Travel, Teach, Live in Korea
Korea has an ancient and diverse culture and cultural protocols are strictly followed in Korea. Korea also has a homogeneous culture with many Koreans travelling abroad in western countries. The Koreans therefore follow a mixed culture combining elements of western and the Asian. For example, the Korean custom of greeting is a bow and the western custom is a handshake, therefore many Koreans may shake hand after a bow, combining elements of both culture. However, most Koreans, especially Korean women, still consider physical contact like shaking hands inappropriate. So you should be able to avoid this pitfall, if you wait for a sign from the Korean woman that she wants to shake hands with you, after of course you both have bowed to each other. Again, while you shake hands it is better if you can support your right forearm with your left hand as that is a show of respect. There are several other aspects of etiquette that you should remember in order to avoid the pitfalls of Korean culture and look sophisticated in the process. This article provides you some glimpses to that.
Apart from the customs of greeting, there are also other aspects of etiquettes like dining etiquette and gift giving etiquette. Gifts are thought very important in interpersonal relationships and there are some very important points to be kept in mind. For example, the gifts should always be wrapped properly with red and yellow papers as these colors represent royalty. Yellow and pink papers are also allowed to wrap the gifts. However, the gifts should not be wrapped in green, white or black papers. You should neither sign the gifts in red ink. It is also considered inconsiderate to present an expensive gift to someone, if you know the other person cannot reciprocate it. The number 4 is considered unlucky, so gifts should not be given in multiples of 4. The number 7 or 9 is considered lucky. You should always remember to offer your gifts with both hands.
There are also dining etiquettes to remember. You should not be late or go without appropriate gifts to a Korean house and you can be late for as much as 30 minutes without taking offence. You should always remember to open your shoes outside the house and wait for the host to introduce you in a social gathering. You should also learn to use chopsticks before you try to win the heart of a Korean girl. You should remember never to point your chopsticks or pierce your food with the chopsticks. Neither they should be kept crisscrossed while you put them to rest. You should also not forget to send a thank you note the next day after the dinner to the host.
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[Edited by Administrator (admin) Wed, 06 Jul 2011, 06:22 PM]