One Year Later: Living Abroad in South Korea

living abroad in south korea

foreign-correspondent badge finalThis past Saturday was my one year anniversary of living in Korea, and I have been reflecting on the past year: the good, the bad, and the really good.

During my first week in Korea, I got sick, hopped on the wrong buses, felt perplexed when the clerk at the grocery store kept asking if I wanted a bongtu (meaning plastic bag), and not once regretted my decision to move here.

My decision to live in South Korea carried with it the knowledge that I would change in unexpected ways. One change has been my shifting definition of what a “home” is. I have always been drawn to visit other places, something that my friends and family do not always understand. But if they saw what I call home now, I think they would.

Home does not just mean people–that’s what family is for me. Home is a comfort and a belonging, a feeling that you are safe and happy. My home can be in many places and now that place is Korea. I have never felt so relaxed and comfortable in a place before. I can’t describe how much I love it.

Even taking the bus is still exciting to me! Any language and cultural barriers are dissolved because we are the same, we are going in the same direction, and we have similar hearts and minds. This breakdown of barriers can happen in any new place. We can find and create a positive lifestyle out of any situation.

But living abroad in South Korea brought challenges, too. I had to re-learn how to make friends, a process that took months. I struggled to find where I fit in this community of Koreans and foreigners. Now, I have found an extra family I can rely on here.

The past year has brought many challenges and changes. I was still able to attend my cousin’s wedding in the States (something I thought I would miss), I got a rabbit, and I met a boy. South Korea has definitely become a home for me this year.

About Morgan Patkos

Morgan PatkosOn her way to becoming a permanent expat, Morgan Patkos teaches children, studies Korean, and tries to maintain the hobbies she tells everyone she does.

2 thoughts on “One Year Later: Living Abroad in South Korea

  1. Avatar
    johanna schnell
    September 3, 2014
    Reply

    Dear Morgan,

    How are you? I enjoyed reading about your experiences in South Korea. Bravo!

    I’ve been searching for anyone with information about South Korean schools. I’m part of a documentary film production company. We’re making a film about children around the world with a new vision for the future. Children who can inspire and transform society. We’re interested in South Korean children who are using technology to advance their causes- either environmental and/or social issues. Children who are motivated by their love for the planet and humanity.

    If there’s any advice you could give me on how to find candidates for the film, I would be deeply grateful. I’d be interested in experimental schools, schools that focus on technology, environmental issues, or social issues. Do you have any friends in South Korea that might have information about inspirational children in their country? And any advice you might have on how I can make headway would be much appreciated. Internet searches in English aren’t turning up much, haha.

    Thank you!!!
    Sincerely,
    Johanna

  2. Avatar
    Sean
    August 24, 2014
    Reply

    Hello Morgan,
    It was a pleasure reading your blog. I can totally relate to your comments about “home” being where you are most comfortable. I lived in Korea for a few years, and now I’m back in Canada. For some reason, I feel alien in my native land, and I REALLY want to be back in Korea where I felt safe and relaxed. I also miss my Korean friends. Five of these friends feel like true family to me. Maybe in April or May 2015 I’ll be back on familiar territory.

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