23 August 2017

Megan Indoe - Expat in South Korea

Megan Indoe - Expat in South Korea

We’ve had the chance to talk to Megan Indoe, 30, an American expat who has moved to South Korea with her husband. Mrs. Indoe who has lived there for two and a half years works as an ESL teacher & blogger. 

Read more about her experiences in the full interview below.


Q: Where are you from originally?



Q: What made you move out of the US?

A: We decided to teach English abroad in Seoul, South Korea.


Q: Where are you living now? How did you come to choose this new country of residence?

A: Currently are back in the US, but looking to move abroad again. After our teaching contracts finished we decided to travel and maintain a life abroad.


Q: How long have you been living in South Korea?

A: We lived on and off in Seoul for two and a half years.


Q: Are you living alone or with your family? If yes, how are they adjusting to the Expat Lifestyle?

A: I lived with my husband, boyfriend at the time. Both of us adjusted well together. Of course, there would always be a few things that were a culture shock to us, but overall it was pretty easy to transition.


Q: Do you miss home and family sometimes? How do you cope with homesickness?

A: It was difficult missing holidays and family get togethers. While teaching English we did not have the best amount of vacation which made it difficult if not impossible to visit home. We would have to Skype or Facetime with family members and friends.


Q: What do you think about the locals?

A: We loved being a part of the local community. We found the locals to be welcoming and incredibly friendly. Even our neighbors would bring us plates of food on the big local holidays.


Q: Was it easy making friends and meeting people? Do you mainly socialise with other expats in South Korea? How did you manage to find a social circle there?  

A: It was fairly easy to make friends with other expats because there were Facebook groups and small communities of expats who would organize events, trips, and celebrations for our home country holidays. We also worked with other expats which made us very close at and outside of work.


Q: How does the cost of living in South Korea compare to your home?

A: We were living in Southern California, so Seoul seemed pretty inexpensive in comparison. We were actually easily able to save a ton of money in Korea. If you do a teaching contract your housing is paid for and since you live in the city you do not need a car.

  • Q: How much is a cup of coffee?

A: $3.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an inexpensive restaurant?

A: $2-3.

  • Q: How much is a meal in an expensive restaurant?

A: $20.

  • Q: How much is a bottle of wine? How about a pack of cigarettes?

A: Wine ~$9-30, I never smoked so I cannot answer that question.


Q: Do you have any tips for future expats when it comes to opening a bank account in South Korea?

A: In Korea, you have to have an Alien Registration Card to open a bank account. This process of getting your ARC will take around a month. Once you have that it is really easy to set up a bank account.


Q: How will you describe your experience with government paperwork such as applications for Visa and work permits? Why is that so?

A: It was pretty straightforward in Korea and we found the turn around times for most things to be pretty quick. However to get an E2 working visa takes some time as you have to have an employer already, FBI background check, degree transcripts, and apostilled documents before you can apply for the visa. The whole application process, mostly waiting on the FBI background check, took around two and a half months.


Q: Would you say that healthcare in South Korea is reliable? Any preferred clinics or advice for expats?

A: Absolutely. We opted out of getting health insurance in Korea, but even without it, we were able to see a doctor whenever we needed for almost nothing. Usually seeing a doctor with the medicine took about 30 minutes and $15.


Q: Did you secure a health insurance in the US or South Korea? What should be the essentials in the coverage for expats, in your opinion?

A: We did not have US health insurance while living in Korea. Since we had a working visa, we also didn’t have to worry about being penalized in the US on our taxes for not having insurance.


Q: What was the most memorable about the packing and moving process to South Korea? Which was the mover you chose and how was your experience with them?

A: Since we were going for a year we took two suitcases each and shipped anything that we absolutely had to have out to us. At home, we had to keep the rest of our belongings in storage or with family members.


Q: What is the biggest challenge that you have faced as a new expat?

A: Settling in the first three weeks is most challenging. Finding furniture, adjusting to the new time zone, figuring out the local scene, getting settled in.


Q: What do you think are the positive and negative sides of living in South Korea?

A: Completely positive, we ended up going back the second year and have considered going back for the third year. We had an incredible quality of life as foreigners living there.


Q: What are the best things to do in the area? Any particular recommendations for future expats?

A: Seoul has so many incredible things to do, we highly recommend exploring the city extensively and also traveling around your host country. We would spend our weekends finding new things to do in Seoul or traveling to different spots. Every weekend felt adventurous.


Q: Do you have plans to move to a different country or back home in the future?

A: We are currently exploring different opportunities abroad like teaching English in eastern Europe, Japan, or back to Korea again.


Q: What tips will you give to expats living in the country?

A: If you end up teaching English like us in Korea we recommend checking out the different meetups to make friends, try the incredible food, and get a membership to Costco so you can find food from home!


Q: Do you have favourite websites or blogs about South Korea?

A: Ours of course! We have lots of coverage on Seoul and destinations in Korea. https://boboandchichi.com