How to Make Friends in Korea While Teaching or Traveling

Curious about the social scene while teaching in Korea? Discover valuable tips on forging friendships in South Korea, whether with locals or fellow expats.

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One of the great fears that one faces when moving to a new community, let alone a new country, is “Will I be able to make friends?" Certainly, this is a challenge that anybody who goes abroad to teach English must confront, but the good news is that moving to a new country like Korea to teach English offers the opportunity of a lifetime to make new friends and enjoy experiences that you would never have otherwise.

Not only will you be welcomed by the local population with open arms, but you will also meet, live, and work with a diverse assortment of people from throughout the English-speaking world. So... how to make friends in Korea?

How to Make Friends in South Korea

Making friends in Korea is an exciting journey. You can embrace the warmth and friendliness of Korean culture as you build new friendships.

How to Make Friends in Korea as a Foreigner

To make friends in Korea, immerse yourself in local activities, join language exchange groups, and participate in cultural events. Be open, respectful, and initiate conversations. Korean people are friendly and welcoming, so embrace the opportunity to connect and build meaningful friendships.

Read further: What Are Requirements to Teaching English in South Korea?

What App Can I Use to Make Friends from Korea?

HelloTalk is a popular app for making friends from Korea. It offers language exchange opportunities, allowing you to connect with native Korean speakers who want to learn your language. Additionally, other social networking apps like Bumble, Tinder, and Meetup can also help you meet people and make friends in Korea.


ITA grad Samantha DiVito"Socially, there is an active expat community in basically every city, although if you live in the countryside you could be the only foreigner in your town. It's fun to make friends with Koreans who are learning English though! I found almost all of my Korean friends through language exchange apps like HelloTalk and Tandem."

- ITA alumna Samantha DiVito, Korea


Join the Local Expat & Teaching Community

In all likelihood, you will be working with other English speakers, many of whom have a background similar to yours. There are 25,000 native English speakers who are teaching English in Korea, and approximately 15,000 teaching English in and around Seoul alone.

If you are teaching in a private Korean language school (commonly known as hagwons), you will likely be joining a team of 5-15 other foreign English teachers. They will provide a great social network and will be a great resource for helping you adjust to your new home. When you first arrive, old hands will be more than willing to show you the ropes, and more often than not, you will also be working with rookies like yourself and you will go through the experience together.

Later, after you’ve settled in, you will probably help newer teachers learn the ways of whatever location it is that you are living and teaching in.

Read more: What are the Requirements to Teach English in South Korea through the EPIK Program?

Additionally, most English teachers in Korea live near or with other teachers. In Korea, where many schools provide housing to teachers chances are high that other English teachers (and perhaps other expatriates) will be living in the same building or complex, so you will likely have English-speaking friends or colleagues living within close proximity.

Read more: Will My School Provide Free Housing When I Teach English in Korea?

teach english abroad in south korea

The English teaching community in Korea is extremely vibrant. As most foreign English teachers in Korea are in their 20s, it figures that gatherings at parties, bars, nightclubs and other social venues are extremely common, especially in world-class cities like Seoul and Busan.


Immerse Yourself in Local Activities & Cultural Events

Learn as much as you can of the language and culture and don’t be afraid to socialize with the locals. This may seem obvious, but you will be surprised to learn that in many cities where English teachers live and work, the expatriate community is so vast that it can be easy to fall into the habit of only associating with other English-speaking foreigners. 

The best thing you can do is to learn as much as you can about the local culture, including the local language, and don’t be shy about meeting and associating with local citizens. Check out resources like the Culture Shock!  and Lonely Planet guidebook series, which provide a wealth of insights into the local culture; consult with people familiar with the local culture and customs; and just dive in!

Additionally, participate in local sports and cultural activities and join groups that suit your interests. From choir groups to softball leagues, there are all kinds of groups, clubs and other organizations that enable foreigners living in Korea to pursue their personal interests and meet like-minded folks, both expatriates and Koreans.


Take advantage of local English-language publications and other resources

There are a whole variety of English language publications in Korea, including newspapers, magazines, and websites like that cater to the local expatriate population and provide extensive information about social and cultural goings-on. Many Americans also meet up and organize weekend outings and social gatherings using social media like Facebook and

There are also local organizations like Adventure Korea that organize all sorts of social and recreational activities from weekend hiking and sight-seeing excursions to holiday parties and booze cruises.some text


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