South Korea is known for its vibrant energy and booming nightlife. If you’re determined to move to South Korea without a job, then here are some steps you must follow in order to be a success.
There are plenty of ways foreigners can find a job in South Korea, and all it takes is some planning, patience, and common sense to find a well-paying job overseas.
If you’re at home asking yourself ”how can I move to Korea without a job?” then this guide is for you. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons to life in South Korea and how you can achieve you dream of working for some its biggest companies.
What Is the Job Market Like in Korea?
The South Korean job market is healthy. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed the employment possibilities, there are still plenty of opportunities awaiting you should you chose to live in South Korea.
The country’s biggest employers are English teachers and IT experts. Since South Korea is becoming more and more Westernized, the market for those who can teach English and get a job in computing is very large.
The technology sector is another huge employer. With companies like Samsung, Hyundai, LG, and ExxonMobil on its doorstep, South Korea is always looking to recruit English-speaking foreigners and utilize their skills.
If you want to move to South Korea but do not want to teach English or work in tech, then you’ll be pleased to know that there are plenty of other avenues you can explore to achieve your vision of living in South Korea.
The Seoul Times and the Korea Herald are two English-language newspapers that need talented writers, reporters, and journalists to work for them. You can also apply to various other businesses around the major cities and see who recruits you.
The Ideal Candidate for a Korean Job
Korean work culture is much different from the West. Long hours are expected in Korea, and it’s not uncommon to work over 70-hour weeks regularly. There’s also a deeply ingrained culture of obedience to higher-ups at work.
Unlike in Western countries, where it’s encouraged to be an outside-the-box, maverick figure, Korean culture is much different and such an attitude can leave you in trouble – and jobless.
Foreigners are often shocked about how different the work system is in South Korea, so be sure to demonstrate a strong work ethic to your potential employers at your interview.
People are also highly respectful to their elders. It’s advised to arrive at your interview early and demonstrate your best manners to those interviewing you. The ideal candidate for a Korean job is also appreciative of Korean culture and traditions.
Showcase your knowledge (and respect) of traditional South Korean customs, life, and the Korean language, and your employers will be appreciative of your efforts. In Asian nations, a refusal to learn the local language is seen as disrespectful and may cause some of your Korean co-workers to alienate themselves from you.
Is It Easy to Immigrate to South Korea?
Moving to South Korea is easy if you take care of two factors – the quality of your preparation and the size of your bank account.
Though attending university in Korea is straightforward, relocating there as a full-time worker is a completely different scenario.
The VISA application stage is much easier than it was in past years. This is because the country has become more liberal in letting foreigners in. As for finding housing and accommodation, here are a few things to note.
It is very easy to find housing in South Korea. Of course, what type of housing depends on your individual needs and budget – but it’s not hard to find a place to stay. As with any country, though, the housing market is competitive and you need to act fast if you have your heart set on a particular place.
Though South Korea has a renowned healthcare system, it’s vital that you take out health insurance before you depart. As is the case with international travel, you want to make sure you have your bases covered in the health department.
Is It Hard to Live in Korea as A Foreigner?
Living in South Korea will certainly take some getting used to. For one, the culture is much, much different than it is here in the West, and you’ll need to go through an adjustment period before you become acclimatized to the way of life.
The most helpful thing you can do for yourself is to learn the Korean language as soon as possible. This will help you speak to locals, order food, arrange housing agreements, and master the country’s public transportation system.
Developing a social life may take time as local residents tend to socialize together. It’s also harder to make friends than it is in Western countries due to the difference in social cultures and practices. However, the ex-pat community in South Korea is large and you’ll have no problem fitting in there.
International residents may also find living quarters small and cramped. This is particularly true in the capital city, Seoul, where apartments are tightly packed together.
If you manage to find a job in Seoul, then you’ll find the work culture a massive shock. It’s normal to dedicate the vast majority of your waking hours to the business, and many co-workers socialize together after work.
For foreign graduate students entering the Korean workforce, they may be shocked at just how brutal the hours can be.
Koreans are friendly people, but they tend not to get involved with foreign residents. If you want to make Korean friends, then you’ll have to put in the effort to be social with them and make friends. Unlike in other nations where locals will speak to foreigners, Koreans tend to keep themselves to themselves.
Pros and Cons of Living in Korea as A Foreigner
Here below are some pros and cons of living in Korea as a Foreigner.
Having said that, there are plenty of draws to life in South Korea. It’s one of the most popular spots for international teaching and further education. This is due to the abundance of quality schools and universities, and Korean students are a teacher’s dream due to their good behavior.
Cities like Seoul also have brilliant nightlife. With bars, restaurants, and clubs aplenty, there’s never a dull night in the city and you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a memorable night out here.
The healthcare, maintenance, and education levels of the country are all extremely high – comparable to major European nations. Crime is relatively low and the country is unlikely to go to war anytime soon.
Overall, South Korea is a fantastic country that is on the ascent. Its vibrant character and penchant for creating large technology companies have made it one of Asia’s brightest hotspots.
Of course, no country is perfect and South Korea is no exception. With a brutal work culture and a limited job market (jobs are plentiful, but only for a few industries, such as teaching and tech) foreign visitors will have a hard time fitting in.
If you’re useless with technology and do not have the patience for teaching in school, then you’ll have a hard time convincing Korean companies that your skills are worth importing. If you do move, then you’ll have to get used to the constant hustling and hierarchal attitudes of the country.
South Korea is a beautiful, fascinating country. With a versatile landscape, delicious food, and a low crime rate, it’s worth the effort of moving there. Will it take time to love South Korean life as a foreigner? Yes, but the results will pay off if you immerse yourself in the culture.
If your dream is to teach English in a foreign school, then South Korea is a great option. Once you’ve gone through the rigamarole of getting health insurance, VISAs, and sorting your accommodation.