Korean age and my Korean name

I said that I would get back to you about my Korean name and I thought I would talk about the Korean age as well, so here it comes! 🙂

What is Korean age?

I remember hearing about Korean age and international age on orientation day and was surprised that there was a different system for counting ones age. So, let me explain how the Korean age works.

In Korea, you are one year old when you are born and then everyone gets one year older at New Year’s. So you are always +1 or +2 years from your international age. So interesting!

Thus I suddenly found myself as 25 in Korea. And I thought I still had time to prepare myself to be half way to 50…

korean age and korean name 50

But let’s say your birthday is on November 30th, do you get older then too in Korea? I recently asked this and the answer is no. You only get older at New Year’s.

The age is quite important for the Koreans as they think that you should show respect to older people. So knowing the age of people around you is good since you address the people differently depending on their age.

And another interesting thing I heard is that if you are drinking with elders it is polite to turn away from then while you take a sip. The more you know, right!

How do you get a Korean name?

As names in different languages can be difficult to pronounce many Koreans have English names and vice versa. For example my buddy introduced herself in an email last spring as Seulki, her Korean name, and continued: “but you can simply call me Heather”.

Much like the way I got my name, a Korean name has to be given to you. I spoke about my Korean name and and then suddenly I had two suggestions. I then chose 윤이나, pronounced something like ‘yunina’, as it sounds a bit like Nine. The Korean names usually have a meaning and my Korean name means shiny/shine.


What is your Korean age?

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