One of the essential things in life is travel. There, I said it. It may get me some schtick, but I am a person that believes that travel takes precedence over most things in life. Travel has allowed me to see and experience many different cultures, lifestyles, and beautiful things along the way. However, there are some things that almost every traveler will experience: loneliness.
Loneliness of a Traveler
Humans have basic needs. We all need to eat, have a good night’s sleep, and a decent shelter. However, what people often fail to take into account is their need for companionship. It is something that every traveler handles in their unique way, but loneliness is something that sneaks up on and attacks you when you least expect it.
Nevertheless, how do you handle loneliness in a country that is very different from your own? A country where you may not speak the language? The great thing about this is that there are many different tools to assist you in Daejeon. Whether it be group activities, meetups, or just attending trips for foreigners, there are lots of opportunities to find a community to call your own in Korea.
When I first arrived in Daejeon almost two years ago, there were many things to do to occupy my time and negate loneliness. Of course, this all changed in the autumn of 2020 when the country faced an increase in the number of corona cases. I found myself faced with loneliness for the first time.
I felt lost and had no sense of community. Essentially, I was just living my life as best as I could. In time, however, I discovered three places where I could fit in and build a community of my own. If you live in Daejeon, I hope you can use this list to help find and build yours.
One of the best ways to meet foreigners in Daejeon (and in Korea) is at bars. After exploring many of them, the one where I discovered the most like-minded people was FML.
The bar, which two foreigners and a Korean own, is where many foreigners (mostly English teachers like myself) go to unwind after work. Over the years, the owners have come together and built a real sense of community around the place. This establishment holds many events, such as fight night parties (boxing and MMA) and holiday celebrations (Thanksgiving and St. Patrick’s Day), and you can even book a table at the bar for your birthday. This place holds a special place in my heart. It helped me feel like I belonged when I had nowhere else to go.
FML Address: 1061 Dunsan 2(i)-dong, Seo-gu, Daejeon Korean Address: 대전 서구 둔산로 32-30 지하1층 Opening Hours: 07:00 PM - 02:00 AM Closed: Sunday
There are many different meetup groups in Daejeon. However, the one I found myself connecting with the most was a writing group. It is something that is not too difficult to find. If you have Kakao talk, you can search for writing groups, and there are several to choose from.
As a writer, this was pivotal for me as it enabled me to express my creativity and meet new who share the same passion for writing that I do. For those who do not know, writers’ groups usually meet once a month to discuss, review, and critique each other’s work. It does not matter whether it is a novel, short story, play, or song; we help each other get to where we need to be and are there for each other when someone needs a chat.
If you are interested in joining our writer’s group. Please reach out to me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The final thing that can assist in building a community in Korea is group trips. This is something I have only just discovered over the past few months. However, it has enabled me to meet many people who I now consider friends.
The only downside is that you will have to do a bit of traveling since most group trips leave from Seoul. Typically, pickup and drop-off points will be Kankuk University station or Hongdae Station. Then, you will travel to the actual area you will visit.
The main one I have found myself using is G-shuttle because of the variety of trips they offer. G-shuttle is focused on Gangwondo regional travel and is subsidized by the government. Plus, they explicitly catered toward foreigners. Nevertheless, it has allowed me to visit some of the most beautiful areas and beaches in South Korea without spending much money, and I have made some great friends along the way.
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Overall, when moving to South Korea, it is essential to note that loneliness comes in many forms, and regardless of the fact of whether one gets homesick or not. Building a lasting community of friends is pivotal to long-term happiness while living abroad. I think that once you find the group you belong to, your journey in South Korea will begin to get even more interesting in the long run.
To read about some foreigner-friendly nightlife destinations in Daejeon where you might meet your community, Click Here.