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Pros and Cons of Living in Korea

By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Nov 27, 2021

Summary: Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what expats and digital nomads have to say about the pros and cons of living in Korea.

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William Russell Health Insurance
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William Russell Health Insurance

What are the pros and cons of living in Korea?

Expats, digital nomads and retirees living in Korea responded:

"It would only be negative as I will not return to South Korea and will even avoid layovers in said country," explained one expat in Daejeon.

"I absolutely loved living in Seoul. I would not have traded my experience for anything. Generally speaking, I had a very positive experience with working and socializing with Koreans as well as with other ex-pats. I have so many great memories of my time there from 2018 thru early 2020. I would definitely consider relocating to Korea, if the right professional situation was offered," said another expat in Seoul.

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What do expats in Korea appreciate most about the local culture?

"The smiles of the people, the helpful attitudes that many have after just struggling with a simple Korean hello. Most will help you with anything. The ability to bend over backwards running around like nuts to help you and then in the end, nothing was really done. (here instead of just doing A to B, they do A, D, F, Z, N, Q, H, then B)," said another person in Busan.

"VERY family oriented culture. VERY helpful people, although reserved to strangers. Hierarchal-based society. Very proud, hardworking people," remarked another expat in Chinhae.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell's private medical insurance will cover you and your family wherever you may be. Whether you need primary care or complex surgery, you'll have access to the best hospitals & doctors available. Unlike some insurers, we also include medical evacuation and mental health cover in our plans (except SilverLite). Get a quote from our partner, William Russell.

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What do expats find most challenging?

"Remembering that you chose to live abroad. Stop comparing and embrace where you are," said another expat in Busan.

"In direct opposition to positive behaviors, once behind the wheel of a car, very few rules apply! Imagine LA or Chicago traffic on steriods," remarked another in Chinhae.

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.

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