South Korea Do’s and Dont’s

If you are going to South Korea soon, you need to prepare not only the documents you need and the clothes you will bring, but also your expectations when it comes to culture, tradition, and behavior. Even if you are not aware of the culture in Korea, you should at least learn the basic dos and don’ts so that by the time you arrive in the country, it won’t be too hard for you to adjust to your new environment.

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Remember that as an expat, you need to learn all the details of the country where you are going. You might not be able to memorize all the rules, at least you know the basics.

how to behave in south korea dos and donts

How to behave in South Korea

To behave in South Korea, you need to learn how locals behave there. You need to start with the basic dos and don’ts. These practices sum up the things you should do and not do once you arrive in South Korea. If you are not familiar with the country’s basic practices and etiquettes, this article will help you figure out helpful things about South Korea and its locals. To behave in this country, let’s start with the dos and don’ts.

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Do’s in South Korea

This list is the practices that are welcome in South Korea. The dos are the things that you can do freely without restrictions. They are the norms that you should follow in order to have a good social relationship with the locals. The following are the dos in the country:

  • Do take off your shoes when you are entering a house or a private building. It’s customary in South Korea to take off shoes when entering a house. Usually, a house has a welcoming mat that signifies its entrance. You can take off your shoes near the mat area.
  • Do recycle. Recycling is not an option. All the trash areas in South Korea have 3 trash bins where you can segregate your trash. Utilize all those trash bins and follow the country’s rules for segregating your trash.
  • Do allow the elderly to sit on the seats designed for them. When you ride a bus or a train, you should follow the seating arrangement and let the elderly sit in their proper seats. Don’t be a nuisance and follow the transportation rules.
  • Do read the signs when you are going to the bathroom. Some bathrooms are unisex. If you are not comfortable using the unisex one, you may find another one that is exclusive to your gender.
  • Do speak Korean when asking for help. When you are asking a local, it’s better to speak in the local language. If you are not familiar with the language, make sure to have your own Korean language book so you can use some of the contents there when you are exploring South Korea.
  • Do use other colors of pens other than red when writing a name. It’s taboo for South Koreans to use a red pen to write a name. Although the reason behind this is unclear yet, this has been a practice by the locals.
  • Do use free Wi-Fi. South Korea is treated as one of the most gifted countries in terms of technology. Take advantage of the free Wi-Fi connection in the country.

Dont’s in South Korea

If there are dos, there are also don’ts in South Korea. These are practically the things that are socially forbidden because of the locals’ tradition and culture or rules and regulations. These are the don’ts that you should observe when you go to South Korea.

  • Don’t sit on elderly’s chair in MRT or buses. Remember that the seats are designated for those who need them the most. Try to look for other vacant seats and give way to the elderly and pregnant women as they are the priority.
  • Don’t give tips. It’s not mandatory in South Korea to give tips to waiters and waitresses. There are also situations when they get tipped. So, as much as possible, avoid giving tips when you are dining in a restaurant, bar, etc.
  • Don’t blow your nose in public. It’s very rude in South Korea to blow your nose in public. If you are going to do it, better do it at home or in a private place.
  • Don’t make rude comments on plastic surgery. Plastic surgery is common in South Korea. If you are not okay with it, it’s fine but doesn’t mock the tradition of South Koreans, especially on surgeries.
  • Don’t be picky when eating. You should try all the local food in the country. Some restaurants might not be pleasant to the eyes but they offer good local South Korean food. Be willing to try out their food. It’s worth it!
  • Don’t talk loudly. Avoid talking loudly when you are in a public place. Respect the people around you. If you hear locals speak loudly when they are engaged in a conversation, that’s just because it’s normal for them to talk loudly using their local language.

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Tips when going to South Korea

When going to South Korea, it’s better to be prepared with knowledge about the country’s culture and tradition. You need to manage your expectations as well. Remember that you need not be always ready to know all the laws, regulations, and dos and don’ts. But you need to be aware of the basics, such as the norms, manners, and customs. When you have some basic information about the norms, manners, and customs, you can easily adjust to your new environment.

Also, you should invest your time in learning the local language in South Korea. Aside from the fact that it’s pretty easy to learn the language given that Korean dramas are popular, knowing the local language will also give you an advantage since you will be able to talk to the locals without struggling. Plus, you can get friends easily when you know how to engage them in a conversation. If you follow the dos and don’ts, you will also know how to respect the locals.

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