Have you ever thought about how others feel, and what is different for them when they move to another country? Usually when most of people think of cultural shock, they rely only on personal experiences and tend to assimilate their own culture against a different one. In order to break this paradigm, we came up with this different approach, to show you that seeing things through a distinct perspective is also very interesting. That being said, let’s move on to today’s episode: South Korea.
Today’s interviewee is Eunju Jang, who gives us some peculiar insights from a non-Western point of view. After 2 years living in Germany, she already considers herself well adapted in the country. However, some aspects which can be seen on a normal day in Karlsruhe still remind her of the cultural differences. According to her, the main differences are in people’s characters and how society affects Germans and vice versa.
Five main differences between the Korean and German culture
1. Cook like an Italian, dress like a French, work like a … Korean?
Germans are known worldwide as hard workers. However, facing the Korean work culture, they don’t seem as intense. The Korean competitive scenario created an environment where people have to work around 12h a day. From a Korean’s point of view, even workaholic Germans may seem as ‘chill’.
2. Germans look all the same
People often judge Asians for being very similar, but it also happens the other way round. The Korean clothing is famous for its creativity, diversity and colors. Walking down a street in Seoul feels like a puzzle, in contrast with how people usually dress in Germany, which is pretty monochrome.
3. Dog friendly country
In Germany dogs are allowed inside stores, malls and public transportation, while in Korea there are special areas and services to keep your pet before entering a shop.
4. Babies on board
German moms don’t hesitate in taking public transportation. It’s completely normal to see baby strollers when you are in a tram or bus, maybe due to the sense of collectivism and support of population. In Korea, on the other hand, moms tend to opt for their own cars, since the metro is often crowded.
Everyone knows that Germans are usually very direct, which can be rude for someone from another culture. Conversely, Korean people try to be as polite as possible and are often devious to avoid being disrespectful to the other. As a Korean in Germany, you must take in consideration that this bluntness is not meant in an insulting way, it’s just a preference for clear communication.
As our world gets more and more influenced by globalization, understanding other culture’s way of thinking is fundamental if you want to study or live abroad. Therefore, we try to make it engaging for you as we make use of our diversity within Karlshochschule.
Article by Lucas Neif *LN