Some Thoughts About Korea

At my restaurant, I often get a chance to chat with non-Korean customers living or planning to live in S. Korea. I always find their optimistic perspectives on Korea refreshing because I tend to focus too much on the negative aspects of my country.

On the news, Korea is famous for its world’s lowest fertility rate, exceptionally high suicide rate, and chaebol-controlled economy. According to these statistics, Korea doesn’t even look like an okay place to live.

So, what makes Korea appealing? I can come up with a couple answers.

  • It’s remarkably safe to live in Korea. I can walk around alone at 2AM without worrying about my safety. Surveillance cameras are everywhere, and no one dares to steal others’ stuff. In a coffee shop, people leave their laptops on a table when they go to the bathroom. It’s rare to find homeless people and extremely difficult to even see a gun. Even if someone pulls out a gun in a crowded street, Koreans will walk past thinking it’s just a toy. 119(ambulance) and 112(police) emergency services are reliable as well.

  • Koreans are friendly towards English-speaking foreigners. Almost all Koreans have spent numerous years studying English. If English is your native language, many Koreans will look up to you simply because you speak the language they’ve tried so hard to master. As an English speaker, you don’t have to learn Korean to live here. Ironically, Koreans will blame themselves for not understanding your English.