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Photo: Environmentalprogress.com

South Korea has definitely been getting an increasing amount of publicity around the world. In Asia, it’s a lot about K-pop, cosmetics, and dramas. In the West, we often hear news about their neighbors up North. People all around the world hear about South Korea’s love for plastic surgery. All of these factors have led to a greater interest in South Korea and also studying the Korean language.

Besides the popular reasons for the country’s fame, there are a lot of unique facts about South Korea that you don’t hear about until you are actually experiencing everyday life here. The good news is, you don’t have to wait for that!

Below, we’ve compiled a list of the most interesting facts about South Korea.

1. You're always one year older!

Children born in South Korea are considered “one year old” when they are born, and will turn two on the next Lunar New Year. 100 days after their birth, a celebration is held for the baby, which is noted in Worldstrides.

2. More than half of South Korea is cloaked in forest

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Photo: Anywhr.com

Beyond the skyscrapers, South Korea boasts a spectacular natural landscape, 64 per cent of which is covered in forest. There are plenty of mountains, including eight that surround the capital. Visitors to this month’s Winter Olympics, in the unassuming ski resort of Pyeongchang, can take in a sleepy backdrop of Buddhist temples and dreamy peaks, such as the imposing Seoraksan which forms part of the backbone of the Korean peninsula’s mountainous landscape.

The country also has 2,413 kilometres of seaside, with wide coastal plains to the west and south, and nearly 3,000 small uninhabited islands just offshore.

3. Plastic surgery is very popular

While it might not be as commonplace here in the United States, in South Korea, having plastic surgery is something a great deal of the country has done or will do when the time is right; in fact, you might be the odd one out if you haven’t had any work done on your face.

Plastic surgery is for both men and women alike; really anyone who wants to enhance their looks. And it’s not just natives that flock to surgeons, many people come to South Korea from all over the world, specifically for the purpose of getting cosmetic surgery, Travelinglifestyle pointed out.

4. The national hero is an ice skater

Yuna Kim is everybody’s darling in Korea. Just check out her Wikipedia, she’s basically won everything possible and sort of brought the Olympics to Korea on her own. You’ll always see a smile on every Korean’s face mentioning the three syllabus Kim Yuna (which is, by the way, the right order to spell names in Korea), according to Asiaexchange.

5. Food is the essence of everything in Korea.

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Photo: CNN.com

If there’s one thing that describes Korea best, it’s the food culture. Not only do Korean people eat out a lot, eating equals well-being from Seoul to Busan. Saying ‘how are you’ can largely be associated with ‘have you eaten’. When parents talk to their children, they always worry about ‘eating well’. What’s more, watching live broadcasts of people eat is a massive thing in Korea, everything can be delivered, and food trends are a big thing: every season has their one-hit wonders and new food experiments. It’s for all these reasons, that Korean’s are sometimes called ‘Italians of the East’. And the unique Korean cuisine is a bit part of every Korean’s identity.

6. Koreans are very superstitious people

Superstitions are pretty standard across the world, and South Korea is no different. South Koreans are known to be extremely superstitious people. Some of the interesting superstitions of South Korea include: Tetraphobia – The number 4 is bad luck (like how number 13 is bad luck in western culture). Many elevators in South Korea will avoid using this number as a level. You will see floors like – 1, 2, 3, and F; Writing people’s names in the color red is always avoided unless you want them to know you want them dead; South Koreans don’t generally sleep with the fan on in a closed room, as they believe this could kill someone.

7. It’s common to ask about blood types

One of the common facts is that South Koreans think that there is some significance to their blood type. Their neighbors in Japan are also similar in that way. While people in other countries may or may not know their blood type, every South Korean certainly does know his or hers!

One of the interesting facts about blood types in South Korea is that they are thought to contribute to a person’s personality and characteristics. Blood types can be used to help choose a spouse since your partner’s blood type may not be a good match for yours, according to 90daykorean.

8. There are no boundaries in Korean cosmetics – Equal opportunities For men and women

In most countries, makeup and skincare is traditionally a female-specific activity and products. However, South Korea has broken the rule for years. Men use makeup and beauty products just as much as women. Most Korean celebrities, male and female, always have a makeup artist at hand. Men in Korea are not ashamed of using makeup, though their regime may not be as stringent as Korean women, Koreatravelpost showed.

9. The North and South Are Still at War

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Photo: Wearethemighty.com
Although we often hear news about the possible threats from North Korea, most South Koreans don’t think much of it. While living here in South Korea, it almost feels like it’s a completely safe situation. The two Koreas may not be battling it out on a day-to-day basis, but they still haven’t made up. In the year 1953, the two sides agreed to a truce. However, as you head to the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone border) in South Korea, you’ll notice that there is still quite a bit of tension there. Despite this, South Korea is still surprisingly safe.
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