Last Updated on
Curious how to meet Korean friends? We’ll show you the best ways to do it in Korea, or anywhere in the world.
We also have a great resource on how to meet Korean friends online. The guide on this page is specifically how to meet them in person.
Read on, and find out how to meet Korean friends!
- 1 Meet Korean Friends in Korea
- 2 Meet Korean Friends Outside of Korea
Meet Korean Friends in Korea
Curious how you can make Korean friends in Korea?
Great question, and we’ve got the answers!
There are a bunch of great ways to meet Korean friends, no matter where you are in South Korea. We’ll explain how below.
As we all know, moving and living in a new country may be a challenging time, and one of those challenges is often loneliness. Of course, living in Korea is no exception to this! You’re away from the familiarity of your home, your friends, and it can be easy to slip into a routine that doesn’t provide you with a lot of social interaction throughout your day unless you seek it out.
One of the best ways to make sure you have a great time in Korea is to meet Korean friends. Having a good group of friends in Korea will also make your life here much more comfortable and enjoyable.
If you’re new to Korea, Korean friends will most likely know the best places to go for food, drinks, shopping, or otherwise just having a good time. I mean, if anyone knows about Korea, why not the locals?
And if you want to learn Korean, who better than a native speaker of the language to help you practice, right? Or if you’ve learned a lot about Korean culture it can feel nice to use your knowledge to impress your Korean friends. Besides these benefits of course, Koreans are just a lot of fun to be around!
Now, the question would be how can we make Korean friends here? Well, look no further. Here are some ways you can start making Korean friends right now.
Note: this post uses some Hangul, Korean alphabet. If you can’t read Korean yet, it’s possible to learn in about 90 minutes.
Language Exchanges & Events
The language exchange meetups in person are also known as 언어모임 (eoneomoim). Here are the top sites to check out for these groups.
There are plenty of these kinds of events in many different areas of Seoul. Some of these include:
There are always a good number of Korean people eager to make new friends with foreigners. If you’re also interested in learning Korean, many of them will also be willing to help you learn Korean as well. A lot of the people that come here may also be good at English as well, so if you’re not very confident in your Korean, this is a good place to start — there’s no judgment, and there will be plenty of people excited to chat with you!
Languagecast has a meeting in Chloris coffee shop in Hongdae every Monday evening, and entry is simply the price of one coffee. The Seoul English Party is in the hotspots of Seoul, such as Hongdae, Itaewon, Gangnam, Shinchon, or Hyehwa. The charge can vary depending on the event. It can be a good chance to meet new people whom you might have things in common.
Global Seoul Mates has meet ups 4 times a week in Hongdae and Gangnam. They give foreigners Korean speaking lessons for an hour before each language exchange. Including the drink, the lesson and the exchange it’s 10,000 won. First timers should check out the Saturday event in Gangnam starting at 2:00pm!
If you’re shy about meeting people in person and would like to get to know them through online exchanges first, look no further than the internet! One of our personal favorites is Couchsurfing.com, a popular site for backpackers looking for a place to stay, specifically, a local’s house.
We highly suggest this method for anyone who’s coming to Korea to visit. Not only can you get the authentic experience by living in a Korean household, but you also save yourself a few bucks you would have spent in a hotel. Now, who can say no to that? Staying with a Korean host is a great way to make a quick connection and find out new information about where you’re staying — if you luck out, you may even make a friend who would be interested in exploring Korea with you. Even those of you already live in Korea or if staying at another person’s house isn’t your cup of tea, this is still a great way to arrange meetings with locals just to hang out for some 삼겹살 (samgyeopsal) or drinks.
Couchsurfing isn’t the only website from which you can meet friends from the internet though. Other sites include SeoulMate, Friends In Korea, and MyKoreanfriends.com. SeoulMate is particularly good if you’re looking to find a group of friends who can take you to the popular sightseeing places of Seoul — there are tons of active users, and it’s a great way to turn a solo trip into a shared experience.
Your Own Hobbies
Korean people love to kick back and enjoy hobbies after a hard day of studying or work. Since some of these hobbies may be the same hobbies you enjoyed back at home, why not find where you can do those things in Korea?
Are you learning the guitar? Why not take up some guitar lessons?
Were you a boxer? How about joining a boxing gym and training with the locals at that gym?
Are you a big fan of a specific music genre? Find where they have concerts for that kind of music and enjoy the music with the other concert goers?
How about basketball? You can go to the basketball courts in various parts of the Han River and there is most likely a group of people playing. How about asking to jump in?
The possibilities with this are endless and different depending on your own individual hobbies and what you enjoyed doing back home. The benefit of finding friends this way is that you can make friends with whom you have something in common with, so it’ll be much easier for the both of you to have something to talk about. This may be difficult and possibly require you to tap into the powers of Google or Facebook searches, but it pays off and will put you in a situation where you’re surrounded by people that you can easily converse with because you have shared hobbies.
If you’re in Korea on an English teaching contract or an assignment for work, you have an easy way to make friends that short-term tourists do not — you can leverage your professional connections into friendships. Your job likely put you in close contact with Korean men and women that you will have job-related things to talk about, and those professional conversations can very quickly transition into off-topic social conversations (which become friendships before you know it).
Often, the hardest part about making friends in a foreign country is gathering the confidence to start a conversation. If you’re meeting people through work, that part of the interaction is taken care of for you — you don’t have to figure out a conversation starter, because you’ll already be having professional conversations with the men and women you meet through your job.
The biggest thing is not being hesitant when it comes to asking the interesting people you meet if they’d like to hang out with you at a later date. Don’t be shy! If you meet somebody through work and you think you’d enjoy each other’s company (or that they’d be able to show you some cool spots around Seoul you don’t know about), ask if they’d like to get coffee or soju in the near future. You may be surprised — you two could become fast friends!
Become involved in charity
If you’re putting the effort into making Korean friends while you’re in Korea, chances are you want to be friends with kind people, right? There is no better way to ensure you’re surrounded by kind-hearted, generous people than by donating your time to a charity.
Korea has a variety of different types of charity that almost anyone can freely participate in, although some are more labor-intensive than others. During your trip, you can use your free time to volunteer to feed the homeless with a group like Seoul’s PLUR, which is an organization that is focused on spreading peace through providing volunteer opportunities throughout Korea. PLUR puts together a weekly soup kitchen that is always looking for volunteers and is easy to sign up for.
If you’re interested in a different type of charity, you could volunteer your time to with a city shelter — even if you aren’t in a position to adopt a stray pet, you can volunteer to play with the shelter animals, groom them, and take them on walks. Many shelters in Korea are full of pets that need some love.
Regardless of the charity that you decide to give your time to, as soon as you commit to donating your time and energy, you’ll be surrounded by like-minded people with similar values to you. You’ll also feel great and be in a good mood while you’re volunteering, which is the best time to make small talk with the people around you and try to forge friendships. Who doesn’t like a happy go lucky person giving back to the community they’re visiting?
Now, you can absolutely make friends in Korea without dipping your feet into the dating pool. That being said, if you’re unattached and looking to meet new people, dating can be a lot of fun and a great way to introduce you to Korean men or women that you wouldn’t have met otherwise.
Even if you’re not looking for the love of your life, it’ll give you an excuse to go out and try new restaurants, and you’ll probably get insider advice about what tourist attractions to spend your time on and which to avoid entirely.
While dating means you’ll (obviously) be spending time with the person that you’re going on dates with, you’ll also be introduced into their social group, which means you’ll have a wealth of new Korean acquaintances at your disposal.
Take advantage of the situation and forge connections with your date’s friends — that way, even if it doesn’t work out romantically for you two, you’ll still know some people through association that will be willing to do fun things with you!
If you’re interested in expanding your Korean language skills while you’re abroad (and really, why wouldn’t you be?!), consider joining one of the free weekend classes by groups like CLS. It’s relatively low commitment considering the class is free and spans only a couple of hours over a weekend, so it’s not like you’re sacrificing a ton of your vacation time.
These classes are great because the teachers are usually very open to making friends with the foreigners that take their classes, which means that you’ll get the opportunity to practice conversational Korean with someone who can give you honest feedback and coaching, and you’ll end up with a friend to hang out with by the time the class is over!
Because these classes are so casual and low-commitment, there’s no weirdness over asking your teacher if they’d like to do something social after class if you feel as though you two having something in common. That being said, don’t treat them like a tour guide right out of the gate — the teachers are open to forming friendships, but that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily looking to bring you on a free tour of Seoul. Start with something low-key like soju or lunch and go from there!
These are just a few of many ways to make Korean friends during your stay in Korea. There are many other ways to befriend the locals, but here can be a good start.
Meet Korean Friends Outside of Korea
Although South Korea is a relatively small country (roughly the size of the State of Indiana) and about 50 million people, the Korean population has spread far and wide around the world. More Koreans are living and traveling abroad than ever before.
Many of these Koreans are also interested in making friends from foreign countries and learning about foreign cultures, so making friends with people from Korea is easier now than it ever has been.
There are a lot of great benefits to having Korean friends, especially if you’re studying the Korean language. You have someone you can practice Korean with — when you’re practicing speaking Korean with a native speaker, they’re likely to give you very honest feedback and pick up on mistakes that non-native speakers do not.
Being friends with Korean men and women is also great because it gives you the opportunity to learn about their culture from an insider, as well as the opportunity to discuss your shared interest in Korea, whether it’s Korean music, dramas, or food. If you’re in Korea there are tons of opportunities to make friends and as a foreigner, there will be plenty of people just as excited to become your friend as you are to become theirs.
If you have never been to Korea or are planning to go, you might be wondering how you can meet Korean friends where you live. If you live outside Korea, it may not seem that easy to do. You can’t simply step outside your door and find Koreans just anywhere, unless you live in certain neighborhoods in Los Angeles or New York. If flying all the way to the other side of the world isn’t an option for you, then you can take these steps so you can be on your way to having many, many Korean 친구 (friends)!
Let’s see how you can bring Korea to you if you can’t go to Korea!
Korean Communities Abroad
One of the most obvious places to begin is in the various Koreatowns that are located in many major cities in North America and other parts of the world, including Europe, Australia, and South America.
Here the Korean community has gathered together with shops, restaurants and other businesses catering toward Koreans. For the most part, these shops and restaurants can be very similar to the shops and restaurants you’d see while exploring Seoul.
These neighborhoods can also be great places to meet Korean friends, learn about Korea and have new cultural experiences (and eat delicious Korean barbecue). These can be great places to start as you can begin to familiarize yourself with Korean people, food and culture. You can go around and introduce yourself to people at cafes or proprietors of local shops expressing your interest in Korean language and culture. If you express genuine interest, are friendly, and avoid being too pushy, the people you meet in Korean neighborhoods will be thrilled to share their culture with you.
Many Koreans are quite proud to share their culture especially with those who express sincere interest. There are also many community organizations and churches in Korea Towns and getting involved in activities and volunteering can be an excellent way to learn about Korean language, culture and meeting new people in the Korean community all at the same time.
Volunteering your time is also great because you’ll be surrounded by people that are also giving back to their community, which means you probably share some values (which makes it easier to be friends!). One great thing you can do is to volunteer to teach English, especially if you want to get your feet wet before moving to Korea to teach English.
If there isn’t a Korea Town where you live, there are still plenty of other options. South Korea sends more students to study abroad in universities than any other country in the world. Many of these students go to universities in the United States and many Korean students can be found on campuses around the US and the world. Many have formed Korean student organizations that you can join, and that’s a great way to start making friends!
In addition to universities, many Korean students flock to English language schools in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, UK and the Philippines. They come to learn English, and many are looking to make friends with native English speakers and not just the people in their class. If you can find the location of English language schools in your city, you’ll be able to find Korean students eager to learn English, make friends with local people, and learn about your culture. Making connections with people that are just as eager to learn about your culture as you are to learn about their culture is always fun!
Many of them hang out in coffee shops around the schools. It helps if you know some Korean already so you can recognize which people are Korean and which are not; it could be quite awkward confusing a Japanese student as a Korean!
Getting started on learning Korean can give you a head start when you go out to meet Korean friends. The Korean alphabet can be learned in about 60 minutes, and generally, people are able to have simple conversations in a few hours of studying!
Take a Korean Language Class
While finding an English language school is a great way to find Korean students to become friends with, the inverse is also true — if you become a student of the Korean language, you’re very likely to make Korean friends!
If you’re looking for an easy way to make Korean friends in your area, consider spending a Saturday afternoon at a Korean language class. Not only does taking a Korean language class gives you the opportunity to practice conversation and pronunciation with a teacher, but there is also a good chance that your Korean teacher would be open to chatting with you about Korean culture (and maybe getting a coffee or some soju) after class.
Think about it — Korean language teachers are teaching Korean because they want to spread knowledge and awareness of the Korean language to non-native speakers. Naturally, that also means that they’d generally love to share knowledge about other aspects of Korean culture with anyone who is interested!
After you find a language class with a teacher that seems friendly and approachable, talk to your teacher after class and express interest in learning more about Korea and Korean culture. It’s a win/win situation — not only will you make a new friend and learn something new, you’ll also get better at speaking Korean in the process!
Koreans are also participating in working holidays at a rate never seen before, as the government continues to make more agreements with countries around the world. There are over a dozen countries that have working holiday arrangements with South Korea and the list continues to expand. Those countries include the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other European and Asian countries.
For the full list of countries, check out Anywork Anywhere. These brave young Korean people are taking a year of their lives to work and experience life in another country and are willing to make life long connections with the people of their host countries. If you can, look into the possibility of hosting Koreans during their working holiday and you’ll be certain to have new friends for life.
Korean Language Meetups
If you’re not familiar with the website Meetup.com, you should be! Meetup has been connecting people for years — it’s a platform where like-minded people can connect over a shared interest and put together social outings so people interested in the same activities can spend time together and form lasting connections.
As you’ve probably guessed, there are Korean Language meetups for people learning Korean (or people that speak Korean and are willing to help share their knowledge) in cities all over the world. If you’re interested in making Korean friends outside of Korea, you should definitely consider joining a Meetup group and jumping into one of these Korean language meetup groups!
Meeting friends through a website like Meetup is great because it’s super easy to meet Korean friends — the people you’ll be socializing with are there because they want to make friends as well, so you don’t have to convince anybody to give you the time of day. If you’re not great at striking up conversations with strangers, Meetup is something you should consider joining because you’ll be conversing with people that have a shared interest with you, so you can avoid the awkwardness that can come with trying to connect with strangers on the street.
Korean language meetups aren’t the only ones you should be keeping your eye out for — there are also meetups centered around different elements of Korean culture like cooking Korean food, discussing Korean movies and books, and pretty much anything else you can imagine.
No Koreans Where You Live?
After reading everything so far, some of you might be thinking to yourselves that since you don’t live in a big city and that there aren’t any universities or language schools near you, that you don’t have any chance of making friends with people from Korea.
Well, all hope is not lost! In the age of the internet, making friends with anyone around the world (Koreans no exception) is easier than ever.
If you are interested in learning Korean and talking with a native speaker, a great resource is Conversation Exchange. Here you can find people all over the world looking for language exchange partners for many different languages. There are many Koreans on the site looking to do such exchanges for English and various other languages. With Skype you can arrange a time to talk and let the learning begin!
There are also many other options including dating sites such as Korean Friend Finder, Seoul Friend Finder, and Korean Cupid. This is also a great option for anyone who lives in an area with lots of Koreans, as you will also have the option of meeting in-person. Many will be on these sites looking for language exchanges, friendships and more.
Get Yourself Out There
So now that you have all these helpful tips, you’ll be making friends with Koreans in no time. Just remember to be brave, open, approachable, respectful, genuinely interested and curious and you’ll be on your way to forging friendships with Koreans. Making friends with someone from Korea has the same ground rules as making friends with anybody else — if you are kind, interesting, and not too pushy, you’ll be making friends in no time.
Once you make friends with Koreans, they will be some of the most loyal, generous and kind friends you will ever have. These tips will be very useful to those who are looking to go to Korea soon and those who wish to stay in their home country and create friendships with those in the Korean community around them. These tips will also be very helpful to anybody that is trying to develop resources to help them practice the Korean language outside of Korea — learning the language becomes easier (and more fun!) when you have a network of native speakers to practice your new knowledge with.
Do you have any other helpful comments or suggestions on how you can make Korean friends in your home town? Please let us know by making a comment below!
Photo Credit: Bigstock.com