Your year in Korea can be whatever you want to make of it! Korean
people are generally kind. If you need help, someone can be counted on
to assist you. However, some are unimpressed by foreigners, while others
are enthralled by them. This can keep things very interesting.
Korean cities have touches of English all over
them, which is somewhat helpful. The subway should be fairly usable to
foreigners without much instruction - the bus system is another story.
During your time in Korea you will encounter hundreds
of different street vendors, both inside and outside of markets. Bargaining
is common. Knock-offs of common brand names (Polo, Rolex, DKNY, etc.)
can be found everywhere. There are also western style department stores.
Shopping can be a great source of pleasure in South Korea.
Korean food is generally hot. Sometimes salty.
Occasionally bland or too sweet. You will find some real treasures in
dishes like bibimbap, mi-ok gook, bulgogi and kalabi. For those less adventurous
souls, Western styled and fast-food restaurants are everywhere.
Soju, the national drink, and sometimes I think
the national pastime, is cheap. One bottle (355 mL) is about fifty-six
cents (US$) and contains 23% alcohol. This makes for an active, exciting
nightlife. If you are not into drinking don't fret. Koreans are very understanding
about this, and will not attempt to pressure you into drinking.
Korea is not like living in a western country.
Sometimes the differences will frustrate you, but if you are open-minded
you will enjoy yourself here.