Back in 1999, I lived in Korea. It was the first country that I have ever been to outside of the US. Korea is where I first fell in love with Asia. I was interested enough to learn some Korean. I could read some of it and speak it. I love the culture, the food and the people there. Like anywhere else there were pros and cons to living in Korea.
Pros of Korea:
Food. If you are a foodie who is not afraid to try new food, you will LOVE Korea. The bulgogi, gimbap, amazing flavors and KIMCHI!
Moderate Prices. You are not going to see Thailand or Philippines types of prices, but the cool thing about Korea, is that you can have just about anything made for a fair price that is less than half of the retail. You can go to Itaewon (the Silk Road), Dongdaemun and many other places.
Great people. My personal experience interacting with locals was great. People accepted me with open arms. It felt a little more open than Japan to me as far as attitude toward foreigners but perhaps I should have stayed in Japan longer to get a better feel. Japanese people are more polite but sometimes I got the feeling that I was not welcome. But I did not usually feel this in Korea. They were very impressed if I could even say one word of Korean. Some of the younger generation hated Americans and felt that the US is the reason for the tension between North and South Korea. While the older generation that had parents in the Korean War (or where IN the Korean War) were very, very cool with Americans. Maybe the younger people would like Canadians and Europeans better. This was over a decade ago so I am sure things have changed for better or worse.
CON in Korea:
Rudeness. It is not uncommon for people to bump you in the street, over take you when you are driving or walking, they don’t smile or give small talk usually. I guess this sounds like a contradiction because I just said the people are great… and they are. The rudeness there is legendary! Here are a couple of examples: Seoulcafe on Korean Rudeness, Trish in Korea on Rudeness.
INSANE drivers. The roads are not as dangerous as Kuwait, but it was so dangerous when I was there that I was too afraid to drive.
If you find yourself in Asia and considering Korea, you should definitely go. The food is awesome and the culture is cool.. just don’t drive there.