South Korean Culture

Greetings

  • Use a person’s formal title (i.e. Mr, Ms, Doctor) when addressing them for the first time, and continue to do so until they signal otherwise.
  • The most common way to greet in South Korea is with a bow. 
  • The casual bow is a dip of the head with eyes closed, sometimes accompanied by a slight bend from the waist. This type of greeting is used when informally greeting someone or walking past someone of a higher status.
  • Business interactions require a deeper bow, where the torso bends from the waist by about 30 degrees.
  • The deepest, most polite bow expresses sincerest gratitude or apology. One bends from their torso to around 45 degrees or at such an angle from which the head would have to stretch up to look into the face of the other person. The head is kept lowered in this greeting.
  • Handshakes are also used to greet in South Korea. To show great respect during this greeting, one may support the wrist of their right hand with their left as they shake. 
  • Women may also greet one another by reaching out both hands to touch and clasp the other womans’ hands.
  • A person in a position of service may put their hands together in front of their chest when greeting you or accepting something as an expression of gratitude. 
  • Many Koreans who live in Australia hug or kiss as a part of greetings.
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