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Experiences of meeting and getting to know Koreans in Seoul, South Korea
The people I met in Seoul, South Korea for the most part were very friendly and welcoming and getting to know Koreans both fun and a pleasure. Teaching one-to-one in South Korea, a lot of students were often very open and talkative even about many things in their life. As a Westerner, I was well outside of the students normal circle of family and friends thus they could talk to me about anything and freely. Many other teachers experienced the same type of discussions.

Koreans can sometimes be very shy when it comes to approaching people of the opposite sex thus many Korean men look for an intermediary, when they want to meet a girl they see in a public place. This is the reason why venues called 'Booking' are so popular in Korea. They are similar to discos, where young single people go to meet people of the opposite sex, but in 'Booking' clubs, if a guy is interested in a girl he informs the waiter, who in turn, brings the girl to the table. The guy will buy the girl a drink and the girl can decide how long to stay or not stay at the table with the guy.

The way of approaching marriage and finding a partner is very different from in the West. In one of my conversation classes, 'Marriage and Relationships' was the topic of conversation between five intermediate level students and myself. The story from one businessman was interesting. He unsuccessfully pursued one young lady for several months, but in the end he made a proposition.

'Come out with me just ten times and then we will decide if we will be married'. I mention this story because it in many ways is very typical of stories I heard on many occasions, from my students. The feeling is that, when getting together with a partner, one is very seriously considering the person as a potential wife/husband. In many ways, I personally like this style in that people are clear about what they are looking for. In another way though, it seems as though dating becomes very serious, very quickly. Marriage is a very serious matter in

Korean history and in modern day Korea. Many female students I have taught, who are in their late twenties, have had no boyfriend and they are under-pressure from their family to get married. If you are thinking about travelling or working in Seoul then it is a fascinating country and with a wonderful culture and people.
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Submitted by: PaulSymonds
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