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Busan, Korea

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By Betsy Burlingame

Last updated on Jul 10, 2023

Summary: Expats, digital nomads and retirees talk about what it is really like living in Busan, Korea. They offer advice about meeting people, cost of living, finding a home and more.

What do I need to know before moving to Busan?

When we asked people what advice they would give someone preparing to move to Busan, they said:

"Before moving to Busan, expats should know that the city is the second largest in South Korea, known for its beaches, mountains, and temples. It's important to understand that the official language is Korean, and while English is taught in schools, not everyone may be fluent or comfortable speaking it. Expats should familiarize themselves with the Korean alphabet, Hangul, as it will make navigating the city and reading signs much easier. The cost of living in Busan is lower than in Seoul, but it's still higher than in many Western countries. Housing can be expensive, especially in popular areas, and it's common for landlords to ask for a large deposit upfront. The city has a reliable public transportation system, including buses, trains, and a subway system, which is often the most convenient way to get around. Korean food is a significant part of the culture, with local specialties including seafood and spicy dishes. Expats should also be aware of the importance of social hierarchy in Korean culture, which influences social and business interactions. Healthcare in Korea is of a high standard, and expats will be required to contribute to the National Health Insurance scheme. Lastly, the climate in Busan is relatively mild, with four distinct seasons, including a hot summer and a cold winter," explained one expat living in Busan, Korea.

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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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