<Episode 2: Communication> Culture shock occurs in many situations and common issues are visual differences such as clothing or food. Simple questions people ask, ways they act with others, and how people behave can be just as alarming.
Korean culture, knowing the age of others is important to establish how to speak to others. If someone visits Korea without some knowledge about their culture they may assume Koreans are a little too curious.
When you meet new people there are always lots of questions. In any country there are a few common questions that you might hear from people. Living in South Korea there are two questions that are primary. "Did you eat?â€? and "How old are you?"
In the USA, most people respect others' personal space and should ask before invading it. In South Korea, the personal space bubble is not the same. One situation I encountered was when I met my church youth group at Tom N Toms Coffee. While our group chatted and I drank an Americano, my friend, Jaehyun placed his hand on my thigh. I was alarmed at first but tried not to show it. Scanning my friends' faces I noticed no one took any notice. Later on I noticed that friends touching each other is common. As an American living abroad I learned to keep, an open mind about other cultures and not misinterpret others actions based on my own cultural expectations.
I have never been constantly asked if I have eaten so much as when I lived in Korea, except when visiting aunts in Mexico. It took me a few months to realize that people were not concerned with what I ate for breakfast. I was embarrassed at first but I learned that its simply a common greeting. I thought it was a little strange everyone wanted to know my age. As I learned about
Alan with his Korean church group in Suncheon, South Korea. (2010). Alan Barr is a QA Test Engineer for iMatrix, a website marketing firm. With a Master's in Library Information Science from SJSU he strives to make the Internet a better place. He studies Korean as a hobby away from computers.
Alan with his friend Kiho at Jinju Fortress.