The following article is the perspective of a Nepalese in Korea.
If you're a Korea-fanatic from Nepal, or simply are interested in learning about different cultures; keep reading!
When a guy from a country with the Highest mountains but one of the most average residence buildings in the world moves to a country with the fifth-highest skyscrapers, a.k.a Lotte World but low mountains, how would he feel? Well, I'll let you know because I am that guy, aha! I'll share the major common points and differences between my home country, Nepal. And the Republic of Korea.
P.S.: Many people from South Asia can relate to my stories. Some of them are hilarious.
1. Left vs. Right Side traffic
To help elaborate, here's a world driving system map. As you can see, the driving system in Nepal (South Asia) is based on the left. The exact opposite of Korea, which is on the right.
After I arrived in Korea, I had serious difficulty traveling due to this matter. I often waited for the bus on the wrong side [opposite bus stand]. Moreover, I would already be on the bus when I realized it!! Once, I was in Seoul along with some friends. We were planning to go to Namsan Tower. We took the bus going in the opposite direction up to the last station.. so we just stayed on that same bus, and it took us back to Namsan tower, haha. That's why I relied on my Philippine friends while traveling as if I were a child whenever I had to ride the bus or taxi for the first few months. [I always get scolded by my friends for these mistakes.. you know; the way good friends do, haha]
On a more serious note, he most dangerous experience I had was while riding a bicycle. I rode it on the left side and suddenly on a turn in the mountain there was a car on the same side. That's when I realized my mistake.. Thank god, nothing bad happened but that is why I highly suggest people from left side driving country to be extra cautious in Korea.
2. High Rises and Mountains
We don't have high-rise buildings or skyscrapers like Lotte tower in Nepal.
Though, we have a few. They're not very popular. I have never seen [except on T.V. or the Internet] skyscrapers. I was able to experience sceneries thanks to being in Korea.
They were completely new for me, and I was mesmerized by these engineering marvels. High-rise buildings everywhere really amazed me! However, traveling between cities, I found Korea just as mountainous as Nepal, but major differences. Nepal has much higher mountains. Some which are above 2500 meter high surrounds my city. And other snow-capped mountains are higher than 6000 meters!
3. Sea Experience
Nepal is a landlocked country. So I had never experienced Sea before.
I wanted to visit the sea for myself. My first clear view of it was from the plane while landing in Incheon! And, after four months of living in University dorms, I decided to have a sea-tour! I went along with two other friends who also never had never been to the sea before.
We went to the nearest beach, which was Deacheon at the time via train. I was excited to see it! The first thing I did when I stepped on the seashore waters was confirmed the salty taste of seawater, hahaha! I tasted a few drops of water...
However, the color was not as blue as I expected it to be, and that Sea was called the 'Yellow sea.' We played in the water for a couple of hours before having some seafood. I never had squid, octopuses, or crabs... It was my first time trying them in my life, and what an experience that was!
4. Train Experience
There is no train in my country except for one that connects only one city to an Indian city. But, there is no train system in all of Nepal!
After coming to Korea, I, of course, wanted to take it. I was new to the train system, and well.. you've guessed it, haha! I asked my friends from the Philippines to come along from Asan to Seoul.
The ticketing system was also a new experience for me. The hassle in metro stations in Seoul, the transfer lines, number of commuters.. etc., was really interesting. And to be frank, I found the trains to be more convenient than buses!
5. Eating Culture & Common Food
In Nepal, we almost eat everything by hand except for a few dishes and eating out!
After coming to Korea, I had difficulty using Chopsticks. It was so hard and common that they would not provide forks & spoons in some places. I could not eat using my hand due to the eating courtesy here. So, I watched youtube videos to learn how to use chopsticks. And you bet! I eventually learned how to! [I think I have graduated in using Chopsticks art, haha.]
Another major difference between Nepal and Korea is consuming meat and vegetables. Nepalese food is mainly compromised of rice, wheat, vegetables, beans.. etc. Meat consumption is quite low in comparison to Korea. I think it's tough for vegetarians in Korea and Muslims and Hindus [80% of Nepalese are Hindu, beef is banned in Nepal, and only some ethnic Nepalese groups consume Pork].
I belong to one of the ethnic groups that do not consume either Pork or beef. I find it hard here due to that.
In Nepal, buffalo, goat, chicken are the primary meat sources. What's more unfortunate is that the cost of vegetables is five to ten times more expensive in Korea than in Nepal.
Regarding fruits, Nepal has a very suitable climate for its growth [tundra, subtropical, tropical]. We would consume apples, oranges, and Mango at affordable prices, whereas, as you would've also guessed, it's quite the opposite in Korea. Fruits are costly here!
6. Mandu and Momo [Dumplings]
This is the most notable common food, in my opinion. [Momo are Nepali dumplings whereas Mandu are Korean]
Dumplings here are three to five times larger than Nepalese Momo! Usually, Nepalese people consume them with soup, but that is not provided with Korean dumplings. Instead, we get soy sauce for dipping. Buffalo meat Momo is the most popular in my country, but pork meat Mandu and Kimchi Mandu are the most popular in Korea.
Luckily, there are many Nepalese restaurants in Korea; however, I've not found the Buffalo meat Momo yet. So, I stick to the chicken momo [just as tasty, trust me!]. I prefer the Kimichi mandu regarding Korean dumplings as it tastes similar to vegetarian Momo!
That's it for my Nepalese Korean experience! If you've enjoyed this type of content, leave a comment down below and what other cultures you'd like to have us compare to Korea!
CREATE YOUR KOREA
Author: Rukesh Machamasi
Editor: Yousra Feriel Drioua
Proofreading: Yousra Feriel Drioua
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