You know I’ve been in Korea for over five months and although I love nearly everything about living here, there’s just a few things that bother me. Most of them I can deal with. But the number one problem is that in Korea the group is everything.
I knew this before I came but I thought that if I already knew some Korean it would be easy to meet people whenever I went out.
Sadly, the culture of Korean social life means that it’s almost impossible to meet people if you go out alone. You might be lucky and find that people will talk to you out of curiosity but most of the time strangers will be all but politely ignored. The hardest part is seeing large groups of people enjoying themselves but feeling excluded as a single person.
South Korea has bars where you can go to meet people but Koreans treat these places as restaurants where they just happen to be drinking. It doesn’t matter where they go or how late it is, Koreans will always find a way to eat something.
It’s not that Koreans aren’t friendly, but they are bad when it comes to speaking to anyone they don’t know.
As much as I hate the group culture of Korea, it’s so embedded in their way of living that I’m not sure it will ever change. Still, I can hope.