South Korea

South Korea: A list of things which are not strange anymore

not strange anymore

When you live in one country for a long time you get used to many things which in the beginning seemed very strange. I live abroad for more than 11 years, and mostly I lived in South Korea. Therefore, today I want to share with you my experience, my list of things that are not strange anymore.

I worked, I studied, I traveled, I did a lot of different stuff here in Korea. So it is difficult to call me a real foreigner here. So, let’s start…

not strange anymore

I am not surprised of… or things which are not strange anymore

Public places

👉In public transportation, girls take off their pouch with cosmetics and start to do make-up. Many times I had a chance to see how one girl gets to the metro. And then she gets out, she looks like absolutely another person. And no one stares at her.

👉It is normal to see a girl walking along the street with an applied big hair roller. Well, girls will understand her. It is difficult to keep your bang styled till your destination. But if you keep the hair roller on your bang, so you can just take it off when you arrive. And your bang will look perfect.

👉When a couple gets to the bus or metro, and there is only one free seat, guess who will sit there? Right! A man! And it is normal in Korea. Korean girls think that they are strong enough to stand. And they don’t look at that as a basic etiquette norm.

Friends and collegues

👉When you see your colleagues or friends in the corridor they don’t say ‘Hi’. They usually tell you ‘Did you have a meal’. And it is one of the ways of greetings.

👉Despite the working day starting at 9 am, if you are not in the office at 7 or 8 am, it will be strange. And if officially your working day finishes at 6 pm, but you are thinking should you stay for 1 hour more or 2 hours. Well, it means you are Korean now! Actually, this culture is changing a little bit. Because of keep increasing number of foreign employees.

not strange anymore


👉When you see a 40–50 years old woman with a baby, you don’t think that it is a grandma and grandson/daughter. You are sure that it is mom and son/daughter. Korean people get married pretty late and give a born to children also late.

👉When you have a choice between fork and chopsticks, you will choose chopsticks without any doubts.

👉Or When you meet new people, you don’t ask their names, you ask their age.

👉When you live on the same floor with the same people for 5–10 years, and you still don’t know their names and even don’t say ‘Hi’ to them when you meet. People don’t even look at each other. And if you say ‘Hi’ you will look suspicious.

Cafes and food

not strange anymore

👉When after spicy noodles you drink milk. Koreans think that milk helps to put out a fire in the mouth. I didn’t check it yet.

not strange anymore

👉When you wait in line for an hour in order to get into the cafe, despite there is another empty cafe right on the left side to that cafe. A long line means tasty food. But I wouldn’t be so sure.

👉Sushi and rolls are not a super expansive delicacy. But the most usual and cheap snack. And it is always on the menu of poor students.

not strange anymore


👉When in a small shop seller rejects to accept bank card… you tell him that you will complain about it. Then he accepts your card without any words.

👉Or When you see people in pajamas in a big shopping mall, you even don’t look at them. Because ‘Why not?’.

👉When you speak in your native language but every 2nd or 3rd word is Korean. And you don’t understand why your friends staring at you and can’t understand. Also, you need at least 5 mins to remember the meaning of some Korean words in your native language.

👉When you see married people, and they call each other in the polite form of ‘You’.

👉When you speak about your family you don’t say ‘My dad’, ‘My husband’, etc. Instead, you say ‘Our dad’, ‘Our husband’…


And that is not all. There are a lot of other things that don’t surprise me anymore. But it maybe look strange to foreigners and tourists.

That is an S.Korea, baby! 😎

Do you have a similar experience? Or how did your perception change after years spent in another country? Share your list of things that are not strange anymore!

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