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I have lived in South Korea for almost 20 years and I will reveal what few tourists know

Hi! My name is Olga and since 2001 I live in South Korea. I came here from the city of Öskemen in Kazakhstan for the first time with a dance group tour. Here I met my husband and then I learned the language and graduated.

Especially for the awesome.clubI will reveal the daily life of South Korea and show you how the locals live.


Half of South Korea’s population lives in apartments. The preference for buildings is not a question of population density, but of the mentality of the inhabitants, because South Koreans are collectivists at their core. All buildings, low or high, are very similar: their territory is fenced, there is underground parking, a free gym, and apartments are rented with complete finishing and appliances.

Dwellings are not divided by classes. The price of apartments differs only depending on the area. The useful life of buildings is 30 to 35 years. After that, the building is demolished and a new one is built in its place.

South Koreans prefer to rent apartments, as they are very itinerant and change housing more than once in their lives. Apartments usually have an area of ​​just over 100 square meters. Typically, young families with one or two children live in these properties. In the housing territory, the street pavement is red so that drivers do not exceed the area’s speed limit.

Buildings in South Korea are constructed according to Feng Shui principles, generally situated so that a sufficient amount of sunlight enters the apartments. And there will definitely be a natural or artificial water reservoir near the buildings.


In South Korea, a tray of fresh oysters (five dollars) costs twice as much as a piece of meat (ten dollars).

However, it is much cheaper to eat in restaurants in the country than to buy ingredients and cook yourself. Because of this, I almost never cook at home.

You pojang butch are outdoor food stalls enjoyed by residents and tourists alike. They first appeared on the streets in the 50-60s, after the Japanese occupation. Most of the country’s population was very poor and pojang macha people could buy alcoholic beverages and snacks like grasshoppers or fried sparrows. The times of famine are over, but street food stalls are still popular. Exotic snacks have sunk into oblivion, and the tents themselves have become more modern.

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Korean food is extremely spicy. To lessen the heat, Koreans eat kimchi (fermented and also spicy chard).

Among the accompaniments (banchan), is often found namulwhich is made with cooked vegetables (radish, pumpkin or other vegetables) marinated or fried and usually seasoned with sesame oil and fermented sauces.

Koreans don’t eat alone. Portions served in restaurants usually feed at least two people. Therefore, the locals will look at you strangely if you are eating alone. By custom, Koreans actively chat during meals.

In prime time, South Korea’s national television channels broadcast culinary programs and not news or talk shows, regardless of what is going on in the world. The important thing is to eat delicious food! This is the most positive television broadcast in the world.

kindergarten and school

In kindergartens, children are taught to grow vegetables and learn about gardening. For example, Angelina, my youngest daughter, once babysat the sweet potatoes all summer. Already in the fall, together with the kindergarten class, they cooked part of the harvest on the grill. Near the plantations are the scarecrows that the children themselves make together.

In South Korea, children are taught not to be offended or hurt, regardless of gender. Both girls and boys learn from a young age to help their friends and express their feelings when they feel sad. Expressions like “boys don’t cry” are not said in Korea.

Koreans are fighting gender stereotypes. The younger generation is less conservative and society is changing rapidly. This is even taught in vocational guidance textbooks, where they state that men can become cooks or nurses, and women can be pilots or soccer players.

Other subjects include Chinese and English languages ​​(mandatory). Time is set aside for children to do their homework directly at school.

Children preventively go to doctors twice a year, where they are tested and thoroughly examined. Before the checkup physician, a lengthy questionnaire must be completed, which mainly includes questions about diet and a test to identify suicidal tendencies. Schools require children to be vaccinated against tetanus, Japanese encephalitis and cervical cancer (in girls).

According to South Korean law, you cannot let a dog off the leash, even if it is tiny. If anyone sees it and reports it, the dog’s owner could be fined. Koreans practically do not have large dogs in apartments.

Dogs’ needs must be cleaned properly, even if they have done so in a deserted area. There is no need to wash the animal’s paws, as Korean streets are pretty clean. After the ride, just lightly wipe the paws underneath.


In the capital, Seoul, you can find garbage bags right in the middle of the city, but there are several reasons for this. The city is densely built up (especially in the older neighborhoods) and the back roads are too narrow for garbage trucks to pass. Therefore, garbage bags are taken to the wider streets.

Garbage can only be thrown in specific bags. In any other bag, it simply will not be picked up, and the violator of the law will be fined. To do this, surveillance cameras are installed in places where garbage is “stored”. Most of the time, it is foreigners who save on garbage bags.

South Koreans usually take out their garbage once a week. Before that, they deposit it in a special area. The only exception is for small waste, which is incinerated and can be disposed of any day of the week.

Getting rid of trash in Korea can be a time-consuming process. Everything must be organized and in residential areas there are deposits for plastic bags, cans, paper, plastic, batteries and glass. The compartment for dumping food waste works by special cards!

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To throw away furniture or large appliances, you need to take them to the right trash can and stick stickers on them, which cost from five dollars.


The vegetation of South Korea is predominantly coniferous. Frost-resistant hedges (or hedges) are also scattered throughout cities. Because of this, winter landscapes are easily confused with summer ones.

But the impression caused by the vegetation is deceiving. In January (in the winter season), the nighttime temperature can drop to minus 17°C, while during the day, the average temperature is 0°C, that is, there is a very large difference between daytime and nighttime temperatures.

The most important thing here is to protect yourself from the sea breeze, so almost everyone wears very warm and long coats to warm up against the cold.


It is said that some South Koreans (and Asians in general) are not so warm when it comes to making new friends. However, it is not about arrogance and insensitivity, but about the mentality. Koreans perfectly maintain friendly relations and communication for mutual interests. However, they have no interest in sharing secrets or personal information because they believe it could be used against them. Foreigners, on the other hand, often expect more open friendships.

There are almost no single-parent families in South Korea, and divorce is still considered nonsense. For the South Korean people, marriage is something that goes beyond love. It is a union that both husband and wife must work hard and constantly together.

In South Korea, it is normal for couples to sleep apart, as this helps both to get a good night’s sleep and relaxation. Thus, each can maintain their own sleep pattern, without disturbing the other.

Pregnant women lead an active lifestyle, their diets and activities are not limited by doctors and they rarely go to the gynecologist. Childbirth is paid for, but partially covered by state insurance. Many South Korean women prefer cesarean section to normal delivery.

Did you like to know a little more about the South Korean lifestyle? Which of these habits did you find most different and interesting? Comment!

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