Monday, December 9, 2013

After Immersion (Shopping and meeting new Koreans) by Amanda

Shopping and meeting new Koreans in public.

Shopping areas
Dondemun - great for clothes
Myeondong - make up and clothes
Namdemun - accessories and bags

Dondemun is very much a clothes and shoe central. It has an underground shopping centre and a couple of huge department stores around as well as a clothes market. Its always fun to try bargaining in korean and watch how others bargain.
Myeondong is very much a foreigners shopping district. There are rows and rows of shops and multiple franchises in the same place. So its always good to shop around before you buy. They tend to hard sell products to you if they know you understand mandarin, speak english and they tend to step away from you. Of course, there are always exceptions as some sales assistants do speak english as well. GST for  cosmetics bought over $30 from a Global tax-free stores (look for the orange or blue sticker in front of the store) can be claimed at the airport before leaving. NOTE: you’ll need to specifically ask for the Global Tax-free receipt to claim your GST.
Namdamun Market is a  wholesale market for accessories and clothes. It’s like a market with various office like buildings surrounding it used for wholesale purposes. But don’t just walk around namdemun, take time to explore into the various buildings where you get to see them making accessories from scratch by hand. Because they are all handmade, the workmanship is one of the best I’ve seen though it’s produced  by the thousands. At night, food stores will pop up along the pathways and if you’re brave enough you can give them a try.
Handy tips: Don't bother researching online about make up, korea’s make up industry moves so fast that by the time you get there they would have had new products on the shelves. Make up line changes according to seasons and always try the sample packs before buying.Personally I prefer banilla co. for my CC cream and face primer. Etude house and innisfree for facial care and Clio for make-up.
Sincerity will always go a long way. Most Koreans really appreciate it if you make an attempt to speak Korean to them. Always remember to be unashamedly courageous in speaking and they will appreciate the effort, sometimes, alcohol helps too. My experience with meeting new Koreans in public were all pleasant. Generally, they are quite afraid of speaking in english and appreciate it when you make an attempt in speaking  korean with them. Acting cute is very much acceptable in their culture and they are usually very surprised when a foreigner loves spicy food. Tip: Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, they understand that you are learning so go ahead and put yourself out there! =)
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