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10 Things Koreans Discover When Visiting America

10 Things Koreans Discover When Visiting America

When Koreans visit the USA, they find that there are many cultural differences. They are sometimes surprised, pleased, or shocked depending on what the situation is. They also have a different world view which reflects their different culture, history, language, eating habits and climate. Here are 10 things that Koreans always remark on or notice when they visit or work in America.

1. No daylight time saving

Koreans notice how Americans complain about how daylight time saving changes affect their sleep-wake cycles. They talk about having to get used to adjusting to the new time change. Koreans have never experienced this as daylight time saving does not exist in their country and in most of Asia.

2. Patience is a virtue

Another shock for the Koreans is how Americans expect to be on hold for 20 minutes–or even an hour–when they call a company or government department. In Korea, the average wait time for a call is three to four minutes so they think Americans are very patient.

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3. Resumes are shorter

When Koreans apply for a job, they are forced to mention their parents’ job histories and education as well! The reason for this is that many of the big Korean corporations are family owned. It is also a reflection of how important family ties are in their society.

4. No military conscription

Korean visitors are usually pleasantly surprised to note that there is no military conscription in the USA. All South Korean males between the ages of 18 and 35 must serve in the army for a two-year period. This is a very controversial aspect of Korean life. Many Koreans envy countries like the USA, where the military draft ended in 1973

5. Service expectations are different

Koreans always notice how much longer everything seems to take in restaurants. They are used to shouting out “Yeogiyo” which means “come here, please.” They find it difficult to adjust to the technique of catching the waiter’s eye, which is considered more polite in American culture but can take a lot longer.

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6. Great variety of food and meals

Koreans love eating in America because they are stunned by the variety of dishes and the fact that there are different menus for breakfast, lunch or dinner. In Korea, they always have rice which is served with a vast variety of side dishes. Their staple dishes, such as kimchi (fermented cabbage), can be delicious. Chopchae is another very tasty option.

7. Formality vs. informality

In South Korea, everyone greets each other with a little bow as a sign of respect. In many ways life is much more formal than in the USA. They find it strange that everyone seems to be on first name terms. In Korea, first names are reserved for close friends.

Formality extends to clothes and fashion when, for example, showing too much cleavage is not really coo. The concept of saying “Bless you” when someone sneezes is strange. Since this is a normal body function, there is no reason to acknowledge it. A similar attitude is shown when Koreans do not say “I’m sorry” when they step on someone’s foot in the subway. They find that courtesy a pleasant surprise in America.

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8. Distances take some getting used to

When you think that South Korea is about the same area of Indiana, you can understand how Koreans find talk of travel and distances disconcerting. If you suggest a road trip lasting more than 3 hours, that would be the equivalent of travelling the length of their country!

9. Americans have more free time

Koreans work very hard; figures show that they work 14% longer than we do. It is also shocking to discover how short their vacations are–sometimes only 3 days! They envy this and marvel at how much more free time we have to relax and enjoy life.

10. Workplace etiquette is very different

When Koreans see how Americans are relaxed and casual in the workplace, they blink again. It is a totally new world for them. They will normally have to address their manager with respectful titles, which may include the word “teacher.” They have to wear suits and ties, and women are not allowed to dress casually. Status is so important that it is not surprising to learn that Korean grammar reflects this.

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Americans are normally very friendly, informal and direct in almost every level of society. They prefer to speak frankly and economically. If you see Koreans looking puzzled or having difficulty adjusting, you now know why.

“At the end of hardship comes happiness.”- Korean proverb

Featured photo credit: Kieran Lynam via flickr.com

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Robert Locke

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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