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Thursday, January 26, 2012

East, Meet West! Comparing Korea and Canada

This article was inspired by fellow World Korea Blogger Angeliki Katsika's wonderful article comparing Korea and Greece. Reading her work, I felt compelled to write my own version, making some comparisons between my home country, Canada, and my "home away from home", Korea. So here we go: East, meet West. Korea, meet Canada.

Korea's Taegeukgi (태극기) and Canada's
Maple Leaf, or l'Unifolié ("The one-leafed" in French)

First, the big stuff.

Canada is absolutely massive! At a staggering 9,984,670 square kilometres (3,855,100 square miles), it's the second-largest country in the world after Russia. By comparison, Korea is a tiny peninsula nestled between the comparative giants that are Russia, China, and Japan.

Despite being one of the largest nations in the world, Canada's population is one of the most diminutive per area. The entire population of Canada is only 35 million, while Korea has a population of 48 million, or 481 people per square kilometre! That's pretty amazing. The Koreans have really squeezed themselves into their country!

Given the sheer number of Koreans squished into such a small space, it's no wonder that Korea is one of most ethnically and culturally homogeneous societies in the world. Canada, on the other hand, has a diverse population that is a mix of the native nations, European descendants of colonizers, and descendants of other ethnic immigrants. Currently, approximately 250,000 Koreans or Canadians of Korean descent live in Canada.

So you may be wondering, what could be similar about Korea and Canada? Well, I'm glad you asked.

Now it's time for the small stuff.

Both countries struggle to acquire a second language. For Koreans, it's English. For Canadians, it's either French or English.

We both like our condiments - Koreans need their spicy red pepper paste or gochujang, and Canadians need their maple syrup!

Koreans love their pastries, as evidenced by bakeries on every corner, and we Canadians just gotta have our doughnuts - it's a national joke for a reason.


Canadian spring and summer, Korean fall and winter

Both countries are home to some of the most beautiful lakes, rivers, streams, and mountains you've ever seen. And while Canadians have rolling wheat fields, and Koreans have shining rice paddies, both are breath-taking in the afternoon sun.

Korean rice paddy and Canadian wheat field

Korea is a nation of bowing people, and Canadians are more the head-nod sort, but both like to pay their respects.

Koreans have clans, and so do Canadians. Just ask any proud Korean, or any Canadian of Native, Scottish, or Irish decent!

Both countries are home to kind people, handsome men, beautiful women, and adorable babies!

Cute Korean kiddos dressed for the Chuseok holiday

We share a love of seafood, and a love of beer, and we know that a barbequed meal can't be beat!

Finally, Korea and Canada both have a love of winter sports. Actually, we share a love of all sports. After Pyeongchang 2018, Korea will have hosted the Olympics twice, and Canada will have hosted three times.

And those are just the little things that I've noticed. 

As you can see, Korea and Canada have a friendly relationship for a reason. We know what it takes to make a good life - good land, and good people. Why don't you take a visit sometime? I think you'll find both countries are well worth the time.


  1. I feel as though I recognize at least one of those photos.

  2. Haha, yes you do! From our trip to the Dark Side. I knew there was a reason I took so many pictures ;)