Safety in South Korea
I lived in Jinhae, South Korea for one year.
I am 6’5″(198cm) white male.
In the future, I would like to have a few of my friends write their perspectives on this. For two reasons.
- A woman’s experience may be very different than a male.
- Living in Seoul/Busan may be very different than the small city I lived in.
My Daily Life The Last 3 Months
I don’t think I put myself in many opportunities to feel unsafe. There were the occasional soju all-nighters, but that happened less and less as time went on. The last few months of my first year in South Korea was spent pretty much like this.
On the grind for my first ever marathon.
Getting up for 5 am for my daily run wasn’t possible for me if I had a soju all nighter.
I drink like I run.
Marathon or stay home.
South Korea – Safest Country in the World!
According to the world Safety Rating Index(whatever that means), SOUTH KOREA is the SAFEST country in the WORLD. The key metric here was the crime rate number.
According to, Top 12 safest Countries in the World, South Korea is the 4th safest country on this site. The only reason it didn’t land the top spot is because of things that “could” happen. The issues between North and South is what could happen.
I did not do my due diligence on either of these. I did not dig deeply into the numbers to really see where the numbers came from. My economics professors would not be happy.
This topic was brought up frequently when I told family, friends, and people I came into contact with about my plans to Teach English in South Korea. There questions and comments would go something like this.
What about North Korea?!
It isn’t safe in South Korea
What about North Korea?!
The media says…”fill in the blank here”
Korea?! You are crazy. Do you know that?
None of these people had ever been to South Korea and most had never even been to Asia. I am willing to bet almost none of those people had any type of knowledge of South Korea at all.
Is it a good thing that there is a lot of tension between North and South Korea?
Absolutely not, but me worrying about it doesn’t help at all.
Coachable Moment: Talk to as many people as you can that have been to South Korea or have at least studied the country. Do as much reading as you can BEFORE you come to South Korea. If you decide it is too risky, DO NOT COME. If you decide to come to South Korea then get over the fear as much as possible. In regards to the tension of between South and North; the only thing you can really control is the decision to get on the plane or not. After that, everything else is out of your control.
That’s right. South Korea doesn’t allow citizens to possess any type of firearms.
Personal stance: I don’t own any guns in the USA. So no guns being allowed in the country is alright by me. Am I against guns? No. They just don’t appeal to me personally. “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.”
The only value guns would have for me in the future would be hunting and eating the animal(s) I killed.
For the sake of this topic no guns = the potential to have a safer place.
By now everyone knows media plays on our fear. In reality, most of the industries in our world play on fear and greed. I think it is stupid to buy into the headlines about North Korea. On the flipside, it is stupid to totally dismiss. So what the hell does it mean?! If you decide to come to South Korea do not read the headlines and be scared. A brilliant statement.(sarcasm)
Having said that, I definitely run to google every so often to see the headlines. Everything goes out the window when you see headlines like this:
South Korea blasts North with K-pop, propaganda after nuclear test
North Korea Demands Apology!
It reminds me of two siblings squabbling and looking around for their parents to do something.
Worrying About The Future
In my opinion, there is ALMOST never anything good that comes from worrying about future events that might happen. Usually, your future reality shakes out much differently than whatever you envisioned. Think about all your past fears. At least in my case, the “bad” things that happened to me were almost never something I was fearing.
Real World Example From My Life: I am currently in Seoul, South Korea on my first full day in South Korea at the start of my second year here. Before I got on the plane, my plan was to meet up with my friend. I had a fear of my friend telling me bad news on our meeting. When my plane landed my friend’s plan had changed and was not able to make it. I had a new problem that was not anticipated. WTF do I do on my first night in Seoul?!
Before researching South Korea I did not know too much about it. To be honest, I did not know too much about Asia. A little secret, I still don’t! I just know a little more than I did last year. Thinking about my safety in my daily life has never been a problem. I am extremely lucky to grow up where I did in the USA. It looks like my luck has struck again in my new home of South Korea.
The headlines of the ongoing tension between North and South Korea is absolutely concerning. The reason I did not put too much stock into South Korea not being safe is this. NOTHING has happened yet. The headlines have been going on for years and no one seems to want to make the first move. I decided to roll the dice and have faith nothing will happen. So far so good.