Advice and Anecdotes: What I Was Told to Expect in South Korea

Below is a list of the kinds of advice people often offer when they hear you are going to South Korea:

  1. Pack a year’s worth of deodorant; you won’t be able to easily find deodorant in South Korea, and if you do find any, it won’t be your brand and it will be expensive. (People in south Korea don’t wear deodorant/the deodorant you buy won’t work.)
  2. Take lots of day trips; the country-side is beautiful and easy to get to.
  3. All of Seoul smells of garlic and kimchi.
  4. Seoul is a great place to be; full of activity, culture, shopping…a city that never sleeps.
  5. Seoul has excellent public transportation.
  6. If you have blue eyes, strangers may try to touch your eyeballs because they don’t believe they are real.
  7. If you have hair on your arms, strangers may try and touch your arms.
  8. Old Korean women will pinch/grab your ass, especially if you are dressed “provocatively.” Old Korean women feel entitled to do such things to young women.
  9. The Korean language is easy to pick up.
  10. The Korean language is difficult.
  11. Don’t plan on buying clothes in Korea; you won’t find anything that fits (Korean people are much more petite than are Americans).
  12. Korean students are well disciplined and very polite.
  13. Everyone in Korea has a servant.
  14. Korean women coddle their men/husbands; if you do not coddle your man/husband, Korean women will harass you for it.
  15. “Dog” is a viable meat dish in Korea.
  16. Korean food is spicy.
  17. For many Koreans, the Korean war is not over.
  18. Koreans embrace westerners and their customs.
  19. Koreans hate westerners and their customs.
  20. Many South Koreans still feel “they” should have gone with the North.
  21. Most Asian people are xenophobic.
  22. Korean people discriminate against homosexual persons.

Check back for updates as I discover whether or not any of these statements prove true.

3 thoughts on “Advice and Anecdotes: What I Was Told to Expect in South Korea

  1. cathy Anderson

    after having 3 Korean exchange students (one I just got the phone with) I have to agree that some of these are myths. Many Koreans are fascinated by Americans. My oldest went to Lote World when in Korea and was surrounded by 10 year old girls who wanted a “real” American to practice their English with. No Korean I know feels they should have gone with the North. Phil will attest to the fact that the food can be very very spicy. Watch what you get from street vendors.
    My Korean “sons” laugh when I try to speak Korean. We have a plan to get together in a few years for Christmas – all their wives, kids etc. I offered to learn Korean for the event and I was told it would be easier to teach their kids English instead of me trying to speak Korean. Clothes in Korea are VERY expensive. clothes are a status symbol and every where you look you will see brands like Hilfiger, Polo etc. Ok Enough boring you with my trivial knowledge. You get to live it and experience it.

    You are in for such and AMAZING adventure. Enjoy every second of it.

    1. zingarapoet Post author

      Thanks for contributing your point of view and I especially appreciate your insight regarding clothing. I am eager to discover which pieces advice prove accurate and which ones do not. Of course, it will have a lot to do with my own perceptions.

  2. Jeff Ensley

    A lotta truths and a lotta lies there. Welcome to Korea. Seoul is just amazing. (Make sure you get a servant soon! And don’t worry, there are no gays in Korea.)


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