Becoming an Expat

If you’ve watched my vlog from a few weeks ago – if not you can see it here – you may know that I recently accepted a job teaching in South Korea. With just six weeks to go until my move, the reality of and excitement around just how big a transition this is going to be is really beginning to set in.

Today I found out I’ll be placed in Daegu, the country’s third largest city in the South East of the country. Although I had hoped to stay in Seoul after my training week, I’m excited to familiarize myself with a city I probably never would have visited otherwise in my life had it not been for this work opportunity. The other positive about being here is there being transport links not only to pretty much everywhere else in South Korea, but the city’s airport will make travelling to neighboring countries a lot easier than if I was in any of the smaller cities or towns.

While I’m getting prepared for my move and working through the visa process, I’m looking into things like cost of living, the public transport system, the existing expat community and things to do around the city like hiking the several incredible mountains surrounding it.

So, with all that being said, I’m publishing this post to find out if anybody who is subscribed to my blog has experience either in South Korea or as an expat in general and if they’d mind sharing anything at all with me to help me prepare and/ or better enjoy my experience.

To follow my journey as I move across continents, subscribe to my YouTube channel here. 

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30 thoughts on “Becoming an Expat

  1. I personally never been in South Korea but my husband is travelling there quite often. It is a beautiful country and since we are from Europe, we find it very familiar, very similar to our kind of cities. Being an expat at the beginning maybe is not easy but you just need to adapt yourself to the city where you live and then everything is fine. We live in Singapore for more than 6 years now and is amazing how you can adapt 🙂 Enjoy the journey! Will definitely be a great experience!

    1. Ah that’s very reassuring as I’m a Scot and am on the continent often! Thanks so much for your input and advice 😊

  2. I think you will have lots of adventures. if you ever find it hard, remind yourself that you are in a different place with different rules, customs, ideas, ideas about personal space. When you find it great, enjoy and embrace it. When you find it suffocating, find some space for personal time. When you find you have too much freedom, enjoy it.

  3. Great news.
    I think that’s a good choice for you. I think the cities smaller than Seoul are much easier for an expat to navigate, learn and even to meet people because there are so many fewer foreigners.

  4. We’re going to enjoy hearing about your experiences living and working in South Korea, and your travels. Wishing you every success and much happiness in your new challenge.

  5. Best of Luck and Best Wishes. I just read multiples of your blog and watched some of your recent vlogs on your trips and experience. Sounds Wonderful! I also subscribed to your Youtube channel hoping to read and see more about your adventures. It is also good to see that you are sharing your experiences and views on your tips that might help other fellow travellers and tourists.
    I haven’t personally lived or travelled to South Korea but given the fact that I had lived and travelled through different Asian Countries for a longer period of time, one piece of suggestion I’d like to give is that it would be much more easier and helpful for You if you could connect with the Asian (In this case South Korean) Localities. Also travelling in South Korea must be inexpensive if I’m right and make a note of the fact that in restaurants, tipping might not be necessary. I know this is not much but I hope it helps. Good luck.

    1. Thank you so much! I’ll keep all of that in mind and can’t wait to really immerse myself in local culture. Best of luck with your blog!

      1. You are welcome, looking forward to see the funny as well as interesting things you try from local cultures. Thank you for your luck wishes with my blog, it’s just been a day since I started posting. Hoping to see where it leads! My blog will be a package of multiple fields, more to come in the upcoming days. If You’d like, follow my blog to see if that helps you in anyway, I’d really appreciate it 🙂!

  6. So exciting! My biggest piece of advice is to just know that things will be very different from what you might be used to and to accept that and not judge it at all. Just take everything for what it is and try not to compare to how you’d expect things to be done.

    1. Yup totally agree with that. I’m trying my best to familiarise with Korean culture by reading/ watching things but know Daegu is slightly more conservative in the country which will be a major learning curve for me, but glad I know in advance! If you could take a second to subscribe to my YouTube channel I’d really appreciate it! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC5zGoHEYgKJgqXb1DPF3hKQ

  7. I really like South Korea. Find the Cheonggyecheon which is a great place to stroll and relax in Seoul. Also the markets that are bustling during the day and turn into many street food places at night. I haven’t been outside of Seoul as mostly was on flight stop overs but spent four days wandering the city during the Buddha Festival.

  8. I was there several years ago. Personal space is different. Go in knowing the customs and traditions are different and try to get to know what they are before you go. I don’t feel I suffered much in the line of culture shock when I arrived. It was more reverse culture shock when I returned. The organization that sent me over there to work trained us for 15 days and part of it was getting to know the cultural norms. When I was there people would ask your age a lot. In some places that is considered rude. In Korea they change how they speak to you based on if you are younger then they are , the same age, older than they are, their grandparents age, etc. The endings on words change based on that. Go see the museums, Buddhist temples, etc. Go to cultural events. It helps you understand the people. Buddhism and Christianity are the two major religions there. When i was there it was an unwritten rule to let senior citizens cut in front of you in line and give up your seat on the bus or tube/subway. I think that is also part of Confucianism. Honor your elders. I could say more, but I will let others chime in. It is a beautiful country and beautiful culture.

    1. That’s fascinating, thanks so much for sharing! That’s good to know, as the way I was raised will very much align with what you’ve mentioned here in terms of age hierarchies and so on. I will read up on Confucianism over the next few weeks before I head off. Thank you Sharon!

  9. One tip — when I lived overseas I purposely chose not to live an “ex-pat” life, and chose to integrate myself locally. Much tougher at first, but far more rewarding after. Good luck!

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