Living in Korea: Marta's story

Updated on Aug 29, 2023 · By Tom

This week Marta gives us her feedback about life in Korea, and the least you can say is that her experience was way different than the one from our previous interviewees! From difficult communications to being followed in the street she shared everything!

Did Marta's Good Experiences…

20220623_173612.jpgHello Marta, can you tell us about yourself?

I'm 29 years old and I'm Italian, I arrived in Korea in March and I will stay here until the end of the year, but I'm not a student. I'm working here, I have a working holiday visa!

Oh that was my next question actually, so how what are you doing exactly?

After two months spent here I realized that I wanted to stay longer because there were so many things I wanted to see and do so I started looking for a job on craigslist. After a couple of interviews I got accepted to work at a restaurant's kitchen. Back home I am a restaurant manager so when I got the chance there I jumped on it, I don't speak Korean well yet so it was a good opportunity. 

Do you still have enough time to do things on the side?

haedong yonggung temple.webpSource: Mayo Korea

Yes, I usually just visit places,cafes,etc… I also traveled a bit just just for a few days. I like to travel alone so I usually live day by day and I decide every day what to do so I don't have a plan. Sometimes it's boring, sometimes it's exciting. For example I went to the Busan fish market and the temple on the cliff (Haedong Yonggungsa Temple) with people I just met there.

Do you usually make friends easily?

Yes but especially foreigners because of the language barrier since a lot of Korean don't speak any English. It's way easier to start it off with other foreigners.

What is the best thing you have done so far?

My best experience is being to concerts because here they are really cheap and there is so many genres, so many artists.. I saw Straykids, Rolling Quartz, it's a rock band. I am planning to go to another boys band concert TXT and a girls band, Itzy in August 7 and 8. Oh and I went to the SKKU university festival, it was nice.


… Outweigh The Bad Ones?

Did you experience a culture shock in Korea?

My culture shock was really about food because it's really expensive and it's really really hard to find everything because in Italy we use to cook our own food and we don't go out often nor use delivery services. I always see my flatmates ordering food but for me it's really uncommon. I definitely prefer to go grocery shopping and prepare my own food even if here it's so expensive, for example nowadays it's so hot and I would like to eat watermelon but I refuse to pay that much for it! For me it's a shock.  

Have you had a bad experience you would like to forget here in Korea?

Yeah more than one! I don't know if I'm just unlucky or what, but it's already happened multiple times where I'm walking down the street and people just started following me and stopping me and it's a bit annoying. And I don't want to mention the old people that try to spit on you or kick you because you are white but it's also a thing. Probably because I'm a female but a lot of guys already followed me and run after me or stalked me for few meters outside and inside shops, some even asking me explicitely to have "intimate relations" with them…
It's really really bad, I don't know why Korean men react this way to foreigners. Probably there are a lot of foreigners that came here with a Korean kink or something like that because of BTS and Kpop but it's really annoying because they label all the foreign girls here as this. Recently a guy followed me from Seoul Forest all the way to here (7 stops+ 2 metro and bus changes) I was so scared and I did not want to show him where I lived so I ran into a Burger King.

It was in plain day time?

Yes. So I definitely had bad experiences, now I tell the story with a smile but I was really scared.

Thank you for sharing your story! Stay safe and we hope that our readers will also be careful.



I would like to add that while these stories do really happen too often, Korea remains a really secure country. CCTV covers almost every street and the proximity police is really efficient. So if you are being followed or assaulted I encourage you to call the Police - 112 or the Foreign Traveler Hotline - 1330 if the agent does not speak English.

See more post