I hope this helps you understand more parts of the Korean culture, since most foreigners will have the same perspective as mine, since the Half-Korean too, came to Korea as a foreigner.
• What is a culture shock?
Culture shock is the anxiety, feelings of frustration, alienation and anger that may occur when a person is placed in a new culture.
One of the most common causes of culture shock involves individuals in a foreign country, and interacting with a different culture which has traditions different from one's own.
There is no true way to entirely prevent culture shock, as individuals in any society are personally affected by cultural contrasts differently but in this post, I hope it will atleast reduce the effects.[source : Wikipedia]
So without further delay,
1.Jjimjil bang & public nudity
Also, you can pay entrance for one or the other, or for both, most have a cheaper price for both. (for example 5,000 won for one of both, 9,000 for both. etc.)
So a jjimjilbang is kind of a Spa or a well-being center where males and females can hang out fully dressed in the comfy shorts and t-shirts provided by the spa (they also usually have different colors for males and females), and chill in various rooms.
There are dry heat rooms of all degrees, cold rooms, rooms for extra oxygen, rooms to pay for a foot massage or back massage, even rooms to get someone to scrub all your body(really painful for me) and areas for sleeping overnight.
Many people will sleep there at night when the subway and buses are not running. For around $6.00-10.00 a night, who can complain?
Well, be aware that you do have to sleep on the floor and with a pillow that is so hard it could kill someone if you threw it at them, but still…at least you can sleep! You can eat ramen, eat a delicious baked egg, and drink some seriously refreshing shikhye (which is an ice cold sweet rice drink). Some of the more elaborate jjimjilbangs even offer PC rooms and/or even singing rooms and arcades!
After reading that you probably are wondering but why is that awesome place such a culture shock for you Ayman!, well there's a very tiny little catch in here..
remember when I said you get comfortable clothes to wear while in the facility?, well you do then you go to your lockers(males and females have different areas). and you change there.
The locker area is huge, and FULL of naked Korean boys and men..
I don't know about you but I feel really un-comfortable about public nudity. I don't like walking around without any underwear on, and I don't like old, mature men walking around me with their 'things' hanging around.
I haven't been to the female area, but the same occurs there.
That was one of the biggest shocks I have got, and the first time I went there with my family I had to go into one of the private bathrooms to change there. I didn't even take a bath since the bathing area is also full of naked strangers.
The other thing that shocked me in there was that people were using the hair dryers to dry their... crotches. Yes- not most people do that in Korea and I might have been extremely unlucky by being in that situation but I found it really uncomfortable..
What do you think about public nudity? Do you think you'd be comfortable in that kind of situation?
2.Korean women clothing
This point might only apply to males, or foreigners from the middle-east and more arab cultures than western cultures.
The Half-Korean has lived and grew up in Egypt for most of his life. I have been used to modesty in clothing and in the female appearance generally.
I remember when I arrived to Korea on 2008, August. It was summer and I remember for the first 3 months I couldn't lift my eyes off of the ground.
Korean women and students wear, extremely short skirts, shorts and tight clothes. for a (not so)traditional Egyptian student I was very shy and extremely sensitive..
Ofcourse people in the west or from the united states will be more used to these kind of clothing but for the Half-Korean. He was in shock.
I'm glad to say that I have adapted to this but still think if I ever have a daughter, I'm going to pick most of her clothes.
No way I'm letting my daughter dress like that(picture on the left), no offense though.
Some girls also wear mini-skirts in the freezing winter, albeit they have stockings on, I still cannot and don't think I'll ever understand this.
3.Korean college students & dating publicly
|Tons of couples like these in markets, shopping areas|
This also might seem like a small deal for everyone, but once again keep in mind that the Half-Korean was born and raised in an Islamic, traditional Arab country.
and back in the days 1991-2008, You couldn't see a lot of public youngsters dating, holding hands. walking around and even sometimes kissing in public.
This was also very confusing for me, and I have always wondered if they were a young married couple. and thought that it was very un-ethical.
|Even in public transportation|
|Not a very rare sight in Seoul after midnight|
4.Dog meat and other food you might not want to try
Okay so most of you might have seen this coming, but Koreans do eat dog meat. It is true, although now-adays it's not as popular as it was 20-30 years ago.
there are still some 'bositang' restaurants and some elders still like to eat it because dog meat gives them 'special energy'.
But I will never forget the first time one of my friends asked me if I wanted to try it - I was speechless, not a word came out of my mouth and I refused, which he answered by "your missing out" and one of the excuses was that "the dogs that are used for this stew are 'farm dogs' which are raised just to be eaten, like farm cows, pigs etc..
Still if you type in 'Korean dog soup' in Google, and go to the images - You might be traumatized by the view of dogs being cut out or cooked. DO THIS ONLY IF YOU WANT TO BE TRAUMATIZED.
Also another food I still can't stand the smell OR the looks of it is Bbundaegi (Silkwork cocoons). They are mostly eaten as a snack and are sold in a lot of parks and other tourism attractions. I swear I can still smell these from at-least a mile away.
For people interested in more Korean Unusual dishes, This is a very nice list here that'sabout 15 most Unusual Korean dishes!
Once again, this space has been left out for you! my faithful readers- Have you ever been to Korea? Do you have any thoughts about what kind of culture shocks you might receive?
Please comment in the comment section below! The best comment will be posted here and credits will be fully given! (+ you will receive free bbundaegi coupons from me!)
•So how do I prepare for culture shocks?
•Things needed to easily overcome culture shock
A positive attitude, willingness to understand, to embrace, to creatively interact with the new culture and a smile.
•Things that will only make the culture shocks worse
A negative attitude, Withdrawal, depression, refusal to accept the foreign culture and frowning.
1. Start networking: make friends, meet people, talk, listen and learn. Don't enter a shell and close the doors on yourself, try to be open and hear everyone's opinion and state your own - Talk what's bothering you out.
2. Always be positive: Be open minded, always think positively. The cup isn't half empty, the cup is always half full. - If you start thinking of things positively you will end up coping and adjusting to things faster!
3. Be willing to learn: You are a foreigner, show interest and take in the new culture. You will not get used to it in a day nor a month, but you will adapt, because that's how humans are and will always be, we are adaptable.
and always remember that, "when in Rome, do as the Romans do"..
also look forward for the upcoming 'Culture shocks you might get from traveling to Egypt'!
Was this post helpful to you? please subscribe and follow for more,
Have a question for me? Ask away, seriously just go ahead!