1. Trying to act natural when riding public transportation or anywhere else where there’s a lot of Korean people in one room

2. Trying to telepathically remind people younger than you that it’s okay to call you by your first name

but then cringing on the inside when they finally do and it sounds so darn awkward

3. Calling older people by their first name or trying to break the age barrier and treating them as if they’re your buddies

4. Feeling uncomfortable when your Korean friend constantly tries to hold your hand wherever you go or trying to get used to all the physical contact Koreans like doing with their friends

5. That moment when someone is speaking in English but their thick Korean accent never fails to surprise you

Focusing and trying really hard to understand, but then giving up.

Just smile, nod, and act like you understood everything they just said.

6. But then feeling annoyed when you’re trying to speak English at a normal pace with someone and the same thing happens to you

7. When your tongue won’t allow you to say something in Korean and you feel like everyone is secretly laughing at you for having a thick accent

8. Saying a joke in English, then realizing that it’s too complex for the other person to understand

9. But then feeling left out when you hear a Korean joke but you either don’t understand it or find it funny

10. Nodding politely when random people speak to you to “practice their English”

but on the inside you’re like

11. That proud moment when you understand something complicated by putting together simple Korean words you know

12. When you’re with a group of Korean people and you do something so un-Korean you feel ashamed

on the outside you’re like

but on the inside..

Any awkward moments in Korea you want to add? Let us know below!

Photo Cred: Kanghee Rhee

About The Author

Annie Lee

Born in Korea but raised in California, Annie is currently a senior at Daewon Foreign Language High School with a strong love for writing and music. Residing in Seoul, South Korea, she hopes to get deep into the world of media and make something of herself.


  1. Jessica Gibson says:

    Looking for subway stops that have different names than what people refer to them as and not being 100 percent sure if it is right stop (ex. Hongik University and Hongdae). I ran into that kind of situation a few different times and felt so awkward asking for help because the subways always contained super attractive young people haha. Another struggle is having sales associates follow you around their stores and help you try things on. It made shopping so intimidating and awkward since they were onto of you the entire time.You felt like you couldn’t touch anything and you don’t know if you are sometimes allowed to try close on or not. Oh! and taxi drivers dropping you off blocks away from your destination in the middle of nowhere even when you show them the address and they use the GPS >< Every time I got into a taxi I had that problem and you can't always avoid using them especially if you are out past subway closing. I felt really dumb asking them if it was the right place then pretending to be super thankful and nice even though I knew I was screwed and lost haha.

  2. David says:

    3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, 12 Are all the things I’ve felt at least once during my stay here. I still can’t call the VPs by their first name.

  3. Sid Driver says:

    ㅋㅋㅋㅋ, great stuff! ^^ It reminds me of…