This is an Indians experience in South Korea which was a mixture of many amazing and few awkwardly funny moments. Here are some of the most amusing fun facts and experiences:
1) Speak English or Konglish
Koreans like to speak in Konglish, which is similar to Hinglish (Hindi+English) or Tanglish (Tamil+English). This beautiful combination seems really cute to listen but arduous to comprehend. The dominant language in Korea is obviously Korean. very few people speak English. it is not that Koreans don’t know English; they know it well but either they are shy or they still prefer to communicate and respect their native language, unlike we Indians who prefer to talk in English to our friends, siblings, and even parents. One reason for this trend in India is also because there are 1652 mother tongues spoken or 150 sizeable languages or 22 official Indian languages but that certainly does not support the reason behind English at home.
2) Are you Indian? do you speak Hindi?
As quoted above there are above 1650 languages in India, but the first question that a Korean who has a good knowledge regarding India may ask you if you know Hindi. Since I’m from the Southern states of India my Hindi wasn’t great, so you understand that feeling when you say no; they’ll think you’re not an Indian.
3) Korean Symbols everywhere
If you found a bunch of sticks hung around everywhere that forms some triangles or stars clubbed with circles or squares, don’t panic! its Korean. Sign boards, banners, instruction boards, restaurant menu cards, chocolate wraps and almost everything has mostly Korean scriptures in them. sometimes even u-turn and right-turn symbols seem like Korean alphabets, so avoid driving if you don’t know the language.
4) 3 Idiots Movie- 세얼간이
Most of my Korean friends and those I met had watched the movie 3 Idiots and they seem to like the concept of the movie. when I heard words like ‘Super movie’, ‘I loved it’, from my Korean friends, a feeling of pride as an Indian barged through my body as if I directed the movie. when I asked them why they liked the film, they were able to relate the movie to their life experiences, which means even Koreans undergo the identical torture that we Indians undergo due to our educational System. when you meet a Korean don’t forget to empathize.
5) Oppa Gangnam style
This was the only song or rather the only information that I had known properly before I reached Korea. This spectacularly funny video and its catchy tune, was trending at the time of my travel.
There are so many catchy songs apart from this that were awesome to listen to like, ‘Up & Down –EXID’, ‘Like a Cat-AOA’, ‘Latte one Cup’ and more. If you develop interest K-Pop sounds interesting!
6) Vegetarian? What’s that?
Hailing from a considerably orthodox family, I follow vegetarianism. In Korea Fish, Ham and other living but dead organisms were termed as vegetarian dishes. I ordered Veg cheese pizza, I received a pizza with something circular and red in color on high of it, that was apparently Ham. In some dishes it was difficult to identify the hidden meat in it. when I learned sufficient Korean language, I used to ask the cooks of each restaurant that I visited, to not add Ham, Pork, Beef, Chicken, Fish …. and all potential living animals so that I don’t miss out on an animal that he might add.
7) Chop-Sticks & its Tricks
Koreans are extremely skilled with the use of Chop sticks (obviously) and when compared to the clumsiness that I displayed throwing noodles around the table with the chopsticks, they seemed like great chop-stick-gurus. It’s more like an art to foreigners instead of a basic entity like spoons. when I had told that Indians sometimes eat with hands most Koreans found it either hilarious or amazed.
The Korean Language is pretty easy and it hardly took me an hour to learn the scripture that had only 24 alphabets post which i was able to read and write, though vocabulary was really hard. There are numerous amazing facts about the Korean Culture, Language and the sweet people that made my overall experience at korea really memorable.