The Life Experimenter : Change Your Life, One Month at a Time

Life Experiment #45: Live In South Korea For a Year

By Allen Rinehart

The Korean Dance Buchaechum

I’ve been in Jinhae-gu, South Korea for the last three weeks.  I’m stationed here for a year in the Navy.  It’s always been my dream to live abroad.  America is great.  I love the country that I grew up in but I think living abroad is something I needed to do in my life.  It’s easy to get in a routine of doing things one way.  Living your life a certain way.  But living in another country is a way to step outside of yourself.  To live life differently.  So for the next year of my life, I’ll be living in South Korea.

Hypothesis:  I believe that living abroad will definitely give me prospective on my own life and my own culture.  I’ve already started to learn a lot about Koreans and it’s giving me a new outlook about how I live my own life.  I’m not sure how this year is going to turn out, but I’m definitely looking forward to it.

The Game Plan

Living on a US military base is like living in a mini-America.  You could spend almost your entire tour here speaking only English and buying only in dollars.  Unlike other Americans who come here to, teach for example, military bases are some what sheltered from the rest of the community.  I’ve noticed that there are really two types of people that get stationed here.  People that just want to stay on base and get through the year without experiencing the culture and people that love it here and don’t want to leave.

To get the most out of this experience, I decided that I wanted to learn as much about the culture as I can.  I put a list of a few things I want to do in my time here:

  1. Learn To Speak Korean – Learning to speak the language here is a huge asset.  Most Koreans know some English, but to really connect and understand people, you need to know at least some of the language.  I remember first getting here and being so afraid to go out or even speak with people, because I felt like they wouldn’t understand me.  It’s a strange feeling to be considered a minority.
  2. Learn To Read & Write Korean – Just as important as speaking is the ability to read and write in another language.  Everything from bus signs and menus to websites and maps.  You are constantly exposed to Korean writing everywhere.  And the writing is in characters called Hangul.  It’s completely different the the Latin alphabet, so it’s almost impossible to infer what the word is by looking at the symbol.
  3. Learn to Cook Vegetarian Korean Food – One of the best ways to learn about a culture is to experience it’s food.  I’m interested in learning how to make various Korean dishes. Oh and did I mention that I’m addicted to Kimchi.  So good!
  4. Learn About Buddhism – Buddhism is predominately practiced in this part of the world.  I’ve always been fascinated by it.  Especially with the concept of mindfulness and meditation.  It should be interesting to explore this area in another country.
  5. Learn Yoga – Although it originated in India, yoga is still very popular in the Far East.  I’ve always wanted to learn, so what better opportunity to learn then in Korea.
  6. Travel – To really take advantage of this opportunity, I want to travel as much as I can.  There is so much to see and do here that getting out there and visiting new cities is really the only way to do it.

This is going to be an exciting year.  So much to see and do.
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Photo Credits: Wikipedia



4 responses to “Life Experiment #45: Live In South Korea For a Year”

  1. estherjulee says:

    i miss korea! i haven’t been since 2002. 🙂 reminds me that i should probably brush up on my korean. btw, i found your blog recently through searching bucket lists. love what you’re doing here. i’m all about testing limits and experimenting!

  2. “Living on a US military base is like living in a mini-America.”

    That’s the truth! I went on base in Seoul to do a 5K race. I couldn’t believe it when I saw a vending machine that had stuff like Butterfingers and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups! You can’t find those anywhere in Korea! …but there they were, and the vending machine only took quarters…no Won. I wanted one of those Butterfingers so bad, but I didn’t have any American money!

  3. […] since moving to Korea, I’ve struggled with wanting to speak the language.  I’ve never learned another language […]

  4. […] totally opposed to yoga classes.  I found a few English yoga classes in Busan (I currently live in South Korea).  So it will be great to network with other English speakers and get training from a professional […]

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