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Cultural Anthropology - Essay Example

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On the side of culture, South Korea has a lot to offer. This ranges from people, beliefs, traditions, culinary arts and hand crafts. It is due to these aspects that the South Korean culture is immensely fascinating…
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Cultural Anthropology
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Cultural Anthropology

Download file to see previous pages... Language being one of the most powerful tools of communications, it acts as a connection between two or more people hence enhancing knowledge of the society, as well as the residents of South Korea. Korean, being the official language spoken by South Koreans, is not only spoken in this country, but also all over the world. Moreover, English is taught in both middle and high school. Recently, Chinese has been increasingly popular as the South Koreans rediscover their ancient ties to China as a trading partner. Almost all the schools teach English due to the country’s tight diplomatic ties with United States of America. It is in this country where literacy level is as high as 98 percent and due to its homogeneity; almost everyone speaks Korean. Here, the education system is organized in a 6-3-3-4 pattern, with six grades of elementary school, where kindergarten is not included in the formal education system, three grades in the middle school, another three in high school and four years of higher education. With effect from 1953, elementary education was made free and compulsory for all children between the ages of 6 and 11 years. Practical and fine arts, social studies, arithmetic music natural science, physical education, moral education and Korean language are the basics of the curriculum. Admissions into middle school have been through a lottery system by zones so as to ease distinctions between schools of different quality. A curriculum includes 11 required subjects, electives and extra-curricular activities. High school education is a bit advanced as it provides advanced general and specific training based on middle school work. Also, it is based on entrance examination and is not free. Higher education institutions include four year colleges, universities and miscellaneous colleges such as seminaries. About 80 percent of these institutions are private but supervised by the Ministry of Education (pp.110).  The traditional Buddhist and Christianity are the two predominant religions practiced in South Korea. However, these religions have been influenced significantly by the native Korean peninsula, Joseon Dynasty, shamanism and the Korean Confucianism that was the official ideology for over 500 years. However, the most recent estimates show that approximately 46 percent of Koreans have no affiliations to any religion. Among the Christians, Protestants have outnumbered the Roman Catholics. Christianity was introduced here in the 18th century by the Jesuit Missionaries. While 17 protestant missionaries operate in the country, Catholics have only six missionary groups and 15 dioceses. Most of the people here who are Buddhists are members of the Mahayana school that is also practiced in China, Vietnam and Japan. Confucianism was the official religion from the 14th to the 20th centuries and also ensured Korean social order. It encouraged devotion to family, friends, worship of ancestors and family, peace, harmony, justice and ethical living. Shamanism is the country’s oldest religion and still exists in many, diverse forms such as shamanism organizations throughout the country. Other religions include the Jesus Morning Star Church, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness, Muslims and Taoism (pp. 107). Many Koreans hold to the belief that certain foods are eaten to treat various illnesses. Many South Koreans dislike iced beverages, and many avoid milk products as they are lactose intolerant. Here, vegetables and rice are the staple foods. A typical meal is comprised of steamed rice (pap), a type of soup known as kuk and raw vegetables (banchan). Meals are eaten in silence as it is inappropriate to speak while eating especially in the presence of an elder. Rice is eaten with a spoon and lifting the rice bowl to the mouth is ill manners. Kimchee, a Korean ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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