Why Every Expat Needs a VPN


So you've got your new apartment all set up. You were finally able to find fitted sheets (for an exorbitant price, no doubt), you've connected adapters and transformers as needed and you even managed to put up a few pictures of family and friends back at home to make your new living space just a tad more comfortable. Yes, it's time to relax and unwind. Soon you realize your cable is limited to Korean variety shows with the occasional decade-old made-for-TV American movie you're fairly certain no one you know has ever heard of. "No problem," you say, "That's what the internet is for."

Think again.

Netflix, Hulu and even TV networks like ABC and ESPN disappoint with apologetic messages notifying you that their programs cannot be watched outside the States.

"Okay... so I'll just listen to music," you decide.
Not so fast. Pandora and Songza shut you down before you can even decide on your preferred playlist.

Your breathing becomes heavier and your heartbeat steadily increases. You find the strength to stand up and barely fall to the floor as your knees give out. You manage to make it to your co-worker's place across the hall. He sees the fear in your eyes and needs no words to understand your worries. He sympathetically places a hand on your shoulder and assures you that things will be fine. Soon enough, he mentions three letters that will forever change how you know entertainment as an expat living in Korea forever: V-P-N.

Photo: Gizmodo.com

In simple terms, a VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a discrete network of computers connected over the internet. Individuals can use a VPN to gain access to network resources when they're not physically on the same network (i.e. not in the same country) or for securing and encrypting their communications when using a lesser trusted public network. When properly connected, an American based VPN makes it appear as though your computer or electronic device (smart phones, tablets, etc.) is connecting to a network such as Netflix from inside the United States.

This ingenuous system allows die-hard fans to watch the World Cup live as it happens without having to deal with a crummy, subtitle-less local network. They can also listen to location-restricted internet radio and check out their favorite television programs (Game of Thrones, anyone?) as they air instead of waiting for translations or rebroadcasts. And for those that are interested in watching Korean movies and dramas, they can gain access to sites like Netflix and Hulu that provide an extensive selection of translated Korean programs.

There are a number of VPN services to choose from, but I recently began using PrivateInternetAccess.com after becoming an affiliate with them. I was surprised by the simplicity of the set up process using their easy-to-follow tutorials and wondered why I hadn't signed up years earlier, before I became clueless as to what's going on in American pop culture.

In addition to using a VPN to watch shows and listen to music on both my computer and iPhone, I can also rest easy knowing that my internet connection is secure, which is necessary since I pay my bills and do my banking online.

And the very best thing about PrivateInternetAccess.com's VPN service? The price!! To get to access all your favorite movie streaming sites and ensure a secure internet connection only costs $6.95 per month or $39.95 for a year.

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for a VPN today and you'll be thanking me when the rainy season (aka movie-watching season) rolls in.


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Re: Why Every Expat Needs a VPN

You actually don't have to pay for them. If you set up clients such as OpenVPN or SoftEther VPN on your computer it's totally free. Unlike other 'free' VPNs such as Hot Spot Shield and Spotflux et al, which are slow and plague your computer with ads and malware, these VPNs are being provided by organizations that want to provide a service. Connection speeds are great and there are hundreds of free servers around the world. Open VPN can be used on all platforms including phones. I think SoftEther is only available for Windows.

There is some configuration that needs doing for OpenVpn, but it's pretty simple once you know how.

I use this site for my servers: http://www.vpngate.net/en/

OpenVpn download here:https://openvpn.net/

The link for SoftEther is on the vpngate page.