Phi Phi

10 Reasons to Visit and Live in South Korea

Phi Phi

Phi Phi Island in Thailand
Photo by Claudine Williams

After  a year of teaching and working in Busan, I will be leaving South Korea in about a month, more or less.  The departing will be bittersweet, because although I’m excited about being in my homeland, I’ll definitely miss Korea.  In fact, while I am away, I’m making arrangements in the U.S. to travel more extensively, perhaps living in Asia for at least another year.

With all of the cultural differences and challenges associated with traveling and living in a foreign country so many of you have asked me is it worth it? I have to say that the experience of being totally immersed in a different culture, learning a new way of life, and seeing a remarkably beautiful country has made the visit totally worth it.  Through it all, I know that I have a keener insight when it comes to cultural sensitivity. I know how difficult it is to pick up your life and live within a different culture. More importantly, I have a new sense of independence. My grandfather says that if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere. I say, that if you can travel and live abroad, you can make it anywhere.

The world is a big place, and some of you are probably wondering what’s so special about South Korea. Why would I want to return here? Why do I find it so hard to leave, even for a short amount of time? Travel, for each person, is highly individual. No two people will have the same experience, but I’ll share through a combination of narrative, video,  and pictures why I’ll definitely be back in South Korea.  Anyway, here are my top 10 reasons…

choryang

Choryang in Busan, South Korea

1. Friendly Neighborhoods It was a joy to walk the streets at all hours, feeling safe and secure in the neighborhoods in Busan. I’d often see young children in the streets coming home from school after 10 p.m. Sometimes children as young as five were in the local corner store alone. It was just that safe.

Children at the elementary school.

2. Awesome Kids I loved teaching the students at the elementary school. As a teacher, I have never before experienced the level of respect from children as I’ve experienced in South Korea.
entertainment

A B-boy and a Ballerina, a dance production

3. Live Performances Experiencing live shows and cultural performances in Asia is worth the trip. If you have the opportunity to visit, see as many shows as you can.

Phi Phi in Thailand

4. Proximity to Thailand I love Thailand! I love the crystal, blue waters. I love the soft sand on the beaches! I love the friendly people. I love the delicious food, especially the seafood. I don’t know if I’d love the rainy season, so I’d just like to live close and visit. Oh, and the mosquitoes during the rainy season are not so nice.

Coast of South Korea

5. The Beautiful Coast I was lucky enough to live near the beautiful coast in South Korea. Therefore, I experienced milder weather than the weather in Seoul. Also, I was relatively close to Taejongdae park where this picture was taken.

Snow in Busan

6. Snow in Busan I was told that it doesn’t snow in Busan, South Korea. It did snow while I was there, and it looked like a beautiful winter wonderland. It was just enough snow, to make the entire city look amazing, but it didn’t disrupt our lives. We all wanted to play in the snow.

Landscape in Jeonju

7.City Life in Busan I thought that I lived in the city until I lived in Busan. I’m from Miami and have lived in the Atlana area. I also spent some time in New York.  I love the city life. I love being surrounded by skyscrapers, and I love seeing people on the street at all hours. A big plus is living in a big city and feeling a sense of safety. I never heard about any shootings while in South Korea. Now, isn’t that something!

Lotte Giants Game

8. Lotte Giants: Best Baseball Games Ever To sit in a stadium where everyone cheers for one team is an amazing experience. To sit in a stadium where everyone puts a plastic orange trash bag on their heads and cheers is hilarious and amazing at the same time. I was told that wearing the bags is a tradition in Busan. It certainly adds color to the stadium. After the game, everyone puts their trash in the bags. Isn’t that neat!

Korean women in traditional dress

9. Kind People I’ve met some extremely kind people in South Korea. People have helped me lift my heavy luggage onto escalators without being asked.  They have helped me find my way when I simply looked lost. They helped me by taking me where I wanted to go, not merely showing me. Once, I ended up in the wrong orphanage to volunteer. The workers were baffled to see me there, and when we figured out what happened, two orphan teens were instructed to walk me to the correct place (which was not that close). People on the street offer me coffee while they are socializing with their friends. People waiting on the subway offer whatever food they are eating. One Korean woman even stooped down and tied my shoe lace. Another lady fed me while I cried over the loss of my grandmother. She literally fed me with chopsticks.

Spa Land

10. Spa Land Spa land is one of my most favorite places on earth. I could spend hours relaxing in this spa located in Centum City in Busan. In fact, I have spent many hours there, and I hope to spend as much time as possible relaxing at the spa before I leave for the U.S. For less than $13 I could experience pure relaxation in the most beautiful surroundings that you can imagine. I suspect that if  Spa Land happened to be in the U.S. I would pay hundreds of dollars for the experience.

5 comments

  • ChasingDreamer

    I’m sort of a new reader here. I absolutely love the south korean culture. I love your blog, the possibility of teaching in south korea is something I’m looking into in the future after I graduate college. I wish you continued success in all your endeavors!! ^_^

  • I read one of your earlier posts and now I see you’ll be leaving South Korea, I do hope no matter where your travels take you that you keep blogging, as the information you provide is very educational and the pictures make you feel like you’re right there.

  • Kenya

    I will be leaving to go teaching in Daejeon, South Korea this Tuesday on the 17th of August. I am excited but also scared at the same time. But reading this entry helped me feel less nervous and more excited. When i read that that woman fed you when you cried over your grandmother’s death that just touched my heart. It’s refreshing to know that there are people in this world with a big heart.

    It’s good to hear you loved it. I will add you on facebook. I am also another Black woman (24-years old) from Detroit who will be there. 🙂

  • I love Korea. In south Korea the people there are mostly business minded and are very friendly. The place their too has some scenic features which I find entertaining. I got to go there somehow.

  • Good round up. Hope you’re safe at “home”.
    .-= Turner´s last blog ..Baegam Hot Springs Festival =-.

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