What to Expect After Arriving in South Korea
Excitement and Exhaustion
The first several days of jet-lag, combined with the excitement of meeting new coworkers, and getting accustomed to a new job and different culture, can be exhausting. Anthony Bourdain felt such exhaustion when he visited South Korea. Nevertheless, he was able to find different fun things to try (like eating live octopus) for the filming of his show.
South Koreans value space differently than do those from the West. Space in South Korea is limited, and property is the most expensive in the world. Thus, many people, including English teachers, live in small, one-room apartments.
Korean society is quite conservative, so it is important to learn and understand Korean social norms and etiquette. It may surprise some who sit down to their first meal in a Korean restaurant and overhear a man at the adjacent table loudly clearing his throat or smacking his lips after slurping down noodles. Find information on Korean etiquette at Lonely Planet.
New Language and Character System
While it may be possible to live comfortably in Korea without knowing any of the language, knowing the 24 Korean characters (called “Hangul”) will help improve mobility, as signs are not always labeled in English. Free lesson modules, which can be accessed at any time, are available online. Try the KBS Korean Language Lessons or the Sogang University Korean Language Lessons.