea people intensely dislike being subjected to loud noise while travelling on public transport. They will not hesitate to tell you to be quiet. Even in a bar or restaurant you may be scolded for speaking to loudly.
Koreans value their privacy and it’s a big deal for them to invite you to their home. If you are lucky enough to be invite you should bring a gift to illustrate that you appreciate the honour of the invitation.
PAYING FOR 2ND ROUND
In Korea when you visit a restaurant with an older person they will generally pay for the meal. It is a custom and a demonstration of their kindness. To reciprocate the gesture, it is a good practice for you to order a dessert or take them to a café and buy them some coffee or drink. It demonstrates that you appreciate their gesture.
In Korea tipping is not expected. 10% service charge may be already added to your bill, but some people regard tipping as an insult and the safest policy is to avoid doing so.
RESPECT FOR ELDERS
Koreans regard it as very important to show respect to their elders, even to people slightly older than them. If you are eating with a group of people, it is considered polite to wait for the oldest person to start eating first.
WRITING IN RED
When someone dies in Korea their names are written in red. If you are sending the family any communication, do not write the name in red or they will be very angry.
SHOES IN THE HOUSE
If visiting someone’s house it is considered rude to enter while still wearing your shoes. Home life in Korea is usually centered around the floor and it is usually kept very clean. You will normally see slippers for visitors outside and you are expected to use them.
RECEIVING WITH ONE HAND
Koreans regard giving or receiving with one hand to be very rude. Always make sure to use both hands. Bill Gates, the Microsoft Founder, once shook the Korean President hand with his right hand while his left hand was inside his pocket. It caused him to be heavily criticized in the media and to be labeled as rude and disrespectful.
Featured Image Source: King Sejong, Inspire Me Korea, 14.08.2018, www.inspiremekorea.com