Do you want to move to South Korea, but don’t know how?
Learn about how to move to Korea and what you should expect when you take this huge leap to become an expat!
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You might be asking yourself How do I permanently move to South Korea? or How can I get paid to move to South Korea? Or better yet, Can I move to South Korea?
Yes, you can move to South Korea! It’s true, I swear.
And hey, moving to Korea might be easier (or harder) than you think.
The way that I moved to South Korea was by teaching English. Many people do it and love it! Moving abroad can be exciting, invigorating, and also terrifying. But that is also the beauty of it.
What You Should Know Before You Move to South Korea
Fruits/vegetables can be expensive. I remember buying ~.5kg (1 pound) of strawberries for almost USD 10.
Everything else that I’d buy was usually similarly priced to food back home in the US.
Check out some groups on Facebook and Reddit. Internations is also another site that I always like to recommend, along with Bumble BFF.
If you are going to be living and working in Korea, you must learn to respect their culture. Of course, that goes for any country.
Culture shock can happen! Talk to family/friends to help get you through the hard times.
That is why joining Facebook groups and other groups with other expats can be useful. There are plenty of Facebook groups out there for expats.
What You Should Do Before Your Big Move to South Korea
- If you’ve read any of my posts before, I always recommend learning the basics of the language before stepping onto the plane.
For me, learning the Korean language was crazy hard. You can download apps, watch YouTube videos, and even follow some TikTok accounts that will help you learn the language. I love jfromkorea on TikTok.
Once you get to Korea, it would be a smart idea to take a language class.
In the major cities, you will find that many South Koreans speak English.
However, in smaller towns, it will probably be difficult so it is best to prepare yourself beforehand.
- If you will be working online, you should also check to see if your job provides international health insurance.
If it doesn’t I wouldn’t be too worried since Korea’s healthcare is cheap, even for expats.
- Another item to add to your to-do is to cancel any accounts that you aren’t going to need in the US.
If you are only living abroad for a couple of years (or even one), you should look into getting a Charles Schwab account. You will be able to take money out of your account without any foreign transaction fees!
- You might also want to look into getting a travel credit card if you don’t already have one.
I highly recommend Chase Sapphire Preferred/JetBlue. They do not have any foreign fees when using the cards abroad and you get to accumulate points.
- If you are going to keep your phone number, you can port it to Google Voice or to Number Barn.
There are too many apps out there these days that basically do the same thing so you are bound to find something.
Does Travel to South Korea Require a Visa?
To live in any country legally, you will need a visa. You should get one so you can avoid fees, fines, and other complications later on.
If you’re going to South Korea just to travel, you can get a tourist visa.
If you are going to move to Korea and become an expat, you will have to research which visa you will need. Not to worry because the visa process is simple and will probably cost around USD 70-100.
As an English teacher, you will need to obtain an E2 visa. Your school will help you get set up.
How to Move to South Korea
I suggest that you secure a job before heading abroad.
Of course, you can move abroad without a job but if you do that then make sure you have a good chunk of savings, just to be safe.
If you secure a job overseas, you will probably have an interview or a series of them over Zoom or some other platform.
Make a list of questions to ask before sitting down and turning on that computer.
You might want to know if they offer visa assistance, housing, or even help setting up a bank account.
Additionally, you should ask about the salary and hours per week, amongst other things.
Don’t be afraid to ask those Facebook groups that you joined questions about schools or areas in which you may be. Most people in those groups are so nice and love helping others.
There are loads of websites that you can use to find jobs in Korea, especially if you want to teach a foreign language, such as English.
Here are some websites that can be useful in your job search:
Is it Safe to Move to South Korea?
In my experience, living in South Korea was extremely safe.
I never felt nervous or scared and I used to walk from my school to my apartment at 10 o’clock at night.
Korea has CCTVs everywhere.
Reasons Why You Should Move to South Korea
- One of the first things that you should inquire about before emigrating to Korea, or any other country is safety.
Not to worry because Korea is an extra safe country to live in.
It might just be the CCTVs but hey, they clearly work.
- Their crime rate is very low, especially compared to the US.
Petty crime can happen, especially in the bigger cities such as Seoul or Busan. So just be careful and watch your back everywhere you go.
- For Americans, if you want extraordinary health care, Korea should be on your radar. It is even affordable!
They dealt with Covid safely and were super organized.
Check out my post on Moving to South Korea During Covid.
If you are going to move to South Korea to teach English, chances are your job will offer you health insurance so that’s one less thing you’ll have to worry about!
- South Korea is all about its quick service. You will get food in the blink of an eye and your drink will be at the table before you know it.
If you’re from the northeast of the US (hey Boston) you’ll understand the anxiety if things aren’t done too quickly.
- If you decide to move to South Korea, you will quickly realize that the country is appealing and there are lots of things to do!
There are countless national parks that you can check out, Korean food is tasty, and they have Soju, of course!
They even have a toilet museum in Suwon. There are other amazing attractions such as Seoraksan National Park and Bukchon Hanok Village. Check them out and you won’t be disappointed with your decision to move to South Korea!
So now you’re ready for your big move to South Korea, so start calling that international moving company!