What I've Learned Living in South Korea

Authored by:
Laura S.

Laura S.

Living in a new country is filled with growth moments, many of which come with a funny story or two. Here are just a few things I've learned and some tips I'd like to share about living in South Korea. 

Get Outside

Even though air pollution can be bad in the spring, maximize the days when the pollution is low and the air is clean. Go for a walk, explore a new part of the city, get lost, take pictures, go alone, go with friends. Fresh air is cleansing for both your body and your soul, and a nice long walk can give you time to clear your head, see something new, and meet interesting people. 

Make Friends

It can be tempting to stay in your room when you're tired but try not to get complacent. Go out for dinner with other teachers, chat with your local barista, and make as many friends in as many places as possible. You will quickly find your free time filled with laughter, adventure, and travel if you get out there and meet some people you really click with! 

Be an Adventurous Eater

Try everything. You might like it, you might hate it, but try everything and get a literal taste for your new culture. Not every meal is great, but trying new things is all part of the adventure and you will grow because of it. So when a coworker says, "Hey, do you want to go try this with me", always say yes! 

Buy Local

From food to clothes, look for local places to shop. Not only will you feel like you are more at home, but you will start to blend in! It's a great feeling to look and feel like you live your neighborhood and it's fun to find cute local places to frequent! 

Make it Your Own

Your apartment, classroom, and activities should reflect you! Don't feel like you have to give up who you are or what you like in order to fit. It is awesome to try new things and to allow your identity to evolve, but you also need to find ways to bring parts of who you are with you into a new culture. So find ways to make your environment your own! 

Embrace the Feels

Moving and living abroad will come with as many emotions as you can imagine. Don't be afraid to embrace what you are feeling. When you are happy, be happy and let it show. If you are homesick, sit with that sadness before you move on. Feelings are what make us human, and working through your emotions instead of hiding from them will make your time here much more enjoyable overall. 

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