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  • With a vibrant economy and a forward-thinking education system,

  • South Korea is one of Asia's real poster-boy countries.

  • They make some of the finest TVs and cell phones in the world,

  • and they have their very own internationally recognized music, film, and television industries.

  • So what would life be like to have been born in this progressive nation?

  • Would having a noisy neighbor dampen the dynamic nature of living in one of the world's most high-tech countries?

  • What kind of school and work life could you expect to have?

  • And just what is spoon worm and how do we tackle it?

  • That's what we'll look into today, in this episode of the Infographics Show:

  • What if you were born in South Korea?

  • In the southern part of the Korean peninsula sits South Korea,

  • bordered by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea to the north,

  • the East Sea to the east, and the Yellow Sea to the west.

  • The capital city is Seoul, and it is home to 10 million people who speak the official Korean language.

  • South Korea's mixed economy ranks 11th and 13th purchasing power parity GDP in the world, and is one of the major G20 countries.

  • Korea is well represented with household brands such as LG Electronics and Samsung.

  • In fact, South Korea's economy was one of the world's fastest growing since the 1960s to the late 1990s,

  • and was one of the four Asian Tigers along with Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan.

  • They are also progressive when it comes to entertainment, music and film,

  • with K-pop taking the South East Asian region by storm, along with their K-drama television shows.

  • So odds are, if you were born here, you would be a devout follower of some of the best cinema and catchiest of pop songs in the world.

  • So what would life be like if you were born here?

  • Well right from the very year dot things would get a bit strange.

  • Koreans, along with the Chinese and Vietnam, use the East Asian age reckoning system when working out your age.

  • Once a baby is born, the infant is automatically one year old, no matter what day of the year you were born.

  • So you will always be at least one year older in South Korea than you are when you travel to other parts of the world.

  • This means you don't age on your actual birthday, but instead celebrate another year of age each New Year.

  • Confusing? Well, to those from outside Korea maybe.

  • For South Koreans, this simple system makes perfect sense.

  • And if you're traveling outside of the country, you'd have to wait an extra year before buying liquor, smoking cigarettes, getting married, or starting work.

  • How about school?

  • Kindergarten is optional in South Korea, with most parents preferring to keep their small kids at home.

  • At age 6, you must complete 6 years of primary education, learning English, Fine Arts, math, Moral Education, music, PE, science, and practical arts.

  • Secondary school placements are awarded by a lottery type system so all students have an equal chance to succeed despite their socio-economic background.

  • Schools are rather strict with uniforms and haircuts, and punctuality is strictly enforced.

  • The last three years take place at high schools and standards are just as high.

  • School is tough here, but the rewards are also high.

  • In fact, you'd be lucky to be born in South Korea as far as education is concerned,

  • as this country performs in the top 20 of most world tables in education and is one of the best in Asia.

  • How about food?

  • Well, Korean cuisine is largely made up of rice, vegetables, and meats.

  • Common ingredients include sesame oil, soy sauce, salt, garlic, ginger and cabbage.

  • But Koreans also dig their seafood, and if you were one of the more adventurous Koreans,

  • you might develop a penchant for live spoon worms.

  • This aquatic worm with a phallic-like appearance is also said to have aphrodisiac properties, earning it the moniker of the penis fish.

  • These large worms are usually cut into bite-sized portions that have to be picked up with chopsticks as they wriggle on the plate before being transferred to the mouth.

  • Chewing is, we guess, optional.

  • So, how about employment?

  • South Korea has the reputation of being the most overworked country in Asia,

  • and with the average person working 2,069 hours a year (second highest after Mexico in the OECD), there is a strong work ethic here.

  • While hard work is essential to rapid economic growth, it also contributes to poor work productivity and a low birth rate.

  • With a 2016 study showing that 4.9% of Koreans work in agriculture, 24.89% in industry,

  • and 70.21% in services, it is likely that had you been born in South Korea, you would be working in the services sector.

  • And what about entertainment and social life?

  • Well, the capital Seoul is part town with cheap western pubs and classy tapas bars and lounges,

  • but outside of the city you may run into more traditional style drinking joints.

  • There are many customs to learn about drinking here.

  • Not to top your own glass, but top up the glasses of others, and other complex rituals.

  • But being born in Korea, you'll know all about these quirks already.

  • Well, that's how life stacks up here in South Korea, the land of beautiful people, high-tech industries, and world class education.

  • Not as bad as some would have guessed.

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  • So, how do you think your life would have been different if you were born in South Korea?

  • Let us know in the comments!

  • Also be sure to check out our other video called North Koreans vs South Koreans - How do they compare?

  • Thanks for watching, and as always, don't forget to like, share and subscribe.

  • See you next time!


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What If You Were Born In South Korea?

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    Evangeline posted on 2021/06/13
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