TTMIK Culture Ramblings – Personal Space

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Welcome to our new audio series called “TTMIK Culture Ramblings”! In each episode, you will listen to a roundtable discussion, in English, between people who were born and raised in Korea and someone with a different perspective. These 100% real and unscripted laid-back conversations cover various topics related to Korea and Korean culture. If you have any topics that you’d like us to discuss, be sure to tell us in the episode’s comments section!

In our very first episode, Hyunwoo, Hyojin, and Stephanie discuss “personal space” and how it is a relatively new concept in Korea. They also share past personal experiences while on the subway, bus, standing in line, or being in crowded places and how they react. Join us and learn more about Korean culture!


My Weekly Korean Vocabulary!

Learning different expressions and sentences derived from a keyword is a very effective way not only to understand the word in the context but also to improve your sentence building skills, like you practiced with this lessons. Check out My Weekly Korean Vocabulary e-books with which you can learn 7 new keywords every week with 20 accompanying sample sentences followed by vocabulary note for each keyword!

Iyagi Lesson – 지하철 (=subway)
This 100% natural conversation in Korean will help you help you improve your Korean in many ways. You can pick up new vocabulary, expressions or phrases, and also enhance your listening skills. In this episode of Iyagi lesson, Hyunwoo and Kyeong-eun talk about 지하철(subway).

TTMIK Culture Ramblings – Personal Space
  • Already love this series. I guess there are so many things to speak about and I already learned a lot when you mentioned cultural aspects along the way in your language lessons.
    One thing that is a little related to ‘personal space’ and that was new for me when I came to Korea is that people rarely talk to strangers. Not only in the streets (where people sometimes ignore or run away from others that only ask them for the way) but also in cafes, bars, trains or the house you live in. In the beginning I tried to greet the people in my house and I ONCE went to a bar alone. It was fun and eventually people were very nice but it was quite uncommon even for young folks… 🙂

    Thanks for the great work!

    • Oh, and btw: I can totally relate to what 효진 산생님 said. I also try to keep away from 아줌마스 in the train. They are just too quick…I even saw flying handbags thrown on free seats from the other side of the car. 🙂

    • @salseoul

      Haha. That sounds like a good future topic – “Talking to Strangers” 🙂

    • kaekaed

      I found almost the opposite. It seemed everyone wanted to talk to me. I think it was so obvious I wasn’t from around there or any big city. I really regret not taking pictures of the people I met. They were awesome. people would stop me in the street to ask me if I needed directions. I normally did.
      For some reasons, nuns really liked talking to me. I got a kick out of them. I think people wanted to talk to me because I was totally in full tourist mode. Ok, there were a few people who had the look of “oh no, she’s white…you talk to her,,,no you talk to her…” in their eyes at restaurants etc.
      when I return, I’m going to shock the Koreans I speak to with how good my Korean is.
      (BTW, i’m sure some of the people who wanted to talk to me were just interested in practicing their English or because I was in the their shops & they wanted me to spend money.)

  • rigo

    Hey guys , i like this new series
    Riding the subway might be one of the most frustrating things in any country , i think
    I would like to hear how do you rent an apartment

  • naran noran

    Speaking of personal space, I was shocked when i heard from 2 Korean friends (they are married with small children) that they sleep with their baby in the room and not share the same room with their husband because a cultural thing of bonding with the baby. I know it make sense but I can’t understand at the beginning the idea of sleep apart from my husband.

  • Karena

    Wow, this is a really, really interesting new series. I’m looking forward to hearing more!
    (I’m from the “personal space is important” side of the world 😉 )

    I like the “talking to strangers” idea, too. I know you’ll find lots of interesting ideas anyway, but if you’re still in need for suggestions, I’d maybe… hm, what about appointments or attitudes towards rules? That’d be important topics here. Universities? It could be useful to learn more about hierarchies, too. Or… dating? ^.^

  • Ari

    Hi Guys, What is it that Hyunwoo said “im getting off the bus too” in an angry tone – 저도 내릴거거든요! i would like to learn this sentence structure and make a good use of it =p Could someone break it down please?

    • Seokjin Jin

      저도 내릴거거든요!

      저 = I

      도 = also, too

      내릴 것이다 = be going to get off

      -거든요 = because, since, let me tell you…

      Please check out this lessons.

    • Ari

      Great Thank you Very much Sir!!!

  • Hi, I see the written explanation for what Hyunwoo said (angry version), but can you please write the first, more calm version? It was so quick. It sounded like, 저도 내리다요? Thank you!