Who are you?
I’m Dominic Dinkins who was born and raised in Detroit, and has been living overseas in South Korea since 2009. I’ve always wanted to live overseas at some point in my life, and kind of mistakenly got lead to Korea by a friend, and ended up loving it. I also met my wife here and we have been married since 2015. We started our own blog / website about our intercultural relationship and about language and life in Korea.Where, when and why did you move abroad?
I moved to South Korea in the spring of 2009 and although I wanted to live overseas, Korea never even popped up on my radar until a friend who was teaching here gave me some info about it. I had just gotten laid off from my job during the recession, and I thought that it would be the perfect time to achieve my goal of living abroad. I did some research about the country and teaching, and decided that it would be a good experience.
What challenges did you face during the move?
Basically just trying to get adjusted to a culture completely different from my own. The very first night I arrived and settled into my apartment, I wanted to go back. But I knew it was just culture shock and after a a few weeks, I was fine. Getting used to how fast everyone likes to do things here was probably the biggest challenge.
Are there many other expats in your area?
Not in my neighborhood in particular, but there are plenty in the city I reside in (Incheon). I have expat friends here, and all over the country, but most of them live in Seoul and I travel there about twice a month.
What do you like about life where you are?
I like the convenience of pretty much everything. Many things are within short walking distance like department stores, cinemas, convenience stores, etc. whereas back in Detroit, I had to drive everywhere. We also live not too far from the in-laws which sounds bad to a lot of people, but they are really understanding / respectful and don’t intrude on our life. They help us out a lot.
What do you dislike about your expat life?
I really dislike being so far away from home during times like Christmas and New Year’s. I get homesick from time to time, but especially around these times. For now, I can only go back home once a year and with me being the only child, I sometimes worry about my folks back home. We plan on staying here longterm, but going to the states could be an option sometime in the future. I also miss being able to find my comfort foods easily!
What is the biggest cultural difference you have experienced between your new country and life back home?
I’m still trying to get used to the fast paced culture here. Everything needs to be done fast, whereas back home, people are able to take things easy and enjoy life. I feel like so many people are focused on work here that they don’t have time for much else.
What advice would you give to anyone following in your footsteps?
To just research and prepare as much as you can, but also go with the flow because you won’t be able to account for every possible situation. Sometimes you just have to take things in stride and chalk it up as a life experience. I’ve been here for 7 years, and I still get surprised and caught off guard.
What are your plans for the future?
My plans are to continue working on our website with my wife, and hopefully be able to make that our primary work while living here. We’ve both been teaching for a while now, but are looking to move on from that very soon.
You can keep up to date with Dom's adventures in South Korea on his blog, Dom And Hyo.
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