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South Korea Lifestyle and Culture

Most Koreans have great work ethics and this quite evident in all they do, you can say that they live to work and not work to live. Korea is known for its intensity, starting at a young age, many children are introduced into this hurried culture that seems unending. They are raised to study multiple hours a day at schools of all kinds in different subjects like Maths, Arts, English, Science, and so on. South Koreans take education very seriously and it comes at no surprise that funding of science and technology in Korea is one of the highest in the world.

South Korea is one of the most ethnically homogenous countries in the world, more than 96% of its population are Korean by ethnicity with the remaining population a mixture of foreigners from the USA, China, and Vietnam. Most Koreans are peaceful and friendly and crime is at a very low level in most parts of the country. It is safe to walk at night even as a female, and if you leave your bicycle in front of a building, you need not worry about it being stolen. On top of that, there is video surveillance everywhere, 24 hours a day.

As a highly cultural country, respect for elders is a huge part of the culture in South Korea, older citizens are revered and honored in society. Ask any Korean to name a city with the greatest historical value and they will likely say ‘Gyeongju’ where many ancient buildings, burial grounds, and artifacts can be found. One of the most popular national parks in South Korea is Seoraksan National Park that offers hikes for any level of expertise but also has some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.

Many parks in major cities feature outdoor gyms giving residents the chance to work out for free. Similar to the type of equipment found in a conventional gym, the government has done this to ensure that there is a healthy population of citizens and Koreans have grown to love this concept. It is very common to see many of its citizens exercising in these make-shift gyms on any given day.

One very huge phenomenon that originated in South Korea but is now taking the world by storm is ‘K-pop’ which is the penetration of Korean pop culture to other countries as well as cinema, food, and martial arts. With the level of popularity this wave has garnered, the trend might be reversed and other western countries would emulate this fast-rising movement.

Korean cuisine is largely based on rice, vegetables, and meats, one popular example is ‘Kimchi’ which is a very healthy side-dish and a staple in many Korean homes. It is a traditional dish made from salted and fermented vegetables most commonly napa cabbage and Korean radishes with a variety of seasonings in a red pepper chili sauce. Much like beer in Germany, wine in France, and vodka in Russia, ‘makgeolly’ and ‘soju’ are traditional Korean alcoholic beverages.

Makgeolly has a milky opaque color and the low alcohol content of 6-13%, it is low in calories and high in protein, also it contains high levels of yeast and lactobacillus which gives it a nutty and sweet flavor. Another adored drink in South Korea is soju, with an alcohol content of about 20%. ‘Somak’ a local mixture of beer and soju is ever-present at most dinners or events with Korean men. Surprisingly as with western countries, South Koreans are also very fond of coffee and there is a coffee shop on every corner.

 

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