Interview with an ethnic Korean woman originally from Uzbekistan about moving and living in South Korea

After watching the Korean TV series, Irina fell in love with South Korea for its beauty, romance and luxurious life. After learning Korean, she applied for a visa and flew away to meet a new life. And now Irina shares her experience of moving and living in South Korea.

Tell us about yourself:)

My name is Irina, I am an ethnic Korean originally from Uzbekistan. Now I live in South Korea. I have a small business – an online sewing school using Korean techniques, and I blog about Korea.

You can view and read here:
School > @happy_sewing_school
Blog > @korean_life.style

Your story of moving to Korea:)

When I was still living in Kazakhstan, one day a friend invited me to watch a Korean TV series. And that’s all, in fact, I’m gone?. Have you fallen in love with Korea for its beauty, romance and luxurious life? I returned home to Uzbekistan, applied for a visa. But they didn’t give it to me right away, so I decided to learn Korean. A year later, I applied for a visa again and have already received it. And 3 days later I was already flying to Korea to meet a new life)

Do you miss your homeland?)

Honestly, no. Even before Korea, I had not lived in my homeland for a long time. And I no longer have such a feeling of “native land”. Korea has become my homeland and home because my family is here.

How to move to South Korea?

For ethnic Koreans like me, there are F4 work visas (for Russians and CIS countries with higher education), and H2 – a handyman visa. I arrived on such a visa.

It is more difficult for foreigners. To apply for a work visa, you need to get an invitation to work from an employer, or you can get an investor visa by investing N-th amount in the Korean economy. And then get a residence permit.

How to move to South Korea – ways of immigration:

  • By study
  • For work for hire
  • Business trip for work
  • Work in specialized activities
  • Investing in the country’s economy
  • Reuniting with relatives
  • Marriage to a citizen or a citizen of South Korea
  • Ethnic Korean origin

moving to south korea

Expensive life in South Korea?

Dear! At least by Uzbek standards, it is very expensive. 80% of all Koreans have no housing and live in rent. Apartments on the periphery are quite affordable, but in Seoul the prices are simply sky-high! And then, thanks to a special housing rental system, it is much more profitable to live in rent.

For example, for $ 800,000 in Seoul, you can only buy a one-room apartment of 10 sq.m. in the basement. And even then, somewhere on the outskirts. On the periphery, for the same money, you can take a quite tolerable 3-room apartment.

The products are quite affordable for a person with an average salary. You can eat everything: meat and seafood, and not only at home, but also in cafes. And there will still be a walk left.

Average prices in South Korea:

Prices for rental housing:

  • Apartment, 1 bedroom, city center – $545 (40,000 ₽)
  • Apartment, 1 bedroom, outside the city center – $ 355 (26.000 ₽)
  • In Seoul in the city center – from $ 900 (from 66.000 ₽)
  • In Seoul on the outskirts – from $ 560 (from 41.000 ₽)
  • Room in Seoul – from $ 250 (from 18.000 ₽)
  • When renting a home, you will also need to pay a deposit for housing
  • Utilities for an apartment of 85 sq.m. (electricity, heating or cooling, water and garbage collection) – $ 133 (9.800 ₽)

Prices in South Korea in cafes/restaurant:

  • Inexpensive restaurant, lunch for one person – $ 6 (439 ₽)
  • McDonalds – 5$ (370 ₽)
  • Dinner for two with alcohol – $ 36 (2,600 ₽)

Entertainment, recreation:

  • Fitness club, Monthly fee for 1 adult – $ 52 (3.800 ₽)
  • Cinema ticket, 1st place – $ 8 (586 ₽)


  • One-way ticket, local transport – $ 1 (73 ₽)
  • Taxi, price per 1 km, normal fare – 0.83$ (61 ₽)

What is the monthly income per family for a comfortable life in Korea?

If only to live, walk and not save, $ 2,500-3,000 per month is enough for a family of 3 people.

life in south korea pros and cons

What kind of work is there in Korea for expats?

First of all, IT specialties, all kinds of developers, engineers, designers. Shipbuilding, English teachers (native speakers). For Europeans – models and artists.

What are the salaries?

The salary level depends on the position. The salary of living in South Korea for a beginner is on average from $ 1,500 per month. With the experience, the salary increases.

In-demand specialists receive up to $10,000 plus comfortable apartments from the employer’s company are provided. It is noteworthy that many firms provide foreigners with free housing (or for a nominal fee). The level of housing depends on the level of the position.

Is it easy to open your own business?

It is easy if the type of visa matches. It is done literally in 10 minutes, 7 of which you will have to spend on filling out the form.

how to move to south korea from russia

Good medicine in South Korea? Do I need to get insurance?

Medicine is at a very high level. Comparable to Europe and America, but much more budget-friendly. Insurance (again, if the visa allows) is simply mandatory. Thanks to her, the amounts are reduced more than twice! Unfortunately, people who come here for medical tourism do not get insurance.

For example, a comprehensive examination in South Korea – from $ 500 to $ 6000 (from 36.650 to 439.800 ₽).

To cure a tooth (1 filling) – from $ 150 (from 11.000 ₽). And the insurance is only $ 30 (2.200 ₽).

State insurance costs about $90 per month. It covers any trips to the hospital and the cost of medicines (reduces their cost). Private insurance is for special cases, there are different conditions – $ 20-200. Such insurance covers 80% of the cost of the operation. This is in case of serious illnesses or accidents. It also covers not only the operation itself, but also gives out money that you could not earn at that time while in the hospital, etc.

What does it feel like to be a Korean wife? And tell me how to marry a Korean?)

It’s good to be a Korean wife 🙂 Of course, there are nuances, such as differences in mentality, language barrier, etc. But everything is solved, because women are very flexible creatures)

You can get married to a Korean through a marriage agency or by meeting yourself on dating sites.

Pros and cons of living in Korea.

The main advantage I will call convenience, landscaping. Everything is done here for the sake and for the people. Everything is very thoughtful and systematic. Literally for every problem or need, the market offers thousands of the most convenient solutions. Just press the button.

For example, children do not need to be taken to the garden or to mugs on their own. A bus comes for them everywhere. And this pleasure costs an additional $ 20-30 per month. Also, educational classes with a child take place right in the garden: ballet, singing, mathematics, English with a native speaker, etc. We pay ~ $ 150 per month for them.

And the organization of the celebration is put on stream. Just poke your finger as you like and bring yourself on the day of the celebration. No need to run for six months in search of a photographer, videographer, dress, etc. All in one place, made unrealistically beautiful and professional. This pleasure costs from $ 5,000 to infinity, depending on the number of guests and the level of luxury of the institution.

Cons – you have to pay for all this, and it’s not a small amount of money. For example, call a plumber if you dropped something in the toilet – $ 50. A man comes and punches you in 3 seconds. an air cannon. For Europeans, very spicy food can still be a minus.

how to move to live in south korea

Your life hacks about moving to South Korea.

A huge desire. There will be a desire, there will be ways)) If you are a student – come to study and stay here, if a girl – marry a Korean, if a man, become a sought-after specialist (it’s easier than marrying a Korean).

The fastest way to obtain a residence permit (except for married emigrants) is to have $500,000 (if my memory serves me right). Then you will be welcomed with open arms, whoever you are.

Unfortunately, 1 article is not enough to describe in detail all the nuances of life in Korea, there are a lot of them. But in my blog @korean_life.style, there is a separate post for each question (or even more than one) with a detailed answer. If you are interested in Korea, come, I will be glad to see you as a guest?

(The prices indicated in the article are relevant for 2020).

Olga Avrakh was talking
Photo of Irina

prices in south korea


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