[Q&A] Is my dream of going to South Korea going to turn into a nightmare?

Adda asked:
Hey ! In the first place I am from Europe and recently I found out that I have an affinity towards Korea. It`s small wonder that i like this country because when I was around 12 years old I watched anime and read manga . Briefly I want to work there or at least to visit this country. I tried to talk with my parents about this and they told me that I am dreaming too much and if i go there i would be a “castaway” and even if I find love his parents won’t accept me . I felt discouraged and right now I do not know what to believe.

Answer: I wish we could tell you that you will get a chance to experience Korea, have the time of your life, meet the guy of your dreams and his Korean parents will love you. Unfortunately, we have no idea how it will work out, or even if it will work out. But that doesn’t mean you should be discouraged or give up on your dream!

Incheon International Airport

If you go to South Korea this will be one of the first sights you see there: Incheon International Airport

Right now, it depends on how old you are. If you are 14 you need to listen to your parents , wait and see if you feel the same way when you are a bit older. If you are in your 40s, forget what they are saying and go for it! (I took into account approximate time when anime became popular outside of Japan so you should be somewhere in that age range .) ^^

South Korea has low crime rates and is relatively safe country. Apparently South Koreans even leave their bag unattended in public without fear of it being stolen. Kimchi Man says he would never do that himself but he confirms it truly is a common occurrence. However, a lone woman in a foreign country might face certain dangers no matter how safe the country is.

That being said, internet seems to be full of experiences of women traveling or living solo in Korea and having a good time. Here are some we found.

Incheon airport with caption Should I go to Korea

Should I go to Korea? Pictured: Incheon International Airport – rated the best airport in the world many years in a row.

If you just want to go there for a visit, we can’t think of a reason not to go. Tourist are not rare in South Korea. And it should be easier to talk a friend or a family member into accompanying you on a trip than into moving there with you so you don’t have to go alone.

If you want to work in Korea for a short while we think that’s a great idea and will enrich your life but is slightly more complicated. Most people that go to Korea to work teach English but it is possible to get different kind of jobs as well. We know of quite a few people who went to Korea to work as engineers at shipyards.

It would be good to at least learn Hangul. Also the more Korean language you know the easier it is going to be. Obviously you will need to get a job and a place to stay if your employer doesn’t provide it. You need to acquire a working visa. To ensure your safety use common sense: don’t accept rides from strangers, try not to go out alone late at night etc.

As you can see, there’s a lot of things you need to do before you reach a point where you have to worry about your future in-laws. :) However, if it does come to that someday I am glad to be able to say that Kimchi Man’s parents accepted me really nicely, so it does happen and positive experiences do exist.

There is an abundance of people sharing their experience online, and I urge you to look into that, but you should be aware that there are quite a few prejudices about South Korea and Koreans in general, and don’t let that discourage you. Kimchi Man doesn’t fit any of those prejudices and neither does his family. So it just depends on the person itself.

Also keep in mind that when people are having a particularly difficult time they like to share that with others and get compassion and understanding. Unfortunately, it does leave the rest of us feeling like there are more negative than positive experiences out there which doesn’t necessarily need to be true.

We wish you for your dream to come true and your time in Korea to be fun and enjoyable. If you or anyone else has any more questions feel free to ask. Have a nice day everyone.

20 thoughts on “[Q&A] Is my dream of going to South Korea going to turn into a nightmare?

  1. Short term work is very difficult to find and normally more hassle than its worth. Studying is the best way for OP to visit Korea long term unless they have a degree than E2 teaching.

      • Most degree’s are acceptable if your for an English speaking country and studied there.
        For a non-teaching job, It depends on the degree and any experience, for a non-Korean recent grad without experience sadly there is nothing.
        If you have experience in a area of demand i.e. engineering and find a job based in Korea, then a company will sponsor your visa.
        There are may ways to either visit or live in Korea, if you look :)

  2. Regarding family, there’s no reason to think it will be impossible due to cultural differences. I’m an Asian guy dating a European woman. We’ve met both sides of the family and they’re very much happy with us, and in fact it’s pretty amazing being able to learn and share so much more of our culture, traditions, and language.

    As a cute note, when my girlfriend visited my side of the family, my grandma, who barely speaks English, was left alone for a bit with my girlfriend and then stroked my girlfriend’s face and said, “You’re so pretty!”

    • Yes, mixing of cultures doesn’t have to be a “clash”, it can be enriching for everyone involved. I am also excited that on top of meeting a great guy I can learn new things and expand my views.

      Your grandmother sounds wonderful :)

  3. Well I know that manga and anime are from Japan….what I was trying to say is that I liked “asian people” from the very begining. I started with Japan and now with Korea :) and by the way I am 18 :)

  4. I was supposed to go to Korea with a friend 3 years ago. I piled some money and I was ready for it. Then she got a new boyfriend and within days, she decided she wanted to spend the summer with her new boyfriend instead of going to Korea.

    I was crushed. I didn’t want to go alone in such a far country. Because I did not buy the plane tickets yet, I did not lose any money. But I kept the money just in case…

    I did not want to hear or read anything about Korea for a few weeks because I was so sad I was not going. I knew it would be very hard to find someone to go to Korea with, as I’m probably the only one in my small hometown who’s ever heard of Super Junior! LOL

    Then school year started and I shared my passion of k-pop and korean culture to my new students. Out of curiosity, I went on the Korean government website and found out that they offer a homestay program, which makes it a cheaper and safer way to go to Korea for girls.

    I applied.

    Within 24 hours, 3 korean families were happy to welcome me in their house. I choose one. Within 48 hours, I paid my stay and I bought my plane ticket.


    I already had a friend in Korea (I met her at a korean meetup language workshop close to my hometown). She was waiting for me!

    I also met many girls on the Internet prior to my departure for Korea. *

    I spent 1 month in Korea. I had an awesome Korean family to take care of me, I had friends in Korea to hang out with. IT WAS AWESOME!

    So, here’s the conclusion: follow your dreams no matter what!

    I now have a Korean boyfriend. He’s awesome and we’ll go to Korea next year!

    *Disclaimer: Although I was lucky to meet nice people on the Internet, always be careful when meeting strangers. Trust your gut feeling and be aware!

    • Wow that friend didn`t know what she missed.
      I wish I could have the daring to participate in that program and choose a family , but someday I would visit Korea for sure

  5. The program is very safe. You have a coordinator that takes care of you and you can call her anytime in case of emergency or problems with your host family. The program is run by the government and believe me, they don’t want to have a bad rep. It’s very nice.

    Usually, at least one person per family has to be fluent in English. Ju, was the only one speaking English, but she worked all the time. The rest of the family barely spoke any word of English. That’s why you HAVE to know the basics (reading hangul is useful and know simple sentences). But anyways, they are so happy that you are there that we understood each other very well.

    If you go to Korea, make some friends over there BEFORE leaving. Like I said, I met a few girls on a language exchange website. Then chose to meet them in Korea in public places. Because everybody works a lot in Korea, don’t take for granted that your host family will guide you through Seoul. Having friends SAVED my trip. I went to Busan with a friend, visited another in Daejon….went to see the taping of a KBS Tv show (sketchbook) because my friend knew people at the station….etc…

    South Korea is very safe. Safer than Montreal…

    Put some money away, plan your trip carefully and have fun! You can do it!

  6. I wanted to go to Korea too. study or work, whichever. its just that I’m very discouraged to do so recently because I feel like all my effort is not working out as I hope it would. I’m thinking maybe its not really for me and I feel bad about it cause I’ve beeb really wanting to go there but unfortunatele there’s no opportunity for me or maybe I’m looking at the wrong place. I dunno.

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