Britney Plummer shares the remarkable impact her life abroad in South Korea had on her life and self-esteem.
“I have a whole new outlook on life. I love myself and the people in my life, I am much more open-minded and understanding of those around me, and I don’t let society tell me how to live my life!”
Let’s start at the beginning, where are you originally from and when did you leave?
I am from Indianapolis, Indiana and I moved abroad 4 years ago to South Korea.
How were you able to migrate? (Job, Visa, Spouse, family another channel?)
I got a teaching job in South Korea.
Why did you decide to move and did you know anyone there?
I decided to move because I had been traveling my whole life and I wanted to see so much more of the world. I did not know anyone in South Korea, but that is what made it soo exciting.
How did you find the job searching process. Was there anything about working overseas that surprised you?
The job searching process was not difficult, but it was tedious. You have to be careful when working for a company in South Korea because some will scam you. Everything about working overseas surprised me. I went from Western culture to Eastern culture, which are vastly different from each other. In the East, they work a lot and not because they want to, but because it’s a part of their culture. They don’t get to choose to take half-days or a week vacation. They are expected to work 10 hours a day and get a weeks vacation when their boss says so. Little did I know, the same was expected of me. (Still a very positive experience)
How was the experience finding a new home?
My teaching contract came with a home, so I did not have to worry about finding one.
How is the social scene? What was your experience making friends?
I worked with other expats so finding friends wasn’t too hard. Through my coworkers, they introduced me to their friends and so on. Outside of my coworkers, there are Expat bars that you can go to and meet other people easily. Most other major cities globally, also have them.
Did you date overseas? If so, what was that experience like, any memorable stories?
I dated a lot overseas and I still do ;). My experience is a mixed bag. In South Korea, I dated a lot of american military men and that wasn’t too fun. Most of them have families back home that they would lie about. In Vietnam, I dated men from all over the world (Australia, Montenegro, Argentina…). It was a great experience nothing resulting in anything serious, but it was nice to compare cultural dating norms.
Do you feel your race impacted your experience? If so, how?
At first it did, especially in South Korea. They are obsessed with black culture all the way down to imitating it. The older generations are not too fond of black people, but the younger generation is pretty laid back. By the time I got to Vietnam, I didn’t really care about the stares and gawks I got. I also learned that the reason the stares and gawks bothered me soo much was because I wasn’t comfortable in my own skin. I had to learn to love myself and be happy with who I am, so now when staring or touching (yes they will touch you) happens I take it as a form of flattery because I know I’m amazing!
What has been the most challenging thing about moving abroad?
Dating, only because I don’t stay in one place for too long. I am a true digital nomad and finding someone that likes to move around as much as I do, is difficult.
What has been the most rewarding?
Becoming the person I am today! I have a whole new outlook on life. I love myself and the people in my life, I am much more open-minded and understanding of those around me, and I don’t let society tell me how to live my life!
Tips & Advice for the Her Expatise Community
What in your experience would you say is the min. monthly cost of living?
Any advice on the visa/migrating process that could help someone else’s process go smoother?
Facebook groups of expats already in the country you want to live in will be your best friend.
Any insider tips on a place you enjoy going to or an activity you enjoy doing?
Place: Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam some amazing people there!
Finally, If you could go back in time and give yourself one piece of advice before you got on that plane, what would it be?
You can have whatever you like, live life how you want to.