What It's Like to Move to South Korea, According to These Sisters

Life is more fast-paced over there.
by Mylene Mendoza   |  Oct 25, 2020
Image: Courtesy of Yvanna Tamayo
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For many of us, South Korea is the ultimate dream destination. Dropping by popular K-drama filming sitesgetting to buy official merch of our favorite K-pop idols, and getting a taste of authentic South Korean cuisine--they’re all in the itinerary.

Some might even be dreaming of taking it to the next level by living in the country permanently. For 20-year-old twin sisters, Yvanna and Yanna Tamayo, getting to live in South Korea became their reality. The two moved to South Korea to be with their parents. “Yung mom namin, nag-asawa ng Korean, tapos in-adopt kami ng Korean dad namin,” Yanna explains in ther YouTube channel. They’ve been living in the country for one and a half years now.

But life there isn’t exactly similar to what we see in K-dramas. We got to talk to Yvanna further and here are a few things they’ve experienced and observed firsthand as foreigners living in South Korea:


Life is more fast-paced over there.

When it comes to lakad and gala, there’s a thing called Filipino Time. In South Korea, however, people live by a somewhat opposite notion. “They actually have this phrase ppalli ppalli which literally means ‘quickly, quickly,’” says Francine. “They literally apply this anywhere, whether they're on the bus, working, studying, and such. Koreans are so eager to do things quickly.”

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Cost of living isn’t cheap.

Going on vacation to the country is already expensive on its own. Living and spending every day in the country for a longer period can get even more costly. Francine says, “A lot of people think that living in Korea is all about ‘shopping, K-pop, food, and just having fun,’ which it is not. Most Korean students look for part time jobs just to support themselves. Kasi ang mahal ng tuition fee and cost of living, too.”


Not everyone is into the 10-step skincare routine.

While the entire world was enticed to try out the elaborate10-step Korean skincare routine to achieve glass skin, not everyone in the country is actually a fan of it. “Yes, Koreans do love makeup but most Koreans we’ve met don’t really have a 10-step skincare routine. Not all Koreans have clear skin or ‘glass skin’ either. Some of them just use makeup to cover their imperfections. What we see in Korean dramas is different in the real world.”


You need to know how to speak Korean to attend university.

Currently, Francine and her sister are taking Korean lessons to become more fluent in the language. But it’s also because they want to attend university next year, and to do so, they have to pass level 3 of the Korean proficiency test. “We don't attend college yet, but we're planning to study in college next year,” shares Francine. “There are also some foreign schools in Korea that don’t require Korean proficiency for it’s [specifically] English speakers. But it would be better if you study [the language] especially if you are planning to live here.”

There’s a lot to see.

South Korea is on top of most people’s travel bucket lists, and for good reason. There’s a lot of places worth visiting once you’re in the country, and it’s also pretty easy to explore different places. “In Korea we enjoy traveling and exploring different places. It's really convenient and safe to roam around even at night. We travelled a lot during our first month in South Korea. Even though we didn't speak Korean, we didn't have a hard time looking for transportation. Technology made everything so easy. We can go wherever we want and it's absolutely safe.”


Of course, living there can make you feel homesick at times, especially when you’ve gotten so used to our own culture. “We definitely miss bonding with family and friends. We miss visiting our relatives’ house just to make ‘chika’ and of course ‘gala’ with our friends. We also miss Filipino food especially Filipino street food. The best!!”



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Mylene Mendoza
Candy Staff Writer
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