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Can you live in Korea speaking English?

Can You Live in Korea Speaking English?


Living in Korea as an English speaker has its challenges, but it is definitely possible. In this article, we will explore the different aspects of living in Korea as an English speaker and provide tips on how to navigate life in this foreign country.

The English Language in Korea

Korea is a country where the majority of the population speaks Korean, but that does not mean that there is no use for English. Many Koreans learn English as a second language and are eager to practice with native speakers. Additionally, many businesses and shops in popular areas have English signage and menus.

Job Opportunities for English Speakers

One of the best ways to live in Korea as an English speaker is to find a job teaching English. Teaching English is a popular profession among foreigners in Korea, and there are many opportunities available. However, it is important to note that most teaching jobs require a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certification.

Housing Options

Finding housing in Korea can be challenging, particularly if you do not speak Korean. However, there are options available for English speakers. Many rental agencies and real estate agents cater to foreigners and can help you find an apartment or house.


Korea has an extensive public transportation system that is easy to navigate, even for non-Korean speakers. The subway system is particularly efficient, with signs and announcements in both Korean and English. Additionally, taxis are widely available and relatively inexpensive.

Social Life

Making friends in Korea as an English speaker can be difficult, but it is not impossible. There are many foreigner-friendly bars and restaurants where you can meet other expats. Additionally, joining a language exchange group or volunteering can be great ways to make Korean friends.

Food and Drink

Korean food is delicious and varied, but it can be intimidating for those who are not familiar with it. However, many restaurants have English menus or pictures of the food, making it easier to order. Additionally, there are many international grocery stores where you can find familiar foods.


Korea has a high-quality healthcare system, but navigating it as a non-Korean speaker can be challenging. It is important to research healthcare options and find a doctor who speaks English. Additionally, it is recommended to purchase health insurance to cover medical expenses.

Cultural Differences

Korea has a unique culture that can be difficult for foreigners to navigate. It is important to be respectful of cultural norms and customs, such as removing your shoes before entering someone’s home or bowing when greeting someone. Learning some basic Korean phrases can also be helpful in communicating with locals.

Language Barrier

The language barrier in Korea can be frustrating at times, particularly if you do not speak any Korean. However, it is important to remain patient and try to communicate as best as possible. Learning some basic Korean phrases can go a long way in making daily life easier.

Celebrating Holidays

Korea celebrates many holidays throughout the year, such as Lunar New Year and Chuseok. While these holidays may be unfamiliar to foreigners, they provide a great opportunity to experience Korean culture and traditions. Additionally, many expat communities hold their own celebrations for holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.


In conclusion, living in Korea as an English speaker is definitely possible with some effort and patience. By taking advantage of job opportunities, finding suitable housing, navigating transportation and healthcare systems, making friends, respecting cultural differences, and learning some basic Korean phrases, you can thrive in this foreign country.

Can English people live in South Korea?

For British citizens who wish to stay in South Korea for more than 90 days or for reasons that are not covered by the K-ETA policy, they must apply for a Korean visa.

Is it hard for a foreigner to live in Korea?

Generally speaking, relocating to South Korea can be a smooth process if you are well-prepared before you arrive. Although the country had a reputation for being reluctant to welcome foreign immigrants in the past, attitudes have shifted as Korea has become more open to international companies entering its borders.

What percent of Koreans speak English?

The number of Koreans who speak only English has increased over the years, with a rise of approximately 3% from 2010 to 2014, going from just over 21% to nearly 24%.

Is South Korea good for foreigners to live in?

Considering a move to South Korea? This country offers a great mix of city and countryside living, with a relaxed way of life and affordable cost of living. It is a popular destination for people from all over the world. However, there are many practical factors to keep in mind when planning a relocation to South Korea.

Is South Korea easy for English speakers?

I consider Korean to be one of the most difficult languages I have learned, with a difficulty rating of 4 out of 5. While it is relatively easy to learn how to read Korean, becoming fluent in the language is harder for English speakers compared to French or German, but easier compared to Chinese or Arabic.

Is Seoul Korea English friendly?

Although Seoul is a modern capital city, English is not commonly spoken by locals in South Korea. However, in popular tourist areas like Myeongdong, Dongdaemun, and Hongdae, it’s easier to find locals who can communicate in English.

Learning Korean

While it is possible to live in Korea as an English speaker, learning some Korean can greatly enhance your experience. Not only will it make daily life easier, but it will also help you connect with locals and gain a deeper understanding of the culture. There are many language schools and online resources available for learning Korean, and many universities offer Korean language courses to international students.

Visa Requirements

Before moving to Korea, it is important to research visa requirements. Depending on your nationality and the length of your stay, you may need a visa to enter and stay in Korea. There are several types of visas available, including work visas, student visas, and tourist visas. It is important to apply for the correct type of visa and follow all necessary procedures to avoid any legal issues.

Cost of Living

The cost of living in Korea can vary depending on where you live and your lifestyle. Generally, living in Seoul or other major cities can be more expensive than living in smaller towns. However, public transportation is relatively cheap and food can be found at a range of prices. It is important to budget accordingly and research the cost of living in your desired location before moving to Korea.


Korea experiences four distinct seasons, with hot summers and cold winters. It is important to prepare for the weather conditions, especially if you are not used to extreme temperatures. Additionally, Korea is prone to typhoons during the summer months, so it is important to stay informed about weather updates and take necessary precautions.

Cultural Activities

Korea has a rich cultural heritage that can be experienced through various activities such as visiting historical sites, trying traditional foods, attending cultural festivals, and participating in cultural workshops. These activities not only provide a deeper understanding of Korean culture but also offer opportunities for socializing and making new friends.


Living in Korea as an English speaker can be challenging at times, but it is also a rewarding experience. By being open-minded, respectful, and proactive in your adaptation to the culture, you can thrive in this foreign country. With its unique blend of tradition and modernity, Korea offers a wealth of opportunities for personal and professional growth.

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