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An Expat Talks about Living in Seoul, Korea

What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?

Seoul

How long have you lived there?

8 months

What activities, clubs and organizations would you recommend to newcomers to help them meet others?

The Seoul Club, ANZA, ANZ chamber of Commerce, SIWA

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In terms of religious, racial, economic and cultural diversity, are the people of this city or town diverse? Are they accepting of differences? Describe.

We've always felt very welcome here and the object of curiosity. We attract a lot of attention particularly with the children who are all blonde.

The Korean culture is interesting and they appreciate any interest you show in trying to speak Korean or in their culture.

The Christian religion is a small part but I haven't noticed any intolerance.

What are the main industries in this city? What types of career opportunities commonly exist? How do most people find new jobs?

I know there are always a lot of teaching positions available.

Koreans focus heavily on education and I don't know anything about the local job market.

I think the banking industry will change significantly in the future. Most expats seems to work in finance, car, computer industries.

In general, what are peoples' priorities in this city? For example, do lives revolve around work, family, socializing, sports, etc.?

I am an expat wife and as such spend most evenings with our three children. It is rare for my husband to be home before 9pm so someone in a similar position to me has to be prepared to enjoy their own company and cope with all the homework too!

By joining the above clubs and groups it's easy to develop a social network and be involved.

We always have weekends together and try to visit somewhere different in Seoul. We enjoy our life here very much and even though I'm on my own a lot, I'm not lonely as such. By using prepaid calling cards, it's not expensive to ring Australia. We have cable TV and I enjoy reading so the nights are quickly occupied.

For the men there is quite a lot more socialising after work than what we used to have at home, but that is part of the work ethic here. You set your own standards and guidelines.

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If a friend of yours was thinking of moving to this city or town from far away, what other advice would you give them.

Be prepared to be stared at.

Bring lots of English books/magazines as there are only 2 English books stores in Seoul.

Most foods can be bought but are significantly more expensive than Australia, especially champagne.

The seasons are distinct and the whole expat lifestyle is very interesting and fun. Have a respectful attitude and always be polite. It is a very classist society but good manners always go the distance.

In summer it's very hot and humid and winter is very cold and dry so plenty of moisturiser is needed.

Have a happy attitude and be prepared for a lot of miscommunications, but also be prepared for the experience of a life time.

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An expat who worked in the military describes his experiences of living and working in South Korea for six years. Includes ideas for learning the language and some descriptions of his positive experiences with the Korean people.

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