If you have never been to Korea or are planning to go, you might be wondering how you can meet Korean friends. If you live outside Korea, it may not seem that easy. You cannot 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)!
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, so making friends with people from Korea is easier now than it ever has been. 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. They can also be great places to meet Korean friends, learn about Korea and have new cultural experiences. 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.
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. 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. 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!
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.
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.
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.
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!Find this helpful? Share with your friends. They'll thank you for it!