For anyone who wants to meet and talk to South Koreans online I suggest using a pen pal site. People are usually very grateful and friendly if you are genuinely interested in their language or any aspect of their culture. It is easy to find someone who is willing to tell you more about things that might interest you, whether it’s Korean temples, Korean indie music, KPop, Korean calligraphy, Korean companies or even Korean politics.
My favorite site is, of course, the one where I met Kimchi Man ^^ www.interpals.net. I contacted any person from any country who seemed to have an interesting profile and ended up meeting Kimchi Man by chance, but you can narrow down your searches to include only Korean nationals, and even Koreans of certain age. However, please note that Interpals is not a dating site. It is site for making friends. If it grows into something more, that is just an added bonus :)
If you are purely interested in meeting Koreans for language exchange app HelloTalk is very popular now.
Please keep in mind that while on Interpals flirting might simply not be what some people are looking for, on HelloTalk it is actually against the rules. Language exchange, nothing more.
If you are looking for something with complete freedom, I suggest KakaoTalk (카카오톡). More than 90% of smartphone owners in Korea use it and it’s a messaging app so you are free to say and do as you please.
And now on to the question we received:
How did the two of you meet?
We met trough an online pen pal site. There are many South Koreans who join pen pal sites to improve and practice their English. For us, it was our curiosity for foreign cultures, his modesty and my love for Korean stationery that brought us together.
We are both interested in learning about cultures different than our own. It is easy to find information and statistical data about a country but really difficult to get the true idea about people’s daily life without having a friend you can talk to. Doesn’t it sound exciting hearing for the first time about things they, on the other side of the world, consider usual and take for granted?
However, neither of us ever expected to fall in love in such an unusual way.
Since I really like colorful pens and notebooks and one of my favorite manufacturers is a Korean one – Morning Glory – I always use any chance I get to buy them. I was lucky enough to have found one but, after buying that particular notebook, I noticed everything inside was written in Korean language. I couldn’t find translation online because at that time I had no idea how to use Korean keyboard. Then it occurred to me I could find somebody from Korea on the pen pal site and ask for their help. It seemed like a nice conversation starter.
One of the people I found was Kimchi Man. His profile warned that he might not be an interesting person and that his English is pretty bad. I still don’t know why I replied to such a profile. Maybe I liked his picture more than I am ready to admit :D But he turned out to be the most interesting person I have ever met and his English was just fine.
While other people tried to make themselves appear as amazing as possible in their profiles, he seemed to have been doing the opposite. But this modesty is something I find really cute and charming. When we got to know each other better, we were surprised how similar we are. At first we jokingly threated that we have a culture shock in store for one another, but it has been a year and a half and no culture shock in sight.
We faithfully wrote a message to each other every day, exchanged photographs of what we saw during our day, then talked, and after just for a few months he flew half-way across the world to meet me. That was the first time we met face to face, a bit over a year ago. I am not sure why, but we both trusted each other completly. And that trust has certainly paid off.
We would still like to warn people about meeting in person someone they previously only had contact with online. Be careful. If you doubt if you can trust them, you probably can’t. Make sure you get to know them well before agreeing to meet. Don’t be shy to ask them a photo of their passport, driver’s licence, or if they told you they graduated – diploma. You need to make sure they’ve been truthful about everythint. Your safety is important and if they like you they should understand that. We didn’t really do this one, but it’s always best to bring a friend along when meeting for the first time and meet in a public place.
We hope you liked our story. We are looking forward to more questions.
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