10 Things I Love About Life in South Korea
South Korea, the land of the morning calm, endless kimchi, and a culture that is easily lovable! In the short six months that I’ve lived in Korea, I’ve come to really enjoy my time here and appreciate the differences in lifestyle from my western way of life.
So in the same vein as last week’s post about the 10 Things I Hate About South Korea (read here!), I’m happy to also share the top things I love most about my new Korean home.
10 Things I Love About Life in South Korea.
1. How safe it is.
I cannot stress this one enough! Korea is SO safe regardless of how the media portrays the tensions with North Korea. I feel completely comfortable walking home alone at night and even carrying my iPhone in my back pocket. This place is so safe, that I have even seen groups of Koreans leave their phones, belongings etc, alone at their table while using the restroom! Anywhere else I think that would be a huge risk.
2. Koreans are friendly people.
Koreans are super friendly and kind. It can be overwhelming the amount of attention I sometimes receive, but generally it’s with the good intention of welcoming me to Korea or for them to have an opportunity to practice their English. Koreans have also been more than happy to help when I’ve been lost or confused about how to order in a restaurant – people always seem available to help out a poor confused foreigner!
3. The collectivist attitude.
In Korea, there is more value placed on unity as a group than on individualism. There are pros and cons to both, but there are some aspects of this collectivist attitude that I have grown very fond of. Sharing large meals with loved ones, waiting for the full group of coworkers before leaving, the tight knit bonds of extended family – it’s a nice change of pace from what I’m used to.
4. Affordable health care.
Health care, dental care and medications are extremely affordable and accessible to all. What a concept! America definitely should take notes from South Korea on what it means to offer basic health care to its citizens. $10 dental cleanings, $15 doctor visits, $10 prescription meds – as an American it’s sad just how shocked I was to experience healthcare as an affordable basic human right.
5. Incredible public transportation.
Nearly all of Korea is connected by an intricately efficient web of public transportation. Fast trains, slow trains, long distance buses, public buses and metros – it’s so convenient! I love the accessibility and ease of getting around this country. Not having to rely on a car is life changing. Now if the Daegu metro could stay open just a liiiitle bit later that’d be dope.
6. The coffee and dessert cafe craze.
If you’re a coffee addict like I am, then Korea is the perfect place for you! Cutsy and delicious options can be found in nearly every neighborhood in the cities and depending where you are, the coffee can be quite affordable.
7. The fastest internet in the world.
A gamer’s and Netflix junkie’s paradise! The internet here is some of the fastest in the world. It’s also very easy to find free wi-fi in public areas, which saves me my monthly data and makes travel for tourists around Korea all the more convenient. Who doesn’t love free wi-fi?
8. Affordable standard of living.
Affordable energy bills, heating bills, public transportation, food options – it’s easy to live comfortably here. The only complaint is how expensive fruit can be. So sad!
9. The food + drinking culture.
I love traditional Korean food. It’s usually pretty cheap and very healthy. Every meal comes with unlimited side dishes of fermented this and pickled that and the portions are just the right size. Modern Korean snacks are also something to drool over, having nearly every flavor in every shape and form under the sun.
Also, a cool fun fact to mention is that there are no open container laws in Korea. So you have freedom to enjoy your drinks on the go – a special treat for all of my fellow Americans. And Koreans really know how to work hard and play harder, which means that enjoying a bottle of soju or two (or three or four) with friends after a long week at work is totally the norm!
10. No tipping, and sales tax is included in the price.
Never having to calculate how much to tip or having to keep it top of mind after every single service is so amazing. Not to mention never having to think about the addition of tax – why doesn’t every country do this? The price you see is the price you pay!
Spreading the love is fun! For those in more of a hateful mood, check out the 10 Things I Hate About Life in South Korea 😉
What do you love about life in South Korea? Share below!