The Korean wave has been growing over the years. YouTube has played a vital role in the growing international popularity of the Korean wave.
From music, fashion, make-up to dramas, South Korea has dominated the globe. Due to the rising popularity of the country, many of us are dreaming to visit the place someday.
But how is it like living in South Korea? What is Korea beyond Kpop or Kdramas?
The Annyeong Oppa team got a chance to interview Marc, a Youtuber and a working professional currently based in Seoul, South Korea.
Marc gladly shared with us his experiences living every fan girl and boy’s dream and that we’ll surely all say “Sana all!”
JOURNEY TO SOUTH KOREA
Marc started sharing with us how he ended up relocating to South Korea.
“I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to transfer to the Korea office of the same company that I have been working at in the Philippines before.”
In addition, he moved to Korea in 2017 and approaching his fourth year of living in the country. He is working as a financial operations manager on a multi-national company.
We asked Marc the difference and similarities between South Korea and the Philippines and here’s what he shared with us.
“There are quite a handful of stark differences as well as similarities between the two cultures…” as far as his personal experience he gave us these details.
First, the concept of “Noonchi”– the subtle art of listening and gauging other people’s moods, basically to maintain harmony in certain situations.
“Before I even moved to Korea, I was already sensitive of other people’s feelings and how my actions affect other people but I have felt the need to “practice” this further upon learning the importance of nunchi here. “
Moreover, it is important to “read the room” as you would not expect people to always be open.
Next is, personal space. Marc mentioned that hugging or patting one’s back in certain situations is more preferred when hanging out with friends or acquaintances.
And lastly, the level of politeness, “it took me some time to learn and adjust to different levels of politeness in terms of speech.” Marc utter.
But, Koreans wouldn’t expect foreigners to master all these levels overnight. However, it would be nice to learn it slowly.
Meanwhile, respect for the elderly, showing appreciation for one’s efforts, and a sense of togetherness is somewhat similar to the Philippines.
STRUGGLE OF BEING A FOREIGNER IN SOUTH KOREA
We asked Marc if he experienced some sort of struggles living in a foreign country and here’s what he said.
“I have to say, of course, that during my first months here back then, I had to adjust to some changes such as the language and manners in dealing with people.”
Given that South Korea is a non-English speaking country, Marc had to make some adjustments in keeping up with the people around him.
“I overcame these by self-studying the Korean language and culture.” He used to self-study from 8 PM to 12 AM voluntarily and on a daily basis so that he can communicate with people effectively.
Another tip from Marc on how to learn the language and adapt easily is through going out, making new friends, and building connections.
“By meeting locals, I was able to practice what I have learned from the books.”
“I would always ask them to correct me whenever I say something incorrectly in Korean.”
GOODNESS IN EVERY SITUATION
Beyond the struggles that Marc experienced, we asked him the things he liked most about living in South Korea.
“I often say that the top three things I have in mind would be: convenience, beautiful sceneries, and living my fan life”
LIVING THE FAN LIFE
Just like you and me, Marc is an avid fan of the Korean wave in general. That’s why we didn’t miss the opportunity to ask him about his personal experiences as a fan.
“I am happy that thus far, I have met and spoken to most of the actors and idols that I stan through stage greeting events, fan meetings, and concerts.”
“It is but a euphoric feeling whenever I see my idols in person, right in front of my very eyes.”
UNFORGETTABLE ENCOUNTERS WITH ARTISTS & IDOLS
“I have quite a lot of experiences to share as well so this is another difficult question.”
“I’d have to mention of course my first ever encounter with my ultimate main bias – the veteran actor Jung Woo Sung – back in 2019. I got to meet and talk to him up close and he signed my poster.”
“However, I think my most memorable experience to date. That time I attended the fan event of Lee Dong Wook for Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.”
“On that day as well, we were given free tickets to an ice hockey game in the Winter Olympics, which was gonna happen around 4 hours after Lee Dong Wook’s fan event.”
“Fast forward to 7 PM, I entered the stadium where the ice hockey game was gonna be held.”
“I remember the stadium was huge and my ticket says that I should be seated in Row L. 10 minutes after I got seated.”
“I suddenly heard people screaming, and a guy, escorted by bodyguards was coming towards the section where I was seated. IT WAS LEE DONG WOOK.”
“I didn’t expect that Lee Dong Wook would also be in that ice hockey event and much more BE IN THE SECTION WHERE I WAS SEATED.” —– and our response would be SANA ALL!
We all see how fun and exciting it is to live and visit South Korea. We all hope that the situation gets better so we can all witness the beauty of The Land of the Morning Calm!
Of course, we will not let this conversation end without a message from our very own bes, Marc.
To our readers who are dreaming and planning to go or travel to Korea soon~
“For those that will be traveling or moving here for the first time, Korea is a very beautiful place and is indeed a place where you can pursue your passion.”
“For those that have not been able to travel back here due to the pandemic era that we are in, I hope you can come back here as soon as the travel situation gets better!”
Moreover, may this story will serve as an inspiration for us to do well in life and chase our dreams!
We are all rooting for you bes, to win in life and reach for your happiness. Aja!
Special thanks to Marc for giving us his spare time to share his wonderful story with us! ^^