-Where were you born?
-In which country and city are you living now?
Seoul, South Korea
-Are you living alone or with your family?
With my roommates, one American English teacher and the other one a Korean student.
-How long have you been living in South Korea?
Almost a year now.
-What is your age?
As per Korean age I am 32.
-When did you come up with the idea of living in South Korea?
I just wanted to be out of India and was looking for an international exposure in my career. That is when I came across a job offer through my friend who was working here and I grabbed it with both hands.
-Was it hard to get a visa or a work permit?
I don't think so. But it took almost 2 months for me to get the visa.
-Was it difficult for you to get medical insurance before you went there or when you first arrived?
The government takes care of it and it is deducted from the salary every month.
-How do you make your living in South Korea? Do you have any type of income generated?
I work for a Korean software company here and make mobile applications for smart phones.
-Do you speak the local language and do you think it's important to speak the local language? Please add your thoughts on local customs and whether it's important for expats to respect/observe local customs.
It is very important to know the local language. People speak very little English here and to find a person who speaks English is like finding god. I would say at least make an attempt to learn how to read the language. If you know how to read it would be extremely helpful to you. Reading would help you in understanding the subway stations better, read hotel menus, find a location on the map and even do online shopping on Korean websites like gmarket. Korean culture is kind of similar to Indian culture so it was not that difficult for me to accept the culture.
-Do you miss home and family sometimes?
Yes, I do miss family and home. Especially during Indian festivals. But after coming here I have made a lot of Indian friends who treat me like family. So thanks to my friends I really don't miss home so much. Also there are lots and lots of Indians in Korea and there are many an active community where Indian festivals are celebrated from time to time.
-Do you have other plans for the future?
I am leaving in December and planning to pursue my MBA full time back home in India. But would love to visit Korea again.
-What about housing, have you bought, or are you renting a home? How much do you pay for it?
In my case the housing was not provided by my office so I had to look for a room to rent. I am sharing my house with 2 other roommates so my monthly rent (my share) comes to around $400 (400,000 won). And I have to pay for utilities separately. I guess the place I am staying - Haebangchon - is cheap as compared to other areas in Seoul in terms of rent. Also, a lot of foreigners stay in my area so life is a bit easier here as lot of people speak English in the neighborhood.
-What is the cost of living in South Korea?
To see a comprehensive breakdown of the cost of living you can visit my website here - http://www.thekoreaguide.com/2010/02/25/cost-of-living-in-seoul-korea/
-What do you think about the locals?
They treat foreigners very well, and they are very welcoming in nature.
-What are the positive and negative aspects of living in South Korea?
Korea, especially Seoul is very cosmopolitan and one can meet people here from all over the world. People are very nice and friendly.
-Do you have any tips for our readers about living in South Korea?
Learn the language it will make your life much easier.
-Do you have any favorite Web sites or blogs about South Korea?
After coming to Korea the best thing I have done is that I started maintaining a blog to share my experience as an Indian in Korea. This has helped a lot of Indians visiting Korea to plan their visit and clear their misconceptions about Korea in general. You can visit my website here - http://www.thekoreaguide.com/