Any good at charades? Time to improve your skills! If you are lucky enough to live in a big city like Seoul, Busan or Daejeon you will have no problem communicating with the locals. However, most Koreans speak very little to no English, so find yourself a phrase book. Remember that you’re on their turf now; they don’t need to speak your language; you have to take the initiative. You will soon learn the words you need most and build your own little vocabulary of essentials.

If you are more serious about understanding the culture and communicating, you can take Korean (Hangul) lessons. Ask your colleagues or friends about places that teach Korean. There are many places that offer free lessons either during the week or on weekends in certain cases

It is also helpful to learn the basic Korean letters. They are very easy and can be memorized within an hour. Once you can decipher signs and menus, the world seems a much friendlier place.