Today’s video is about dating in Korea! YAY!!! This is definitely a shift from the first two videos we made for Like It. In the inaugural Like It video we examined several key factors to cost of living in Korea, including public transportation, food and clothing. Our second video touched on how we communicate here. For this one we dive into a topic that is exciting to talk about, yet could be somewhat difficult to explain.

Main reason this topic is a difficult one to talk about stems mostly from the magnitude of information that should be covered in order to do it justice. Because of this, we simply were not able to cover nearly as much information in the video as we would have liked to. Therefore, we’ve written about some of the more juicy bits of info below to give y’all the skinny on not just foreigners and Koreans dating, but Koreans general standards for dating.

There really are so many cultural differences when it comes to dating in Korea versus dating in western countries. In Korea for instance, dating usually starts around university age. This is due to two main factors. First, many students go to all boys or all girls only high schools. There are coed schools, but they aren’t as common. Second reason is that high school in Korea, unlike in Europe, North and South America, almost completely consumes a student’s life here. There is so much time either spent at school or spent studying that kids here have very little time to do anything else until university starts. So, we find as Americans that, in comparison to experience amongst our selves and our friends, Korean kids get a bit of a late start in the dating game.

Another big difference is that men don’t often approach women they don’t know and simply ask for a phone number. They do this, but mainly only in situations like being in a club in Gangnam, and.. not everyone goes clubbing. Richard has had male students tell him before that they do in fact approach women they’ve never met in a club and ask for a phone number. However, this is not the norm for meeting and dating women here. Instead, mutual friends introduce new guys and girls on double dates often. Friends will also do this for their friends but the potential couple goes out alone, sort of like a blind date. Well, actually that is a bind date. We’ve heard that young adults here like the comfort of being set up by someone they know and trust. If they go out on a first date and really like the person, they can choose to go out on a second date.

Richard has had students (usually male) divulge such information as being a 3rd or 4th year university student, maybe 24 or 25 years old Korean age, and have never gone on a date or had a girlfriend before. This isn’t because they aren’t interested in girls. It usually happens like this because guys are to shy to just ask a girl out cold. Instead, the majority of people here prefer knowing the person from some prior engagement, like maybe they had the same major or work in the same company, or they were introduced by a friend.

As for Foreigners and Koreans dating interracially in Korea, this opens up a whole new can of worms. Obviously cultural differences come into play, but just what those differences are can be a matter for a nice, long debate. Not everyone agrees when this subject is broached amongst people who are not from Korea but live here. Trust me. I’ve been part of a few of those conversations, and after a nice healthy conversation usually some of us have to agree to disagree.

For example, how parents react to their son or daughter dating a foreigner really depends on how open-minded he parents are. It could be that they don’t mind, but we find that usually the opposite is the case. Parents tend to be a bit close-minded about their children, and especially daughters dating foreigners here, not matter how old they are.

Things is, people are different everywhere and Korea is no exception. Parents who, for example, send their children abroad to learn English for a year or two during high school or even in university my be a little more open to their daughter or son dating whoever they wish and making their own decisions. Unfortunately, even though Korea has developed very quickly technologically, the mindset amongst many has been much slower to catch up. This adversely affects some in the younger generation who may want to explore and discover what dating outside Korean culture is like. However, regardless of what parents think, people may still end up dating whomever their heart pleases and not tell their parents. This happens more often than some of us might expect.

Some cultural differences include things like the roles men and women are expected to play in a relationship. In most western countries, the man opening the door for a woman to enter first is standard. This sort of doesn’t exist in Korea. Men usually must pay for dates, and this may be similar in both cultures, but as time goes by we’ve observed that Korean men tend to pay for things such as dates, flowers, movies, etc. for a longer period of time before the woman might start chipping in. That may seem all well and good for the ladies out there that like being taken care of, but Richard has heard of many cases from former students who were burned by a girl who took advantage of this longer than they should of because the expectation in Korea is usually that the man pays for things.

I personally have never dated a Korean, but Richard has, and he talked about it a little bit in the video. A few things he noticed from dating Koreans:

1. He met Korean parents twice when dating a Korean woman, and both times the family was warm and welcoming.

2. The first couple of dates with a Korean woman was always a bit nerve-racking because he was unfamiliar with Korean dating culture and didn’t want to make mistakes. However, most dates were very similar to western experiences, like having some dinner and going to a movie.

3. None of the women he dated drove cars or had drivers licenses. This was distinct from women (mostly in America) who he knew and/or had dated in the past.

4. Language miscommunication was common and could happen easily. Sometimes even the most simple of conversations could be misconstrued and become uncomfortable. Learning Korean became more of a priority when dating Koreans.

5. Always keep an open mind. Dating someone from another culture can be new and exciting! Unexpected things might arise but try to see the good in everything that happens.

So, what are some of things you’ve heard about dating Koreans? Have you ever dated a Korean? Or, do you have another topic or subject you’d like us to cover. Drop us a comment below or on youtube or Facebook. We’d love to hear from you!^^

  • Grace Montemayor Terrado

    Yeaaaay Unnie :)) My wish my first bf is Korean Guy :)) Great video with your Hubby :)) Fighting :)) Unnie my second question is What is the reaction of your students or people around you about plastic surgery : is tis some kind of normal thing about them? Is beauty an important thing to them? I know it’s very sensitive topic but you know. CURIOUSITY KILLS :)) Thanks Unnie

  • Randa Tello

    I have anther question on this topic, what kind of relationship do Koreans have when they date?Are they conservative like no sexual activity or living together before marriage or are they similar to western culture ?

    • Justice Peace

      From my experience it is a highly conserved and traditional culture. (Regarding marriage)

      Living together before marriage no.

      Marriage must be blessed by both families

      Often the father of the groom must purchase a modest house

      or apartment usually 2-3 bedrooms. The house is then furnished by the brides family

    • Don Lee

      There are conservatives and very liberals.
      Sad to see how it has all adapted to western ways in a ” Korean ” basis. Many Korean women have adopted western women’s mind set of sexual freedom or the frase that they say ; my body is mine and I will not miss a thing in life and I don’t have to please men, etc , even though they do please some types of men way more than in the past. But of course that we cannot generalize since each person is different. Things are not looking good for the Korean Culture. Let’s not forget the sepparation between north and south Korea that also creates the need of training men into soldiers. I personaly think that Korean women should also do military service so they can understand what Korean men have to go thru.
      Korean old persons are very conservative and have preffered to keep their children from premarital sex. Younger generations are connected to to social networks and the rest I leave it to your imagination. It is a vast subject so I stop here.

      • Don Lee

        Many people do live together before marriage, but we cannot generalize since many other still conserve the old ways.

  • ♔ 빅토리아 ♔

    Hi ~ just a question what is the reaction to mixed children (half asian in particular) ? I’m mixed and I found that in Korea more than my mum and dad getting stared at it was myself and my brother that got stared at. Like they seemed fascinated with us? Idk even a couple of ladies at a shop wanted to take a pic of my lil brother to show to their families ?

    • Justice Peace

      Hi Victoria

      I have a mixed race daughter she finds the going tough living in Korea

      but often finds herself in the same position

      as you and your brother

      these fascinations tend to happen when she is with me (Foreigner)

      and not with her mum (Korean)

  • Ben

    Hi I was stationed in Korea when I was in the U.S. Army. I like my tour there so much I extended my 12 month tour twice more in a row. My experience in going out with Korean women was a very good one. But here is the situation. Korean women for the most part even at the smallest level are very faithful by nature and once they know and trust a man they will be very loyal. The key to a good interracial relationship with a Korean woman is one be very trustful do not give her any reason to doubt you. If you tell her you are going to do something you do that something they do hang on everything you tell them. Two be very good to them do not say anything to put them down, or to be little them Korean women are sensitive and made to feel uncomfortable about being with males outside of the Korean culture mostly by their family. Three try very hard to become part of her culture and to enjoy the things she enjoys this will go a long way to getting her to trust you because she sees you are putting a sincere effort into understanding who and what she is about culturally.
    If you can manage to do these things chances are very good the woman you want to know and be with will endure the cultural differences between you and she, she will endure the stares and negative comments of her own people, and will do her best to endure _ Not disobey but endure the pressures from her mother and father if they disagree with her about you which is going to be 80% of the time and this is before they have even met you.
    One last thing I learned very fast if you approach a Korean woman introduce yourself very politely and with a smile, if you ask here out chances are she will say no. Be persistent and polite and learn to read her body language and what is in her eyes most time No means No. However most times the woman will want to see if you are sincerely interested in her and will test you to see how much you mean I would like to know you.
    Example I met a civilian worker at the base I was stationed at when I first said asked her out she said no thank you, but I went out of my way to make her notice me I when I was coming and going about my duties on base I would walk by her office, or I would buy flowers for her and just say have a nice day smile at her making eye contact and then quietly say have a nice day and leave saying nothing more. This went on for a full YEAR, I eventually got busy and I focused on my every mounting responsibilities and stopped pursuing her not because I gave up. I just got so much on my plate on base at work I had no time to think plus my roommate and I began travelling around Korea by road bike and train experiencing all Korea had to offer and wow we had a ball
    One night after a long day of work I just parked my vehicle and went to my room and found a note that this lady had been calling for me several time during that afternoon and asked I call her back get this AT HOME. We got to know and like each other, and we had a great time we would meet after my work shift when I could get away. SO Polite Persistence is the key to getting to know a quality Korean woman. I hope I have been a help.
    I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Korean people for the very awesome time while I was stationed there, for all the kindness and paitents with my then very bad Korean speaking abilities and for correcting me when I spoke wrong.

  • globalnomad

    They don’t drive? That’s odd. In Thailand, most young women with enough money have a car and can drive.