I was recently asked by a long-time friend to help out his daughter’s World Geography Class and talk a little about my experiences about living in South Korea. So without further ado, here we go.
Hi Adara and class! My name is Steve Miller and I’ve lived in South Korea since 2009. If you’re unfamiliar with South Korea, here it is on a map. It is a small country, about 100,000 square kilometers. That might not make a lot of sense, so in terms of an American state, it’s about the same size of Indiana. For another point of reference, it’s also just a little smaller than Australia’s Tasmania.
It’s also very densely populated. Currently, there are about 50 million people living in South Korea, half of which live in the Seoul Metro area. By comparison, New York City only has a little over 8 million residents. So we have three times as many people living in a very compact space.
Because so many people live near the nation’s capital, new cities are being built all the time. I live in one such city. Dongtan was only built a few years ago and is only about 6 years old. A “new city” means that it was planned out in great detail from start to finish, much in the way that a “master planned” community is done in the US. The only difference is that this is an entire city, rather than just a single neighborhood. Dongtan is located about 30 km from Seoul and about 100km from the DMZ that separates North and South Korea.
Am I worried about North Korea attacking? No. It’s a really complex situation, but the real threat of a large-scale war is fairly remote, since it would mean the end of the regime’s control.
So what do I like about living in Korea? A lot of things.
First, Korea has one of the fastest Internet connections in the world. The backbone was put into place by those wanting to play online games. The technology has also expanded to mobile phones.
I also really enjoy the incredible public transportation system. When I was in the US, I needed a car to travel around. Here, I have no need to own one. In fact, Seoul’s subway system is one of the best in the world, allowing me to travel from south of the nation’s capital all the way to some of the ski resorts in the neighboring mountains.
Then there’s the food. It’s a delicious combination of flavor explosions I’ve never experienced before. However, one of the things I really do enjoy doing it traveling. I usually take time to visit nearby historical sights like palaces or temples so I can learn more about Korea’s past.
In the past 60 years, Korea has developed into a major economic powerhouse and brands like Samsung, Kia, and LG are known throughout the world. In fact, life here isn’t much different from my old life in the US. If you have a specific question about what it’s like living in South Korea, you can leave it in the comment section or message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.