7 Jun 2016

Flocking Kiwis Korea - Bernadette Keating

11:37 am on 7 June 2016

Focking Kiwis is a series about young New Zealanders living abroad and how they transition into life away from home.

We’re a population known for our love of leaving the nest and while Kiwis have long been flocking to the UK, Asia is not as common a destination for OEs.

In this instalment, we visit a young New Zealander who has made the move to South Korea – a country most of us know for its K-Pop and kimchi. 

Bernadette Keating, 26, originally went to Korea as an English teacher and loved it, deciding to stay and study the language at Chungangdae University.

“Part of why I decided to go to Korea was both my parents’ had good experiences living overseas and I felt, perhaps, that it would be a very good life experience for me, too.”

She says she has never been particularly good at learning languages so her parents were surprised when she told them her plans. 

“It almost felt, for me, that to respect the culture I needed to learn Korean,” she says. 

Bernadette has been living in Korea for about three years and is based in the capital, Seoul. It's a city of 10 million, more than 40 times the population of her hometown Wellington. And while she has no intention of heading home anytime soon, there are parts of a slower-paced Kiwi life that she misses. 

“Everyone seems very busy, especially my Korean friends. Just going for a walk or anything is a little bit harder and you have to make sure you take some time off. 

This content is brought to you with funding support from KOCIS and NZ On Air