South Korea is an interesting mix of old and new. Rapid modernization in the recent decades has led to the springing up of many factories, advanced medical facilities, large department stores and modern restaurants. But the country also retains its ancient charm with its street markets, traditional herbal medicine shops and temples. The following books are a must-read for expats moving to South Korea.
Learning to Think Korean: A Guide to Living and Working in Korea
Author Robert L. Kohls demystifies Korean culture for those who will be encountering it in daily life while living or working in South Korea.This is an important demystification because among the East Asian countries, Korea is perhaps the strongest adherent to the traditional Confucian ideals of hierarchy, status, harmony and right behavior. These typically Korean ways of thinking and behaving are explored in contrast to the ways of American society providing for interesting insights. In Learning to Think Korean, you will also learn about the cultural practices that till today plan an important role in the workplace. There’s also much to explore about Korean life beyond business where social customs and proper etiquette are deeply embedded. This book can sharpen your intercultural communication skills as apart from exploring the traditions and customs, it also digs deeper into the history, influences and values upon which Korean culture is built.
Konglish: The Ultimate Survival Guide for Teaching English in South Korea
This humorous and informative book is packed with everything one needs to know about teaching English in South Korea. It is full of facts and practical information that range from topics such as finding the right job, negotiating a contract and specific learning requirements of different students. This isn’t one of those serious books on the educational concerns of South Korean society. Instead author, Matthew Waterhouse, a qualified elementary teacher, provides a cheeky, yet insightful survival guide that takes you right out of the classroom and straight into the heart of Korean culture. No topic is off limit and even areas like food, dating and health are discussed in detail. Konglish also takes an honest look at the realities of living in an unfamiliar land and the issues faced by many expats such as culture shock and learning the local language.
Faces of Korea: The Foreign Experience in the Land of the Morning Calm
Faces of Korea is a one of a kind account of the lives of foreigners in Korea. It contains 47 interviews with people from different countries and continents. The interviews are interesting to read due to the book’s narrative format. They are also informative as they come from first-hand experiences of people who have lived and worked in Korea. The interviews bring to light topics such as teaching in Korea, learning in Korea and relationships with Koreans. Faces of Korea was published a few years ago, but remains relevant even today. Author Richard Harris offers a valuable guide for current and prospective expats in Korea.
Etiquette Guide to Korea: Know the Rules that Make the Difference!
As an increasing number of westerners are travelling to South Korea for business or pleasure, the need for a proper understanding of the country’s culture and customs is growing. South Korea is no longer the ‘hermit kingdom’ it once was and today modern influences exist alongside age-old cultural traditions. But proper Korean etiquette may still be a mystery to international travellers and that’s where Etiquette Guide to Korea comes in. It covers topics such as table manners for daily meals and celebrations, the importance of names and how to use them and also how to negotiate. There are also lists of useful Korean words and phrases.
Living Abroad in South Korea
The information in this book comes from author, Jonathan Hopfner’s own experience of relocating to South Korea twice. There’s a lot of useful information here such as obtaining visas, managing finances and finding employment. It also discusses how to set up daily life once you make the move and is ideal for professionals, teachers, students and retirees. The topics covered include renting or buying a home, healthcare and education. The photographs, maps and illustrations also serve as handy tools that facilitate the process of relocation and simplify the transition process.