I think the most popular question I get is, “What is Korea like?”. I find myself reluctant to answer this question because it’s very subjective. I can’t exactly tell you objectively what Korea is like because I can only relate to it from my point of view, BUT I’ll share my experience with you.
Q: What is Korea like, and is it worth it? I won’t be the first one to tell you that life in Korea is perfect, but I will say that it has been an incredible experience for me. I have grown in ways I could have never imagined. Maybe I could’ve gotten this growth in America as well. Still, I think being far away from family and friends has definitely challenged me in ways that I may have never experienced in America, or if I did, not to the same extent. As for what I think Korea is like, I think it’s an extremely convenient and affordable place to live. Yes, this is a very superficial response. The two countries are different for many reasons, but it’s not that different from America if you exclude certain aspects.
Let me explain myself:
South Korea isn’t a third-world or underprivileged country, so Korea has it when it comes to access to first-world conveniences. And no, just because I am closer to North Korea and China doesn’t mean my daily life has dramatically changed. I don’t live in constant fear, guys 🙄.
But we digress.
I would say right off the bat, the most obvious, most persistent difference is language. Living in a different culture amongst people who look and speak a different language from your own is very interesting. I would compare my experience in Korea to being the new kid in school. At first, no one knows who you are, and, for a brief moment, you catch people’s attention. You’re aware of everyone and everything. You’re nervous about how people will perceive you and if you will fit in. Afterwards, things start to get old, no one is really interested in getting to know you anymore, and you get comfortable (unless you, like me, have no resemblance of Asian features, then having people cast glances your way on the daily isn’t uncommon. Not gonna lie, I kind of miss being inconspicuous. Something is comforting about being able to hide in plain sight sometimes). At least that’s how I feel.
At first, it made me feel kind of famous for having complete strangers pay attention to me, but after three months, it got old. (I wonder if this is how celebrities feel🧐.)
No, honestly, it’s not as bad as I’m making it sound. More and more foreigners are moving, so it’s not like Koreans are all that surprised by seeing us anymore. (Television and social media are here too, guys.) The older generation and young kids may be a little more curious, but the in-betweens aren’t as interested.
Another huge cultural shock for me was the socializing aspect of Korea. Koreans interact and enjoy each other’s company a little differently than Americans. Cafes, karaoke, eating, and drinking are among the popular social activities- especially drinking. Koreans get to know each other better and feel closer to one another after sharing some alcohol. It “loosens them up,” so to speak, and lets them show more of their vulnerable side.
But details on aspects like this would take too long to explain, so I’m going to end it here for now. If you guys would like to know about this side of Korea and wish for me to go into more detail, let me know! I’ll see what I can do. 😉
Until next time,
See ya around, friend~~^^