Indians in Korea

Indian Student Community in Korea

Students of Seoul National University have formed a community named Indian Student Association @ Seoul National University – ISA@SNU.

The ISA@SNU is a non-profit organization that aims to create a social network amongst the Indian students community in SNU and to provide them with an opportunity for enjoying typically Indian customs and traditions here in Korea. The association also aims to actively involve in arranging and participating in various cultural activities and events on or off campus through out the year.

A portion of their efforts are directed towards extending a helping hand to new students who are coming from India to pursue their studies in Korea. The purpose of the ISA@SNU is to preserve and increase awareness of Indian and Indo-Korean heritage through cultural, social, and community activities.

Things to do… On arrival to Korea

If you are coming from India then the first thing you need to do is that convert your Indian money to dollars. You cannot direct convert Rupee to Korean Won while in India. If you are carrying huge amount then you can carry travelers check which can be en-cashed in any of the banks out here.

The day you land in Korea you need to do the following things:

Is Seoul, Korea Expensive…

… well that depends upon where you coming from. If you are coming from US, UK, Australia or any other developed nation then you would find Korea much much cheaper. But if you are coming from a developing country like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal etc. then it is definitely expensive as compared to your home country.

For this article I’d comparing the expenses with Mumbai, India. First, we will talk about accommodation. As I come from Mumbai I feel the house rent in Seoul is equivalent to Mumbai rentals.  For Rs. 20,000 to 25,000 you might get a 1 BHK flat in Andheri, Powai area of Mumbai where as in Seoul you might get a studio apartment or a house with 2 rooms for Rs. 20,000 ($500). So rent wise I feel Seoul is not that expensive.

Indian Music (FM Radio), Movies, TV, Newspaper and Books (Fiction)

Since I am an avid reader let me start first with books. Most of the bookshops I have visited in Korea have a section on Foreign books. The foreign book section would have English, French, Japanese and books in other languages.  So in a bigger bookstore like Kyobo 70-80% of the bookstore would be dedicated to just Books in Korean Language and the rest to books in foreign language. So that way one would have a very limited choice when it comes to English Language books in Korea. The only Indian (NRI) writer books I saw in Korea were – Jhumpa Lahiri, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, V. S. Naipaul. Surprisingly the booker winners like Kiran Desai and Aravind Adiga were not to be seen. Most of the popular firang writers are available. And sorry no pirated copies of books are available like the way they are available back home.

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