Upon first arriving in Korea, it might seem a little strange to some foreigners how close Koreans will be with their friends. It's not uncommon to see girls walking arm-in-arm or holding hands here. You can even see some guys doing this as well. Friendships are very close here in a way that I had never experienced before.
The first time I went shopping with one of my Korean friends, she slung her arm through mine like it was nothing. At this, I was a little confused, but after she explained to me how friends act with each other here, I was able to understand and even adopt the behavior. Now I find myself unconsciously slinging my arm through my friend's before she can. I think if I tried to bring that home, though, my North Carolina friends would definitely be confused!
I remember one time in a class my students and I were discussing how friends interact in different countries. I explained to them that most of my friends and I greet each other with a wave, a hello, and a hug--especially if we haven't seen the person in a long time. My students thought this was funny. When I told them that it was common in some European countries to greet friends with a kiss on the cheek, they went crazy. "Kiss your friends!?!" they laughed. "No way!"
Here I see friends waving and wishing their friends to "go well (안녕히 가세요!)" Sometimes this might be accompanied by a small bow, depending on who is speaking. When I bid farewell to my Korean friends, though, I always give them a hug. This sometimes elicits smiles or funny looks from other Koreans standing around. Sure, it's a little different than what they're used to, but why not incorporate a little Western tradition into the Eastern one?