Keeping everyone in the know about Korean life, YouTuber Kelsey the Korean was joined by an American friend and shared some of the things foreigners shouldn’t do when living in Korea. Here are six of them to be mindful of.
1. Casual touching between men and women is a no-no.
While it’s common to “playfully touch” someone when talking or joking around in foreign countries, that’s a big no-no between men and women in Korea. Romantically, Koreans look for “emotional connection and consent first” before touching of any kind.
2. Treat dating multiple people at the same time carefully.
Kelsey summed it up by saying, “Don’t tell the girl, or the guy, you’re dating that you’re dating other people.” Although it’s common to date or talk to more than one person at a time in other countries, being so upfront about it isn’t wise in Korea.
Because it can cause tension and offense, it’s best to leave it unsaid. Korean dating culture generally follows the route of dating one person for three dates before deciding to continue exclusively or move on to someone else.
They’re concerned about it… So even if they ask, just say, ‘No.’ Cause that’s what they want, in Korea at least.
— Kelsey the Korean
3. All foreigners in Korea don’t speak English.
Since there are all types of foreigners who come to Korea, not all of them are from English-speaking countries or know the language. Besides English, “there’s also a lot of German, there’s a lot of French, there’s a lot of Spanish,” along with Chinese and Japanese.
4. Don’t only make friends with foreigners.
While it makes sense to bond with other foreigners while abroad, it can limit your experiences. When foreigners make friends with Koreans, especially ones that speak English, they can learn new things and experiences only Koreans know about. It can also help improve your Korean.
5. Using only one hand when interacting with others is impolite.
Whether you’re receiving something or giving an item to someone else, it’s polite to use two hands when doing so. To make sure you’re showing the best manners, you can use one hand and support it with the other or just hold out both of your hands with the palms facing upward.
6. No walking around indoors with your shoes on.
The last tip the two shared was an important one for going anywhere in Korea and many countries in Asia. As soon as you enter a home, leave your shoes at the door—no negotiations.
Check out all of Kelsey’s tips for being the most respectful you can be when visiting Korea.