DISCLAIMER: I am from the third world and it is the first time I’m visiting the first world. All of the fascination I have of the first world is as raw as it gets. And from my perspective, there’s a lot to envy.
South Korea is known to me as an entertainment capital. I listen to songs produced by the girl and boy groups and I watch the series they produce. And through that, I learned, little by little, about their culture. However, that was just a controlled environment and I have to see it for myself.
South Korea is obsessed with cleanliness. You see it time and time again in television shows. This also translates to how they live. Most fast food restaurants are self-service and you have to clean up after you eat. The streets are undoubtedly clean to – that is, they don’t have trash bins scattered all over the place. You don’t see people just throwing their trash anywhere.
South Korea has an easy transportation system. Especially in Seoul where subway stops are just around every corner. It’s easy to go where you need to go especially for tourists who visited to see the country. The voice over for the incoming subway station is also spoken in English, Chinese, and Japanese. With that, South Korea is a very tourist-friendly country. They have tourist information centers at major tourist spots so tourists won’t have a hard time finding the place they need to go to.
I love the food. Although I am not a fan of spicy food, their textures and tastes are way different from a Filipino’s. You don’t ever get the feeling that you’ve been robbed because of the serving. There are times that we cannot finish the meal because the serving’s just too big for us. Also, their meals are a good combination of vegetables, proteins, and carbohydrates. That must be a contributor to their health.
The spring weather is definitely the best for tours and vacations. You have a non-existent heat during the supposedly hottest parts of the day. Although the nights could be a bit chilly if there’s a strong wind but it is bearable. Plus, you get to see the blooming of cherry blossoms which is another experience altogether.
The history is very much alive. South Korea has a lot of museums and structures dedicated to the promulgation of their culture and history. They have been preserving the palaces they used during the Joseon dynasty. They have galleries that tell the story of their great king and it’s free of charge. They have streets lined with stores selling antiques and traditional items. They have a village made up of houses from the old. If that isn’t good preservation of history, I don’t know what is.
South Koreans are very respectful and disciplined. I’ve seen in the shows how they honor the elderly and how seniority plays a big part in their everyday lives. This may come to a fault at times but it is definitely a good foundation for a great country. We’ve experience several people nodding towards us when we meet eye to eye. This may not say much but, I guess, it was their way of acknowledging our presence. Plus, their gratitude and concept of indebtedness is something we don’t really understand but definitely something worth bringing up. They build their relationships around trust. Can you imagine a bank without security guards? That’s how they trust each other.
All in all, South Korea is enviable from my perspective. Our government should learn a lot from them in terms of economic progress, urban planning, traffic management, and the preservation of history and culture.
I love the country and it’s one of those countries I would want to go back to with every chance I get. I never once thought about leaving my own country but if there’s one place I wouldn’t mind relocating to, it’s going to be South Korea.