5 Things I Miss About Living in South Korea
South Korea was just a while vibe and it was the place I lived the longest outside of the US. When you're living somewhere it's easy to get used to stuff and take it for granted. Like your favorite local restaurant or things you use on a daily basis and start to overlook.
HEATED FLOORS (ONDOL)
I definitely did not appreciate this enough. The winter in Korea was brutal, but those heated floors made it a little more bearable. To be honest, I don't know why the whole world hasn't adopted this heating method because it literally just makes sense. There was no running to find the vent or sitting by a radiator when living in Korea and I loved it.
In Korea, it's customary to take your shoes off when entering a house and even some restaurants. Traditional Korean Beds are basically a comforter on the floor and many Korean restaurants have floor seating so having the heaters on the floors was a smart move.
More on Traditional Korean Beds here.
No walking around like a building manager with a lanyard full of keys because the majority of keys in Korea don't use keys. Instead, there is a keypad and code to enter and I STAN. I absolutely loved being able to just punch in my little four digit code and get in the house especially when it was cold or I had a bunch of groceries.
This is also the case with businesses and public places as well. For example, in Korea businesses often have shared bathrooms in a central location in the building. Instead of having a key at the end of a wooden block like in the States (🙄), you're given a code to open the door. Businesses also have these types of doors which makes a lot of things easier. There were a few instances in which myself and other teachers had to open the school when administration wasn't available and it was much easier for them to text us a code than trying to coordinate a time to give us the keys.
NOT PAYING RENT
One of the biggest perks of teaching in South Korea was not paying rent. Yes, you read that right. I was out here living in a free apartment. The majority of English teachers receive housing or a housing stipend in South Korea and I was one of them. Typically, it's a standard Korean studio apartment and that's exactly what I had. It definitely wasn't the biggest place, but it was just enough for little ole me.
For most people, housing is one of the highest expenses they have and I eliminated that all together while teaching English in South Korea. Being able to completely remove that financial burden was HUGE and after a few months I didn't even think about it anymore. All I had to pay were my utilities and, in Korea, they are ridiculously cheap. I'm talking less than $20 a month cheap. Take me baaack 😩
This may seem like a little thing, but it really makes life so much easier. Tipping is widely accepted and encouraged in places like the United States, but elsewhere it's literally not a thing. In Korea, the price is the price and the tax is usually already included as well. Typically, prices in Korea are nice round numbers and you don't have to worry about calculating the tax or tip.
My beloved Soju. Drinking in South Korea is part of the culture and something you don't want to miss out on. Soju quickly became my go to drink when going out and something I never ran out of at home. There are different flavors and it just goes down smooth. Soju can go with a normal dinner or with a night out. Whoever made Soju knew the assignment.
More on Drinking in South Korea here.
As a nomad, this comes with the lifestyle, but that didn't make it easy.
What's something you've experienced on vacation and missed when you got home?