Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!

Korea vs. New York- Spoiled By Service!

Posted on Wed, Mar 06, 2013 @ 03:58 PM

What better way to update you and compare the life of Korea to that back in New York than a post on how I am spoiled by Korea. Trust me, reading this just may give you the urge to travel the sea!

  1. Banchan in Korea

    Food. Number one on my list is always food. So what makes Korea's food so special? There's always a side dish that is FREE. Banchan 반찬 is a side dish paired with your meal, Anju 안주 is that paired when drinking. This includes the famous kimchi which is the number one banchan, but you can't drink without some awesome anju that practically keeps coming. This brings me to number two:

  2. Service. The exact translation of the word service is customer service. Koreans take customer service to a whole new level. What does this mean? Free food with your order, free ice cream at karaoke, extra time at karaoke, free drinks at the bar or with your meal, free products which includes masks and random gadgets, free anything they can give you. How does service work? Simply dine in, drink, and shop at their store. They will throw everything they can at you for free and you'll know this when they say "service." 


  3. service in Korea

    Service by clicking a button. Having trouble getting the attention of your waiter? Looking like a fool waving down your waiter? No problem in Korea. Simply click a button that rings a bell (sounds like a door bell most of the time) with flashing light on a screen by the cashier that brings to the attention of ANY and every waiter who will attend to you within seconds. 




  4. More service. Clicking buttons to get other's attention. How about sitting around and waiting your turn instead of standing in line? When going to a bank, cell phone store, post office, and anywhere that requires a long wait has never been so relaxing than in Korea. Upon entrance, there is someone with a banner across their chest asking you what service you need. He or she then clicks a button and you will receive a paper with a number. Sit around, watch some television, enjoy a cup of coffee and wait until your number is called. Talk about "service" on drinks and not losing your place in line if you have to go bathroom.

  5. Customer service. Customer service in Korea is amazing. They're always willing to help you find a size, give you their opinion, and best of all, there's no judgement. Since I have been in Korea, I have only met one sales representative with an attitude. Back in the states, we meet cranky people all day, but not here in Korea. They are always willing to help to the best of their abilities, with a smile and feel horrible when they cannot help.

  6. Free Wifi. NY and most of the world definitely needs to catch up with this. Wifi is almost everywhere, not just in big department stores. This includes train stations, coffee shops (free or with a purchase) and even in the streets! Can't beat getting lost or running out of data and needing to connect to wifi in a foreign country for free.

  7. Computers in the streets. Say what? Yes. There are computers in the streets of Gangnam; these computers are also in the train stations for you to find your way through the city. They also allow for you to search for POI close by, and even browse the internet as you wait for a friend. Better yet, they have a webcam so you can take a photo, design it, and send it to yourself. Some of these computers are even equipped with chargers so you can charge your phone and other electronics. 

  8. Upgraded train stations. The technology in Korea is amazing which makes taking the subway easy for English teachers in Korea. Train stations have computers that tell you how far your train is based on how many stop away it is (up to about 3), when is the following train is coming, and a melody that alerts you that your train is arriving. More updated trains have a light that signal the direction, alert you of the current stop, next stop, and following stops the train will make. The pronunciation of stops in different languages, and the most basic of what cart and door you are in front of to make meeting a friend on the train easy (the number on the floor and on the outside of the train doors).

  9. Never miss a bus. Just like the trains when you know when the next bus is coming, there is a screen that tells you how far away your bus is. It also shows what bus is coming and the best part is you never have to miss a bus. Why? Because technology allows for you to listen to the number of the approaching bus so you don't have to squint your eyes to search for your bus. This definitely comes handy in the middle of the night. 

  10. Bathrooms are everywhere. There are bathrooms in all buildings and most importantly, in the train station. These bathrooms are constantly cleaned, fully stocked, and open to everyone for use. This beats the dirty MTA bathrooms if that is even an option. 

  11. Lockers. I think everyone underestimates the value of lockers being everywhere until you travel or shop a lot. Train stations and department stores have lockers for the simple fact that people do not have to carry their things with them everywhere they go. It can be a fuss to carry things that you need at night with you during a day of shopping so the convenience of a locker does help to eliminate the trouble. One time use, NY should definitely consider making some space for this.

  12. Automatic doors. The best part about going into a restaurant and any store in general is the automatic doors. They're practically everywhere in Korea and if they're not automatic, all you have to do is press a button and slip right in. Amazing for those who are extremely lazy and have no idea which way to push a door.

  13. waiting in KoreaMore gadgets. Electronic vibration alerts are used in the states only when you wait an hour plus for a seat at your local Applebees or other chain restaurants. In Korea, these electronic alerts are used in coffee shops. The disgrace of American technology is the fact that some of these gadgets even have  a television built in. Nothing like watching some TV while you wait for your coffee to be brewed at Dunkin' Donuts. This definitely beats being crowded around the bar area as you wait for the barista at Starbucks to scream out your name or fight over a drink with someone who has the same order as you. 
  14. Rainy days. Ever have to deal with wet floors or having to throw your umbrella in a bucket by the door, knowing there may be a chance that someone will take it? Almost every store in Korea (shopping places, restaurants, coffee shops) will have a funny looking stand with plastic bags upon entrance when it rains. What is this for? For you to put your wet umbrella in, preventing wet floors, promoting safety, and allows you to carry your umbrella where ever you go. On the way out, simply remove and throw your plastic bag in their garbage bin next to the exit. 

  15. jimjilbang in Korea24 hour BANGS. No, not a bang, a 방 which a room for a variety of things to do, at any hour of the day. Study rooms. Okay so this may not be the best place on your mind, but it beats a 24 hour Starbucks with people talking when you want peace and quiet to study. 24 hour fun of eating, drinking may be your style. Noraebang (kareoke), PC bang (computer games), DVD bang (movies), Multi bang (for electronics and game systems) and even a Jjimjilbang (shower rooms which also provides you with the option of sleeping overnight for an extremely low price-totally beats sleeping at a hotel when you're on a budget or can't find a place to stay before the trains start to run). 





  16. driving in KoreaLastly, amazingly nice people. Coming from NY, having your guard up always is the number one thing. Korea is full of friendly people so letting my guard down is acceptable. Why? Because only in Korea (with an exception of some) will you find people who will return your wallet and cell phone to you without any missing items. Only in Korea would you be able to trust the directions and even get into a stranger's car (I did a few times). Be wise about it, but the moral of the story is that it is okay to open up to others.




Stay tuned for a second part of Spoiled by Korea as a tempt to come and visit!


Teach in South Korea!

Graduating with a double major in Communications and Chinese from Rutgers University, it wasn’t long after working in the Big Apple that Cindy Ung decided to take a break from the cliché 9-5 lifestyle and move to Korea to teach English for CDI. Making the bold step to leave her comfortable, mapped out life in the States, she has fallen more in love with the Korean culture as each day passes.  With weekly mountain hikes, weekend road trips, discovering great foods and beauty products, constantly meeting new people, her life in Korea has been everything but mapped out.
Check out Cindy’s blog to get a glimpse of what Korea has to offer!

Tags: life in Korea, food in Korea, benefits of living in Korea, service, freebies, Spoiled by Korea, technology

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