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With the Korean Wave of influence that has spread all around the world, many people wish to move to Korea.  They feel that they will live a glamorous K-Drama life, date their favorite KPOP singer and live happily ever after.  Many people hear about good times and flowing alcohol in Seoul, but not many realize the realities of living in Seoul, or anywhere else in Korea.  Before you plan your dream KPOP wedding, here are a few reasons why you should visit Korea before moving there.

Language

Korean language is a changing language.  Words that are not in older Korean books are now used everyday in Korea.  If you are someone who does not like to study, you may find yourself lacking in communication skills that are vital to survive.  Signs in Korea can be found in 3 languages, Chinese, English and Korean.  That means if you learn best in a language other than these, you may have a hard time adapting.  Even if you do speak one of these languages, not everything will be in English or Chinese for you all the time.

While many people move to Korea without knowing any Korean, the more Korean you know, the better you chances are of enjoying yourself and surviving on your own.  If you’ve been studying Korean, do you know enough Korean to get by?  Maybe. I was told by many of my “friends” that no one would understand me because my Korean was horrible.  However, I was able to order food, buy things at stores and communicate with people in Korean just fine both in and out of Seoul.  A visit to Korea will help you gauge your ability to communicate with others, and help you to see areas in which you can improve your language skills.

Measurements

If you’re from the United States and want to move to Korea, you will have to get used to the metric system.  You will not hear about miles and feet, but you will hear about kilometers and meters.  While this may not seem like a big deal, knowing how to use the metric system will be will come in handy.

Public Transportation

If you are not from a big city, you may not be used to taking buses and subways to get to your destination.  But if you live in Seoul, you will most likely be doing just that.  Bus drivers in Seoul are known for taking off when they want to, even if you haven’t found a seat or something to hold on to.  If you don’t like being around a bunch of people in a tight space, this may be a problem.

But what if you are not in Seoul?  You may have less subway and bus options, or they may close down earlier than you would like/need them to.  Things outside of Seoul can be different than how things work in Seoul.  If you are wanting to live in the Korean countryside, or in another major city that is not Seoul, you will want to visit and see just how the bus and subway system works in those areas.

True Standard of Living

While many feel that everyone lives the life that Korean dramas portray, the reality of Korean life can be quite different.  Korea has many the same economic problems as other countries, so one should not expect to move to Korea to avoid all of the problems they may be facing in their home country.  The cost of living in Seoul can be very expensive.  The closer you are to a subway station, the more rent will cost you.  The cost of food will vary depending on your diet as well.  Some foods you are be used to may not be easily available and may cost a lot more to get in Korea.  You will need to go to Korea and go to different food shops to see how much buying groceries will cost you.  You can look online to see how much rent for an apartment will cost and how much jobs will pay you to get a gauge of how much money you will have in your food budget.

Shopping

One of the biggest obstacles that many foreigners, #외국인‘s, have is clothes shopping in Korea.  If you are a bigger or taller person, you may have trouble finding clothes and shoes in Korea.  Some wonder if they will find certain products that they use on a regular basis in Korea.  Many products from North America are sold in Korea, but some are not.  If there is something specific that you want or need, you may want to look for it when visiting Korea to make sure it is there.  If you cannot find clothes, shoes or a specific product that you want in Korea, you will need to see if you can order it online and have it shipped to Korea.  Otherwise, you may be asking for a lot of care packages from your home country.

These Are Just a Few Reasons

There are many reasons why you may want to visit a country before you move there.  The biggest reason I recommend visiting Korea before deciding to move there is due to the number of stories I’ve heard of people who left behind everything to go to Korea and could not fully adjust to how life is there.  Moving half way around the world, leaving behind friends, family and a life you have known for years to go to a new country and have new experiences can be quite a challenge.  But the more prepared you are, the better you will be at facing such challenges.  Korea is a beautiful place, but it is not for everyone.  Before moving, take a look for yourself how things are and how you will be able to adapt to what you will face.  Doing so can save you a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of heartache that would come by moving without checking out the facts before hand.

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