by Anna Dehm
Of all the concerns that come along with the decision to move to a new country, the one that can really make or break your experience is, how am I going to make friends?? Luckily, Korea is packed with foreigners all facing that exact same dilemma, and I am here to tell you that meeting them could be easier than you think!
Many teachers are lucky, in that they just happen to get along great with their coworkers. That was the experience that I had, and I am so thankful for it. The group of people that I worked with all week was the same group of people that I willingly spent every weekend with as well. Of course this is not the case for every office, but keep in mind that teaching abroad does tend to attract many like-minded people, so chances are high that you will have at least some things in common with your coworkers.
Okay, so maybe you like your coworkers, but you still want to find other people to hang with on the weekends.. No problem! There are tons of options for finding groups of people with the same interests as you! One way to go is the meetup app. There are groups for almost any hobby you could think of, art, sports, cooking, hiking… Even groups dedicated to simply meeting new people! The groups post events that members rsvp to and then attend. Using meetup also gives you the opportunity to maybe try out something you haven’t done before with a community of people to show you the ropes!
Another awesome resource are the groups on facebook that organize weekend trips to different places around Korea. Some of the groups are WinK (When in Korea), Adventure Korea, and Seoul Hiking Group. Those are the ones that I traveled the most with, but they are far from the only options available. These groups create events and post itineraries months in advance. To sign up, all you need to do is make a bank transfer and send them a message with some information about you and your choice of pickup location. The trips range from island adventures, to mountain hikes, to cultural events or festivals! I highly recommend the trips to Jeju for Chuseok, especially the Jeju biking trip, if you think you’re up for the challenge!
All internet resources aside, Korea is simply packed with other teachers who also want to make friends and have a great year (or more!) in Korea. The more you get out to explore the more chances you will have to meet people from all walks of life who have found themselves in Korea. I couldn’t be more grateful that I made the decision to move across the world all by myself, because I left Korea having made both foreign and Korean friends and memories that will last a lifetime.