An Essential Cultural Guide and Phrase Book
An Essential Cultural Guide and Phrase Book
want to make Korean friends…
All I said was “Nice weather,” and…
I got the death stare from hell in return
The very first day I moved to Korea, I was jet lagged and left my room at 7AM to get a cappuccino.
The cafe was just opening and the staff were preparing for the day, cleaning tables, mopping floors and washing windows.
I received my order and stepped outside to enjoy the sunlight when I saw a worker outside washing the windows.
Then I made a mistake that still haunts me to this day.
I casually said in Korean…
“Nice weather, huh?”
That’s it! A simple and innocent comment about the weather.
I grew up in America, where it’s common to have a brief conversation about the weather, sports,
the news. Strangers talk to each other all the time because why not??
She was caught off guard by my comment.
She looked around to see if I was talking to someone else.
She saw no one and realized I was talking to her.
She looked at me with alarm and fear…
took a few steps to the side…
and continued to wash the windows, kept me in the corner of her eye, and didn’t say a single word.
She didn’t have to say anything at all… her death stare from hell said it all:
I never knew such an innocent comment could draw such a negative reaction.
It wasn’t a language thing… I spoke in Korean.
I’m sure I didn’t look like a rapist.
(Although I was probably a bit messy because of my jet lag).
Only later did I realize…
I stepped on a cultural landmine!
That’s the moment I learned having random conversation with strangers is uncommon in Korea
(especially for those who look Korean, like me and even more true for younger men and women).
I learned that lesson the hard way that day.
And it’s stuck with me till this day.
Very useful book with a lot of information
about Korean culture that u can’t find in other textbooks.
But it’s not just cultural lessons you’ll have to learn.
There are plenty of must-learn language lessons, too!
Of course… you can learn the, the hard way, like I did…
When I first got to Korea, I decided to take Korean language courses.
I studied intensively.
5 hours every day.
I was making exponential progress, and learning all the things I should have learned as a kid who grew up in a Korean family.
I was conversing with local Koreans without problems, and I was understanding more and more each day.
But even with all that study, practice and immersion in Korean language…
I would still get tripped up on the simplest words.
After a few months of living in Korea. It was clear…
There are tons of words and phrases that you could never get from a Korean language course.
Take one of the first times I had gone to the convenience store in Korea as an example.
I went to buy drinks and snacks.
It was a bit too much to carry at home, and I was standing in front of the clerk asking him for a bag.
You know… a plastic bag, the type you get at the convenience store.
I had asked for a 가방 (gabang)., which I had thought mean “bag.”
The clerk looked at me confused and said they didn’t sell bags.
Then I was confused…
We were at an impasse with both sides scratching out heads.
I decided it was time for some body language, and I drew a plastic bag in the air.
I’m a foreign service officer who has just re-located to Korea on
an emergency assignment so I haven’t had the benefit of a year’s
worth of intensive language training. However, ‘Survival Korean’
has been a lifesaver, focusing on the exact language and cultural
knowledge which I needed immediately after arriving.
From using taxis, to ordering meals, ‘Survival Korean’ has
provided the specific phrases which are essential to getting
around. The book is thorough, covering all aspects of life from
shopping to dating and much, much more. I highly recommend it.
You’ll be equipped with short, simple and easy phrases.
: An Essential Cultural Guide and Phrase Book
Survival Phrases is a 219 page book, designed for both travelers and residents.
Part travel phrase book and part cultural guide, you’ll get decades of experiences to save you the embarrassment and to prepare you for all the cultural pitfalls.
We’ve gone through all the first-hand embarrassment before you will, so you don’t
have to go through the hard lessons.
Through Survival Phrases, you’ll be prepared to know exactly what to say in the
situations you most need them.
You’ll also find tips on how to navigate Korean
culture without offending anyone.
You’ll be guided step-by-step on how to avoid the cultural pitfalls, so you
This 219 page ebook is divided into easy to navigate sections, so you can read it
through for all the tips, or you can skip to specific situations whenever you find yourself
in a jam.
I wish we’d had this book when we went to Korea a few years ago.
It’s totally worth it for the travel and directions section, which not
only tells you how to ask for directions, it also tells you how to
understand the response! It’s also got lots of useful and
interesting cultural tidbits in it…making this book well worth
getting for casual travellers and more serious learners!
And it’s not just about surviving in Korea…
At the end of each section, you’ll understand why things are the way they are.
The cultural tips help make sure you…
Don’t step on anyone’s toes
Download the digital book, so you can carry it around and
easily access it whenever you need.