Things you want to know about living in South Korea

Brie Jude studied a Bachelor of Arts and spent a semester at our Partner Institution, Chung-Ang University. Brie received an $8000 New Colombo Plan Mobility Scholarship to undertake a semester exchange in Korea.

Brie outlines some reasons why living in Korea is so Amazing!!

GAMING CULTURE

Korea is famous for its gaming culture. E-sports and online gaming is so popular within Korea that professional gamers can even gain full university scholarships to complete a degree. Check out this article by the New York Times on just how popular it has gotten.  I remember when I was on exchange in Seoul that when an E-sports tournament for League of Legends was on, everyone would gather in the common room to watch the matches. The atmosphere reminded me a lot of State of Origin here in Australia. Having the world’s fastest internet is probably what helped gaming popularity to explode. There are also cafes, called PC Bangs (Bangs is the Korean word for room), dedicated to gaming that are generally open 24 hours and are full of computers for users to enjoy. Find out more about PC Bangs here.

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SHOPPING

Shopping is huge in Korea! There’s an entire district in Seoul – Myeongdong – that’s dedicated to just shopping.  These blog pages, Best places to Shop and Shopping in Korea have a bunch of useful tips on where to shop and what to buy when visiting Korea.  You can pretty much buy anything you want. There’s a market for electronics where you can even buy a Nintendo 64 console! Thousands of cosmetic stores that give you so many free samples every time you walk past or enter the store, you won’t even need to buy anything. There are clothing stores to fit every style and shape – big tip is to learn how to convert Australian into European sizing for every item of clothing you can think of. Stationery is big in Korea and there are a lot of cute books, pens, erasers – all stationery items.  Shops are open at ridiculous times – some never close, and if they do, it’s only for around 3 hours in the early morning.

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FOOD

South Korea is a foodies’ paradise. There’s so much food and so many different varieties and weird/fun things to try. Korea has a cuisine of its own. Sure, you could visit a Korean restaurant and try some of it in Australia, but it will never be the same as having it in its country of origin. The atmosphere is missing. There’s something for everyone with Korean food. Most foods are spicy to a degree, but there are also traditional meals that are mild and still taste amazing. There are also plenty of vegetarian options and people with allergies. Street food in Korea is amazing as well and you can get food at any time in the day. I once remember getting ice cream at 3am. I highly suggest trying as much food as possible. Pretty lazy? Then Korea is the place for you! Almost all restaurants and fast-food distributors deliver right to your door – even if you’re in a dorm. Getting low on funds? All supermarkets give out free food samples, enough to equal a meal and to fill you up. Life is great for a student in Korea, especially as a foreigner.
Links about food:
https://migrationology.com/south-korean-food-dishes/
https://www.buzzfeed.com/michelleno/foods-every-korean-loves?utm_term=.cmPpZrJXO#.amJDdrq04
https://theculturetrip.com/asia/south-korea/articles/14-mouth-watering-south-korean-foods-to-try/

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NIGHTLIFE

Never be fooled that a South Korean is shy in behaviour. They have some of the best nightlife I have ever experienced, and they know how to party hard! There are so many different types of clubs and events to go to when in Seoul. The legal drinking age in Korea is 19 and their alcohol laws are very lax compared to Australia. There are themed nights, such as ladies’ night, where ladies get in for free and get a discount on drinks. There are some clubs and bars where you pay 10₩ (Est. $13 AUD) and get unlimited drinks for the entire night. Sometimes, even the bar tenders will have a drink with you. Halloween is one of the best nights to go out as well. Everyone celebrates it in Korea and gets dressed up for it. Hongdae, another district in Seoul, is the best clubbing and drinking district. It’s right next to a University so there is always something happening at night. There are other districts like Itaewon – the foreigners district, and Gangnam – the ‘rich’ district of Seoul where you’re most likely to run into Korean celebrities. Unlike Australia, there is no lockout time and most shops and cafes will be open until 5am so there will be somewhere to go if the club shuts and your dorm doesn’t re-open until early morning.
Links about nightlife in Seoul:
https://hungrypartier.com/ultimate-guide-to-clubbing-gangnam-style/  http://english.visitseoul.net/top10/Top-10-Nightlife?indexSn=1&sectionSn=75 https://www.myguideseoul.com/nightlife

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MUSIC and TV

South Korea is globally known for its Music and TV. It is better known as Kpop and Kdrama. Even here in Australia we have been exposed to it. Netflix now streams Kdramas and SBS has its very own Kpop live radio show and TV show. These are both great ways to experience some of what Korea has to offer!

As a foreigner, you will be able to go to concerts for free. It’s the Korean Governments way of introducing foreigners to some of Korea’s modern pop culture.
Learn more about Kpop and Kdramas through these blogs:
http://www.akiatalking.com/2013/12/hello.html
http://www.koreandrama.today/k-drama-mean/
http://kpopforbeginners.weebly.com/what-is-kpop.html
www.allkpop.com

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WHERE TO FIND OUT MORE

Seoulistic – This blog is a great place for students to begin learning about Korea, its culture, language, and what to see and do while they are there. I had it book marked on all of my electronic devices while there to get quick and easy access to it. It breaks down Seoul into its famous districts with what to see and do at each place, must-trys, where the best places to eat are, and the history of the district.

Lonely Planet (Seoul) –  is always a good place to start as well and it is a lot cheaper than buying the travel guidebook version. Although, I do suggest that they get one if they can. It’s great, and has a pull-out map.

Korea.net  – (it automatically takes you to the clothing page). This is an official government website with information about Korea.
The best part of the website is the “About Korea” tab. I used to learn a lot about the history and everyday lives of Koreans.

10 Awesome Facts About South Korea – this is a fun website that has a list about South Korea and some of the quirky stuff that they do. It is more of a general get to know the culture than anything else.

ZKorean – this is a great website for a general information. The best thing about it is that it has a dedicated part on customs. Customs, and how to act in certain situations, is important in Korea so learning about it before hand is very important and useful.

CNN Travel – this website has a list of 10 things South Korea is actually famous for and will give students an insight into what Korea is like as a society.

Fact Retriever – this is a list of 80 interesting facts about Korea. It’s great. Students will learn some fun and crazy things about South Korea and Seoul that’ll, hopefully, pique their interest to go.

 

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