Personally, I really like being in Korea but there are some really crucial problems that I face living in this country. This country has offered me a lot but still, there are some drawbacks. I face numerous problems in Korea and I always deal with them patiently. These are some of the problems I face while living in Korea.
Language Gap Between Foreigners
One of the major problems I face living in Korea is the language gap among people. As a foreigner, it was very difficult for me to adjust at first. From my point of view, learning Korean is not as easy as it seems. There are certain hurdles that you must pass in order to get your grip on this language.
The only solution to this problem is continuing to do your best to learn the Korean language, you will have to study everyday. There is certain level of discrimination that foreigners will face because we can’t speak or understand Korean at a native level. Fluency in Korean helps, but at times not being a native speaker really presents a communication barrier. No matter how good you are at Korean, sometimes it won’t be enough.
The real difficulty for English speakers is that the sentence structure and the order of the words are quite different. While the honorific system means that the word’s ending can change depending on your relationship with another person. Hence, it takes a very long time to be proficient in Korean compared to other languages. It is not uncommon for English speakers to study for 10 years before reaching TOPIK 6, so be patient and kind to yourself.
Challenges Finding Halal Food In Korea
As a Muslim, I always find it difficult to get halal food in Korea. This is because Korea is a non-Muslim country and their food culture contains mostly haram foods, especially pork. So I always find it difficult to eat good and halal meals. I was not prepared for how hard it can be to find a single dish without tentacles, intestines, or little bits of pork.
If you are not an adventurous eater, this might create a big problem regarding your health. Because good food is the most fundamental requirement for anybody to survive and live a healthy life. I always find it difficult to eat because of the lack of halal food options.
Challenges with Accommodation In Korea
As a foreigner, accommodation costs can really become a burden for you. As a worker, I spend a handsome amount of my salary on rent, which is really difficult for me. Plus, there is always a sense of hesitation when you approach Korean people because you will always be treated as a foreigner. This also applies to looking for housing. Particularly in areas that are not used to foreigners, it is not uncommon to be denied housing.
Challenges Making Korean Friends
Friends are also the most essential element in maintaining your mental health while living in a foreign country. I feel uncomfortable interacting with most people because there is a major gap between our language, ethical values, culture, tradition and social values. So it is not as easy as it seems to make friends in Korea. And so, you tend to spend your time mostly alone.
Another reason you will find it difficult to make Korean friends is due to their strict parenting culture. They raise their kids in a way that can make them feel uncomfortable around people who are different. So at times, the culture seems overbearing. Almost every foreigner will go through times where they feel isolated or experience depression because of this feeling of other-ness.
One of the best ways to get yourself some like-minded friends is to attend university or some language classes. You can enroll yourself on a scholarship if you don’t have enough money to fund your study.
Challenges with Medical Services
The medical facilities in Korea are comparatively expensive for foreign people. Monthly insurance and medical fees are often higher for us than they are for Korean citizens. National health insurance rates are currently higher for us than they are for Korean citizens.
Besides the cost, most of the staff at the local medical centers and clinics don’t have staff who speak English or foreign languages. Plus, there is no bias training in Korea, and so it is not uncommon to experience various forms of discrimination while seeking medical services.
As a foreigner, it takes a lot of time and patience to adapt to their newfound lifestyle in Korea. Korea has very unique cultural and traditional values. Although I really do love Korea, at times I feel frustrated because as a foreigner there are a lot of difficulties you can experience in your everyday life.
So, let’s join together and support each other on our amazing but challenging Korean journey.
Of course, Korea isn’t always full of hardships, Click Here to read about positive aspects of Korean work culture.