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  • James_H
  • Newgookin

    • 1

    • May 19, 2021, 07:42:16 pm
    • London
Moving to Korea from the UK
« on: May 19, 2021, 08:09:07 pm »
Good day!

After Brexit life became tougher, not only due to pandemics. My wife is of Korean origin and we have been discussing moving to Korea for a while now. At first, it was just a musing, a verbal adventure or so to say. However, I have recently started to give more serious thought to all that. Could you please point me in the direction of what do I need to know, as a Londoner who wants to move to Korea with his family? Pointers perhaps, something to get us started on the moving-to-Korea path?


Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2021, 09:27:01 am »
Will you and your wife have jobs lined up? If not, not worth it. You're going to need to earn enough money to put your kids through international school.

Also, Korea is wayyyy behind on vaccinations. UK is probably about to have a post-pandemic boom as it will be one of the first countries completely open for business. Meanwhile Korea's housing, economy, and cost of living is not the best right now. I'd look at moving to Canada or Australia or within the UK before Korea.


  • CO2
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6964

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Uiwang
Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2021, 09:35:38 am »
You're going to need to earn enough money to put your kids through international school.
Yeah, I get a lot of these posts in wayg FB groups and coming here with kids that aren't Korean is the single biggest obstacle to entry. Int schools costs TENS of thousands of dollars a year.

Unless you're in some international law firm, or you're an engineer, then it's impossible. You can't dedicate 60% of  your English teacher's wage on one kid's schooling and house the three of you in a one room. This is also assuming you have only one kid.

This isn't to actively discourage anyone, but if those are the parameters, then it's virtually impossible/poverty wages.
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  • OnNut81
  • The Legend

    • 2019

    • April 01, 2011, 03:01:41 pm
    • Anyang
Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2021, 10:19:44 am »
If his wife is of Korean origin, then there may be no need for them to be living in a shoebox.  With her background more doors could be open.  He didn't mention if she was just ethnically Korean or whether she speaks the language or was even born here. 


Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2021, 11:02:21 am »
I would talk to some people of similar background as you about moving. There are many pros and cons to moving here. I will say that the usual cons are air pollution, kidís education, limited job opportunities and blatant xenophobia.

Pros being safety and health care but that varies.  There is a potential to earn if you have a masters degree or higher or plan to open a hagwon.

Maybe check out the fb group Expat Dads in Korea or Every Expat in korea to get some firsthand accounts.


  • CO2
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6964

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Uiwang
Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2021, 11:23:45 am »
If his wife is of Korean origin, then there may be no need for them to be living in a shoebox.  With her background more doors could be open.  He didn't mention if she was just ethnically Korean or whether she speaks the language or was even born here. 

Yeah, this entirely hinges on the kid's Korean ability.

There was a great story on a FB wayg group of a single mom from Atlanta with two kids (one with special needs) who was coming here to teach English.

a) she didn't start a degree yet

b) "no, no, my family and I have been studying Korean on Duolingo for two years. My kids are totally ready for the Korean public school system." (yes, she actually said this)

c) "Yeah, we can live in the housing provided by the school."
It's............ one room. You realise that, right?
"We'll make do."

OP, this story is not to make fun of you, it's just a little side anecdote about some people with dreams to come here. This woman is gonna take her American special needs kid with "2 years of Duolingo" to a Korean public school? You're going to get EATEN ALIVE.

And of course, one points this out and, like clockwork, there's some 23 year old white, American woman in a BTS shirt who chimes in, "It's none of your business/Nothing is impossible/Let them follow their dream/If you don't have anything nice to say...."

Again, OP, I'm not saying you are like this, but how fluent are your kids? What do you want to do here, employment wise?

You can't  just "move here," you'd need to have your employment down first. Unless, of course, your wife is still a Korean citizen and can get you a spousal visa here. It's super common to marry a Korean citizen HERE and get one, I'm really not sure of the logistics of marrying one overseas and then returning (assuming of course that she's a citizen here, not of "Korean descent" a la 'only a UK citizen').

Can you give us some more details? 
« Last Edit: May 20, 2021, 11:30:51 am by CO2 »
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Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2021, 01:08:17 pm »
blatant xenophobia.
Well, his wife is going to get that wherever she goes that isn't Korea. I guess they could move to Saudi Arabia or somewhere else and both face it equally. Also, as far as bigotry goes, S.Korea isn't THAT bad.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2021, 01:10:34 pm by Mr.DeMartino »


  • starryella
  • Veteran

    • 97

    • November 07, 2019, 04:29:39 pm
    • Busan, South Korea
Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2021, 01:37:05 pm »
OP: You didn't say what your profession was, but if either you or your wife is a teacher by profession (with Master's certification), you could teach at an international school. I am not sure, as I have never worked at one of these myself (not qualified) and I haven't got any kids to consider yet, but it might be possible to negotiate a deal with the school for tuition for your children as a condition of employment? Again, I have no idea if this is possible, and I know it's a lot of "ifs."

It might depend on the age of your kids, too - if you've got little ones, putting them in a Korean kindy might be just fine. I do think your kids could face challenges if they are older and don't speak enough Korean to get by in a public school. Little ones would probably be able to learn well through immersion and wouldn't experience peer issues the way older kids with a language barrier might.

If your kids already speak conversational Korean thanks to your wife, that's a huge boon for all of you as these things won't be as much of an issue.


  • waygo0k
  • The Legend

    • 4460

    • September 27, 2011, 11:51:01 am
    • Chungnam
Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2021, 01:39:25 pm »
OP, a way to get your kids into an international school is to teach in one.

I'd say get your PGCE and QTS...you would technically be able to walk into a good number of these schools as they wouldn't need to sponsor your visa and you'd be qualified. Would be doubly advantageous if your wife could get herself qualifications that would also get her employment there (teaching, admin etc).


your combined pay would get your family a very comfortable lifestyle in Korea...much more comfortable than in London. Just takes a bit of planning.


  • leaponover
  • Expert Waygook

    • 752

    • March 05, 2012, 12:08:16 pm
    • Iksan, S. Korea
Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2021, 02:35:36 pm »
Yeah, this entirely hinges on the kid's Korean ability.

There was a great story on a FB wayg group of a single mom from Atlanta with two kids (one with special needs) who was coming here to teach English.

a) she didn't start a degree yet

b) "no, no, my family and I have been studying Korean on Duolingo for two years. My kids are totally ready for the Korean public school system." (yes, she actually said this)

c) "Yeah, we can live in the housing provided by the school."
It's............ one room. You realise that, right?
"We'll make do."

OP, this story is not to make fun of you, it's just a little side anecdote about some people with dreams to come here. This woman is gonna take her American special needs kid with "2 years of Duolingo" to a Korean public school? You're going to get EATEN ALIVE.

And of course, one points this out and, like clockwork, there's some 23 year old white, American woman in a BTS shirt who chimes in, "It's none of your business/Nothing is impossible/Let them follow their dream/If you don't have anything nice to say...."

Again, OP, I'm not saying you are like this, but how fluent are your kids? What do you want to do here, employment wise?

You can't  just "move here," you'd need to have your employment down first. Unless, of course, your wife is still a Korean citizen and can get you a spousal visa here. It's super common to marry a Korean citizen HERE and get one, I'm really not sure of the logistics of marrying one overseas and then returning (assuming of course that she's a citizen here, not of "Korean descent" a la 'only a UK citizen').

Can you give us some more details? 

Not really proving much because you didn't mention the outcome. 


  • JNM
  • The Legend

    • 4792

    • January 19, 2015, 10:16:48 am
    • Cairo, Egypt (formerly Seoul)
Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2021, 02:38:52 pm »
It is pretty easy to predict!


  • CO2
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6964

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Uiwang
Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2021, 02:47:36 pm »
Not really proving much because you didn't mention the outcome. 

What do you mean? Are we actually entertaining the thought that she's making a wise decision?
« Last Edit: May 20, 2021, 02:49:31 pm by CO2 »
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  • leaponover
  • Expert Waygook

    • 752

    • March 05, 2012, 12:08:16 pm
    • Iksan, S. Korea
Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2021, 04:13:33 pm »
What do you mean? Are we actually entertaining the thought that she's making a wise decision?
What I'm not entertaining is being presumptuous.  I'm just not sure why anyone would bring up some scenario with no result as a reason for not doing something.

A:"I told my friend to not go skiing because he's clumsy"
B: "Really, did he go? What happened"
A: Oh, I don't know.  My neighbor has two rabbits though.


  • CO2
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6964

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Uiwang
Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2021, 04:18:08 pm »
What I'm not entertaining is being presumptuous.  I'm just not sure why anyone would bring up some scenario with no result as a reason for not doing something.

A:"I told my friend to not go skiing because he's clumsy"
B: "Really, did he go? What happened"
A: Oh, I don't know.  My neighbor has two rabbits though.


What she wrote is more like saying "I want to go skiing but I have no depth perception, I've had both my knees replaced. Also, it's July."


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  • AvecPommesFrites
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1052

    • September 04, 2017, 02:19:33 pm
    • Incheon International Airport Immigration Office Detention Facility
Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2021, 04:23:42 pm »
You have to ask yourself if wearing a mask for the rest of your life is something you want to do. They are never going away here and they must be worn at all times other than in your own home.

Also the weather here is shit and the air pollution is Blade runner levels.

My advice is stay put and get a job cleaning Amazon robots or summit.

Soggy undergarments


  • CO2
  • Waygook Lord

    • 6964

    • March 02, 2015, 03:41:14 pm
    • Uiwang
Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2021, 04:28:07 pm »
My point is, Leaponover, is that I see so many of these posts.

"I want to work in Korea. What do I do?"

If someone wants help, they either have to

a) ask pertinent questions (which didn't happen)
b) give us a tonne of background info (he has kids/his wife is of "Korean origin"

What education does he have/work experience/kids age and knowledge level/wife's citizenship. We know nothing important.

I have a feeling that OP asked this and went to bed, imagining "Awww yeah, when I wake up I'll have a total roadmap of the next 5 years at my feet."

Like......no. We literally can't help this person at this stage.

The anecdote I told was because it's a funny anecdote/ and one example of the posts I see (Foreigners in South Korea - Community on FB is HORRENDOUS for this. "Hey, I need a job."  Uhh, ok. Like, what the hell do you want me to say?

Again, OP, I'm not angry at you, I don't think you're stupid, but man, you gotta give us something.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2021, 04:31:31 pm by CO2 »
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Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2021, 04:36:54 pm »
Well, his wife is going to get that wherever she goes that isn't Korea. I guess they could move to Saudi Arabia or somewhere else and both face it equally. Also, as far as bigotry goes, S.Korea isn't THAT bad.

Thatís what all the gyopos tell me.


Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2021, 05:52:52 pm »
Thatís what all the gyopos tell me.
I think both Korea and back home aren't that bad. If you're like "Korea is full of xenophobia but USA/UK isn't"  then I'd roll my eyes. And if you say "It's encouraged here but not there" I'd roll my eyes at that too. You can find encouragement and it being combated both here and back home. And if you think his wife hasn't encountered it in the UK, you're out of your mind. But yeah, both here and the UK it IS pretty mild.

Sorry, but Korea is not THAT bad, especially when you consider all the perks that offset things. It could be quite a bit better, but stuff here is relatively low-key. Same as back home. The one difference I'd say is that back home low-key will occasionally spasm into something really violent and systemic.


Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #18 on: May 21, 2021, 05:15:47 am »
We were thinking about International Schools for our kids (i.e. teaching certificate and then getting a job so the tuition is free), then a couple of friends in Korea started teaching at a prestigious one (read most expensive) a couple of years ago and said don't do it.  All the extra curricular stuff is great compared to Korean schools but the pressure the kids are under is no different to regular school.  This is because 95%+ of the parents are Korean ('International' is a bit of a joke), so are still more ambitious than most about their child's outcomes, but now they're also paying a s*it load of money so the pressure on the schools to succeed is immense, which translates into whipping the kids along mercilessly.  At my friends' school they had over 100 suicide ideations in the last year.  Amongst other issues, they've observed the none-Korean kids tend to be isolated from the main group, especially if they don't speak Korean, and most of the kids' parents are multimillionaires (which can cause trouble in a country like Korea where the rich feel very entitled).

Oh, but apparently International School at Elementary level is great.  It's just a shame they revert to the Korean mean when they hit middle school.
« Last Edit: May 21, 2021, 05:18:46 am by jimskins »


  • JNM
  • The Legend

    • 4792

    • January 19, 2015, 10:16:48 am
    • Cairo, Egypt (formerly Seoul)
Re: Moving to Korea from the UK
« Reply #19 on: May 21, 2021, 05:35:50 am »
We were thinking about International Schools for our kids (i.e. teaching certificate and then getting a job so the tuition is free), then a couple of friends in Korea started teaching at a prestigious one (read most expensive) a couple of years ago and said don't do it.  All the extra curricular stuff is great compared to Korean schools but the pressure the kids are under is no different to regular school.  This is because 95%+ of the parents are Korean ('International' is a bit of a joke), so are still more ambitious than most about their child's outcomes, but now they're also paying a s*it load of money so the pressure on the schools to succeed is immense, which translates into whipping the kids along mercilessly.  At my friends' school they had over 100 suicide ideations in the last year.  Amongst other issues, they've observed the none-Korean kids tend to be isolated from the main group, especially if they don't speak Korean, and most of the kids' parents are multimillionaires (which can cause trouble in a country like Korea where the rich feel very entitled).

Oh, but apparently International School at Elementary level is great.  It's just a shame they revert to the Korean mean when they hit middle school.

My experience with my kid in International school in Korea was similar.

They are supposed to be 80% foreign, but one parent with a non-Korean passport or 3 years living abroad qualifies, as does being born in Guam or Vancouver to Korean parents (US or Canadian passport).

Western kids are expected to follow the rules that the rich Korean kids do not. There is lots of selective enforcement.

Glad we are out of there!