When it comes to making friends with Koreans, understanding the culture and ways of connecting is key. Building relationships across cultures can be a wonderful experience that broadens horizons and creates mutual understanding. To make deep and lasting friendships that cross cultural boundaries, remember these important tips!

Stay open-minded to the new culture

Being open to new experiences and embracing the culture is important when making friends from a different background. Don’t be afraid. Bravely step out of your comfort zone to explore Korea, its traditions, food, and exciting places! Just being curious and interested in their culture can help you connect with Koreans.

Understand Korean ways

In Korea, casual small talk on the street and greetings with unfamiliar neighbors might not be common. Some Koreans can seem reserved or shy, especially when meeting new people. This isn’t because they’re unfriendly, but it’s part of the culture. Patience and a positive attitude can help you build meaningful friendships over time.

Show respect and politeness

Korean culture highly values politeness and respect, especially towards elders. Using polite language and gestures like bowing and saying “Annyeonghaseyo” (Hi) or “Gamsahamnida” (Thank you) can be seen as a respectful attitude toward Koreans. While non-Korean individuals are not expected to follow all formal manners, showing respect is greatly appreciated.

Language learning can open locals’ hearts

Trying to learn a bit of the local language can really impress Koreans and open doors to new experiences. Even knowing a few basic phrases can make a huge difference of the quality of your life in Korea as your genuine effort and interest is appreciated. You can join language exchange groups or activities to practice your language skills and make Korean friends who want to improve their English. They will gladly introduce you to the Korean language and culture. This reciprocal friendship can result in a mutually beneficial and positive dynamic.

Connect through shared interests

Overcoming language and cultural differences might seem challenging, but finding common hobbies or interests can bridge the gap. Whether it’s about travel, sports, food, music, or art, shared passions can help you build genuine relationships. Joining clubs or attending events related to your interests is a great way to meet like-minded Koreans.

How to meet new Korean friends

One of the quickest and most exciting ways to make local friends is attending offline events. Also, the digital age has opened numerous opportunities, offering a convenient approach. Mobile apps provide access to diverse groups. For instance, it’s easy to find various social circles through open chat groups in KakaoTalk. Also, the Meetup community app introduces a variety of interest-based gatherings and social events.

Festivals: Participating in music festivals, concerts, or other events not only allows you to enjoy your favorite activities, but also gives you a chance to meet new Korean friends.

Language exchange: Using language exchange apps like “HelloTalk” can be very helpful when learning Korean. You can also discover offline language exchange events through “Meetup.”

Travel: If you’re a travel enthusiast, staying at hostels offers an excellent opportunity to interact with fellow travelers. Also, “Couchsurfing,” an online community for backpackers, provides a platform to connect with locals who share a passion for travel.

Sports: Engaging in exercise programs or joining sports groups on base is another good option, as there are many Korean employees on the base. Also, attending off base sports classes and programs is a great way to connect with a variety of local individuals.

Mobile apps for making local friends

Hello Talk: Learn Languages

HelloTalk - Learn Languages - Apps on Google Play

HelloTalk - Language Learning on the App Store (apple.com)

Meetup: Social Events & Groups

Meetup: Social Events & Groups - Apps on Google Play

Meetup: Social Events & Groups on the App Store (apple.com)

Couchsurfing: Travel App

**Required a monthly subscription of $2.40

Couchsurfing Travel App - Apps on Google Play

Couchsurfing Travel App on the App Store (apple.com)

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