Living in South Korea

Asia , Life Abroad Jan 26, 2020 No Comments

Understanding costs can lead to a successful residency in the country.

By Mary Anne Thompson, founder, and president, Goinglobal, Inc.

South Korea is an increasingly popular destination for expatriates. Almost two and a half million foreigners currently live in the country, with almost 285,000 in Seoul alone.

The country offers modern cities and a high standard of living at relatively affordable prices. Housing and food can be expensive, but other costs, such as transportation, are quite low.

Food: A great way to save money on food is to eat local foods and cook at home. Fruit is a rare treat due to its exorbitant costs.

Clothing: is expensive, particularly Western-style clothes.

Housing: Not surprisingly, Seoul’s housing market is the least affordable in South Korea. Housing is much more affordable in outlying areas.

Popular housing options include:

  • Villas: large apartments in modern buildings of four to five stories
  • Multi-family house: fewer than four floors, small apartments (660 square meters or smaller)
  • High rises: apartments in modern buildings of 20-plus stories
  • Single house: older, but larger and with a garden
  • Studio apartments: Students and young professionals often choose to live in one-room apartments near universities and business districts. These apartments are quite small, however.
  • ‘Officetels’: Some foreign residents choose this combination of living and workspace.

Transportation: The country boasts very affordable, convenient public transportation, as well as excellent railroads. It is not necessary to have a car, but the country has an excellent network of expressways and highways.

Medical Care: South Korea has excellent medical care with state-of-the-art equipment and high-quality service, especially in the larger cities. In fact, the country is becoming an increasingly important medical tourism destination. Both public and private health care are available.

Information on the employment outlook for more countries can be found by logging into your GoinGlobal account, as long as your institution has a GoinGlobal subscription. Check with your career center to see if your school provides access to GoinGlobal.


Mary Anne Thompson

Mary Anne Thompson founded GoinGlobal, Inc. more than two decades ago as a result of her own experiences job hunting in Sweden. She believes that to uncover the real job opportunities, you need the experience and personal insights of trained local specialists. Mary Anne continues to be an active CEO who shares her strategies and insights directly with clients to help them strategically maximize GoinGlobal’s unique resources.