I was thankful when I moved from Kansas to Seoul. I am from New York and spending the last few years in the Midwestern United States was wearing on me. When I first got here I was initially hesitant and reserved with putting myself out there and meeting people. Now that I have I almost want to regret it, because I don’t think I can go back to not experiencing life outside of the United States.
There are a lot of aspects of Korean Culture I love, but they are not my reason for not going back. My lack of a desire to go back to the United States also isn’t a reflection of the loathing of my country or anything to that effect, I’m nothing if not a patriot. Rather, this love for living abroad is a reflection of the people that I have gotten to meet as a result of living abroad and the chance to experience the culture offered here. As I was supping out with an expat friend of mine we were both reflecting on the fact that we have made some very solid friends as a result of living abroad. To get straight to the point, it dawned on me that this ease of finding decent friends is likely a result of the fact that any foreigner you find living here in Korea is going to have something in common with you: you both wanted to live abroad for one reason or another. That’s a powerful baseline for a friendship and a lot of things come along with it; a willingness to try new things, open mind sets, all kinds of qualities that make forming a friendship with someone easier. My aforementioned expat friend and I don’t have a lot in common with regards to how I normally make friends, we really just share a single hobby. However, our shared desire to live abroad and experience different cultures leads to riveting weekly coffee shop and Korean barbecue discussions, and as a result of this friendship I don’t think I can go back to the status quo back home.