Once you move across the world to a strange place, will you ever make friends? Yes! Korea can be the perfect place to meet like-minded people.
It’s no secret that some people come to Korea as “fifth-years,” recent university graduates looking for a good time. And don’t worry, good times abound. There are foreigner bars, foreigner clubs, foreigner dinners and foreigner hangouts. And—bars stay open all night. So there is no shortage of fun to be had.
Korea attracts foreigners of different nationalities and ages—late twenties, mid-thirties, and upward (though I can guarantee these people are still young at heart.) It’s easy to find a group of foreigners that you can settle right in with, and before long, you won’t have a free weekend in sight.
I met some of my best friends in the world in Korea, friendships started over a beer outside of a Mini Stop, or a dinner with strangers. Because every foreigner in Korea is basically working the same job (teaching), it gives you a lot of common ground and building blocks to start a friendship.
The best advice I can give you is to get involved. When you first get to Korea, it might be days before you see another foreigner (especially if you’re working outside of Seoul). But check out our community page and get involved.
We at Say Kimchi Recruiting care about our teachers. We’re not simply going to plop you down in Korea. We offer a newsletter full of information about happenings and thoughts from around the country, as well as a community website that supports the foreigner community with restaurant reviews, language exchanges, upcoming events, and more.
And once you arrive, you can become a part of those projects by writing an article or organizing a dinner—just another way to get involved in the community!
Here are a few organizations to look into to help you get connected upon arrival, organized by city:
Seoul Global Center: A web site aimed at helping foreigners get more involved and better acclimated to living in Seoul. The main services are related to business in Korea; education and culture; support for daily life; medical referral services; support programs for foreign workers and immigrants; and online employment support. But it also offers free language courses where foreigners can learn Korean as well as more about the country and culture.
Busan Foundation for International Activities: Housed on the first floor of Busan City Hall since February 2006, the Busan Foundation for International Activities, or BFIA, is an organization that provides a variety of services and information to Busan-based foreigners.
The BFIA runs a series of programs, including Korean language classes, Korean cultural experience programs, Korean language speech contests, and gatherings. In addition, foreigners can have the opportunity to experience Korean performances.
Daegu Pockets: magazine produced by and for the expat community in Daegu. Published in a bilingual format, the magazine provides useful information on streets, buildings, restaurants and events, all for the convenience of non-natives. Even the size of the book is handy, as it fits right into your pocket.
The Daegu Guide: A website listing all sorts of community information for foreigners including recreation classes and subway maps.
Gwangju International Center: An international center supporting the foreigner community in Gwangju and Jeollanamdo province. The center offers weekly talks by foreigners, Korean classes, cultural events, a free library (with membership dues), and more.
Gwangju News: A monthly magazine for Gwangju expats published by the Gwangju International Center featuring monthly columns, restaurant reviews, and more.