INTERCULTURAL RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN SPAIN AND KOREA THROUGH TOURISM. (TFG) Interviews. FULL VERSION.
Hello, my name is Javier Medina Padilla. I am a student of the degree of Tourism at the University of Jaén. I am from Spain, but I have a lot of influence from Korea, which I have been studying for more than 8 years on my own. And I've been learning the language on my own for 2 years. I also lived in Korea a year ago, as an exchange student.
This is my Final Degree Project on Spain and Korea, in which I have analysed their variables, economic, social, cultural, artistic, historical contexts and of course tourism as well. Tourism and its connections within the framework of globalisation. With this study I would like to shed some light on the differences and similarities between these two countries. The positive and negative aspects and how they can learn from each other. In this way they can try to improve their economic and touristic benefits.
I would also like people to learn about the changes that are needed. in both countries. Regarding the integration and adaptation of foreigners either as tourists, or even as local citizens trying to live in Spain or in Korea. As a conclusion to my dissertation, I decided to interview people with very different experiences, from days of tourism to years of experiences. Therefore, the data and information provided come not only from important authors which have been selected and not only my own experience. Actually they also come from the help of the volunteers who have helped me.
And I'm very grateful to them. 1.What places in both countries have you visited? I was in the capital in Seoul, and on a trip to Gangneung, which has a lot of places to visit. which are worth visiting and which have been used for filming dramas.
In Korea I visited, Seoul, Incheon, Gangneun, Jeju Island, Namhae, Sinchon, Gwangju, Busan, Okcheon. Those are all the places. In South Korea, I went to Seoul and next to Bucheon. And have you done any other trips in South Korea? No, I didn't travel too much. I stayed in Seoul. Just Seoul? -Yeah. -All right.
From Korea, the capital, I've visited Daejoon, Gyeongju. Seockcho, Incheon, the demilitarised zone. I went to Spain two years ago, and visited Barcelona, Madrid, Seville. Ronda, Granada and Malaga I remember.
And especially I visited Barcelona twice. Well I have visited more famous touristic cities, like; Barcelona, Seville, Granada, Malaga, San Sebastian. And also, I studied in Santiago de Compostela.
And I visited the small Galician villages. I visited Tarragona and Mallorca. So, normally Koreans when you travel in Spain, you usually go to Barcelona or Madrid. Is there a different city that's more special? Yeah, we're also going to Malaga, Valencia. In this case, as I lived in Jaén, I was there a lot. Near Malaga, I went to Nerja and nearby towns.
Also Seville and Granada. What activities are you most interested in or want to do in each country? In both countries, Spain and Korea. Gastronomy, it's one of the most interesting things for me. In Korea I'm especially interested in aesthetic activities, like beauty salon. On the other hand Spain, I'm very interested in sun and beach tourism and cultural tourism. Like visiting the cathedrals, or walking through the old streets.
Do you like to learn about the history of Spain? Yes, I do. I'm mainly interested in food. I'd like to go to a lot of restaurants, and if there were cooking classes, I think that could be a lot of fun. Learning to cook paella, tapas, tortilla... My main interests in Spain were: learning Spanish and nautical activities, such as swimming and football.
Whereas in Korea, it's very similar. Like swimming, and I especially like going to nice Korean cafes. When I was living in Spain my favourite thing to do was, football related activities. Because I love it. And I'm a big fan of FC Barcelona. I actually went to watch the game, but unfortunately it wasn't to be.
When I was in Valencia. So, do you think Koreans are interested in Spanish football? Sure, we like it very much. Do you really like it? Yeah, you know the Premier League is world famous. And I'd see something on social media and how it caught my eye and I'd go.
I also like to visit festivals, because they are very nice both in Korea and in Spain. In Spain, I like to visit museums, historical sites, like the Royal Palace in Madrid. Whereas in Korea, I like to visit strange museums. Because I know a lot of very striking ones. Like the bathroom museum.
I think it's funny. But I'm not really interested in palaces, as they're not usually in their original form. So I don't find that too fascinating anymore. So, you like these kind of bizarre or different Korean museums. Why do you think Korea has these kinds of museums? Because of the character of the country? Or are they looking for new trends and attractions for tourists? It's more to attract tourists, and to be recognised by the rest of the world.
If you think about it, a toilet museum doesn't represent Korea in any way. Korea is traditional. These kind of weird things are made to attract tourists and make people talk about them. I was interested in Korea as well, apart from introducing me more to the society. Going to concerts, that's one of the main motivations that a lot of people have for going to concerts.
Kpop concerts? Exactly. Would you say that you and a lot of people are motivated to visit places in Korea specifically because of Kpop? Or because of Hallyu culture? A lot for sure, because if you get into Korean drama groups/communities, Kpop etc... A lot of people want to go for the actors, the actresses, the locations, for music for concerts. For the idols? Exactly, so a lot of people are. There's people who are also interested in the culture and the language and so on... But now with the BTS Boom, a lot of people want to go specifically for Kpop.
And also, without knowing Korean. Which is a very necessary thing for me. Which cultural aspects of each country are the most remarkable in your opinion? In Korea everything works faster and the installation and home services are very good. Korean beauty culture is quite remarkable.
How the Korean kind of beauty has a huge influence all over the world. In regards to Spain, a lot of people have stereotypes, somewhat inflexible stereotypes. Like Paella, like Flamenco, like love. Like the country of love.
Like the country of passion? Yes, passion and historical culture. Yes, Koreans like Spanish art. Like the Gaudi Tour and the Picasso Museum are very famous among Koreans.
And the food too! I've heard from other Koreans that Spanish food is too salty for Koreans. If it's true... So I learned before I went to Spain: "No salt". No way... Like Noona many Koreans have told me they learned the same thing. Really? I think it's a popular phrase among Koreans.
The saying ''No salt'' in Spain. Yes, it's that the food is too salty. In Spain, the closeness of touching each other and giving each other two kisses. In Korea I realised that everything there is fast and more cold and distant. That even if you are friends it is not common to touch each other so much. At least that's my experience. In Korea I would say the culture of age.
And also, for Koreans, if we think of something more typical Spanish, we think of Andalusia. Something typical would be Andalusian life or Gaudi. And can Koreans really like Spanish food? Koreans think that Spanish food is very tasty but it's a bit too salty.
So when a Korean asks for Spanish food, they always say first No salt please. If it's true... 4. What behavioural and personality traits do you highlight from each country? As I said, I think Korea is very traditional and strict. When I think about Korean society or Koreans, it's like everything has to be precise and on time. Like someone who works and has to get everything done.
Whereas about Spain, I think it's more like Italy, my country. But even more relaxed, people are usually nice and friendly. I really like the friendliness of the people in Spain.
You don't have to think about the formal levels at which you have to talk to others. As it happens in Korea. Or ask questions if you're lost. In Korea, you have to be very aware of the language. And the honorific level you have to use.
The Jondaemal, right? Yes. When you don't have a good command of the language, you can screw up. That they don't take it into account because you're a foreigner, but still you always get frustrated. So, as a characteristic feature of each country, would you say that the Spanish trait is the closeness and the lack of barriers between people, but in Korea the opposite? Yes.
My problem was when I had to talk to strangers when I got lost in the street. In the beginning, when you meet someone new, it's very important to know how old they are. Or let's say, always ask. What year are you from? Because in Korea, they categorise, they classify various types of social relationships. I mean, somebody if they're above or on the same level. Of social relationship, or someone below.
If he's older, that I have to give him more respect. Then start by knowing the age but at the end he tries to give an up and down. In Korea, the cultural behaviour, you are not supposed to disturb another person.
What you express should not bother another person, friend or whatever. It's important to maintain that social courtesy, or normative. It's important to be considerate of other people and their opinions, among Koreans.
For example, in this COVID situation. We all have to wear a mask in public places. In Korea we consider what other people think. As a way of protecting ourselves and each other. 정(Jeong) means, good-hearted.
It's kind of like love, but it's not exactly the love that we think of. For example, when we bring snacks into the office... we share them with colleagues even if you're not related.
Or when you go to a restaurant, and you have a nice meal, you think about your friends, or a person that you're fond of. And you think about how that person would like that food as well. Because you remember that person and you would like that person to enjoy this meal too. Even though we're not that close, you just think about what they might like or make them happy to go to this restaurant.
And you send him some message. "Hey, this restaurant would be perfect for you. It could also be when Koreans invite foreigners who are new here. To dinner, and they pay for everything just to be nice and start a relationship. Exactly, we do it without expecting anything in return. We don't expect you to invite us later, we just do it.
-Yeah, as a gift. -Exactly, it's like a gift. -It's like, ''a gift from the heart''.
That's right, it is. 5. What cultural elements of each country stand out for you? The Korean karaokes (Norebang), you know for example they are not like the Spanish Karaokes. Yeah they're super different. PC Bang and Norebang. Yeah right. These kinds of cultural elements are unique to Korea.
Or the Manhwa coffee shops, did you go to one? Manhwa coffee shop? Where there's like a lot of Manhwa (Korean Manga) books. Would it be something like the animal cafes? Yeah sure, where you do different things, but in this case you read books. In Korea there's a lot of activities to do outside the home. And also a lot of people, they talk about the Korean coffee shops. And I think they're quite popular. If that's true.
Because in Korean coffee shops, you can do a lot of things. Whereas in the foreign ones, you can only drink coffee and eat. I was really surprised by the technology in Korea.
Because I saw so many tall buildings, it looked like New York. And also the internet is going super fast. Korea is a little bit more pop culture focused. I don't mean art, I mean pop culture. There's always a fashion or trend in Korea.
Something to visit, something to consume, and it's important to have this experience like everyone else. This could be a Korean force. That's why they're always coming out, new stuff. And everybody notices that.
And they get everything out quicker. (빨리 빨리) "The Ppali Ppali Ppali Exactly. I'd say, fashion.
Because in Korea, fashion is very important. The clothes, the food, the music. The people are also helpful. because they helped me to find things, which I didn't know where they were. Do you think fashion is a motivation for the French to travel to Korea? I think so. Because Korean fashion is exported a lot in France and in Europe.
In Spain for example we tend to build the historical architectural buildings in one tone, they are more monochromatic. Whereas in Korea if you go to the palaces, you can find green red yellow lots and lots of colours. Besides that in Spain we have the habit that constr. the cities around the historic centre. In Korea, you can be walking down the street and be amongst a bunch of skyscrapers and find a ''Hanok''.
Hanok'' are the traditional Korean houses. Why this architectural character of each country? I think that in Spain there is a tendency to expand cities. around the historic centre to protect it. And in Korea it's a mixture of the historic and the modern. I think Korea had to start growing up very quickly.
in order to catch up with the other countries then they didn't have time to say, well let's leave this here and build around it. They decided it was better to mix up the architectural elements. that were part of their culture and also continue to expand the city. I think the Spanish are not good at containing their emotions.
When the Spaniards are in a good mood they are great. But when they are in a bad mood, they can be very aggressive. So, do you think that for Koreans, this Spanish stereotype of being passionate, might be too much? Yeah, it's like you guys have no middle ground. Yeah, well it's true.
In the case of Spanish series, la Casa de Papel was successful in Korea. Koreans and Spaniards are different when they meet each other. In Spain when you see a close friend you give them two kisses. But in our country that's rare. So when I had that experience, I felt strange because they were touching me too much.
I think Koreans can easily get scared when a Spaniard kisses them twice. Yeah, at first it's like that. Because you think, why is this person I don't know kissing my cheeks? Spanish people are not shy, in a good way. As they seem to have more confidence in themselves. I was struck by the ''Siesta''. I thought it was surprising.
We just don't have something like that. That's why during the ''siesta'' hours they don't open supermarkets, restaurants or anything. So I was very surprised. We have a break time, but it's not like that. But like in Spain everything closes, companies, restaurants etc... We don't have something like that.
So you don't think that Koreans can be inconvenienced at nap times? Sure, it's super uncomfortable. Why is that? Please explain. When you don't have a home yet, if you're in a hostel or a hotel, it's complicated. If you have a house it's fine. And when you don't have one, you can't do anything.
You feel like: where do I go now? Of course there's nothing open. That's why there's nothing and you don't know where to go. Normally at siesta time, the children go home to their families. Of course, the parents pick them up after school. As soon as it's over, we go home. But it's not like that in Korea.
When they finish school they go to after-school classes. That's right, maybe like piano lessons, right? Yeah, yeah. English lessons, piano lessons, private lessons... They always have something. And I find it remarkable that in Spain they can spend time with the family. So surely Spanish parents play more with their children than Koreans do. 6. How would you rate your stay in both countries?
I would rate it as a 6 or 7. Because if there are things that don't convince me. As long as you get used to something from your country. more calmly.
But in Korea you can see that everyone is going very fast and stressed. Road safety is very bad. Being a foreigner makes it harder to socialise. It's true that when you go to a concert...
if you find people that you can share something in common with. If I go again, as I've already learned I would change some things. You know how to adapt in a different way. I think the two places are different for me. Because in Spain it was a two-week course. And in Korea it was 6 months where I lived everyday life.
And in Spain like a holiday, enjoy the beach etc... In conclusion I really liked them both and would love to go back to both countries. My experience was lovely in both countries. I would like them to change some things yes, but I would definitely come back. I like both countries very much But I love Spain, and I think I fit in very well personally. And here I have more free time for myself.
The Spanish friends welcomed me in a wonderful way. Regarding Korea, my stay in Korea was very good. I was born there and I love my country. And above all, I've been able to train professionally in Korea. Well it was hard to study and go to university. But in the end with those experiences I've learnt a lot of things and now I feel much more confident and prepared to live abroad on my own. 7. What advice would you give to each country to improve the integration of foreigners?
In Spain it seems to me that there is still racial discrimination. Because I'm Asian, sometimes I've been insulted with bad and strong words in the street. Especially in COVID times.
I think that has to change for the integration of foreigners and tourists. The racism in Spain against Asian people. Yes. People should be aware that there are many Asian countries in Asia.
Especially in East Asia. To cut to the chase, I don't want to be called a Chinaman. More than offending, it's a danger. Using a noun or a noun of a country to encompass everything in a region. in a large country in that area. What you're talking about is what many Asian people say.
You're tired of this racism of treating you all as only Chinese and in a negative way. YES, IN MANY WAYS IT IS NEGATIVE. In many ways it is negative. Even if it doesn't have a negative connotation, it has to be an education thing. Not everyone needs to be able to tell the difference. But it's not right to lump everyone together as if they're all the same. The Spaniards can be a bit...
especially the people from Jaén. Every day they told me china. They shouted in my face: Chinese, Chinese (Nihao). Discrimination, right? Yes, racial discrimination. When we Asians walk down the street, the Spanish think we are all Chinese. Being a small city I think this is more common.
But I think it's not so common in cities like Madrid or Barcelona. In Korea we also have this problem really racial discrimination Although there are usually no physical attacks mainly young people are very aggressive verbally. And you get looks and words and attacks.
Also on the way back to Korea other friends told me they had the same experience. I think it is necessary for people to change their ways of being and thinking. And that the racist habits of insulting, pointing, thoughts like that should disappear in both countries. But this is not so common in adults. It's more like young kids between 9 and 20 years old. And I think it would be important to include menus with translations.
I would like to be able to understand what the menus of small cities say. In big cities there are translations but in places like Jaén nothing. And we had to translate everything with the mobile phone and look it up.
One of the problems I had in Korea was with the credit cards. They do give you one at the university though, to buy for example concert tickets was impossible. You were missing apps or you have to download something you don't know on your mobile. And when you went to the bank they said you could do it. but they didn't explain how. And at the end you couldn't do anything.
You always had to get a Korean friend to do it for you. with his account and give him the money. To facilitate the integration of foreigners is important to facilitate mobile telephony, as we all use them.
I think it's difficult especially in Korea to meet nationals. Making friends is complicated. You feel that if you're a foreigner you feel that they're a bit scared of you. There are places that are closed and only known to Koreans.
My friend was showing me some places that I didn't know about. because she was Korean and she could see it on specific websites or in communities. From Korea, I don't think it's very good to impose your own opinions or tastes. They have their own senses of value about appearance, and their importance in society. Sometimes I feel that they also judge foreigners through their filters.
Like: you have to look handsome like this etc. Korean pressure is not only for them anymore, sometimes also for foreigners right? Yes also for foreigners. When I was in Korea and even now when I read the news.
Korea is too traditional and too rigid. So when something is out of the ordinary it seems like it's weird or doesn't deserve to exist. So I think the Koreans need to open their minds more.
And see what's outside their country. And respect it. In general they need to be more tolerant. I've noticed that in Korea there are few resources, that is to say that we have to go deeper in the sense of quality and quantity of information from Korea. Many of my acquaintances here have asked me where I can get some information. But I couldn't find it. I can't find many resources about our country in English.
For the integration of foreigners it is very important that they have more information about the country. 8. What similarities do you find between Spain and Korea? I would say the way of being. Why is that? For example comparing to other Asians like Chinese or Japanese. Spanish and Koreans are more similar.
We tend to be more open and friendly. And Koreans also drink a lot. I think you're similar because once you're friends you touch each other a lot. Spanish and Koreans are more affectionate right? more similar in that way. I would say people. We like to socialise, it's important to have a family relationship. As a joke I tell you that I hear and say a lot, that Koreans are the Latinos of East Asia. If anyone has lived in that region you can tell that the culture and social behaviour varies.
a lot from country to country. So in that sense between Spain and Korea I've noticed a lot of similar things. Also a common point between both countries is people are very willing to help other people. They know the story of another person and if they are in a problematic situation they help them. Compared to other countries in Europe, you can see that it is very important here to help others.
I think that's based on the family culture. I've noticed that family in Spain is very important. It's the first social relationship you have at birth. Something I think both countries have in common The life of the night, the party.
I think we have the generational change in common. The younger generations in Korea are fighting hard to make the society more open. And accept more people and more changes. And in Spain it's similar, they want us all to be the same.
So it could be a movement that comes thanks to globalisation? Since we've taken it these generations. Yeah. But not only globalisation, but having access to the internet and the media that can show us more things. Than on the radio or on TV. The choice to be able to have more information is what makes society evolve.
9.What do you think is needed in Spain and Korea? There are a lot of thieves and robbers. So the Koreans might think Spain is dangerous, right? Yeah, because even I was mugged and robbed when I went there. And my friends who went to Spain with me the same.
In Barcelona they stole our passports, our money, our clothes, even our jackets. In Korea we need more resources in Spanish, as there are many people from Spain and Latin America in the world. But when they go sightseeing in our country they can only find Japanese, Chinese or English. So if we had more translations in Spanish and even in French it would be good.
Also older Spaniards when they travel can have problems because there is nothing in their language. Right... Don't you think more information in Korean would be necessary? You Koreans use to travel a lot, except now for COVID of course. Normally Koreans travel a lot, but in most countries at most there are translations in; English, French, Japanese and Chinese... What do you think about this? I think more translations are needed in Korean.
Because we Koreans travel a lot, and if there are things in Korean, it's more convenient. There's not many people in Spain who can speak Korean, right? Yes, there aren't too many. But there's not many people in Korea who speak Spanish either. In the case of Spain when you go to the town hall to ask for a document it takes longer than in Korea. The bureaucracy in Spain is very slow yes. Doing paperwork and formalities is very slow.
If that's what we're famous for. Korea's hierarchical system is a bit of a mess. Because the older generation, or just someone a year older than you wants to be respected as a master. And not as a friend.
And it's very stressful for me and for other people. I think in Korea you have to learn how to relax. In Korea everything is always like fast fast fast. Ppalli Ppalli. That's right. I think it's stressful. Even in Korea there are many people who don't understand or tolerate LGTBIQ+ people.
Especially men. The men... If it's the same in Spain. Yes, usually women understand more about these issues than men.
True, I don't understand why that is... I would say it's because there's less empathy in men. Women tend to understand discrimination better because they are women and they suffer from it.
Yes, that's right. I feel the same way. Do you think that new generations like you want to change this too conservative point of view? About women and LGTBIQ+. Yes, of course. But even though women outnumber men in terms of open-mindedness. I think that the change of this kind of thinking and social movements will be done but step by step. 10.Where would you prefer to live, Spain, Korea or another country?
I would prefer Korea, maybe because I've been there longer than Spain. And also I know the language and I like to be independent and that's not a problem in Korea. Being a foreigner in Korea, despite the difficulties it can be useful and it gives you a lot of opportunities to grow. Working in Korea could be a great opportunity for me.
Spain would be a good place for Koreans to study and work. Can Koreans adapt to Spanish life? I think so. I actually lived in Beijing for three years. But I don't really care where I live. If I could I would like to live in several countries. Changing every two years. From Spain to China and so on. Do you think this is more common for people like you and me who are used to living in different countries? I mean, that we don't always want to stay in the same one? Yes, I wouldn't want to live in one home forever and ever.
Currently here (Spain), but if the opportunity arose to work in Korea in something that I like. That I see a future for myself. I'd definitely go. The opportunities that Korea offers us are greater than what Spain normally offers us.
Especially in terms of work, you have an hour for lunch, yes, but then you leave at 17:00 and go for dinner. But here you don't leave until 21:00 or 21:30. In my case when I work in the supermarket I don't leave until 21:30. All this encapsulates you to a certain time. I honestly don't want to live in Korea. I'd like to try living in Spain or Mexico. I have a good job in Korea and in Spain there's a lot of unemployment...
And it would be very complicated to live in Spain or Mexico... And there are a lot of differences... Of course that's why, even if I want to live in Spain or Mexico, I would have a lot to think about. My total and personal opinion right now, the way Spain is going my plan is to go back to Korea as soon as I can. As soon as this situation with COVID is over...And it's not that I prefer to live in one country or the other. At this point in my life Korea fits with how I want to move forward.
Let's say that if Spain produces several series a year, Korea produces twice or three times as many. Now that Netflix has started working with them, there's more content that's available in other countries. In Spain we are working on it...
Spain is realising that it needs to hurry up and do it... Sure, to expand their culture which in the end like the Hallyu Wave has brought a lot of benefits to Korea. For example now Korea Korea is planning a remake of The Paper House, which came to Korea thanks to Netflix. If you search on ''Naver'' there are millions of reviews and criticisms about the new season that hasn't even come out yet.
So Netflix is allowing more culture to be shared. That's exactly what we've been seeing. That's what we've been seeing. And all of that translates into an economic benefit for the country. Exactly, and a tourist benefit as well.