When someone first starts thinking about moving to Korea, Seoul is usually the first-choice destination for many teachers who come here to teach, and I don’t blame them. Seoul, and other major cities such as Busan and Daegu, have endless options for food and fun. I’ve visited all three of those places and have loved each of them. Seoul has endless shopping, Busan has beautiful beaches, and Daegu has some great hiking options. Another advantage of living in the big cities is that there are generally larger foreigner populations, so making friends can be relatively easy. However, there is more to Korea than just major cities.

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I live on a beautiful island, called Geoje (거제도). It is the second largest island in Korea (after Jeju), has a population of approximately 250,000, and has a noticeably high foreigner population thanks to being home to the world’s largest shipyard. The shipyards employ nearly a third of the island’s population, and Geoje’s foreigner population alone is considered to be one of the highest in Korea. Living here has given me a really unique experience in which I almost see, and interact, with more Westerners than Koreans. English is widely spoken here, and many signs are in both Korean and English. Having that small comfort of living in a very Westernized location has made my life in Asia feel easier, to be honest. There is a bridge connecting the island to the mainland, so, while buses and cars are your best option for transportation, the rides are inexpensive in price and have frequent scheduled running times. Geoje is also located right off the coast of Busan, and it is only a one hour bus ride to the city center. If you think about it, there are many teachers who live in surrounding neighborhoods of Seoul who have to ride the subway upwards to an hour to reach the soul of Seoul. So, I have no trouble getting my fill of city life on weekends when I feel like it.

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Those are not the only reasons I love living on this island. The sub-tropical climate here is much milder than the rest of Korea. While it does get pretty cold, it never snows in the winter, and, in the summer, I can spend my days at the beach. Geoje is even nicknamed “blue city” because of the incredibly blue waters the beaches boast. Geoje has 11 mountains, so hiking options are ample, and believe me, the views are incredible. You can even do some island hopping and visit Oedo, which is an entire island that has been turned into a lush botanical garden.  

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If I had to think of a con of living on the island, it’s that there is a bit higher cost of living compared to the rest of Korea. There are two significant reasons for this: the location and the foreigner population. Being a small island, there is less opportunity to grow produce locally, so it needs to be transported from other parts of the country. Also, the foreigner population increases cost of living because the foreign workers here are relatively wealthy, so local businesses will increase the cost of housing and other goods simply because they know the foreigners are willing, and able, to pay more.

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If you currently live in Korea, I highly recommend you make a weekend trip to Geoje, I’d love to show you around! If you are someone who is currently thinking of moving to Korea, then I highly recommend you consider Geoje or other areas outside the big cities as one of your options. I absolutely love where I live and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Check out my pictures for proof of how stunning Geoje Island truly is!

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Writer: Jordan Taylor

Editor: Kaily Long

Lead Contributor: Rachel Casseline Pinnock

***Images by Jordan Taylor***