Candice in Korea


Consider yourself lucky if you have a shower door or curtain. Most Korean apartments just have a 'shower room', which is a bathroom with a drain in the center. The upside of this is that it's really easy to clean. On the other hand the downside is that everything gets wet, so hide your TP! Key task: remember to turn the nob back to the tap setting when you're done! Somehow getting soaked after just getting dressed doesn't always teach you the lesson.

hana, dool, set KIMCHI...

Kimchi is a condiment which accompanies every meal in Korea. It can even be a topping on your pizza, or a filling in your wrap. I'm surprised there isn't a kimchi-flavoured ice cream yet. At first I was not a fan but now I love it. Basically it is vegetables which have been seasoned and fermented, mmh. As delicious as this sounds it, it's also really good for you. It contains many vitamins and minerals and also acts as a probiotic. People believe that it aids in preventing cancer.
Kimchi is mainly made from cabbage, but my favourite type is radish kimchi. 
It's is so popular that you will often hear people saying "hana, dool, set, kimchi..." before taking a photo, thats how I learnt to count to three.

teeth brushing...

Oral hygiene is very important in Korea and toothbrushes can be bought in multipacks (much like everything else). I never understood why someone would want to buy 12 toothbrushes all at once, but now I do. I need one for every school I work at and should always keep one on hand, just in case.

One thing that was really weird for me was the routine of brushing teeth…immediately after you have eaten…at school. No one had warned me of this so on my first day I was so self-conscious of my teeth and breathe. I do understand the need for this, as the flavour of Korean food can leave for with nasty breathe, however, sometimes after a really good meal I like to savour the taste and don’t want to spoil it with toothpaste.

I also prefer to brush my teeth without anyone watching, but in Korea it tends to be more of a social event where everyone gathers around one big basin and somehow manage to converse with each other- a skill I am still yet to master.

couple, couple...

When you are in a relationship with someone, let it be known to everyone! Couples in Korea dress alike and also take it very seriously. Likeliness ranges from wearing the same colours to wearing identical outfits. Many stores will have couple manikins on display. It’s lovely to see and it’s still a novelty for me. I have participated in couple dressing myself and it felt a bit weird, but really it was so cute when I stepped onto the bus and heard “Aah, couple, couple!”

In one of my first classes we were discussing ‘favourite colours’ and I pointed to a girl and boy wearing green…oooh, big mistake. Had the whole class in hysterics and the two students couldn’t take their jackets off quick enough.




AKA mini concerts because the women are all dressed up, singing and dancing. This is another moment when I wish I could understand Korean. Are they really singing about washing powder?


So you may have heard Korea has four distinct seasons. They are very proud of this and they should be; this is something truly beautiful as Korea's vegetation and mountainous landscape is simple picturesque.

As far as temperatures go, it ranges from frostbite to suffocation! 

Coming from a country where it doesn’t snow, I really struggled with the cold but acclimatized relatively quickly. Now, as summer arrives, I’m hoping to adjust just as well. I love heat, but humidity is a whole different story!

The funny thing about the seasons though is that people act according to them and not according to the temperature, so if it is summer people will wear short sleeves even though it's cold and vice versa. During winter while travelling on a train and it’s cold outside, the heating will be turned up so high that I'm struggling to remain decently dressed while everybody else sits calmly in their boots and coats and they don't seem to be affected because hey, it's winter.


Three things are unique of Korean products.

1. Multipacks
2. Individually packed items
3. Twin packaging/free gift

Firstly, the multipacks don’t work for me. Why? Well, I don’t need 12 hair combs and I don’t have space in my apartment for a pack of 32 toilet rolls. However it is better to buy in bulk because it means I don't have to shop that often.

Secondly, I understand the logic of keeping cookies fresher for longer…but it's so frustrating to buy a big box only to find out that there's four cookies inside. It's a waste of space and packaging in my opinion. Oh, and WHY are they always so difficult to open. I’ve had endless fights with opening things.

Then there’s twin packaging, which I love, but don’t understand the combination of items. Now why would I want a scrubbing brush with my box of cereal?


what you see is what you get...

The most popular meat in Korea is beef and pork. Where can you find it? Well, any restaurant that has a picture or statue of it outside. Now I don't eat these two meats, but if I did I'd feel kind of bad after seeing their cute little pictures outside. 


mekju & soju...

Koreans have a drinking culture and it involves a lot of mekju and soju. Mekju is beer, and in Korea you have two options 1)Cass-uh and 2)Hite-uh. Now beer is not my drink of choice, but unfortunately it's become my only choice. Luckily, for me, it's very week beer so I'm ok. Then there's soju... this harmless tasting shot goes down smoothly and then sneaks up on you before you're even ready for shot number two. Soju is a common drink I share with my teachers and especially my principles. It's respectful for you to pour your principle a shot and then after s/he drinks s/he will pour you a shot. 
A cool thing about going out for drinks is that you always get snacks to accompany your drinks. Snacks include cereal, nuts, popcorn, fish biltong, dried squid and fruit. Enjoy!

 This video sums up Korea's uniqueness...but you may only get it if you've been here.