Cultural Differences Between Korea And The USA

Last Updated on March 19, 2022 by QCity Editorial Stuff

Korea and the USA are two of the most culturally different countries in the world. While Korea has a Confucian heritage, America was founded on principles of freedom and liberty. This article will look at some specific cultural differences between these two nations. It is important to note that there are exceptions to every rule, so not all Koreans or Americans will fit neatly into their respective categories (i.e., an American can be more polite than his Korean counterpart). However, knowing about these generalizations can help you interact with your international counterparts better.

These differences range from the way they greet each other, to how they perceive success. In this blog post, I will be talking about some cultural aspects that differentiate Korea from America, as well as some similarities both cultures share. 

In Korean culture, when people meet or see one another for the first time they bow their heads instead of shaking hands as many Americans do. This is because Koreans believe bowing shows respect and gratitude towards others while shaking hands might show dominance over someone else which could lead to a fight breaking out between them if done too aggressively. Furthermore, in Korea, it is not uncommon for adults to have tea together after dinner where they discuss current events or what’s happening in different areas of their lives. This is common especially among friends or people that are familiar with one another. 

Comparison Between Korea And The USA

Parameters of ComparisonKorea USA
Formal More formal Less formal 
Food Rice Bread pasta 
Appearance Focus on appearance Do not focus on appearance 
Smile More smile Less smile 
Greetings You can expect greetings You can not expect

What Is Korea?

What Is Korea

Korea is a country located in East Asia and it has an estimated population of over 50 million people. Korea’s history stretches back thousands of years, with evidence suggesting that the first settlements date as far back as the Paleolithic era. The peninsula was divided into three kingdoms until Silla, one of them, united most of what is now known as Korea under its rule in 676 AD. In 1897, Joseon officially changed its name to the Korean Empire and ruled for over 500 years before becoming occupied by Japan from 1910-1945 during World War II when Japan took control following their victory against Russia in 1905. After gaining independence from Japanese occupation at the end of WWII, Korea split into two countries along a demilitarized zone (DMZ). 

Korea is a peninsula in East Asia, located between China and Japan. The Korean Peninsula has been inhabited since the Paleolithic era, which lasted from around 2.6 million to 8500 BC according to Wikipedia. It has seen several empires rise and fall including the Gojoseon (2333-108 BC), Goguryeo (37-668 AD), Balhae (698-926 AD), and Joseon (1392–1897). After the Japanese annexation of Korea in 1910 until its independence in 1945, Korea was ruled by imperial Japan for 35 years. South Korea’s capital city Seoul has grown rapidly over the past decades along with its economy to become one of Asia’s major financial hubs today.

What Is The USA?

What Is The USA

The United States of America is a country in North America. It shares land borders with Canada and Mexico, and maritime borders with Russia, Cuba, and the Bahamas. The United States has the largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and is also one of the wealthiest countries in terms of per capita GDP for several reasons including its large size relative to other countries, abundant natural resources such as coal, petroleum (the USA has 25% of global oil reserves), uranium ore (40%), lead ores (19%), zinc ores (47%) it also produces more agricultural products than any other nation on earth. 

The USA’s most valuable exports are transportation equipment; medical instruments; computers and electrical machinery; chemicals; plastics and rubber products. 

America is a country in North America. It has borders with six other countries: Canada to the north, Mexico to the south, and Guatemala, Belize, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua to the southeast. The US also shares maritime boundaries with Russia and Japan. This makes it one of the world’s most ethnically diverse and multicultural nations. 

10 Cultural Differences Between Korea And The USA

Formal: Korean people are more formal than Americans.

Food: Koreans eat rice at every meal, whereas Americans eat bread and pasta.

Appearance: There is a lot of focus on appearance in Korea, whereas, in the U.S., there is less emphasis on looking good.

Smile: Koreans do not believe that it is okay to laugh out loud or smile too much; they think that smiling too much will ruin your face.

Greetings: In Korea, you’re expected to bow when greeting someone; this does not happen in America.

Friends: If you want to be friends with someone in Korea, you give them something like candy or flowers; this doesn’t happen often in the USA.

Utensil: In Korea, it is common to have a meal with your hands – in the USA you usually use utensils.

Meal Per Day: Koreans eat with their family at home three times per day, while Americans typically only do so once per day. 

Family: Korean families are very close and spend time together often; American families tend to be farther apart and don’t see each other as much.

Children: Korean children are expected to take care of themselves when they get older; American children depend on their parents until they’re 18 years old or move out.

Interesting Statistics Or Facts Of Korea

1. Korea is the only country in the world to be divided into two regions with different political systems.

2. North and South Korea are still technically at war since a peace treaty was never signed after the Korean War (1950-1953).

3. The population of North Korea is 25 million, while South Korea’s population is 50 million. 

4. Seoul has been continuously inhabited for 2,500 years making it one of the oldest cities in Asia. 

5. Koreans use an alphabet called Hangul which consists of 24 letters and doesn’t include any English or Chinese characters. 

6. There are more than 10,000 Buddhist temples across South Korea.

Interesting Statistics Or Facts Of The USA

1. The USA is the third-largest country in the world.

2. There are over 3,000 counties in the US.

3. A total of 50 states make up the United States of America.

4. Alaska is larger than any other state by size and population.

5. California has more people living there than any other state with 38 million residents. 

6. New York City has 8 million people living there – about 18% of all Americans live in NYC.

Conclusion About The Differences Between  Korea And The USA

There was a difference in how people reacted to children in public spaces. In Korea, if someone is acceptably disciplining their child they will not get any negative reactions from other adults or strangers whereas Americans are much more likely to intervene when someone else’s child is being disciplined because it may seem that the person who is disciplining them has gone too far with discipline techniques such as spanking. As a result of this cultural difference between these two countries, Koreans do not see anything wrong with hitting their kids while Americans find this unacceptable behavior and could even call social services on you for doing so.


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