Are you thinking about moving to South Korea in 2020? There are many advantages to moving to The Land of the Morning Calm, like affordable living costs, low crime rates, and a welcoming and friendly community. However, think practical before you make the step of moving abroad to this beautiful East Asian country. We listed a couple of essential things you should know.
Before we start, we will just get on to some quick facts. This country is situated amid three formidable states: Japan, China, and infamous North Korea. The capital city is Seoul, one of the largest cities in the world. If you want to move to a less populous city, just think about Busan or Incheon. English is a popular second language, but you’ll see that Koreans are very shy and don’t speak it very fluently. If you decide to start your new life here, you might want to learn at least some basics of the Korean language. The official currency is South Korean won (KRW).
What to Expect When Moving to South Korea
Relocating abroad to South Korea means that you’ll encounter specific challenges such as a different mindset, a seemingly strange lifestyle, cuisine, and, most importantly, language. Breaking the language barrier will probably be the hardest part of your time in this country. Here’s a list of the most important things you need to expect when moving here:
- Eating habits: Koreans share food, and it is less likely you will get a separate plate if you go to a restaurant.
- Small-sized clothes and shoes: If you decide to start your new life here, you need to bring your own clothes and shoes since the sizes tend to be smaller than the average
- The stares: As an expat, you will get a lot of attention most of the time since older Koreans have the habit of staring at foreigners.
- Friendly community: On the other hand, young adults will show great interest and will be friendly.
- A demanding work discipline: You’ll be expected to work long shifts, sometimes even when you are sick or during weekends, especially if you get a teaching job at English Academies.
What to Expect When Living in Seoul
If you are moving to Seoul, be ready for a crowded lifestyle. Of course, all our previous entries on what to expect when living in South Korea apply here. However, we must highlight one more thing you’ll most likely experience in Seoul and not in other smaller cities. Every apartment or home is generally tiny here. Therefore, you can forget about hanging out with your friends at your place.
Public Health Care System Is Excellent
Get a job here, and you’ll have access to excellent and affordable health care. Even in some suburban areas, you will be able to find a doctor who can speak fluent English.
Learning to Read Korean Is Not That Difficult
English is a popular language here, but you’ll see that not many people are speaking it fluently. Besides, books in English are hard to come by. The good news is that Korean is not that difficult. Many signs are actually English words written in Hangul, the local alphabet. Be sure to research some tips for learning a new language and get some basics to help you get around.
Find English-Speaking Expat Communities
Close-knit expat communities will help you overcome culture shock. People from all around the world settled here, and they often organize meets-up. They will always welcome newcomers with open arms.
Visas and Expat Jobs
International moving means that you’ll have to obtain certain documents needed to travel abroad. This country has developed an extensive visa process for expats, immigrants, and visitors. If you are coming here for work, you will search among different visa types. Just be aware that each type will usually demand different requirements depending on the kind of job you’ll be doing. The application process is much easier today than it was in the past, and it will cost you between $70 to $90.
Opening a Bank Account Is Mandatory
If you want to live here, you are required to open a bank account. Apart from the fact that you’ll be needing one for work, the bank account will come in handy for paying rent and utilities.
Housing and Other Things to Know About Living in the Land of the Morning Calm
Settling in a more urban area in this country means that you’ll have limited space available. Apartments tend to be small, so you should consider using some storage facilities until you find larger accommodation. If you decide to travel to suburban and rural areas, you can start getting boxes and moving supplies and start packing everything you want. Almost every home in a rural area is larger and comes with a garage. Therefore, be sure to hire overseas vehicle shipping, too. Here’s some more information about living in this country:
- Low crime rates and safe environment
- Excellent transportation for comfortable travel
- Pick up WiFi basically anywhere
- Traveling to other Asian countries is more than affordable
- Plenty of traditional restaurants and coffee shops
Embrace the Korean Lifestyle
We hope this article showed you that moving across the world to live in South Korea might just be a perfect choice. If you choose to carry out your international relocation this year, you’ll have to collect some experiences on your own. As soon as you settle in, make sure to search for expat communities that will help you embrace the Korean lifestyle and culture. As soon as you adapt, you’ll see that there are many advantages to living in this incredible country.