Everyday tasks in Korea & cultural differences in Seoul - 29
Cultural differences and Everyday tasks in Korea
It can sometimes be a little confusing, when you try to take care of every day tasks in a new country, for the first time. Even visiting a bank or going to a post office can become a major task, when you do not speak the language. On first visiting a post office in Seoul, I was not used to a ticketing system used in a post office, with an organised queue being the normal way in England. Not only did I need a ticket, but there is also a separate line for paying bills and for posting things, which meant I needed to take two tickets for two sections at the same time.
The Korean post offices though, provide an excellent service, particularly in that they usually have a special counter for sending parcels and where you can buy boxes and get tape. Going to a Korean post office for the first time and without yet knowing very much Korean, can be a ball-breaker . A few months ago, in the ticket hall in Amsterdam train station (Holland), I saw similarly confused Koreans as they travelled Europe – as they tried to work out the ticketing system in Amsterdam train station. I know they were Korean because, after two years in Korea, I heard them speaking and could recognise the Korean language.
Another subtle cultural difference that I have found in every country I have been to, is the way in which things work at the checkout section in supermarkets and it can be confusing. In England, you will usually be handed the plastic bags you need and then you bag the goods yourself. This system is good for keeping the line moving. There are two sections at the end of the checkout where the goods can be put, thus one person can still be bagging their groceries whilst another person’s groceries are being scanned through.