Ancestors Project: Korea

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Ancestors Project: Korea

Ancestors Project: KOREA

Korean Culture that I Practice or Have Experienced: Since I was little, I grew up eating Korean food made by either my dad or grandma (his mom), but I didnt realize that there was a lot more to the culture than that. Something like eating rice with every meal is something that I have always done, without even realising that I was practicing my Korean culture. Taking off your shoes before entering a house is another thing that is practiced in Korea, and I have done all my life. I have never heard of the Kibun concept before researching for this project, but we have definitely practiced some of it at home, probably without even realising it. My parents have always valued peace and harmony in our house and within our family. About 2 years ago, my family and I took a trip to Korea, where we got to see, up close, everyday life in Korea. In my research for this project, I found that Korea has a democratic society, and that Koreans love to take advantage of their right to protest. When we in Korea, one day, there was a huge protest going on outside of our hotel. Of course we didn't know what it was about, since we could not read the signs nor understand what they were saying, but is was definitely cool to see and a little bit scary at the same time. There were about 500 police officers marching through the streets, monitoring the protest and making sure that it didn't get unsafe.

Touch/Nonverbal Immediacy: In two different studies, Koreans were found to be a culture that is not very comfortable with touch. In addition to touching, they find public display of emotion embarassing. Korean couples avoid any type of outward displays of affection. Generally, immediacy relfects positive feelings and verbal agression reflects negative feelings. This type of verbal agression is typically what you'd find in the Korean culture.

Kibun Concept: Kibun is a Korean word with no literal English translation; the closest definitions are face, pride, feelings or state of mind. Kibun is incorporated into just about every aspect of Korean life. You are never to hurt someone's Kibun or pride. They even see it as okay to lie sometimes, in order to save another's Kibun and keep peace. Social harmony is a crucial part of Korean culture, so it is important for people to learn how to judge another's Kibun in order to maintain and protect it.

Touch-Avoidance: In one study, done by Hall in 1966, Koren and American culture were both found to be touch-avoidant cultures. However, in 1998 another study was done on the subject, and found that Americans are actually very comfortable with touch, leaving the statement true only for Korea.

Other Similarities and Differences Between Korean and American Culture: Part of American culture is that you make eye contact with the person speaking to you, as a sign of respect. In Korea, eye contact says you wan to challenge. As Americans, we like simple yes or no questions; however, in Korea they do not. Here, we give gifts only on special occassions, while in Korea, it is expected that you bring a gift for even small gatherings. In Korea, you do not get to be seated until all elders have been seated, and elders are to be seated furthest away from the door. Here, we would normally let our elders sit first as well, just out of common courtesy. Here, it doesn't matter which way you pass and receive things through your hands, but in Korea, it is custom to receive items passed to you with your right hand and then support it with your left.

Bibliography:"Cross-cultural Communication Patterns - Korean and American Communication." Cross-cultural Communication Patterns - Korean and American Communication. Web. 15 Sept. 2015."Differences Between America and South Korean Body Language and Gestures." Chasethecook. 31 Jan. 2013. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.

"5 Things to Do in Seoul, South Korea." GoAbroad. 2015. Web. 23 Sept. 2015."Pooja Travel World." Pooja Travel World. Web. 23 Sept. 2015."South Korea - Language, Culture, Customs and Etiquette." South Korea. Web. 20 Sept. 2015."Study Abroad in Seoul with CIEE | Arts & Sciences." CIEE Study Abroad. Web. 23 Sept. 2015."10 Korean Customs to Know before You Visit Korea." Matador Network. Web. 20 Sept. 2015.


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