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Understanding South Korea: Home

This guide provides useful information and links to resources on South Korea.

At A Glance


The following information have been carefully selected for your reference. Some resources may have bias perspectives. Please approach the SMU Libraries ( ) should you have any doubts or need clarifications.

South Korea, at the southern tip of the Korean peninsula, is a country unlike any other. It is a country of diversity, amazing people, beautiful landscapes, and full of interesting places.

Learn more about South Korea provinces and capitals through this educational video.

How did the war split the two states South Korea and North Korea, for several decades? Learn the Korea history through this animated history of Korea in a nutshell.


These videos introduce places and food you should explore when in Seoul, South Korea.

Need To Know

This section helps prepare an individual before visiting South Korea, such as learning the cultural etiquette, basic conversational phrases, and even some useful local contact numbers.

Cultural Dos and Don’ts

South Korea has its own customs, traditions, and rules for manners. Observe the following etiquette for a great experience:

  • Wait until elders to start eating their food. In Korea, you cannot start eating until the elders grab the chopsticks and start eating their own meal.
  • Do not leave the table until you are done with the meal. It is considered rude to leave the table while eating.
  • Do not pour your own drink. In Korea, it is considered rude to pour your own shot. Therefore, wait until someone offers to pour for you; this will usually be done by the youngest person.
  • Never sit in priority seats to let everyone know that these seats need to remain available at all times.
  • Take your shoes off at someone else home and leave them at the entrance.
  • Try not to make noise when you chew your food in South Korea. It is considered rude if you do make any noise when chewing, so try to chew with your mouth closed.

Basic Conversational Language

Some phrases in Hangul that are handy to know when visiting South Korea.

  • ahn-nyong-ha-se-yo! (Hello)
  • ahn-nyong-hee ga-se-yo (Goodbye)
  • uh-dduh-keh  ji-neh-seh-yo? (How are you?)
  • gahm-sah-hahm-ni-da (Thank you)
  • sil-le-hahm-ni-da (Excuse me)
  • bahn-gap-seup-ni-da (Please to meet you)
  • uhl-mah-eh-yo? (How much is this?)​​

Phone Apps

    Lessons are broken down into bite-sized chunks and it feels like you’re playing a game. Duolingo is a great introduction, but it can feel like you’re learning a random mix of information, often through repetition. The more you do, the more robust your vocabulary will be.
    The only way to become fluent in a new language is to speak it. Tandem is geared toward conversations with native speakers. The idea is that you can help one another learn new languages via text, audio, and video chat. The app vets you and then helps you to find a partner who shares your interests. They teach you and you teach them.


South Korea Won (KRW)

More details on the exchange rate.

Dialing Code


Useful Numbers

  • Police Department: 112
  • Fire Department: 119
  • Medical Emergencies: 1339
  • Korea Travel Hotline: 1330
  • KTO Tourist Information Center
  • Singapore Embassy in South Korea (Seoul): +82-2-774-2464, 774-2465
    • Emergency Tel (after hours): +82-10-7204-6240
  • More emergency numbers

Local Media Source

This section links to the various local news media in South Korea.

RSS News Feed

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What To Look Out

This section informs the common scams and crimes to look out for when visiting South Korea.


  • Common Tourist Scams
    Learn how to protect yourself from these common scams and crimes when visiting South Korea.

Crime & Security

  • Overall Crime and Safety Report
    Find out more information on the common crime threats, areas of concerns, transportation-road safety, and even terrorism threat.


This section lists some recommended readings about South Korea.


Useful Links

This section provides useful links to the South Korea social media.

Social Media

Imagine your Korea


Acceptable Use Policy

Electronic resources (e.g., databases, datasets, e-journals, e-books and streaming audio/video) provided by the SMU Libraries are governed by license agreements that restrict use to current students, faculty and staff of SMU and the Singapore Copyright Act.

The use of electronic resources must comply with the Appropriate Use of Electronic Resources Policy and Singapore Management University Acceptable Use Policy