7 Experiences Every Expat Has In South Korea

Being an expat in Korea you get is wonderful and completely full of fun and interesting experiences. Some of these experiences are more common than others and you can expect to have them at least once during your stay. Here are my 7 experiences every expat in South Korea has. 

1. You Have No Idea What You Just Ate Or What Part Of The Animal It Came From

world foodWas that plate of meat you just ate from a chicken or cow? Was it a thigh or intestine? Who knows! When you can’t read or speak Korean, your dining options become so limited that you’d rather be brave and eat whatever is put in front of you than risk starving to death. Frankly, I would have rather taken my chances with restaurant roulette than eaten cheeseburgers every day in South Korea.

At least once during your stay in Korea, you’ve eaten something which you had no clue as to its ingredients. If you really enjoyed a particular mystery dish, my advice is to never ask what it was. Sometimes it really is better to not know that the delicious meal you savoured and devoured was actually chicken rectum. Yuck….or…yum?

2. You Nearly Die Once You Learn About “Free Size” When Shopping

Ah free size. The blessing and curse that we foreigners just love to hate. Why, you ask, is it so wonderful and awful at the same time? Free size (meaning one size fits all) makes shopping and clothes cheaper in Korea because production is faster and can be made in large quantities. However, obviously not all bodies are created equal, so there is going to be that devastating moment when you find the absolutely perfect dress or pair of jeans….and the zipper won’t close all the way up. Oh the pain of that moment is too tremendous to recall. Better to leave those memories of shopping in Korea in the past.

3. At Least Once, You’ve Almost Choked To Death At A Meal

Can someone please explain to me why we never had normal 8-ounce glasses of water with our meals in Korea. I actually still don’t know. The first time I was given a thimble sized cup of water to (quite literally) wet my lips, I was confused and thirsty! I’ve witnessed countless foreigners accidentally slurp a too-large chopstick full of noodles only to panic furthermore when they can’t drink a normal sized glass of water to swallow their food down.

4. You’ve Slapped Ramen Broth Everywhere Trying To Learn To Slurp Correctly

Speaking of noodle slurping, I know I’m not the only expat who’s accidentally splashed broth all over myself and lunch buddies while trying to master the art of noodle slurping. Curly Sue made it looks cute and easy, but most foreigners (myself included) are in desperate need of a “splash zone” warning on our bowls. If you’re in radius of 5 feet of me and my cup of noodles, you will get wet.

5. With All The New Compliments About Your Western Face, You Become Slightly Vain For A Spell

Koreans love to compliment westerners. It’s just a wonderful and lovely fact of Korean expat life. I’d say for a week, and in extreme cases a month, every foreigner walks around with a little more bounce in their step than usual, probably imagining they’ll be scouted any moment by an agent for Korea’s Next Top Model. It’s near impossible to receive compliments daily on your beauty without growing a little vain.

Why don’t you take a trip down sweet memory lane with my article about weird compliments in Korea, How To Correctly Accept Strange Compliments In Korea 

6. A Cabbie Has Made You Cry At Least Once

Some Korean cabbies are mean; it’s just a fact of life. If you’ve ever lived in Korea, you’ve definitely been ignored, stranded, or yelled at by one or two Korean cabbies. Expats who have ever had the fortune to meet a really sweet taxi driver should count their blessings because fate for some reason favors those lucky foreigners!

7. You’ve Forgotten To Get Toilet Paper Before Going Into The Stall

In an effort to keep restrooms cleaner and conserve toiletries, Korean public restrooms tend to keep rolls of toilet paper outside the stalls. You kind of have to guesstimate how much you should take in with you. I know you’ve forgotten to grab a couple sheets at least once during your stay in Korea. I just hope you were smart enough to carry tissues in your purse to save you in that moment of need.

Are you an expat living in Korea? Do you have anything you would like to add to the list? Please let us know in the comments below.

 

 

 

 

 

If you liked this article, please share!
FacebooktwitterredditlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Leave a Reply


Contact Us

US & Canada: 201-467-4612
United Kingdom: 0203-286-9794
Australia: 2-8011-4516

Info@ReachToTeachRecruiting.com

Reach To Teach
1606 80th Avenue
Algona, Iowa, 50511
USA

Teacher Testimonial

C. Venter - 2017 - Teaching in China

Thanks to the help and hard work of my recruiter at Reach To Teach, my journey to China was such a smooth and nearly stress free process. I have now been happily living in China for 6 months. Thanks, guys.


Read More Testimonials »

Teacher Testimonials

R. Busony - 2017 - An ESL Teacher in Taipei
Reach To Teach Recruiting LTD

Reach to Teach is absolutely the best tool to have going into the teaching industry in Asia. I worked with Carrie Kellenberger when going to Taiwan and she managed to give me more than I asked and did frequent check-ups.

Weeks before my dep...


Read More Testimonials »

Teacher Testimonials

Anabel Gabriela - 2018 Teacher Testimonial
Reach To Teach Recruiting LTD

They made what would have been a very complicated process easy. I always felt like they really cared about me and I never felt intimidated emailing or calling when I was confused. Highly recommend!


Read More Testimonials »