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  • wovaki
  • Adventurer

    • 33

    • November 14, 2013, 05:25:14 am
    • Ontario, Canada
Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« on: January 13, 2015, 10:23:04 am »
Hello!

I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this or not, but I just wanted to get some advice.

So, I'm Canadian and my girlfriend is Korean. We've been together for awhile and we're planning on getting married. Now we're trying to decide where to live, either in Korea or Canada.

We're both seriously considering both places. I'm perfectly happy to live in either place, and happy to stay in Korea because all of her family and friends and whole life is here. But, I do think we'd have a better and more stable life in Canada. A teacher's salary here isn't the greatest, if something happens to said teaching job then I'm severely limited in other jobs I can get, education for our future children would be better in Canada.

That being said, we still can live decently on my salary and she works too, so we do have two incomes.

So I was just wondering if anyone has any opinions or advice they can give? Any difficulties you may have encountered living here as a foreigner that makes family life difficult, etc.?

Thanks!
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  • Mister Tim
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1688

    • September 08, 2013, 10:33:54 am
    • SK
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2015, 10:38:23 am »
If I had biracial children, I'd much rather raise them in Canada than in Korea, for their sake.


Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2015, 10:41:56 am »
I've only known two families who have gone back the US so I can't compare well to Canada. I'll just touch on the things that do apply. The children told me they hated living in Korea because they teased for being bi-racial (I'm sure this changes as they mature) and because in Korea they were so pressured to compete with classmates. I know some families here who send their children to international schools, but I don't know if that's possible for your case. One thing I've definitely seen is that the children who've lived in both the US and Korea seem to be the least happy living here simply because they have comparisons in their minds. With what you've said about your fiance having her family, friends, and life here, I know a family in the US where the Korean wife was terribly homesick and it caused a few marriage problems. They've since moved on, but it was terrible at the time. Sorry I don't have any first hand experience, but this is just what I've seen with the families I know.


  • thunderlips
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1866

    • June 07, 2012, 10:01:55 am
    • South Korea
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2015, 11:00:00 am »
I've only known two families who have gone back the US so I can't compare well to Canada. I'll just touch on the things that do apply. The children told me they hated living in Korea because they teased for being bi-racial (I'm sure this changes as they mature) and because in Korea they were so pressured to compete with classmates. I know some families here who send their children to international schools, but I don't know if that's possible for your case. One thing I've definitely seen is that the children who've lived in both the US and Korea seem to be the least happy living here simply because they have comparisons in their minds. With what you've said about your fiance having her family, friends, and life here, I know a family in the US where the Korean wife was terribly homesick and it caused a few marriage problems. They've since moved on, but it was terrible at the time. Sorry I don't have any first hand experience, but this is just what I've seen with the families I know.

This is the biggest issue for us to stay here once the kid is old enough for elementary school.
And from what I have read it seems that it only intensifies in middle/high school.

http://thediplomat.com/2011/07/south-koreas-multiethnic-future/
"Due to discrimination, poorer language proficiency, and limited school support, they are facing below national average dropout rates of 20 percent in middle school and 40 percent in high school. "

I realize change is happening slowly, but the lack of support and discipline in many schools in troubling.



  • country09
  • Expert Waygook

    • 653

    • January 05, 2011, 10:04:21 am
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2015, 11:17:36 am »
I think there is a major advantage to having your kid born in Korea and growing up with his peers than having a child move over and being put into a school.

I have wanted to leave for a while but the support system we have here with her family is amazing. There are obviously pros and cons but those need to be weighed regularly. They change as your boy or girl grows up. The Korean government does a lot for new parents in terms of financial support. There are also great investment opportunities for multi-national couples. That said when my son gets close to going to elementary and then onto middle school I will be re-evaluating where we want to live.


Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2015, 11:29:22 am »
I think it depends on your girlfriend
.  You chose to live in a foreign country, but she hasn't.  She might love Canada, but it's kinda risky to move there without knowing how she will adapt.

That being said, if you plan on having kids together, Canada is probably a better place to raise them.


  • Jgrat
  • Super Waygook

    • 486

    • May 16, 2011, 06:14:29 am
    • Siheung
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2015, 11:52:39 am »
I have few friends that have made the move to Canada. Here's their and my take on the pros and cons.

Pros

Canada is by far a better country to raise children. This has been reiterated by my Canadian friend/Korean wife who have two kids and my Korean friend/Canadian Husband who moved to Canada because of that reason.

Top notch public education - You pay to play in Korea, however, in Canada it's 100% subsidized and the only thing you pay for are incidentals (school athletic wear, trips, small extra curricular fees).

Paternal paid leave (1 year total or split between either spouse), child tax benefit and child allowance (a couple hundred bucks extra a month if you have a few kids, takes the sting off).

RESP federal subsidy (the Feds will give you $5000 cash to save and invest for your kids' future, start as soon as they're born, compound interest and boom that's almost $20k free cash)

Do I need to mention healthcare.

Far more multicultural and accepting of everyone regardless of gender, ethnicity.

Slower more relaxed lifestyle with stat holidays that actually give you time off for your family.

CONS

Canada is not the country for single young people or DINKS. High taxes subsidize all that education and healthcare. Which if you're young, healthy and haven't got any little ducklings you still pay for.

Korea

Talk to any Korean it's not easy raising kids here. Talk to the kids, they're not too fond of it either.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2015, 12:19:40 pm by Jgrat »


  • thunderlips
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1866

    • June 07, 2012, 10:01:55 am
    • South Korea
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2015, 12:06:25 pm »
I think there is a major advantage to having your kid born in Korea and growing up with his peers than having a child move over and being put into a school.

I have wanted to leave for a while but the support system we have here with her family is amazing. There are obviously pros and cons but those need to be weighed regularly. They change as your boy or girl grows up. The Korean government does a lot for new parents in terms of financial support. There are also great investment opportunities for multi-national couples. That said when my son gets close to going to elementary and then onto middle school I will be re-evaluating where we want to live.

Can you elaborate? I am curious if you mean business investments or personal savings?

Thanks!


  • country09
  • Expert Waygook

    • 653

    • January 05, 2011, 10:04:21 am
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2015, 12:16:06 pm »
No business investments. Personal investments.


  • Jgrat
  • Super Waygook

    • 486

    • May 16, 2011, 06:14:29 am
    • Siheung
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2015, 12:31:05 pm »
Just another note. If you do decide to move to Canada so she can get preggo, apply for her PR visa HERE a year before you plan to go. Two couples I know have spent over a year getting their spouse the PR visa. There's a at least a 1 year backlog. Call Immi Canada to confirm.

No PR visa no job and no benefits for the spouse.

If you plan on staying DINKS for a while, stay here and save, save, save.


  • BTeacher
  • Expert Waygook

    • 756

    • May 26, 2012, 07:21:01 am
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2015, 12:35:27 pm »
I think it depends on your girlfriend...

Agreed. I think that is a main deciding factor here, can she be happy in Canada, away from everything that is dear to her in Korea? Won't know until you try.

Apart from that, virtually everything is better in Canada, right down to the air you (and any future children) will be breathing.

I suspect the place that would be least jarring/boring for a Korean to live in Canada would be Vancouver, as it is by the ocean/mountains, has a Koreatown, and is closest to Korea. I lived in Toronto for a year and my Korean wife hated it; bad transportation system, bad weather, nothing much to do.

edit: of course, she didn't have a work visa, so you'll want to sort all that out beforehand.

« Last Edit: January 13, 2015, 12:42:16 pm by BTeacher »


  • Mezoti97
  • The Legend

    • 2703

    • April 14, 2011, 03:02:50 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2015, 12:50:52 pm »
I know a Canadian guy here in Korea with a Korean wife; they have two children (one is around pre-school/kindergarten-age, the other is a baby), both born in Korea. He told me that he and his family plan to move to Canada permanently in the not-too-distant future (maybe in a year or so -- I don't think they know when exactly they plan to make the move). His reasons were that the education system is better in Canada (he said both he and his wife dislike the Korean education system and don't want their children to go through it), that Canada is a better country to raise biracial children, and that (this part is just his hypothetical speculation), if they were to ever separate/get divorced after moving to Canada, he feels that Canadian family law would be fairer than it is in Korea, in terms of a custody battle and such.

Even though his wife does want to move to Canada and live there permanently with him and their kids, I think she doesn't have any family/relatives in Canada (or anywhere abroad, in general), so if I were him, a part of me would be at least a little concerned that she could get homesick and miss her family/relatives back in Korea, and may realize later on that she wants to go back to Korea. I know a Korean living in America who moved there several years ago; the move was supposed to be permanent, but I think she has since become homesick and now wants to move back to Korea, but will wait to do so once her child graduates from high school. Obviously that's just one particular case, but I think it's more likely to happen when you move out of your home country and don't have any family/relations abroad, especially if you are very close to your family/relatives. She also doesn't speak English well, and neither does my Canadian acquaintance's wife, so that might also be a bit of an obstacle in finding work, if she wanted to find a job or establish a long-term career.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2015, 03:06:57 pm by Mezoti97 »


  • wovaki
  • Adventurer

    • 33

    • November 14, 2013, 05:25:14 am
    • Ontario, Canada
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2015, 01:37:21 pm »
Wow, thanks for all the replies, everyone!

Most of what you've all said are along the lines I was thinking too. It's nice to have my suspicions/thoughts confirmed though.

The biggest thing we're worried about in Korea is my ability to support us. Both through my job or otherwise. But also what else is available in terms of support etc. In Canada, if I were to lose my job, it's not as big a deal. I know where to go for help. In Korea...I'm given less than a month to pack up and get out. Not a very fun thought when thinking about raising a family. I know that would change with a spousal visa, but even with the visa, it would still be hard to find a job.

And of course, the biggest thing we're worried about in Canada is my wife-to-be's happiness. I know that she's capable of doing it as she's lived abroad in Japan on her own for years. But it's still different and she still could become homesick. Although, I do know that once she gets her permanent residence/citizenship, she's basically just another Canadian. Meanwhile here, I'm still a foreigner no matter what, unfortunately.

No business investments. Personal investments.

Could you give me some idea of the kind of things there are here? I don't know about what's available for foreigners in Korea much, and any Googling has brought up nothing.


Agreed. I think that is a main deciding factor here, can she be happy in Canada, away from everything that is dear to her in Korea? Won't know until you try.

Apart from that, virtually everything is better in Canada, right down to the air you (and any future children) will be breathing.

I suspect the place that would be least jarring/boring for a Korean to live in Canada would be Vancouver, as it is by the ocean/mountains, has a Koreatown, and is closest to Korea. I lived in Toronto for a year and my Korean wife hated it; bad transportation system, bad weather, nothing much to do.

edit: of course, she didn't have a work visa, so you'll want to sort all that out beforehand.

I'm from a small town in Ontario myself. I've never lived in Toronto but have visited and I've never been out west. Is Vancouver that much better? Better transportation, weather, stuff to do, etc.? I have been considering Vancouver though, as I've heard only good things about out there. She's leaning more towards Toronto or Ottawa herself though.

Just another note. If you do decide to move to Canada so she can get preggo, apply for her PR visa HERE a year before you plan to go. Two couples I know have spent over a year getting their spouse the PR visa. There's a at least a 1 year backlog. Call Immi Canada to confirm.

No PR visa no job and no benefits for the spouse.

If you plan on staying DINKS for a while, stay here and save, save, save.

1 year?? Wow. I'm not very familiar with the procedures, but basically she has to have her PR (permanent residence?) before she can do anything, right? Even if we're married in Korea and move to Canada, she can't get any benefits, etc. until she gets that?

She wants to work when we get there, but she's also considering going back to school. Plus, we're talking about kids. So we've got all that to decide. haha My biggest worry is medical coverage if we move there and have a kid or have a kid and then move there.

Thanks for the opinions and advice everyone!
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  • Jgrat
  • Super Waygook

    • 486

    • May 16, 2011, 06:14:29 am
    • Siheung
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2015, 01:53:59 pm »
 "She also doesn't speak English well, and neither does my Canadian acquaintance's wife, so that might also be a bit of an obstacle in finding work, if she wanted to find a job or establish a long-term career."

Yeah, that's pretty much a given that they'd find the country miserable. That has more to do with personal limitations than anything to do with the country.

This isn't particular to this situation but if a spouse can't communicate well in their country of residence, they will be miserable. There is only so much sitting in the house, going to work and streaming off the net someone can do before they realize "F*#k this is boring".

No language skills also limits if not eliminates their job prospects or chance of upgrading their skills. Those frustrations will ultimately manifest themselves in the marriage. After all, if you can't make yourself happy, how do you expect anyone around you to be happy.

My heart goes out to the people who have found themselves in wonderful relationships with people they care about, but unfortunately those people don't have the ability or skills to be able to start a new family and make new friends in a new country. At the end it's usually the kids that suffer the worst.

Will someone please think of the children!! :P


  • Mister Tim
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1688

    • September 08, 2013, 10:33:54 am
    • SK
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2015, 01:55:40 pm »
I can appreciate being concerned about a Korean spouse becoming homesick and missing her friends and family after a move to Korea, but I never really see anyone particularly concerned about the non-Korean spouse being homesick here in Korea. If a person was willing to deal with homesickness to come to a new country for money or professional development, would it really be too much to ask of the other spouse to move to another country for the sake of their children?

Obviously homesickness can be awful, but it's not like it's something native English teachers here don't deal with. We just take a trip home every now and then, say our hellos and goodbyes, eat the foods we missed and do the activities we longed for, then come back to Korea to keep on living our lives. Is that not something your (general "your," not just the OP) Korean spouses are willing to consider? Taking all things in consideration, I know I'd rather do what's best for my children, even if it meant living elsewhere and only going back to my home country every now and then.


  • BTeacher
  • Expert Waygook

    • 756

    • May 26, 2012, 07:21:01 am
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2015, 02:28:52 pm »
I'm from a small town in Ontario myself. I've never lived in Toronto but have visited and I've never been out west. Is Vancouver that much better? Better transportation, weather, stuff to do, etc.? I have been considering Vancouver though, as I've heard only good things about out there. She's leaning more towards Toronto or Ottawa herself though.

I'm from a small town in Ontario too, and while I always enjoy visiting Toronto, living there kinda sucks; in terms of finding work, night life, natural beauty, etc. I actually never wanted to live there myself, it was my wife's choice--and it was a poor one. IMO it isn't a world-class city worth moving half way around the world to (neither is Ottawa), but Vancouver has the ocean, the waterfront, mountains with hiking, biking, skiing and national parks nearby, a much milder winter...it's just got way more wow factor/going on nearby, while Toronto has...Mississauga.. .Etobicoke...Hamilt on... industrial wastelands and housing developments.

Anyway, I've got a class. Good luck to you.


  • country09
  • Expert Waygook

    • 653

    • January 05, 2011, 10:04:21 am
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2015, 02:29:57 pm »

The biggest thing we're worried about in Korea is my ability to support us. Both through my job or otherwise. But also what else is available in terms of support etc. In Canada, if I were to lose my job, it's not as big a deal. I know where to go for help. In Korea...I'm given less than a month to pack up and get out. Not a very fun thought when thinking about raising a family. I know that would change with a spousal visa, but even with the visa, it would still be hard to find a job.


It is a helpless feeling sometimes but when you get your F visa your options open up greatly. There are opportunities to make quite a bit of money doing privates and or working multiple hagwon jobs. This lifestyle allows for more money but still does not bring job security. I think that is the biggest thing I worry about being over here.

1 year contracts are not something I want to deal with the rest of my life. The options are to venture out in other areas here in Korea or go home. You will have to make that decision too eventually if you decide to spend some time here.

In terms of the personal investments they relate to investing your money in the banks. We are given a higher interest rate than normal Koreans. My wife deals with all the investments because my Korean is not up to par. Basically they are like CDs back home and we just open multiple accounts with multiple banks across the area that I live in. This would be something that your wife would need to look into further since you need to have a good understanding of Korean. Also once you get your savings up high enough property ownership is a great way to invest.

Something that hasn't really been touched on but it is worth noting is that having a baby in Korea is very easy and cheap. Coming from the US it is night and day(in terms of cost). I am not so sure about Canada but due to the low birth rate in Korea, the Korean government gives you money for having a kid and while you are pregnant. Child care is also heavily subsidized by the government. I think there are many benefits for raising a younger child here in Korea but once they become of schooling age I think it is best to move back to our home nations as we all know the brutal systems that are in place here.


  • Mezoti97
  • The Legend

    • 2703

    • April 14, 2011, 03:02:50 pm
    • South Korea
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #17 on: January 13, 2015, 02:33:43 pm »
I can appreciate being concerned about a Korean spouse becoming homesick and missing her friends and family after a move to Korea, but I never really see anyone particularly concerned about the non-Korean spouse being homesick here in Korea.

I know what you mean and see what you're saying, although in my case (even though I'm not married/have no spouse), especially during my first few years working in Korea, it was pretty common for me to get asked by Korean people variations of the question about being homesick ("Are you homesick?"/"Are you lonely here?"/"Do you miss your home country?"/"Do you miss your family back home?" etc.). They were always pretty surprised when I would answer no, although it wasn't surprising to me. I think if I were the type of person to get homesick easily or miss things easily, then I probably couldn't live abroad, as the homesickness would probably be too overwhelming. However, luckily for me, I don't get homesick easily, so living abroad on my own has been quite suitable for me, but that's just me. If someone were really attached to their home country, were extremely close to their family back home, and missed things easily, I could see it being quite difficult for someone like that to move/live abroad.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2015, 03:16:08 pm by Mezoti97 »


  • country09
  • Expert Waygook

    • 653

    • January 05, 2011, 10:04:21 am
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #18 on: January 13, 2015, 02:37:30 pm »
I can appreciate being concerned about a Korean spouse becoming homesick and missing her friends and family after a move to Korea, but I never really see anyone particularly concerned about the non-Korean spouse being homesick here in Korea. If a person was willing to deal with homesickness to come to a new country for money or professional development, would it really be too much to ask of the other spouse to move to another country for the sake of their children?


I think this comes down to the relationship itself. I have talked to my wife about being homesick but I know that financially the best thing for us at the time is stay in Korea. She is very aware and sympathetic. A marriage is about sacrifices and being able to do that is not easy and sometimes it can tear apart a marriage.


  • Loki88
  • Expert Waygook

    • 722

    • July 25, 2014, 08:41:07 am
    • Seoul
Re: Raising a family, Canada or Korea?
« Reply #19 on: January 13, 2015, 02:46:27 pm »
Hi OP,

I'm in a situation similar to yours heres the story and my thoughts.

Met my wife in Canada while she was studying. Got married. Came here because for a non-Canadian woman to have a baby in Canada I could have just bought two houses, a condo and my own personal Timmies.

Whereas in Korea. OMFG it's so cheap it's free. Although, with a PR card it would be free back home but wife didn't have that yet.

---------------

On the PR card. You can apply either inside or outside of Canada. The wait time when applying in Korea is ~1 year. It can range from 1.5-3 years from within Canada (during which time your spouse is not covered for healthcare by Canada but has to purchase it seperately. Most of which don't cover pregnancy.)

Food for thought on the baby and emmigrating thing. Check it over more carefully of course I haven't looked in a while.

-----------------------

Other stuff.

1. In Canada, the kids will experience significantly less racism.
2. Higher quality of living (though more boring).

The Big One;

Social Mobility.

In Korea you will always be the foriegner likely always to be perceived as an English Teacher. No upward movement in perceived status (and real status won't change much either.) (Note: I can imagine it being possible to break this mold but it would be much easier back home.)
This is simply not true back home. You will be able to continuosly make more money and become a more respected member of society. Useful when you want nice stuff and favours for your kids.

-----------

Our plan is to stay here for a few years. Pop the babies out and move back home so the kids can start school. My wife has a near fluent English ability level and lived there before. Homesickness was not an issue nor was finding a job.

Update: Forgot this. If you apply for the PR card from within Canada you can also apply for a work visa for your wife. This takes ~9 months if I remember correctly.
« Last Edit: January 13, 2015, 02:48:30 pm by Loki88 »