An American Korean: Small Cultural Differences

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I love being a Korean-American.

I feel I have the best of both worlds. 
I’m an American Girl, but my Korean cultural ties are a huge part of who I am.
Last year, I befriended some typical All-American guys from my apartment and met many American people through work and play.

I always thought I was very “American”… but I realized that there are a few big differences that perhaps Koreans could learn from.

Here are some of the differences I experienced between “Caucasian” and “Asian” culture.
Picture Taking:
* American people take pictures smiling with their teeth. 
* Asian people like to pose: They try to look hard-core, cute, sexy, and LOOOVE peace signs and other random Hand Gestures
- Up until last year, I would only take pictures with my mouth closed.  I didn’t realize that many Asian girls take pictures this way until my friend asked me about this little phenomenon.
- My answer was that we look better not showing our teethI I originally started taking pictures smiling with my mouth open as a joke (“Look B, I’m smiling like you~”), but then I realized that I actually liked pictures with an open smile.
* Smiling with your teeth showing looks more genuine, you look happier and brighter, and it’ll probably be a better picture
 
Weddings:
* Americans have sooo much fun at weddings.  People of all ages dance, drink, and let loose
* Asians usually have a lot of adult guests who eat, give their gift, and leave. 
- I took my American friend to a Korean wedding.  I warned him that most of the guests would be gone right after dinner.  He couldn’t believe it when I was right.
- I recently found out that this cultural difference takes place because in Korea, there typically was no wedding reception.  The bride and groom take their vows, the guests eat, they drop off their gift (typically envelopes of money), and they go home
* If you’re at a wedding, invite lots of young people, get the older people to dance, have fun, and be care-free! It’s a party, people!!!
 
 
Physical Fitness:
*American guys are better at keeping up with a regular physical fitness regimen
- This may just be my friends, but I find that American guys are much more physically fit and active. 
My American friends are always doing something to keep in shape: hiking, swimming, running, gym, biking, even yoga!
- I’m always surprised when Asians work out and play sports (but maybe that’s just my bias from my Asian friends). My Asian friends that do work out are more Americanized.
When I think of Asians and Sports, I think of Golf… which I consider an old-person sport….
* Be active.  Try new ways of getting healthy.  Get off your butts and go play outside!
(The Skinny Asian metabolism lasts until around college~ You will eventually get fatter if you don’t stay active … and it won’t be pretty!)
 
 
 
Being Adventurous:
- I’ve become very good at handling rejection… from my Asian friends.  I was always the one coming up with ideas for new things to do, places to go, and things to try.  I get turned down a lot.
- When I suggest things to my American friends, they’re usually open to trying it out (or even just the idea of it).  I’m always surprised at how open they are to eating new foods, meeting new people, and doing things they’ve never done before.
* Try new things. Have new experiences.  Take risks.  Carpe Diem. Live a full life of new and exciting things~  Even if you hate it… at least you’ll have tried it!
 
 
Friendships and Meeting New People:
*American people are very open and are good at meeting new people and introducing different circles of friends to each other
* Koreans tend to be cliqueish and usually stick to hanging out with people they know… and other Asians
-  My American friends had their own close circle of friends, but they would invite me and my friends to hang out with them.  I typically didn’t mix circles of friends, but we always had a good time and got to know people we never would have met otherwise.
- Even something as simple as having a conversation with people you don’t know is something my American friends are much better at.  Some of the best conversations I’ve had are with strangers.  And you never know when that stranger will become a new friend~
* Go out and meet new people.  Strike up conversations with people you normally wouldn’t.  Introduce your friends to each other. Go to places where everyone isn’t Asian and dressed in all black   ;)
 
 
So, of course there are many other differences between Americans and Asians, but these are the ones that stuck out the most from my own experiences.
I love and am very proud to be a Korean, but I do think there are really great things to learn from American people.
    In the end, I think it comes down to the fact that Americans are more open to trying new and different things, and they’re good at really enjoying themselves and not taking themselves so seriously.
    So get out there and try something new~ you’re life may be changed!
     
     *~ Have a Beautiful Day!~*

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