A country located in Southeast Asia between Japan and China. Because of the recent economic rise from a third world country to the 10th largest economy in the world, it is often refered to as the eastern tiger. It has a history going back over 4000 years (This is clearly documented and there is almost no dispute over it), and there are theories that the Japanese may have been civilized by the Koreans.
Its culture is both complex and rich, but many modern-day Koreans are increasingly embracing technology and disgarding a lot of the original culture. However, core principals such as deference to elders are still very apparent.
Today, Korean pop-culture is becoming increasingly influential in the Southeast Asian area; many Korean celebrities, such as BoA, can now fluently speak Japanese and Chinese as well because of their popularity in those regions. The Japanese loooove K-Pop and K-Drama, and the Korean movie industry is gaining more and more influence.
But modern day Korean culture is still developing, and takes many inputs from foriegn countries. Popular imports include Japanese manga and rap.
The food in Korea is considered to be delicious by many foreigners. However, it is not for everyone as many dishes include garlic as a key ingredient. Prominant dishes include bul-go-gi (marinated grilled beef), kim-chi (spiced pickled cabbage), and bi-bim-bap (rice mixed with various side dishes, such as the aforementioned bulgogi and kimchi)
Korea is probably the most wired country in the world. Its high population density and small land mass fosters high speed internet and cell phone techonology. Gaming is becoming very popular and a key part in teenagers' lives. Korea is the only country in the world where Pro-Gaming can be a full time job.
Like most other Asian countries, the educational system in Korea is highly intense and competitive. Math and the sciences are stressed as being highly important. English is also considered as an important subject as well. By the end of middle school, or 8th grade, nearly all Koreans have studied Algebra II, and many have learned trigonomotry as well. Competition to get into the top colleges such as Seoul University is extreme, and many Korean students go to America to escape from the competition, and choose to study as exchange students and attend an American college. Korean students often go to school until three, and then go to hak-won in the evening, or places where you are tutored further in certain subjects, ranging from math to piano to english, so that you can do better in schools. There is a standardized national test that a student needs to take before going to college, and tests for specific areas as well. The standardized test is about the level of the AP tests in America.
South Korea is a promising country in todays world. In 50 years, it emerged from a third world country to the 10th largest economy in the world. However, there are many problems that it must face in the future, including government corruption, political relations with North Korea, pollution, and economic stability. But if it overcomes these problems, South Korea has the potential to become one of the greatest countries in the world.
I used to live in South Korea and then went to MIT... and found that my courses at MIT were easier then the courses I took in Korea. (in terms of the hours spent studying to get a good grade)