American woman shares ‘culture shocks’ she notices while in Korea: ‘I want to go even more now’

A woman is sharing a series of “cultural shocks” she noticed while vacationing in South Korea.

On June 27, New York City creator Lena (@lenalifts) shared footage from a recent trip to Korea, during which she noticed some cultural disparities between the United States.


5 culture shocks after visiting korea 🇰🇷 #korea #traveltips #travellife #koreanfood

♬ original sound – lena

Among those disparities Lena noticed concerns women’s health: special seats for expectant mothers.

“While traveling to Korea in the trains, they have designated spots for pregnant women only,” Lena writes. “No one sits on them, even when it’s a super packed train. Speaking of the trains itself, [they are] super clean and safe.”

Despite being practiced by “most local authorities,” these light pink seats have previously sparked criticism in Seoul for “imposing solitude” as well as “discriminating against men.”

“There is a widespread perception that it goes against what is fair. We all pay the same price to get on the train, why can’t I sit there? That’s what they think,” Kim Bum-Soo, a professor at the College of Liberal Studies at Seoul National University, told the Korea Bizwire.

Restaurants in Korea, per Lena, have a compartment that contains cutlery, which is all stainless steel, on the side of each table.

“The first few times I ate at a restaurant I kept thinking that they forgot our utensils and when I asked the waiters they would just swing the compartment open, leaving me slightly embarrassed,” she admits.

In Korean convenience stores, there are microwaves and hot water dispensers as well as tables and chairs, so customers have the option to dine there. Photo booths that carry an assortment of accessories and have areas to fix your hair are also “all over Seoul.”

Lastly, Lena claims that Korea keeps “all the cusses” when they play songs by American artists.

“This is a live reaction of me hearing ‘My Type’ by Saweetie with all the cuss words in it,” she adds. “You already know your girl is still vibing though.”

A post published by Strong Language, a sweary blog about swearing, notes that in the American music industry there appears to be a correlation between blatantly profane lyricism and younger audiences. “Cussing, cursing, or just ‘potty-mouth talk'” began appearing on records in the late 1960s.

“Although censorship has hounded the music business throughout the past century, out-and-out swearing has been mostly relegated to later rock and rap, and, therefore, to a very select, and generally younger, audience,” reads an excerpt from the post via Slate. “Swearing is universal, and the reasons—or excuses—for it are as diverse as are the very words and phrases that we have all come to know, love, or damn.”

LOLOL we in two different koreas because everytime I’m on the subway, no matter if it’s packed or not, everyones fighting for that pink seat

“I think the US is the only country that actually censors the cuss words lol, I live in Europe and I’ve never heard a censored version of a song,” @liamgillargurka replied.

Lena’s video, which has more than 2.4 million views and 551,200 likes, has left some TikTok users wanting to travel to Korea even more. Others, however, are more critical of the point of view she’s projecting.

“I want to go even more now,” @seductivebeautyy commented.

“LOLOL we in two different koreas because everytime I’m on the subway, no matter if it’s packed or not, everyones fighting for that pink seat,” @jeffwedges wrote.

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