Tabitha: Allured Abroad
- Recommended Expat Blogs: South Korea
- Chris: From Korea With Love
- Jan: Hanji Happenings
- Maggie: Maggie Moo Does Korea
- Adam & Nicole: Adventures We Seek
- Tania: Small and Tall Travel
- Valerie: Far Away Hammer Writing
- Chelsea: Lost in Travels
- Jennie: Jennie McKie
- Andrea: When in New Places
- Kaleena: Kaleena's Kaleidoscope
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, where you come from, when you moved to South Korea, etc.
I’m an American expatriate in my early thirties from North Carolina. I moved to South Korea two years ago to teach. My original plan was to live here for one year, then go and move to another country or two. But fate would have it that I would fall in love, become a mother, and get engaged to my best friend. That said, Korea will always hold a special place in my heart.
When and why did you decide to start blogging about your experiences?
I have started my current blog, Allured Abroad, to document my experiences of living abroad as an expatriate and mother who is cultivating a lifestyle of travel. I hope to inspire others that it can be done, even while starting and raising a family.
Do you have any favorite blog entries of yours?
One of my personal favorite entries is titled, You’re Just One in 7+ Billion People. In this post, I talk about how cultural immersion changes you and may even make you question your own socialization as you encounter the culture of others, sometimes presenting the opportunity for you to reinvent yourself in such a way that you’re more open and tolerant.
Tell us about the ways your new life in South Korea differs from that back home. Did you have trouble getting used to the new circumstances? Did you experience culture shock?
Coming from a country that values individualism and instills a great deal of it in its people is a contrast to Korean culture, which is more collectivistic. The amount of group think came as a huge surprise. Another challenge for me when I first got here was trying to coexist as a vegetarian in a place that is esteemed for it barbecues. Oh, I really struggled when it came to eating out, not to mention, my first employer often hosted teaching luncheons at a restaurant that served dog meat. Given that my nephew is the cutest maltipoo and smartest dog ever, it was hard for me not to be judgmental.
Do you think you were fully prepared for what awaited you in South Korea? If you could, would you change some decisions/preparations you made?
When I moved to Korea, it was my first time coming. So I was as prepared as I could have been. Prior to moving here, I did a lot of research, including reading numerous blogs and watching videos of others living here. It really helped to get a peek into the culture through the eyes of fellow expats. So I had a working knowledge of what to expect in terms of potential living and working conditions. I can’t say that I would have done anything differently to prepare.
Every expat knows that expat life comes with some hilarious anecdotes and funny experiences. Care to share one with us?
Yes, I have a few. But a funny one is that I got locked inside of a bank while trying to use the ATM. And yes, the bank was closed and I was alone. Can you imagine being in this situation as a foreigner at night?
Which three tips would you like to give future expats before they embark on their new life in South Korea?
- Do your research about living and working here, including learning about Korean culture.
- Don’t hesitate to reach out to fellow expats here. Be open and know that Korea is what you make of it.
- A great deal of us will tell you that it has been some of the best years of our life.
How is the expat community in South Korea? Did you have a hard time finding like-minded people or fellow expats?
The expat community is good and there are many ways to find and connect with other expats. However, if you’re in a very rural area and/or further south, the expat community may seem sparse, requiring longer travel time to go to meet-ups or social events.
How would you summarize your expat life in South Korea in a single, catchy sentence?
My new normal is being comfortable getting outside of my comfort zone.