What has surprised me the most honestly is that I have been warmly accepted by most Korean people I’ve met and have begun building a relationship with them, particularly with my co-teachers. I don’t hide the fact that I am very proud of my skin, hair, and afrocentricity. I don’t wear make-up, which is very uncommon here. They embrace all of it as it comes with me. They’ve told me they admire me and love that I’m not afraid or ashamed to be who I am. I found this very surprising because Korea is SUCH a homogeneous society and I am SO different.
I’ve only been here a little over a month so I’m definitely no expert, but I would say that as a WOC you HAVE to love yourself. When living in a place where you can’t hide your otherness in anyway shape or form it will be spotlighted, negatively and positively, and you have to be able to absorb the good and let the bad roll off of you. Money wise, EPIK’s recommendation of brining $1,000 with you for the first month is spot on. I only brought $700 but with my settlement allowance (my co-teacher got it for me early) I had $1,000 and it was just enough. I’m frugal so I stretched it too but if you have less you can still make it work.
This was a long answer but feel free to ask me anything else! I’m going to be posting my top 3 favorite things and least favorite things about Korea soon too!