Moon Living Abroad in South Korea
By Jonathan Hopfner
Paperback, Avalon Travel
Reviewed by Living Abroad Editor Volker Poelzl
Avalon Publishing is steadily expanding its "Moon Living Abroad” titles. “Moon Living Abroad in South Korea” is one of the latest in the successful series of practical guidebooks intended to help people with all aspects of moving to another country. Although each guide varies a little in terms of content and writing style, they all follow a well-developed and proven outline that includes all vital aspects of moving overseas. “Living Abroad in South Korea” also follows this general structure, and the result is a well-researched, informative, and helpful companion for moving to this fascinating and little-understood country.
Author Jonathan Hopfner is a Canadian expatriate living in South Korea, and his “Living Abroad” guide reflects his own experiences and knowledge of this beautiful and hospitable country. South Korea is a country of contrasts, as the author states in the introduction: “I was struck by the dizzying contrasts–the way the neon-spangled streets and clamor of Seoul could give way in a few short hours to emerald rice fields or gaily painted temples nestled in secluded mountain valleys…”
In the introductory chapter “Welcome to South Korea” readers learn about Korean history, government, and economy, as well as Korean customs and etiquette, social values, religion, and the arts. This chapter also covers a fact-finding trip as an important part of preparing for moving abroad. Jonathan Hopfner writes that “a well-planned research trip is one of the best possible introductions to South Korean life, and should be seen as mandatory if you’re seriously contemplating a move here.”
As author Jonathan Hopfner writes, “picking everything up, taking the plunge, and moving to an entirely new country is never going to be an easy experience,” and the section about daily life addresses exactly these myriad challenges expatriates face in their day-to-day life in South Korea. This chapter covers important practical aspects of moving to and living in South Korea, such as the logistics of relocation, visas, housing, language and education, health, employment, finance, communications, travel, and transportation.
The section on “Prime Living Locations” covers the main areas of South Korea, where expatriates are most likely to live and work--areas that offer the best services, infrastructure, and quality of life. This chapter is also a great introduction to the culture and daily life in South Korea’s various provinces. Special attention is paid to the needs of foreign residents, such as international schools, shopping centers, expatriate communities, etc.
The “Resources” section at the end of the book includes useful contact information for government offices, embassies, education, moving companies, banks, communications, employment, and more. There is also a glossary, phrasebook, and a list of suggested reading and films.
Living Abroad in South Korea is a practical and informative guide for anyone planning on moving to South Korea.
For more information, and for a preview of the introduction and table of contents, visit the Moon Living Abroad in South Korea web page on the publisher's clean new website.