With everything going on right now, don't feel bad if you find yourself dreaming of flying elsewhere and settling down there for a change. Especially if you've been stuck at home for so long. For many of us who've been hooked on K-dramas, South Korea is a dream destination. Minus the creepy murderers and other villains, of course.
But once you do immigrate to SoKor, do you know what it's like to work there? If you want to pursue undergrad or post-grad studies there, do you know what to expect? Thankfully, we have TikTok to connect us to Koreans and foreigners alike that are based in the Land of Morning Calm.
The experience won't be the same for all, of course. But here's a sneak peek into the lives of people working and studying in Korea—at least the ones who TikTok about theirs:
They typically work is 45 hours per week, but some work 60 hours or more! Some shifts start like ours—at 9 a.m.—while others start at 10 a.m. or later.
But at least their commute is more comfortable with their huge metro subway system. There’s even an air-conditioned area where you can cool off during hot summer days.
You know how condo sharing and bed spacing are the norms here? In South Korea, they have apartment sharing and goshiwon. The smaller your budget, the more cramped your space will be.
For context, I had a short internship in South Korea and found a goshiwon in Itaewon on the Seoul Craigslist site. The room I got was the smallest and cheapest with shared bathrooms, kitchens, and pantries. Back then (2016), it cost 250,000 KRW per month (roughly P10,750). The walls were thin (plywood!) and the room was so tiny that you could reach the door without getting out of the bed. But it had wall-mounted storage space, plus free rice, drinking water, and laundry needs. Heating was not the best during that summer, but it was enough. The rooms you see in the following clips? They’re much bigger than the one I stayed in (and most likely more expensive by 100,000 KRW or more).
For students, though, you can opt to stay in the school dorms. But again, staying in uni might be more costly, so many foreign students prefer cheaper options. And because of COVID, you get your own room.
One way to really cut down on moving, living, and tuition costs is to get a scholarship offered by the Korean government and various unis. Of course, there are certain requirements and age limits, so make sure to prepare well if you want to pursue that route. And be prepared to work really hard and go on puyat sessions to maintain the scholarship and pass exams (including the language proficiency tests). The scholarship can be revoked otherwise.
Reply to @duennedeeeee Personal advice to those who want to pursue masters in Korea? original sound - Gracey Aleki
Reply to @duennedeeeee Personal advice to those who want to study in Korea? original sound - Gracey Aleki
But the hard work seems worth it. Because just look at these campus tours!
Like in the Philippines, South Korea is in the middle of its COVID-19 vaccination drives. But unlike us, they never really had a year-long lockdown. Currently, though, they are still observing the usual pandemic protocols (read: mandatory face masks, temperature checks, etc.) These are being observed both in offices and schools.
Besides the workload from your day job or school, it might be tough as a foreigner to freelance, too. Apparently, you'll need a special visa to do that legally.
Reply to @jellis_much How to work/freelance in Korea ?legally?, Korean gov’t makes it really difficult for foreign workers to freelance! ????? original sound - Seoul ??? ??
Here’s another big difference between South Korea and the metro areas in our country: Many shops are self-service. For instance, there are unmanned printing and photocopying stores for your paper-based requirements. And if you plan to study at cafes, it’s fairly safe. Plus, there are 24-hour PC-bangs or computer shops, where you can work, study, or play games.
Oh, and fun fact: The average internet speed in South Korea was 192 mbps last May 2021. Some providers can even give you about 300 mbps! Imagine watching HD BTS videos… I mean, working on reports or whatever. Hehehe!
Reply to @damitshorts INTERNET SPEED TEST..? original sound - Mayang ????????????????? - Mhay Calalo ????????????????
When you’re there, it will be ideal to learn Korean, obviously. One way to do it aside from formal schools is via language exchange meet-ups. This means you meet up with Koreans who speak English and practice your conversation skills with them. But be cautious of creeps!
And the drinking culture you see in K-dramas? Yep, it’s real! It’s not uncommon to see employees hanging out at bars or knocking back soju shots even on weekdays
Aside from all these, we can’t miss talking about the food. Sure, Korean food is heavenly, but you’re bound to miss the food we usually have here, including fast food. Sadly, there’s no Jollibee in SouthKorea (yet). It’s difficult to find Filipino restaurants, too.
And TikTok user Mhay Calalo shared a very important PSA: They don’t serve rice at McDonald's and KFC in South Korea! Kaya ba natin ‘yun? Of course, not. TBH, I was so shookt when I encountered it, too. Plus, KFC DIDN’T HAVE GRAVY!!! Thankfully, you can bring rice or buy instant microwaveable ones at any convenience store there! And if you miss old favorites from home like Mang Tomas, Red Horse, or whatever, you can visit the Filipino market in Hyehwa-dong.
Reply to @ateabii ARAT NA ???? CULTURE SHOCK PART 2.. Hahaha Watch till the end. Haha. mapapanood ang buong video sa YT Channel ko "TEAM CALALO".? original sound - Mayang ????????????????? - Mhay Calalo ????????????????
What other surprising work- or study-related TikTok videos have you seen? Share them with us!
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