InterNations Featured Blog
Recommended Expat Blogs: South Korea
Everybody who has spent time in a different country knows that expat life is not quite like anything else in the world. The confusion of the first few days and weeks, the slow, but steady process of acclimation, the little peculiarities and quirks that might strike you about your new surroundings: almost any situation you encounter can make for a great story. If you are so inclined and want to blog about it, of course!
Our InterNations recommended blog section features talented expat bloggers from around the world. Their offerings to the blogosphere have been selected for their great entries and high quality, whether they may be funny, informative, interesting, deeply personal or a combination of all of the above.
Let’s hear from our featured bloggers in South Korea:
The biggest problem I’ve had is with the sheer size of Seoul. I made friends at the teaching program orientation when I arrived but a week later we were scattered across the city and even with the fantastic public transport system visiting each other can take over an hour. It’s sometimes lonely, despite being surrounded constantly by people, the ones you are good friends with are so far away.
My lifestyle in the Philippines is ENTIRELY different from my lifestyle here in SK. To discuss why or how would only make me nostalgic. At first, it was very difficult to adjust to Korean life, especially when I could barely speak Korean. I'm not that fluent in Korean Language (yet), but somehow I'm able to get by. I studied reading, writing and speaking Hangul. This is one of the most important things you should learn when you live in SK.
After I’d been there a while and got use to a lot of their customs I started to bow to the Koreans when they bowed to me. There was an incident when I was on a platform waiting for a train and a man walked towards me and I automatically bowed. It was only afterwards that I realized it was another westerner. I walked on quickly and giggled to myself.
Be very aware that living in a non-native speaking country can be frustrating, so a good sense of humor is a plus! Accept the frustration, laugh about it and move on. Every time I had an odd or frustrating encounter I just told myself that it would make a great blog entry at the end of the day. I saw it as an investigative journalism piece and it didn’t seem so bad.
Challenge yourself. The photos and the passport stamps are only half the story. The greatest gift of travel is the one you give to yourself. Be prepared to learn a lot about “you” during this time and see it as a chance to explore and challenge yourself in new ways that you might have been afraid to before.
I was well prepared to come to South Korea, but I wouldn’t say I was fully prepared, but that’s part of the adventure. I would have packed a little lighter (I didn’t need to bring a yoga mat or some of the lower cut dresses I packed), but working with EPIK my first year and having an orientation taught me so much about Korea before I explored it on my own, that I felt prepared by the time I got to Busan.
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