Questions about Korea: 20 to ask before moving to teach

Questions are a critical part of any move but especially an international move. These are some that came to mind for me before I moved to Korea to teach, along with a few I only started asking after I arrived.

[Note: If you’re not at all considering a move to Korea, think about how these kinds of questions might still apply to you…]

  1. Do I like trying new things?
  2. Am I okay with cold, gusty weather?
  3. Am I okay with hot, humid weather?
  4. Can I eat spicy food? Can I eat meat? Can I eat foreign food? Can I eat out of the same bowl as other people?
  5. Am I okay with living in a small apartment?
  6. Can I walk everywhere without killing myself?
  7. Am I prepared to wait the time it takes to process the visa to make the move, typically three to six months?
  8. Am I prepared to put my plans back home on hold for at least a year?
  9. Am I prepared to put in the extra effort it will take to adjust to life back home once I finish in Korea? How will I readjust?
  10. Am I okay with spending lots of time alone?
  11. Am I good at making friends?
  12. Am I willing to develop a different personality, one that’s tied to Korea and one that friends back home won’t know or understand?
  13. Is there anyone at home who might die while I’m away? If that happens, would I still consider Korea a good decision?
  14. Do I have enough money saved to live for two months without getting paid?
  15. What will I do if I get there and hate it after the first month? Is there a way to come back?
  16. Am I comfortable speaking in front of people?
  17. Am I comfortable struggling through a language  I don’t understand?
  18. Is there any specific medication or food or anything else at home that I couldn’t live without?
  19. Am I flexible? Do I enjoy surprising challenges?
  20. Do I want to change my life? Can I learn to say goodbye?

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Everyone will weigh their answers to these kinds of questions differently. The important thing, though, is to ask them in the first place.