Life in Korea

Life in Korea: taking a train to all parts Korea

Author's note: Life in Korea posts are aimed at the newer expats here in Korea. If you're one of my wonderful veteran expat readers, consider this the Idiot's Guide to Korea - useful information to some, while a review to others. Anything to add? Comment away.

Source: Wikimedia

Life in Korea: Checking out a Korean job fair

Job fairs in America are an interesting mix; some are perfect for the consummate professional in a thousand-dollar suit, while others have the casualness of a college event. With sponsors including a major recruiter in Korea and the Seoul city government, I was curious to see how Korea does searching for jobs. Entering requires filling out a short registration form - I was rather proud that I understood enough Korean to fill it out unassisted.

Once entering SETEC - the Seoul Trade Exhibition Center - choose from one of the three large exhibition halls.

Question from a reader: nervous about living in Seoul

A reader I'll call M.G. writes in:

Hey Chris, I found your email on a blog sight about Americans in South Korea. I have recently interviewed with the Army Corps of Engineers for a civilian job in Seoul, Korea, and was hoping you could answer some questions about living in Seoul for me. I am a recent college graduate and have never lived outside of the US. I do not speak Korean would like to know how hard it was for you feel comfortable going out on your own in the city to do typical errands; grocery shopping, buying typical grooming items, going to restaurants, sight seeing, etc. Also, I am 23 years old and was wondering if there is plenty for someone my age to do in Seoul in order to meet some other people my own age. I am not concerned about learning Korean for the job since I was told everything will be done in English, but is learning Korean a nessecity for living in the city in order to function?

Life in Korea: playing Korean chess

Source: Wikimedia (all other images taken from this one)

A note to my wonderful veteran expat readers: 'Life in Korea' posts are aimed primarily at the newer expats among us. Think of these like the 'Idiot's Guide' books - an introduction for some, a review for others. If I missed something or you can clarify, comment away!

Life in Korea: health checks for all (except the Korean teachers, of course)

So my school (Which Must Not Be Named - let's just call it a Large Adult Hagwon) has dictated decided that all foreign teachers must undergo a health check at their head office in Seoul. Not a huge deal to travel there - I walk by it some days while walking home - but it's the principle of the matter. What the school says, goes. They want to take your temperature every day when coming into work? They can do that. They want to fire you after you get the swine flu on vacation? Yep, they can do that too. They tell you to stay at home for a week after leaving the country - or saying you can't leave the country? They're doing it now. They want to get almost OCD about foreigners, whether they've left the country or not?

Life in Korea: subway and train lockers, whether blue, yellow, or white

A note to my wonderful veteran expat readers: 'Life in Korea' posts are aimed primarily at the newer expats among us. Think of these like the 'Idiot's Guide' books - an introduction for some, a review for others. If I missed something or you can clarify, comment away!

So you're at the subway station or train station and don't want to carry your backpack / heavy purse / manbag with you while you go exploring. Lockers are available in virtually every subway station, along with most train or bus stations, but some of the newer system are a little... funky.

Life in Korea: 100 Korean words to sound more like a local (part 1 of 3)

To my wonderful veteran expat readers - 'Life in Korea' posts are aimed at the newer expats among us. Think of these as the Idiot's Guide to Life in Korea - helpful for some, and a review for others. Please feel free to contribute what you know in the comments!

UPDATE: I owe a few hat tips to a few expats more versed in Korean than myself. Those, along with some corrections are sprinkled throughout the post.

So you've made it to Korea, learned some hangeul (the Korean alphabet) and have gotten pretty good at reading menus, signs, and subway stops (check out the Korean Wiki Project if you haven't!). That, however, doesn't necessarily make it easier to communicate something in Korean, and hand motions can only go so far.

Anti-Racism Law Proposed by Korean politician

A potentially major story breaking on a Saturday afternoon - from the Korea Times (hat tip to Korean Rum Diary for first blogging about it):
A ruling party lawmaker is to propose legislation that would define racism
and set out punishments for racist acts.

The bill, if endorsed later this year, will become the first legal attempt
to fight racism in South Korea, where various forms of discrimination
originating from skin color and state of origin exist.

Rep. Chin Young of the Grand National Party (GNP), the president of a
parliamentary discussion group on a multiracial society, said an anti-racism
bill will be submitted to a regular session of the National Assembly for
approval, which will begin on Sept. 1.

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