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How are foreigners treated in Korea?


Foreigners traveling to Korea often wonder what to expect in terms of treatment from locals. While Korea is a welcoming country, it’s important to understand the cultural differences and expectations. In this article, we will explore how foreigners are treated in Korea.

History and Culture

Korea has a rich history and culture that shapes how Koreans treat foreigners. Historically, Korea has been isolated from the rest of the world, which has created a strong sense of nationalism. Koreans have a deep respect for their culture and traditions, which can sometimes lead to suspicion of foreigners.

Language Barrier

One of the biggest challenges for foreigners in Korea is the language barrier. Many Koreans do not speak English, and communication can be difficult. However, it’s important to remember that most Koreans are willing to help and make an effort to communicate with foreigners.


Koreans are generally friendly towards foreigners. They are curious about different cultures and enjoy learning about them. However, some Koreans may be hesitant to approach foreigners due to language barriers or cultural differences.


Like any country, Korea is not immune to racism. Some Koreans may hold negative stereotypes or prejudices towards certain races or nationalities. However, this is not representative of the entire country, and it’s important to remember that most Koreans are accepting of all races and cultures.


Koreans have certain expectations when it comes to behavior and etiquette, especially in public spaces. Foreigners should be mindful of these expectations and make an effort to follow them. This includes being quiet on public transportation, not littering, and respecting elders.


Korean cuisine is famous around the world for its unique flavors and ingredients. However, some foreigners may find the food to be too spicy or unfamiliar. Koreans are generally proud of their cuisine and appreciate when foreigners show an interest in trying it.

Business Practices

Korea has a strong business culture, which can be different from what foreigners are used to. It’s important to understand the expectations when it comes to business meetings, negotiations, and communication. This includes being punctual, respectful, and professional.

Public Behavior

Koreans place a high value on respect and courtesy, especially in public spaces. Foreigners should be mindful of their behavior and avoid actions that may be considered rude or disrespectful. This includes speaking loudly, littering, and ignoring social norms.

Gender Roles

Korean society has traditional gender roles, which can sometimes lead to misunderstandings for foreigners. It’s important to understand the expectations when it comes to behavior and etiquette based on gender. This includes addressing people by their appropriate titles and avoiding behaviors that may be considered inappropriate.

Cultural Differences

Cultural differences can sometimes create misunderstandings between foreigners and Koreans. It’s important to be aware of these differences and make an effort to understand them. This includes differences in communication styles, social norms, and attitudes towards certain topics.


In conclusion, foreigners are generally treated well in Korea. While there may be challenges due to cultural differences and language barriers, most Koreans are welcoming and friendly towards visitors. As a foreigner in Korea, it’s important to be respectful of the culture and make an effort to understand local customs and expectations.

Is it hard for a foreigner to live in Korea?

Preparing before your arrival can make moving to South Korea relatively easy. Historically, the country has been hesitant to accept foreign migration, but with an increase in international companies, Korea has become more open to welcoming foreigners.

What is South Korea like for foreigners?

South Korea is a popular destination for foreigners due to its mix of city and country living, affordable cost of living, and relaxed lifestyle. However, there are many practical things to consider when relocating to the Land of the Morning Calm.

Is it easy to make friends in Korea as a foreigner?

Making friends in Korea is not difficult as Koreans are generally amiable. You can easily find local friends by socializing and putting yourself in new situations. Additionally, there is a large community of expats in major cities that you can connect with.

Is South Korea immigrant friendly?

South Korea is an industrialized economy with a high standard of living and a democratic government, making it an attractive destination for migrants. Due to an aging population and low birth rate, there is a demand for both skilled and unskilled labor.

Is South Korea safe for American tourists?

Is South Korea a safe place to visit? Absolutely, with its clean streets, friendly environment, and low crime rates, many visitors are impressed by the country’s safety. Even crimes against foreigners are rare.

Is it cheap for Americans to live in South Korea?

If you’re relocating to Korea and need to find your own accommodation, you’ll find that rent is reasonably priced. In less populated areas, you can expect to pay around $300-$600 per month for a studio or one-bedroom apartment. However, in the center of Seoul, rent prices are higher at around $800-$1,000 per month.


Korea has become a popular tourist destination in recent years, and the government has made efforts to make it more accessible to foreigners. Many attractions offer English translations, and some areas have signs and menus in multiple languages. Additionally, there are many tour companies and guides that cater specifically to foreign visitors.


Korea is known for its rigorous education system, and many foreigners come to Korea to study. However, the expectations for behavior and academic performance can be different from what they are used to. Foreign students should be prepared for long hours of study and high-pressure exams.


Korean entertainment, including K-pop music and Korean dramas, has become popular all over the world. This has led to an increase in interest in Korean culture among foreigners. Many entertainment companies have started offering services for foreign fans, such as fan meetings and tours.


Religion plays an important role in Korean society. The majority of Koreans practice Buddhism or Christianity, but there are also smaller communities of other religions. Foreigners should be respectful of religious customs and practices, even if they don’t understand them.

Working in Korea

Many foreigners come to Korea to work, either as English teachers or in other industries. It’s important to understand the expectations for behavior and professionalism in the workplace. Additionally, foreigners may need to navigate visa requirements and language barriers when working in Korea.

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