To me, Twitter is a platform where I can find interesting people, articles, and blogs. Nicky Kim is also one of interesting people I discovered through Twitter. Since I have curated how people see Korea via @bridgeroadto, Twitter automatically recommends to me a few accounts who run Korea-focused blogs. Among the blogs, Nicky Kim’s one attracted me at once with just few articles. As I have worked at the British Council for around a year, I may be attracted to her views comparing Korea and UK. Anyway, I asked her to be my next interviewee, believing there can be people who want to know her deeply!
I was born in Seoul, South Korea, but I moved to England when I was 3 years old due to my father’s job. Despite being in the UK, I had a very Korean childhood. My whole life I was torn between my Korean heritage and my British citizenship.
I had times in my life where I identified as Korean, and then at times I wanted to wash it away and be a normal English girl. I still don’t know how to define myself.
After experiencing a lifetime of racism, misunderstanding and intrigue about my nationality, I naturally became involved in the broadcasting and media industry. I wanted to help facilitate communication somehow and broaden people’s minds.
When I started working in media, I realized that a Korean voice was needed. For the first time, I felt that my ethnic minority background was an asset. I decided to take a chance and move to Korea after graduating university. I had never lived in another country, but I wanted to reconnect with the part of me that I had left there 20 years ago.
One And Only In Korea
Have you heard the phrase, “England is boring heaven and Korea is exciting hell” (영국은 지루한 천국이고 한국은 재미있는 지옥이다)?
I wanted to write about society, but I felt that South Korea offered more to write about. Korea is a country developing at a breakneck-speed. The waters in England were too calm, and I wanted to surf on the turbulent waves in Korea!
Luckily I can speak Korean, so I get to submerge myself into Korean youth culture without being treated like a foreigner. I write about things that interest me on my blog.
I love being in projects, so I spend most of my time working on my blog. I research, write, edit, Photoshop images, SEO, etc, all by myself. I never blogged before, so I had no idea what I was doing at first, now I am completely hooked! If I’m not doing that, then I am reading, surfing the web or doing yoga.
On the weekends I practice Korean by attending events or classes, and I travel around Seoul to see what new exciting things the city has to offer.
Where do I start? I have covered some of the differences between Korea and the UK in a few of my posts (here and here), but I have so much more to write about. Everyone knows the food, work culture, drinking culture, etiquette, beauty, entertainment, are all different, but it is the smaller things that are fascinating to me. I mainly focus on the flow of popular attitudes amongst Korean millennials and how an overload of consumerism has affected their every day choices.
I don’t have a specific favorite place in Seoul, but I have loved living in Gangnam. Never have I wanted to move to a different district, which is probably a sign that I like it. There is so much to do and see in Gangnam alone, and sometimes it can be a sensory overload. I am probably at my happiest in a beautiful balcony cafe. You might think that being in a cafe is boring, but the gorgeous interior and fantastic desserts and drinks transport me into a zen-like realm of peace.
I cannot stress enough how important language is. With Korean language your life in Korea will be a lot easier and you will be able to expose yourself to more interactions. Surrounding yourself with Korean people will also help you experience Korea. Always try to learn, whether it is the language, mannerisms or even self-awareness.
I also recommend getting a good smartphone. A lot happens through apps nowadays, so invest in one and download all the hottest and most useful apps and your life will be much more efficient.