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Possibly moving to South Korea, any advice would be great!

ChillyWillyChillyWilly Registered User regular
edited October 2020 in Help / Advice Forum
Hello, folks. I have a question for any experienced parties.

My wife is a teacher and is interviewing for a position which would begin next August if things go well. Should she earn the position, we will be there for 2 or 3 years.

We have both done our share of traveling, but none of it has been outside the states. She has a friend that has already worked there for a year and the school itself has resources to help foreign teachers, but I'm reaching out to try and get as much info as possible about what to expect there as Americans. Places to go, things to do (and not to do), customs to observe, blogs by people who have moved there and how they transitioned, language resources...anything at all, really. No bit of information is too big or too small.

I hope this isn't too broad a question. Please let me know if I need to narrow down what I'm asking for.

PAFC Top 10 Finisher in Seasons 1 and 3. 2nd in Seasons 4 and 5. Final 4 in Season 6.
ChillyWilly on
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Posts

  • DoctorArchDoctorArch Curmudgeon Registered User regular
    I know @Cantido‌ is living in South Korea. He might have some knowledge on the topic.

    Switch Friend Code: SW-6732-9515-9697
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    @ChillyWilly‌

    Be warned about a couple of things. Firstly, that the treatment of teachers in South Korea varies wildly from being respectful to being treated like garbage. I've heard both horror stories and wonderful stories.

    Weather - I hope you like Celsius.
    South Korea's weather has four very different seasons, and is crazy and deadly 9 out of 12 months of the year. The Mid-September to November period is the nicest and most beautiful part, when the summer humidity plummets and the trees change color. Anywhere from mid November to December it may start snowing. In January, the Siberian winds kick in and bring about intense wind chill up until late March. In the Spring (March-May) a concoction of Gobi Desert sand combined with Chinese pollution called Yellow Dust spreads throughout Korea, caking roads in cars in a sickly yellow color and actually making people sick. June through mid September is summer, where it is hot and very very humid. Its as intense as Mississippi.

    Living quarters
    Modern Korean homes do not have centralized HVAC units. During the summer I have two HVAC units, which double as coolers and dehumidifers, in the living room and bedroom of my apartment. For the rest of the summer, the other rooms are my apartment are basically inhospitable from lack of HVAC. For heat in the winter they use gas based floor heating, which is surprisingly effective. I combine this with bubble wrapping my windows to conserve heat and lower my gas bill.

    In a push to resolve issues with garbage everywhere, cities are starting to enforce waste disposal. Every week, city dwellers have to meticulously sort out recyclable waste at a designated area. They also have to purchase two different kinds of trash bags, both of which are expensive. White bags are for trash in general, and orange bags are for food waste because kitchen sinks do not dispose food here.

    And of course, Korea is blessed with the best internet infrastructure in the world. Seriously my intertubes are awesome.

    What to see and do
    Travelling - Korea is a "hub" for East Asian travel. I have been to Thailand, Cambodia and Japan because flights are incredibly cheap (Thailand is disgusting and I'm never going back.) One of my buddies did all that and also went to Hong Kong, Bali, and he went to Taiwan for Christmas.

    For travelling in country, I exclusively use public transportation, because its really good and I'm terrified of the roads. Koreans are terrible, aggressive drivers. There are busses and trains that will take you anywhere you want, you just need to plan your trip ahead. Subway travel is cheaper and more comprehensive than Japan's. Taxis are cheaper too, but the taxi drivers tend to avoid westerners at night. Recently a law was passed imposing a huge fine upon drivers who refuse customers for any reason. The "big" train (not subway) routes for travelling long distances between cities are called ITX and KTX. You can pay a $10-$50 dollar ticket to get from one station to another, or purchase a really good weekend pass on their website.

    The national pastime is mountain hiking. Koreans are hardcore hikers. I would hike a mountain sweating and panting, and be passed by three generations one family, all in flashy hiking outfits, carrying their infants on their backs, tearing up a mountain. Whether its the hot and humid summer or cold winter they give no fucks.

    The two cities to party and explore are easily Seoul and Busan. Tourists in Busan go to Haeundae beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in Korea, where there are fish markets, temples, and bars and clubs. Seoul is the second largest city in the world.

    I have to go somewhere so I'll think of more stuff later...

    3DS Friendcode 5413-1311-3767
    DoctorArchcookiekrush
  • ChillyWillyChillyWilly Registered User regular
    That is all fantastic info. Thank you!

    PAFC Top 10 Finisher in Seasons 1 and 3. 2nd in Seasons 4 and 5. Final 4 in Season 6.
  • ChillyWillyChillyWilly Registered User regular
    @‌Cantido

    I'm a pretty big gamer and my wife and I also use our consoles (360, PS3) for Netflix, the WWE Network and other assorted apps. Will my American bought consoles work? Will we be able to use Netflix instant and other online subscription services?

    PAFC Top 10 Finisher in Seasons 1 and 3. 2nd in Seasons 4 and 5. Final 4 in Season 6.
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited December 2014
    @‌Cantido

    I'm a pretty big gamer and my wife and I also use our consoles (360, PS3) for Netflix, the WWE Network and other assorted apps. Will my American bought consoles work? Will we be able to use Netflix instant and other online subscription services?

    @ChillyWilly

    This is an important question, I'm glad you asked:

    First, your consoles will work, but they and every single American electric appliance you have will require voltage converters. They range from 30 to 40 dollars, and plug directly into the wall. They have two outlets. My entertainment center has everything plugged into one typical western strip, plugged into one converter.

    Every appliance you have has some marking near its electric plug dictating whether or not it can accept both voltages. If it can, you can buy a small voltage plug that plugs it directly into a Korean outlet. My cisco router and Sony Bravia TV are two such examples. Not checking this can brick your hardware.

    My PS4, Wii U, 3DS and PC can use their respective gaming networks just fine, but being in East Asia beans a few things. This side of the world gives zero fucks about Xbox One. Also, Japan and Korea play games quite differently. Japan prefers Nintendo and Sony consoles while Korea favors Android and PC gaming. This simply means your online gaming will be playing with Japanese and American military the most, while you will see more Koreans on Blizzard, LoL and mobile gaming. Your performance will be excellent either way. But if you want to play with friends and family back home, you will be hindered by the time zone difference and huge latency. Also, for some reason, Nintendo's store accepts American credit cards but PSN does not. I use Amazon to buy my PSN funds.

    EDIT: I forgot. Arcades are everywhere in Japan but rare in Korea. But Koreans love the Tekken franchise. Also, PC Bangs (PC Rooms) are everywhere. PC Bangs are LAN arcades where you can PC game for about one dollar per hour.

    Now the bad news for console gaming: unless youre on a military base, you're screwed on all things retail. That's why Amazon Prime is very popular on military bases. My retail options are limited to what the base retail has in stock as well as whatever American retail games I can scavenge from the massive Yongsan Electronics Market in Seoul. I hope you like digital downloads, because they are your most reliable way of playing games on their (American) release date!

    By the way, if you want to build, upgrade or repair a gaming PC, this is definitely the country to do it. My PC was destroyed in the mail, and a repair shop took it to Yongsan and brought it back to life at a lower price than what it would cost to replace the ruined graphics card!

    I have bad news regarding Netflix. Netflix is hardass about regional restriction. Your console Netflix days will be over in this county. You will need a PC or laptop with high quality VPN software to use Netflix effectively. I use Hide My Ass VPN to get to Netflix. What video library services work varies widely in this country:

    Netflix: Need VPN, Chromecast doesnt work
    Amazon Video: Works perfectly, no VPN needed, Chromecast unavailable.
    Google Play: Need VPN, Chromecast works as is!
    Youtube: Works fine, Chromecast works.

    Cantido on
    3DS Friendcode 5413-1311-3767
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited December 2014
    More stuff:

    Food
    nat-xo.blogspot.com_.jpg
    Food in Korea is awesome and nutritious. Not as mindblowing as Japan's, but still excellent. All the stuff you hear about people eating dog meat is out there somewhere, but you're not going to find it unless you're really looking. The signature dish is Kimchi/Gimchi ( 김치). Kimchi is spicy, fermented assorted veggies, such as bean sprouts, scallions, radish and their most famous, cabbage. It takes months to prepare and goes back hundreds of years. Don't bother buying the shit in the jar you see in America, its awful. Furthermore, Kimchi will stink up your refrigerator. This is why Koreans purchase a second, dedicated Kimchi refrigerator. Koreans value portion variety, rather than portion size like in the west. Therefore, damn near every meal you can order in Korea will likely come with Kimchi as a free appetizer. Koreans expect it. You should learn to like Kimchi, because its good, healthy and it makes them happy to see foreigners enjoying it, rather than gunning straight for the meat. The above picture shows little plates of free assorted Kimchi surrounding Korean BBQ in the making, which I will cover next.

    Korean BBQ is amazing and beloved by Koreans and foreigners alike. You takes slices of Pork, Chicken or Beef, and lay them on a hollowed out table with a grill in the center. The grill takes gas or charcoal heat, and you cook the meat yourself (they'll do it for you if you're a beginner.) When the meat is ready you lay it on a lettuce leaf, which you can stuff with rice and kimchi and eat the whole thing. Westerners make the mistake of eating the whole thing like a taco or fajita, and this confuses Koreans. My Korean friend asked why I was eating it that way, and I explained to her. Instead, you should stuff the leaf lightly enough that you can put the whole thing in your mouth in one bite. I tasted this, but with clams and oysters, at Boreyong Beach in the city of Daecheon (different from Daejeon) and it blew my mind.

    Koreans love fried chicken and have their own delicious spin on it. Some big Korean fried chicken franchises are TBA, Saku Saku, and Hoolala. They serve it boneless or by the drumstick, breaded and very spicy, or with a variety of flavors. They view it as a social snack, not a meal, to be enjoyed with friends and drinks.

    One of my favorite dishes is Bibimbap, in particular, its counterpart, Dolsot Bibimbap, where its served steaming hot. It is assorted kimchi veggies on top of rice with an over easy egg on top. Its delicious and healthy.

    Alcohol
    I really don't like alcohol but this is important. Remember the video Hangover? PSY was parodying alcohol consumption in Korea. Koreans consume the most alcohol per capita in the world. More than fucking Russia. This is because of their signature liquor, Soju (the green bottles that PSY and Snoop were pouring shots of.) Soju will fuck you up. Soju will destroy you. Alcohol percentage labelling is not regulated like it is in America. A general rule of thumb is is that one regular little bottle of Soju is the equivalent of four beers. A lot of military and civilian westerners have fucked of their careers and lives drinking this stuff. Be very careful when drinking soju, socially with Koreans or otherwise. Also, Korean beers fucking suck. The two major Korean beers are Hite and Cass. They both suck. Japanese beers are amazing.

    Language
    Hangeul is an awesome awesome alphabet that is easy to learn, and designed to be easy to learn. It is not just the easiest language to learn in East Asia, its the easiest language to learn period. It gets its own holiday in Korea. Korea was late in the literacy game, and Chinese characters did not fit Korean verbal language, so the highly intelligent King Sejong designed the characters of the language to match the shape of the human mouth or tounge. Within eight hours of studying total, I could speak whatever I read.

    I'll give you your first lesson right now:
    vowel-phonetic-pronunciation-11.png?w=625
    The first five vowels you learn are drawn with basic lines. I memorized them by comparing them to fighting game inputs.
    A - Right arrow (Pronounced "ah")
    Eo - Left Arrow (Its pronounced "uh" )
    O - Up arrow, (Pronounced "oh")
    U - Down arrow, (Pronounced "ooh")
    Eu - Horizontal line, (Pronounced as a very grunty "ugh" or "oogh")
    I - Vertical line (Pronounced "ee")

    Want to add a y to that? Add a second stroke! Simple!

    The greater challenge is conversing. I've learned what I need to survive on my own, but when I'm not in the big city, I'm a fish out of water (more on this later.) It is in your best interest to learn Hangeul first, then conversation second. Avoid a book like Korean for Dummies which only phonetically teaches you sentences without teaching you the alphabet. Learning the language is important because....

    People
    I'm sorry to say, Koreans are simply not as friendly as the Japanese. Racism is in both countries, but in Korea, they act upon it. Remember what I said about taxis? Over Christmas weekend, a taxi driver refused my friend, so he tried to respond by taking a picture of his license plate. The driver got out of his car, punched his lights out and stole his phone. Busan has signs barring foreigners from bars and clubs. In Seoul, there was a sign barring blacks from entering a bar because Ebola. God help you if you're black. Learning as much Korean as you can, and being careful and polite helps tremendously, but I still can't get into the occasional restaurant.

    I get along with Koreans okay in the community in and around my military base, and some districts in Seoul (Itaewon, Noksakpyong, Hongdae and Shinchon). Most places, again, I am a fish out of water and I have to rely on my understanding of Korean to survive. Koreans speaking English is the exception, not the rule. Younger generations are more likely to be friendly to foreigners. Women, children and elderly of both genders randomly come up to me and call me "handsome." One old guy did this and shook my hand and left like he wants me to keep up the good work. My ex went bonkers when she saw me. One day I was wearing a suit and tie and I got swarmed by women. I, a timid virgin at the time, was confused yet covered in women like a JRPG Marty Stu. I guess they like western pretty boys.

    They are very tunnel visioned in all things transit. Many are not used to the waiting in line. Whether its on foot or in a vehicle, they will trample you and its up to you to be on your toes.

    EDIT - I don't want to confuse unfriendliness with not understanding English, and I'm sorry if it sounds like that. But the more Korean you know, the better off you'll be.

    Cantido on
    3DS Friendcode 5413-1311-3767
  • moocowmoocow Registered User regular
    Food
    Yeah, the food here is great. I love that it's not all fried and slathered in lard (but you can still find that if you want it)! There's a lot of different kinds of Korean food joints that serve completely different food from what one would think of as traditional Korean BBQ, so see if you can find other places. Make local friends!

    There's this shabu shabu place nearby where instead of a grill, you get a giant bowl of soup on a burner in the middle of the 4 person table. First they heat up the water, then dump in a load of vegetables. If you want, you can order some dumplings to cook in there as an appetizer as well. After the veggies cook a little, you dump in the meat that you ordered, wait until it's ready, then eat. Eventually when the water has boiled off a little, you put in some home-made noodles to sop up more of the water, and eat the noodles plus whatever's left. After the noodles are all gone, they bring you some fried rice type stuff and put that in to soak up the last of the water.

    Sometimes Korean takes on western food can be pretty strange. Wara wara (think Korean Applebee's, but with a little more emphasis on drinking) serves a bunch of "pizzas" that are basically a pie pan with a tortilla-like thing in the bottom that they just throw stuff on top of, which doesn't usually include tomato sauce or cheese. But they're pretty good, especially when you're drinking out of a watermelon filled with soju and watermelon juice.

    That said, fried chicken and beer places are pretty popular, and it's pretty good. And I've had a couple of really good pizzas (real pizza!) from independently owned pizzerias as well.

    Bottom line, if you are not ready to be gastronomically adventurous here, you are missing an opportunity.


    Alcohol!
    Koreans fucking love drinking. A lot of the drinking establishments are a bit more private than the typical American bar, they're really nice if you're just looking to have a good time with your friends and not meet a bunch of random people. In most Korean watering holes, the food is the pricey stuff while the soju and makgeolli and beer and whatever are priced relatively moderately, so they really like you to buy their drinking food (kind of like appetizers). Sometimes, if you don't buy food though, they'll just bring you some anyways.

    Also, in addition to soju, Korea has many different types of alcohol. Like soju, most have lower alcohol content than hard liquor, but don't let that fool you. It means they're super drinkable and you'll end up fucked up anyways!

    My favorite is Makgeolli! It's a unfiltered looking, milky rice wine, but unlike soju, it actually tastes good! At specialized makgeolli joints, they will serve you in a big bowl with a ladle, which you fill your tiny bowl with. It's also not much more alcoholic than most beers. A lot of the bottled kind from the convenience stores have aspartame instead of sugar, to help it from spoiling, so it tends to taste a little different than the kind you get at a makgeolli establishment. I prefer the home-made stuff, but I drink plenty of the bottled stuff too.

    Beksaeju (romanization questionable) tastes kind of herbal, and my Korean buddies laugh when I tell them I like it. They say it's for old people because it's medicinal. Ha! There's plenty of other Korean drinks that I don't remember the name of, so if you're into drinking, I highly recommend trying the different kinds. They're generally a lot more tasty (to me) than most western liquor.

    Korea also doesn't really give a shit about public drunkenness, as long as you aren't being an asshole. You'll see a lot of old dudes hanging out on the corner with their piece of cardboard and a bunch of soju/beer/makgeolli, just getting smashed. They are not role models. When we went to the zoo in Seoul, however, I had a beer in hand the entire time (they have convenience stores all over the zoo too, so plenty of places to get another can).


    Mass transit
    Like Cantido said, mass transit is super great in Korea. The other passengers can be shitbirds, and usually are. Coming from a Virginia suburb and a small Colorado mountain town, I was unprepared for the mass of people in the Seoul subway who will just try to walk through you like you aren't there. Eventually I had to throw off all the trained manners and think "I do not always need to be the one to step aside for other people. I weigh 190 lbs, they'll step aside whether they plan to or not." I look on it as acclimatization! By slamming into people, I'm just embracing local culture.


    Jeju-do ("do" means island, and like 6 other things as well, but in this case, island)
    Outside ofJeju City, it was the least Korean place I went to during my year here. I loved it. It's billed as the "Hawaii of Korea" but, having been to Hawaii, that's a bit of a stretch. It's still a great place though! Plenty of cool shit to see, and unlike the rest of Korea, due to the sea breeze, it's not constantly wreathed in pollution from Korea and China! They're also really big into sea food, so you get sea food side dishes at Korean BBQs, as well as moderately priced fish in the many sea food restaurants. Tourism is a huge part of the Jeju economy, so people also tend to be a little bit friendlier than the mainland. Also, it's one of the only places you can see museums talking shit about Korean society (Jeju was forcibly annexed, only capitulating after the mainland slaughtered ~10% of the population of the island). The weather was great in the fall, but they close the beaches to swimming pretty early in the season.

    Hiking up Halla-san (the big volcano in the middle of the island) was pretty grueling, but you can see the entire island from the top, definitely worth it.


    Propaganda
    Tae Kwon Do is the most scientific and effective of all martial arts! Korea is the most scientific country ever! King Sae Jong invented literally everything, even though most of his inventions are minor tweaks of shit that had been around for a thousand years or more!

    Don't drink the Kool-aid.

    imttnk.png
    PS4:MrZoompants
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited December 2014
    Civ V lied to me! But his astronomical crap is pretty baller near his tomb. I wish I could get his astronomical map in poster form.

    k1.gif

    Also, Incheon airport now has videos explaining how that disputed island is theirs, not the Japanese or the Chinese. Because that's what's on every tourist's mind when they come to Korea.

    Cantido on
    3DS Friendcode 5413-1311-3767
  • ASimPersonASimPerson And they will tremble again at the sound of our silence.Registered User regular
    If I recall correctly, @Lost Salient‌ knows some stuff about Korea.

  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    Ooh, some fun stuff:

    I already covered PC Bangs, which are gaming cafes which are everywhere. I forgot to cover two more.

    Norebangs are everywhere. Norebang means "Song Room." They are legit Karaoke rooms. They are private booth rooms you rent with friends while you take turns selecting songs from a catalog, which play crappy synth versions of songs while lyrics display on the screen. Depending on the venue, they may bring in waves and waves of booze or you may have to bring your own. What you see in PSY's Hangover video is a larger version of one. They are everywhere, but you won't find these unless you learn the Hangeul. I go to these and I sign Led Zeppelin and Judas Priest like a baller. One time in Japan I got drunk and tried to sing Blind Guardian. That didn't work out. I lost my voice for a while.

    Jimjibangs are bath houses, like something you would see in an anime. Women and men are always separated. The Japanese equivalent is called an Onsen. You pay an entry fee, put your shoes in one locker, put everything else in a different locker, get butt naked and relax in assorted public baths with varying temperatures, all in Celcius, as well as get massages or skin treatments. The nicest one I've seen was in Busan, and it was utterly huge and beautiful. It was like something out of Greek mythology. Another nice one is in the city of Asan, which was the only one I've seen in Korea with an outdoor portion. I only know of two in Seoul. The first is the famous Dragon Hill spa adjacent to Yongsan Station, which is nice but its touristy and expensive. I only went there once a year. There is another in Itaewon, but I heard its dirty, so I don't bother with going there.

    3DS Friendcode 5413-1311-3767
  • moocowmoocow Registered User regular
    Don't go to noreholes! They're like norebangs, karaoke and all that, but with sex workers who will do stuff to you. Or do go, if you're into that sort of thing, but I don't recommend it. Just make sure you know which type you're going into. We went once every month or so (to the bang, not the hole!), they're good times, and you're only singing in front of your friends, so it's not as nerve-wracking as big-stage American-style karaoke. Also, some of the ones without booze don't like you to bring it in (stupid out-of-control foreigners!), so bring it in a backpack.

    I had a buddy who schlepped around Asia for a few years before joining the army. During his time in Korea, he was mostly homeless, and he used to sleep in the jimjibangs. Because of him, I was under the impression that that's what they were for, until I was planning our Jeju trip and found out they're not for sleeping, unless you're a brazen weirdo.

    imttnk.png
    PS4:MrZoompants
    Cantido
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    Or a military worker trying to hide from curfew.

    3DS Friendcode 5413-1311-3767
  • moocowmoocow Registered User regular
    Ha! You just go anywhere but Itaewon or the immediate area outside of your base. Totally haven't partied at Octagon until 4am, and haven't ran into a bunch of soldiers doing the same! Nope. Definitely not.

    imttnk.png
    PS4:MrZoompants
    Cantido
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    An important anecdote I gleaned from my wife (alluded to above) when she visited Korea - do not try to keep up with Koreans while drinking. They're machines.

    CantidoASimPerson
  • darkmayodarkmayo Registered User regular
    moocow wrote: »
    Propaganda
    Tae Kwon Do is the most scientific and effective of all martial arts!

    Ugh... WTF TKD... nice kicks shame you got punched in the face a million times.

    Switch SW-6182-1526-0041
    Cantido
  • Lost SalientLost Salient blink twice if you'd like me to mercy kill youRegistered User regular
    edited December 2014
    Hey hi howdy! ASimPerson summoned me and here I am!

    Probably the advice on what to do/see/eat from others is going to be more practically useful than mine will be at this point, since this is wrapping up my second year back in the U.S. of A. However I did live in Seoul and travel extensively in the four years that I was there, and more importantly, I studied/am still proficient in Korean. So if you have any language questions or cultural questions you should definitely hit me up for those!

    JJIMJILBANG INFO: Cantido is right about the one in Busan being fucking gorgeous and incredible. However, there are jjimjilbangs all over Seoul - I can point you toward ones nearby your neighborhood if you know where you'll be, or (if it's a thing you're into, and I CAN'T RECOMMEND THEM ENOUGH) the best thing for a first-timer is probably to have a Korean friend/coworker accompany you to the sauna. (This allows you to avoid any blatant faux pas, if nothing else.) One thing I will add - if this weirds you out but tempts you at all, it does wonders for your body image if you can bring yourself to go. There's nothing like a bunch of old ladies walking around ass naked to make you relax about your own appearance issues, whatever they may be.

    And actually sleeping/staying in them overnight is not too especially weird. My Korean coworkers would occasionally overnight at a sauna when they worked especially late and didn't want to go all the way home after work.

    Lost Salient on
    RUVCwyu.jpg
    "Sandra has a good solid anti-murderer vibe. My skin felt very secure and sufficiently attached to my body when I met her. Also my organs." HAIL SATAN
    ASimPerson
  • Lost SalientLost Salient blink twice if you'd like me to mercy kill youRegistered User regular
    Notes on speaking Korean: As mentioned above, the written language (Hangeul) is hells of easy. However, the sounds of Korea's spoken language (Hankuk-au) are going to be a challenge for you to make properly as an American English speaker, and learning to actually speak proficiently... Like, definitely try, it's great, and people will help you, but...

    I studied Korean for six hours a day, five days a week, for six semesters, at one of the top universities in the country, and I am not sure it's possible to become fluent any other way. It is very foreign to us in terms of structure, pronunciation, and conjugations.

    Spend a lot of time practicing differentiating between 'ae' and 'eh' is all I'm saying here.

    You may want to know that since you are in Soeul, dialing 1330 on your phone directs you to the international travel hotline, where English-speakers can help you with everything from directions to buying an item at the grocery store or the pharmacy.

    Oh hey also I dunno how you guys roll but birth control pills are available over the counter in Korea... TMI? Maybe!

    Congratulations on the KIS interview, by the way!

    RUVCwyu.jpg
    "Sandra has a good solid anti-murderer vibe. My skin felt very secure and sufficiently attached to my body when I met her. Also my organs." HAIL SATAN
  • ChillyWillyChillyWilly Registered User regular
    Thanks for all of the information so far. My wife has been talking to her teacher friend that's already there and, combined with this thread, we're going to have quite the treasure trove of information to dive into if we end up going. You're all super awesome.

    That being said, I do have another question. And I'm not sure if it's silly or not.

    By American standards, my wife and I are both above average in terms of height and weight. We know that will likely be even more pronounced in SK. I'm 5'11" and around 240 and she's 5'6" and 170. Is shopping for clothes going to be an issue there? Are we overweight Americans going to be in trouble?

    PAFC Top 10 Finisher in Seasons 1 and 3. 2nd in Seasons 4 and 5. Final 4 in Season 6.
  • moocowmoocow Registered User regular
    I was told by my Korean speaking friends that it's incredibly hard for American-proportioned folks (even skinny military people) to buy off-the-rack stuff in Korea, so I never bothered trying. Men's fashion here frequently isn't my style, though I have seen some rad looking Korean dude outfits. Was really tempted to buy some adventure clothes (the mountaineering gear).

    That being said, I don't understand that. There's plenty of Koreans that are taller than me (5'10") and even more who are as tall, and while I'm not willow-thin, neither are a lot of Korean dudes! We're not shaped that differently. I don't understand how there wouldn't be clothes for all these dudes.

    But yeah, it'll probably be difficult to find clothes. Good thing there's the internet and mail system!

    imttnk.png
    PS4:MrZoompants
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited December 2014
    In contrast, shopping for clothing in military areas is fucking awesome. You can get really cheap suits made because tailors are everywhere. Of course, if you ever visit Thailand, you can get suits even cheaper there. I send my family goodies such as blankets made from mink fur. I came up with the slogan my friends use: "Fur is murder unless its minks. FUCK minks."

    EDIT - I would love more information on good jimjibangs in Seoul, Osan and Pyongtek.

    Cantido on
    3DS Friendcode 5413-1311-3767
  • cckerberoscckerberos Registered User regular
    edited December 2014
    We have both done our share of traveling, but none of it has been outside the states.
    I have to admit, this sentence made me chuckle :D

    A couple of things that haven't been mentioned yet:
    1. Costco is in Korea and has a fairly good mix of American, Korean, and Japanese foods. If you have an American membership you can use your card there.
    2. Korea is really, really cheap in general.
    3. If you don't eat meat or have other dietary restrictions, that can be a problem, as many aren't widely understood outside the West.

    cckerberos on
  • Lost SalientLost Salient blink twice if you'd like me to mercy kill youRegistered User regular
    I find that generally speaking vegetarianism is understood but food-specific allergies are difficult to convey. (Many Buddhist monks in Korea are vegetarian, so there are vegetarian-cuisine specific restaurants, especially in the city.) Also, generally speaking dairy doesn't come into play in most Korean savory dishes (you see it in things like desserts, which are in many cases far more Western or Western-influenced). My friend with a tree nut allergy probably had to be the most careful; shellfish allergies are something you also may want to be cautious regarding, as lots of base ingredients for stocks and sauces incorporate fermented anchovy sauce (myeolchi aekjot) or fermented shrimp paste or other fishy things. This was the biggest challenge for me, but since I voluntarily avoid seafood I could just shrug and eat it when it showed up.

    As with living in any foreign culture, the name of your game is going to be flexibility. The more flexible and ready to roll with what comes you are, the better time you're going to have.

    CLOTHING SHOPPING:

    I love shopping in Korea so much that I conscript friends to hit up my favourite stores for me still. Size-wise, however, you will find it challenging to be more than average height or more than average weight and shop at the boutiques that litter the city. I am a size eight in clothes and shopped my little heart and bank account out on the reg, but it wasn't unusual (in fact, it was pretty standard) to try something on and just sort of have to sigh and put it back because it was made for a skinnier gal than I am. Or for someone with less curves. (Korea also gave me a massive weight complex, but that's neither here nor there.) Plus-sized Korean ladies often shop online rather than in stores because there's more size variation, but shopping online in another language is maybe a challenge for later in your time living abroad...

    One thing you will definitely want to concern about is shoes. What size do you and your wife wear? I wear a 7.5 US in heels and an 8 in flats, generally, and I am 95% of the time the absolute upper limit of shoe sizes you'll find on shelves for ladies. Not joking. Don't know how that plays out on the men's shoes side of things but I wouldn't be surprised to find approximately the same problems.

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    "Sandra has a good solid anti-murderer vibe. My skin felt very secure and sufficiently attached to my body when I met her. Also my organs." HAIL SATAN
  • Lost SalientLost Salient blink twice if you'd like me to mercy kill youRegistered User regular
    Oh lord, I can't believe I said, "Concern about."

    See, you get me started on living in Seoul and all my dumb Konglish phrases pop up again.

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    "Sandra has a good solid anti-murderer vibe. My skin felt very secure and sufficiently attached to my body when I met her. Also my organs." HAIL SATAN
    Geth
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    I hiked Mt. Gyeryong in Korean hiking shoes that were labelled my size in American, but were too small anyway. I was in agony when it was all over. Those shoes are indestructible and awesome, but make sure you buy them half a size too big.

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  • TayaTaya Registered User regular
    When I lived in Korea I couldn't really buy clothes that fit outside of Itaewon and I consider myself average size.

    Also @Cantido‌ I thought mink blankets were all synthetic.

  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    Taya wrote: »
    When I lived in Korea I couldn't really buy clothes that fit outside of Itaewon and I consider myself average size.

    Also @Cantido‌ I thought mink blankets were all synthetic.

    That's the first I heard of it. But that would break my friend's heart with all our jokes about mink hatred.

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  • TayaTaya Registered User regular
    The ones I saw were definitely synthetic. I was told "mink blanket" was just a name. I could be wrong though.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed my time in Korea. The food was fantastic, there was always lots to do, people were generally friendly. There were some moments where I was made to stand in front of all the Korean teachers while the principal spoke in Korean and nobody told me what he was saying or why I was there, or when I was given a five second warning that I would need to give a short speech introducing myself to the entire student body, or when I had to go out to eat with all the Korean teachers while they all spoke Korean to each other and when I declined going out drinking with them they looked hurt and confused.

  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    You reminded me of a pleasant time with Koreans. If you want to learn to golf, this is the country to do it. Summer reminds me of Florida (only far more deadly and humid) with lots of expensive golf courses and no-so-expensive golf ranges.

    They took me to a Golfzon, a virtual golf venue that you can rent cheaply for 9-18 hole sessions with a ten minute warm up. You get clubs, a glove and shoes and hit the ball into a screen while cameras observe all around you to get an accurate ball trajectory (though putting is damn near impossible because of the lack of depth perception.) If you find a "nice" Golfzone, the ball automatically reloads and the ground shifts beneath your feet to match the angle of the ground you are standing on in the game. Employees serve you a small Coke*, tea and snacks and there is ventilation for smokers, not that I want to encourage that.

    * Y'know how one can of Coke is actually two servings with a fuckton of sugar? By leaving America, Coke cans will be smaller, and that's only a good thing.

    Now for the bad news, South Korea is super conservative, and their internet censorship is only getting worse. This month they implemented new restrictions. They have to verify that I'm 19, a Korean citizen, with a working phone number just so I can watch a Silence of the Sleep playthrough on Youtube, and because its unsuccessfully figuring out my phone number, forcing me to VPN for something petty like that. At least Chromecast still gets through. The Economist has an article on their draconian bullshit.

    EDIT - Contrast Japan, who finally banned child pornography this year (while leaving manga untouched.) Seriously you see some fucked up shit in Akihabara.

    Cantido on
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  • ChillyWillyChillyWilly Registered User regular
    The teacher friend my wife has advised us to get Apple TV with a VPN setup so we can watch Netflix and such. Apparently that's working out well for her.

    PAFC Top 10 Finisher in Seasons 1 and 3. 2nd in Seasons 4 and 5. Final 4 in Season 6.
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    Like clockwork, the Siberian winds have kicked in for the New Year. I'm at the High 1 Ski Resort in the town of Gohan, and its incredible. They comb the track midday for the freshest powder day and night (good powder is lacking in many Korean ski places), there's a casino, jimjibangs, norebangs, and very cheap lodging, lift passes and rentals when you show a foreign passport.

    Cantido on
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  • ChillyWillyChillyWilly Registered User regular
    One more question for you fine folks.

    What's the deal with pets in South Korea? We have one 15 pound dog we would likely take with us if we were to go. Are there dog parks? Are there parks with grass period?

    We Americans generally have a pretty strong attachment to our pets and my wife and I are no different. Would a pooch be happy or even accepted there?

    PAFC Top 10 Finisher in Seasons 1 and 3. 2nd in Seasons 4 and 5. Final 4 in Season 6.
  • moocowmoocow Registered User regular
    There are plenty of dogs. Before I got here, I thought "man, these people must hate dogs if they eat them!" but then I was shocked by how many dogs I saw running around in Osan, and no one was chasing them down with a cookpot and chopsticks! You may need to talk to a customs person about it though. I think the dog needs to be quarantined for a while before it returns to the US, but I'm not sure about bringing one here.

    There are parks with grass, too.

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  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    I'm back from my snowboarding trip. High 1 Resort in the town of Gohan is a phenomenal ski resort, with half off lift passes and equipment rentals for foreigners. I did not want to leave and I'm going back for a four day weekend in February.

    Now if I only knew how to steer a snowboard...

    Cantido on
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  • moocowmoocow Registered User regular
    It's super simple!

    Assuming left foot downhill. If you want to turn left, lean back on your heels a little bit, so you're more on your back edge than the bottom of the board, while simultaneously pushing your right foot forward (in front of your body, not downhill), until you get your desired turn.

    If you want to turn right, lean up onto your toes a bit so you're more on yourr front edge (in front of your body, not downhill) than the bottom, while simultaneously pushing your right foot backwards (behind you, not uphill).

    If you swap which way your back foot is pushing with the the opposite edge from what I said, you will eat shit. This is because the edge will catch while it is downhill, dig in, and flip you onto your back/stomach. If you don't get far enough onto your edge while steering with your uphill foot, the board will just slip around and you'll probably catch an edge or just lose your center of gravity and eat shit.

    It's better to try to dig in too much with your edges than too little, while you're learning. You'll slow down a little too much on your turns, but it's better to do that and have the practice staying up, instead of just falling down all the time and not knowing why. Once you get it, you can learn to finesse your turns better.

    If you have trouble figuring out which edge to dig in, it's always the one that would be higher up on the hill if you completed your turn to 90 degrees. Like, with that edge dug in, people below you can theoretically see the bottom of your board if they're below you, if you dug in hard enough. If you try to show people downhill the top of your board, you will eat shit.

    Of the whole bottom surface of your board, the front and back edges (the straight parts) are the most important parts for turning. That's why they're usually made of metal, so they don't wear out as fast.

    And make sure your knees are always bent! Your center of gravity will shift a little bit off the board while you're turning (to the inside of the turn), and you have to adjust where that is constantly. Can't do that with straight legs.

    Ok, so maybe not super simple, but it's simpler to do than it is to explain. ;)

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    Cantido
  • schussschuss Registered User regular
    Biggest key for me in learning snowboarding is get your weight out over that front foot, as the edges won't bite otherwise.

  • CliffCliff Registered User regular
    My advice: don't go north.

    Cantido
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    edited January 2015
    Cliff wrote: »
    My advice: don't go north.

    Ah, but the DMZ/JSA trip is something every tourist should see once. Make sure its a trip for both. Some tours take you to one and not the other and the JSA is closed on Mondays.

    Fun story, Tunnel 3 is one of several captured North Korean tunnels turned jnto tourist attractions. Around three years ago, some military guy who works in my organization got caught fucking his English teacher girlfriend in there and it caused an US/ROK crisis. Tunnel 3 remains an inside joke to them.

    EDIT: Incheon Airport is so cold, sterile and hardass that you would think you were in North Korea. Have all your shit in order because Immigration automatically assumes foreigners are out to take their jerbs and fuck their womenfolk. For example, EVERY perscription medicine you bring needs its respective perscription with it.

    My friend tried to bring a stone sword from Cambodia to Korea and they confiscated it. I guess they dont want him murdering any evil spirits.

    Cantido on
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  • moocowmoocow Registered User regular
    I just left Korea, WOOOOO!

    But in Detroit's airport, I was missing Korea already. Had to go into a bar-type place to order a beer, ugh. Tips and bullshit!

    As opposed to Incheon, where I'd bought two cans of Hite (4000 won each!) and walked through the airport drinking one until I found a chair with a good view.

    I will miss just wandering around with beer in hand.

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    PS4:MrZoompants
  • CantidoCantido Registered User regular
    Does anyone know if there are any problems buying computer parts in the electronics markets? I mean in the sense that my PC is built for American voltage. But I would think only the power supply matters in that regard.

    I built my first PC two years ago and its sill going strong, but yeah, Witcher 3.

    3DS Friendcode 5413-1311-3767
  • ASimPersonASimPerson And they will tremble again at the sound of our silence.Registered User regular
    Cantido wrote: »
    Does anyone know if there are any problems buying computer parts in the electronics markets? I mean in the sense that my PC is built for American voltage. But I would think only the power supply matters in that regard.

    I built my first PC two years ago and its sill going strong, but yeah, Witcher 3.

    tl;dr: you're right, only your power supply matters.

    Computers have switchable power supplies, i.e., your power supply has a switch on the back that enables it to accept either 120 or 240 volts. Your power supply actually converts the mains AC power to DC for use inside your system, so you computer isn't really actually built for American voltage unless your power supply can't cope.

    hsu
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