Pros And Cons Of Moving To Ulsan, South Korea part 1 – that will be the topic of today’s article.
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When someone thinks of Korea in general, many things come to mind. For example, one might think of technology giants like Samsung or Hyundai. You may also think of the popular k-dramas with beautiful actors and actresses.
However, there is one place people do not often think about in Korea: Ulsan. But, why should they? After all, the city has little in common with Seoul or Busan. Moreover, if you want to experience Korean culture without the hustle and bustle of Seoul or Busan, then Ulsan may be a good place for you.
So, what exactly is there to do in Ulsan? For starters, this city by the sea has beautiful beaches. At Yonghwa beach, for example, you can enjoy watching ships dock at one of South Korea’s largest ports as well as relax on the shore (notably during peach blossom season). Moreover, there are several museums and temples in the area.
For those who do not like beaches, Ulsan has mountains and hiking trails as well. In particular, Mt. Biseul has some of the best views in the city. Another fun outdoor activity is biking along Ulsan’s many lakes, such as Taehwa or Dongbaek. There are also several amusement parks in the area. The most famous is Lotte World Adventure which was modeled after Disney World’s Magic Kingdom.
For those who do not have an international driver’s license, then public transportation might be difficult for them to get around. Not to talk much, we have compiled this article to explain everything you need to know about moving to Ulsan. Have you been surfing the web long ago? Well, check what we have now!
Factors to Consider When Moving To Ulsan
The city of Ulsan attracts many expats with its gorgeous beaches and attractive metropolitan cityscape. However, newcomers should consider seven factors before moving to Ulsan. This will give them a sense of what living in this beautiful city entails. Without further ado, below are the factors to consider!
Factor 1: Transportation
Ulsan offers a good public subway system that runs throughout the city. It also has a convenient bus system that runs from the subway locations to major shopping centers and residential areas. In addition, taxis are affordable and easy to use.
That being said, Ulsan’s public transportation system is not as developed as that of the larger cities, such as Seoul. Therefore, newcomers who plan to live in Ulsan for an extended period may find it easier to buy a car.
Factor 2: Cost of Living
Expats should check how much it costs to live in Ulsan before moving there. Housing is more expensive than the national average. In addition, taxes and healthcare costs tend to be higher in Ulsan than the national average. However, entertainment tends to cost less in Ulsan because of its proximity to Masan, a more affordable city with a thriving bar scene.
Factor 3: Utilities
In terms of housing utilities, renters pay for water, and tenants pay for their electricity, gas, and internet. In fact, tenants often have to pay some of their utilities in advance when they first move into an apartment.
Tenants must also pay a security deposit and a fee for the rental agency, usually one month’s rent. On the other hand, many landlords offer free internet access for tenants with fibre connections (fibre is available in most areas).
Factor 4: Education
Ulsan has several international education institutions, including Ulsan University and Kyungnam University. However, other schools tend to be lacking in English-language instruction. Thus, newcomers to Ulsan may want to enroll their children in an international school or organize for them to travel back and forth from Seoul.
Factor 5: Healthcare
Although Ulsan’s medical care is cheaper than in most big cities, the quality of hospitals does not match that of major medical centers, such as Seoul National University Hospital. If international citizens are moving to Ulsan with the intention of staying long-term, they may want to consider purchasing international health insurance.
In addition, expats who intend to live in Ulsan long-term should consider that the cost of living depends on how far from the city center a person lives. For instance, housing costs more if an expat lives closer to Ulsan’s metropolitan area. In sum, international citizens should consider how much they can afford to pay for housing and utilities before making decisions about moving to Ulsan.
Factor 6: Employment Opportunities
Ulsan is a manufacturing hub with many large corporations, such as Hyundai and POSCO. Thus, expats who want to work in the manufacturing industry will have an easier time finding employment in Ulsan than if they move to cities that are more culture-based or tourism-based.
Factor 7: Climate/Weather Condition
This is another important factor to consider when planning a move. The weather in Ulsan can be hot and humid during the summer, with temperatures between 18-35 degrees Celsius (64 – 95 degrees Fahrenheit) and cold in winter (between 3-17 degrees Celsius or 37-63 degrees Fahrenheit).
Thus, expats should choose housing that has heating and cooling systems. Expats should also pack warm clothing, no matter the season, especially during wintertime.
Overview of the Pros of Moving To Ulsan
Nestled on the southeast coast of South Korea, Ulsan is often overlooked by potential expats and travelers exploring Korea’s many different regions. However, like the rest of South Korea, Ulsan has a lot to offer in terms of food, culture, and outdoor activities.
Most importantly, it is home to several notable industries that contribute to the continuing success of South Korea. These include shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing, and petrochemical production. Nonetheless, let’s quickly take a look at the pros and cons of moving to Ulsan, South Korea as an expat.
Incredible Expat Community
There’s a large and active community of foreign professionals in Ulsan, South Korea. It’s common to see special events for holidays like Halloween and Christmas, regular barbecues with people from all different countries retreating to the mountains for camping and hiking, bachelor parties at the casino or sky bars, even weekly “Spanish Nights” with live music and free salsa lessons.
An Affordable Place to Live
Although Ulsan is a large metropolitan city, it’s very affordable compared to other major cities around the world. For example, an apartment in downtown Seoul will cost you five times as much as one in Ulsan. The cost of the living index even includes such familiars as Apple computers and Nike shoes, which are cheaper than almost anywhere else in the world.
Reliable Transportation System
The Ulsan metropolitan subway system is very reliable – you never have to worry about being late for a meeting because of a sudden delay or accident on the way there. The buses, although not always on schedule, are cheaper and more convenient than in most other major cities around the world.
The crime rate is nearly zero, making Ulsan one of the safest places you can live. The police force is highly trained, professional, and extremely strict with law enforcement. Streets are clean and well-kept, unlike some major cities around the world, and there are no homeless people downtown or begging in the streets.
Ulsan is surrounded by mountains, making it an ideal getaway for camping, hiking, fishing, biking, skiing/snowboarding (in winter), picnics at the park with friends or family, etc. It’s a great place to get back in touch with nature.
The City Attracts Dedicated People
Ulsan is a city that attracts hard-working people, especially those who love the outdoors and want to do things like mountain biking, hiking, fishing, etc. There’s not much pollution, and there are so many natural resources available for the taking.
Ulsan is home to many delicious local foods, including the famous Ulsan Hankook-Tteokbokki (rice cakes in red pepper sauce), Dak-ttongjip (chicken legs – best eaten with raw garlic and spicy mustard), Sundae (Korean blood sausage), and Gomtang (beef bone soup). The street food is also delicious, including Samgyeopsal (Korean bacon-wrapped rice cake), hotteok (sugar pancake filled with peanuts/sesame seeds), and bindaetteok (pancake made from mung beans).
Fewer Western Amenities
The U.S. military has a large population in South Korea, but there are not many American restaurants or stores geared toward this audience. Most shopping centers are run by Korean companies catering to Korean tastes and following Korean customs. If you want an American steak, fried chicken, or grocery items, you’ll probably have to cook it yourself.
High Cost Of Living with High Unemployment
The cost of living is high in South Korea, but the income is relatively low for most people, with an average per capita income of $25,000. With this meager salary, South Koreans are expected to pay their rent, buy food and keep up with the latest fashions. However, the cost of living in Ulsan is higher than most places finding everything 50% more expensive than other locations in South Korea.
Strict Cultural Norms
Koreans live under stringent cultural norms that are stringently enforced. Most bars are segregated by gender, with separate entrances for men and women. Even in the most modern cities, the older generation still does not approve of interracial dating, so it is important to be careful when dating outside your race.
Difficult to Get A Job
The unemployment rate in South Korea is around 8%. Still, it doesn’t seem like the government has done much about the issue since it has been allocating 1.5% of its GDP toward job creation and 2% or more toward education, health care, and welfare programs every year.
Underemployment plagues the economy, with many people getting part-time jobs or simply giving up looking for work. Many international companies also do not recognize South Korean degrees and expect more than the average job candidate can offer.
There are about 80 million people in South Korea, but only around 50 million speak English, leaving visitors who don’t speak Korean feeling excluded and frustrated. As a non-Korean speaker, you will need to work harder at restaurants and stores that do not have many English speakers or bring an interpreter with you if possible.
Lack of Mental Health Care
Lack of mental health support is a serious issue in South Korea. A World Health Organization report has noted that only 20 psychiatrists per 100,000 people in South Korea while the OECD countries average 216 for every 100,000. With such little care available, many people who need help do not get it, or they turn to alcohol or other substances.
Relatively Few English-Speaking People
About 70% of foreigners living in South Korea speak Japanese as their first language, leaving only 30% to speak English fluently. This makes it difficult for many non-Koreans to integrate into society and can be frustrating if you need help from a stranger and do not speak Korean.
If you need English help, your best bet would be to look for a job teaching English or ask at the international schools where teachers tend to be non-Koreans with strong English skills.