1. Transportation: Getting places in Korea is easy and affordable. Of course the fact that the country is small in size is quite the advantage in this department. But still with this many people to service, the transportation here manages to be consistently efficient. I mostly get around by bus, subway, and train. The buses here have some delays depending on traffic. And the drivers go around like maniacs and it can be a bit scary, but besides that the buses here are pretty good. The subway system in Daejeon has one line. Seoul has…very many. It can be a bit intimidating coming from a place with no public transportation to a city like Seoul, but once you understand the signs and maps–I can’t imagine life without it. The trains going from city to city are great as well. Usually on time and are comfortable and speedy. There’s different types of trains depending on how fast you want to get somewhere and how much you want to pay. But it’s still a lot cheaper than a train in the U.S. for the same distance.
2. Service: In Korea there is this phenomenon called “service” or “서비스” and it’s basically getting free shit from businesses because they want to keep you coming back as a customer. For me, I’ve noticed it typically only happens after I have already ordered a lot of something. For example if I’m dropping a good amount on some chicken and potatoes at a 치킨 place, the owner may throw in some appetizers/side dish as a thank you. It’s usually nothing too big, but it’s this small gesture of appreciation that makes me love Korea just a bit more.
3. Soju (Drinking Culture): Let it be known; I love soju. I was on a drinking break prior to arriving in Korea. I had tried soju a couple of times in the Korea town area of Atlanta. I didn’t like the taste that much. However, once I got here I became pretty attached to it. I like soju because it’s cheap as hell; (maybe about USD 1.50) for a bottle. It goes down pretty easy. And it packs a punch. Plus, since I have been here, flavored soju has been introduced. There’s citrus, peach, pineapple, grapefruit, and more. I’m in soju heaven. And this drinking behavior–is totally acceptable! It’s a part of work life and bonding. So when you go to dinner with all the others teachers and the principle and they ask if you can drink, don’t be afraid to tell ’em HECK YES.
4. Cheap Hospital Visits and Meds: Admittedly (and thankfully) I haven’t had much first-hand experience about this. I’ve been to a small clinic once and a big university hospital once as well. My visit to the clinic consisted of a consultation, diagnosis, and prescription. In total, this visit plus my medicines were about 30,000 won. Or almost 30.00 USD. My visit to the big hospital was about an eye infection. I was seen by the doctor, examined, and given a prescription. In total the visit was about 20 bucks. Unfortunately, I had to pay for a diagnosis letter which was another 15,000 won (whaaaatt?). Anyway, it was still hella super cheap. Although I just have these two instances, I have heard countless other praises from other foreigners about Korea’s wonderfully cheap doc visits. However, I also heard their bedside manner has much to be improved upon.