South Korea thinks it wants to welcome the world, but it doesn’t. After hundreds of years of keeping the borders closed, followed by a period of foreign occupation and war, Koreans still have a hard time thinking of their country as anything but a bastion of Korean monoculture. One still hears about blood and soil — ironically, since the very concept is probably German by way of the Japanese occupiers — and half-Korean children are still treated terribly in schools, to the extent that apartheid villages have been proposed.
But forget all that. How good is South Korea with long-term visitors? A new report suggests: not very. From buying cellphone service to getting fair prices on clothes to going to the doctor, foreigners find daily life in Korea difficult. Worse yet, they don’t know what recourse they have, if any, when things go wrong.
South Korea still has a long way to go if it wants to be the hub of Asia.