South Korea at a Glance
Moving to South Korea
When moving to South Korea, you will get to experience a country with a rich cultural heritage and historical background. The independent state of Korea has existed for several millennia. Following the Korean War in the 1950s, the nation was divided. Unlike its northern neighbor, South Korea saw rapid economic growth in the years that followed. Although tensions between the North and the South still keep resurfacing, South Korea is a modern democracy in every way.
The South Korean Government
South Korea has nine provinces, six metropolitan cities, as well as one special city (Seoul) and one self-governing city (Sejong). Its legal system combines European civil law and Anglo-American law with Chinese classical thought. South Korea’s president is elected by popular vote for a five-year term. The State Council, completing the executive branch of the government, is appointed based on the prime minister’s recommendations.
The legislative branch is made up of the National Assembly or Kukhoe with 300 seats. The judicial branch, on the other hand, consists of the Supreme Court and the Constitutional Court. Supreme Court justices are appointed by the president and with the consent of the National Assembly. Justices of the Constitutional Court are nominated by the National Assembly and by the Chief Justice of the court.
An Economy of Opportunities and Challenges
Expats moving to South Korea will be happy to learn that this country does not only show a record high in growth and global integration. The government also continues to take measures to push the high-tech industrialized economy. Its system of close government and business ties as well as its directed credit and import restrictions have allowed South Korea to become one of the world’s largest economies.
Even after the brief financial crisis towards the end of the 20th century, moving to South Korea remains a good idea. The crisis led to greater openness towards foreign investments and imports. However, like any other country, South Korea faces various long-term challenges. These include a rapidly aging society, an inflexible labor market, and an overdependence on manufacturing exports.
Summer and Winter in South Korea — The Ultimate Extremes
Upon moving to South Korea, you will soon find that temperatures vary considerably between midsummer and midwinter. You should prepare yourself for very hot and sticky weather in August and freezing cold weather in January and December. In addition, many expats who are used to a more moderate climate will be surprised by the heavy rainfalls during monsoon season in June and July.
Spring and fall are probably the best seasons for moving to South Korea, with sunny and warm days and mild temperatures. Winters are quite dry but often bitterly cold. Indeed, Siberian winds will drag temperatures below zero. Should you move to South Korea during winter, you will quickly begin to appreciate ondol (underfloor heating) and oncheon (hot spring spas). Peak summer, on the other hand, starts off with monsoon season during which South Korea receives 60% of its annual rainfall. Hot and humid weather is the norm, and there’s a chance of typhoons.
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