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Taking a Korean wife to the UK

 
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Samsung



Joined: 27 Apr 2003
Location: Seoul, Korea

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2003 7:30 pm    Post subject: Taking a Korean wife to the UK Reply with quote

I am planning on marrying my Korean girlfriend soon, and after we do she wishes to come and live in the UK with me.

I'm happy with that, but my question is to anyone else from the UK who is married to a Korean... how did he/she get on in the UK?
Did they like it? Did they hate it?

From my viewpoint, there are very few Koreans in the UK and it is going to be one hell of a step for her to go there. She's said that it's just our situation reversed (ie she thinks because I settled so well in Korea, she'll do the same in the UK), but then again I know where to go in Korea if I want to speak to English-speaking folk (and there are plenty of them here) - it's not the case in the UK that you can just step out the door and find a Korean speaker.
And does anyone have any suggestions of where's good to live? Where's not good?

I'm worried she'll be bored or hate it in the UK - the weather, the food, the sometimes not-too-friendly people... I'm happy to settle in Korea with her, but she'd like to try living in the UK (which I'm happy with too).
But I get the feeling we'll end up back in Korea anyway, and I just hope that the UK experience doesn't irreperably harm our relationship in any fashion.

Anyone got any thoughts?
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Tiger Beer



Joined: 07 Feb 2003
Location: Hong Kong

PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2003 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm.. I don't know the UK.. but I wouldn't think it would be that much of a problem for a Korean girl.. particularly since they studied English for so long and so well aware of alot of western customs.. I'd imagine she's thought of this many times already probably well within your first few dates.. and was probably more than ready for this..

Also, as far as Koreans go.. I think she will find a community there.. one of my buddies brought his Korean wife to Portland, Oregon.. and they were able to find all kinds of Korean stuff everywhere.. even though its not traditionally where'd you look.. I'm betting UK has alot more than you think..
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cbinseoul



Joined: 12 Mar 2003
Location: Seoul -

PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 3:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Samsung,

Send me a PM and I'll tell you all I can.
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Chopster



Joined: 12 Mar 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 3:27 am    Post subject: Korean things in London Reply with quote

I can only really vouch for London but they do have a fairly well organised Korean scene. Check out 'Koreatown' in the New Malden area (near Kingston and on the rail from Waterloo) for lots of Korean shops and restaurants. There are also a number of restaurants in central London and one Korean store that I know of near Senate House (the University of London huge building that looks abit like the LAPD building in Dragnet) and SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies).

The restaurants and the stores carry a couple of free weekly(?) Korean newspapers which your wife may find helpful. They have all all sorts of articles, adverts and events in etc. You will find the stores generally carry a pretty good selection of Korean food but pretty expensive so be aware. As to the prices I can't really remember but I think a smallish pack of Kimchi was 2.50GBP. The stores also post all sorts of adverts (accomodation, things for sale, etc) in their windows. Check out SOAS for that too.

The restaurants in central London are pricier than New Malden (as is the store) and don't give you so many free dishes.

A rundown on the restaurants:

The best by far is the Hangang on Hanway Street (the street you cross going to Easyeverything from Tottenham Court Rd tube). Check out their galbi and basically everything but be prepared to pay abit (forgotten the prices now).

Next comes Ran on the corner of Poland St and the road running parallel to Oxford St. Poland St is pretty much opposite the HMV half way between Oxford Circus and Tottenham Court Rd. This is bigger than the Hangang and has a more 'Korean' feel to it. The food is pretty good.

Lastly comes Arirang, almost slap bang on the corner of Poland St and Oxford St. This has a greasy but cheap buffet during the day and the food is mediocre but beware of their kimchi.

At least one other has opened off New Oxford St but I didn't get round to trying it.

The only one in New Malden we went to was near the roundabout (?London Road or something) and next to an undertakers (hopefully no connection :shock: ). It's very good and was offering discounts during the World Cup when Korea won their matches.

Speaking of the world cup there was a huge gathering of Koreans in the Sports bar in Piccadilly and after the match they (and me too) went on a spontaneous parade to Trafalgar Sq, up Regent St etc. Was quite a long affair lasting most of the afternoon with a Korean drumming jam and a taekwondo demo at the base of Nelson's column, with free BK hamburgers and chips too. Moral of the story is that Koreans are there, outside of another World Cup win I guess you have to look abit.

My girlfriend is Roman Catholic but hardly ever went to church when we were in London. If your wife is Christian she could find company in one of the churches in New Malden.

The University of London and SOAS in particular have quite large Korean Societies so I understand, same may be true (on a smaller scale) for other Universities.

Like I said before I have no idea what it might be like outside London for all things Korean - it could be a cultural desert, I guess so especially outside the university towns.

As to the weather, my girlfriend disliked the cold and found it pretty wet too, but we had some excellent days out in the summer, try taking her to Hampton Court Palace etc. She tells me she misses a few things - especially fish/ saveloy, and chips (with sweet chilli sauce of course - she was an instant convert- but then that's for another thread. Maybe we should have a poll of what we like on chips).

Best of luck :wink:

Edit: If you have any more questions please feel free to PM me.
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Goldfish



Joined: 07 May 2003
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 5:06 am    Post subject: Taking a Korean wife to the UK Reply with quote

I don't know any details, but I've heard that Bournemouth and other 'language school towns' along the south coast have small Korean communities. It's also close enough to London to do a kimchi run to New Maldon.
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sid



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Location: Berkshire, England

PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My girlfriend came over and stayed in Sheffield for three weeks. The weather was surprisingly kind and she loved going out to Peak District, York etc.. Obviously for a short visit meeting other Koreans wasn't a priority but we went along to the Korean church service, and found it surprisingly well attended. Some university students but also people who have settled here, complete with loads of children. These Koreans get everywhere, you know. The kids were playing around after the service when one little fella said "Hyung! yong-oh mal haja!" and they started talking in broad South Yorkshire accents. Very, very surreal.

Anyway I am not recommending Sheffield, as for one it's grim and secondly the Chinese supermarkets here are not up to much in the way of providing Korean products. We saw: some nasty chonggak kimchi, a few packets of Shin ramen, some onion ring snacks, and six pornographic VCDs. Probably not enough to make the good wife feel like she's still in touch with the homeland.

It sounds silly but one problem might be rice/bread and their relative nutritional/calorific value... Finding the right rice took some time, and whenever I got the old bread and margarine out of the fridge my girlfriend started squealing "No! Getting fat, getting fat!". I tried to educate her on the benefits of a plate of sandwiches as part of a balanced diet but she wasn't having it. Actually, she did eat every one of them, but immediately complained 'Bae bul-la' and expressed her intention of going on a diet.
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Samsung



Joined: 27 Apr 2003
Location: Seoul, Korea

PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 5:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the information here, it's really great Smile
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Trinny



Joined: 01 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2003 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sid,

I am in the area where short-grain, white rice doesn't come by easily and I found jasmine rice (long-grain) does a trick for me. Just pour more water than required into a rice pot, when cooking and the long-grain one becomes sticky like Korean rice. You can add butter or garlic sauce to your taste.

And if she stayed long enough in UK, her diet would have changed, albeit slowly.
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cbinseoul



Joined: 12 Mar 2003
Location: Seoul -

PostPosted: Tue May 13, 2003 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Samsung,

I PM'd you back. Let me know if you got it OK.

Cheers
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hazel03



Joined: 15 May 2003

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 3:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi,

i am an international student studying in the UK. last winter, my Korean boyfriend's cousin come to England to visit him and we found that she is quite okay with the food available in England. there're certain food that she doesn't like much, but i think it depends on the individual's preferences. she was born and bred in South Korea... most of the days, my bf took her to places offering Chinese food. sometimes we also went to places such as Pizza Express, MacDonald's, etc. for food and drinks. i have an impression that Korean ppl are okay with Chinese food because i have quite a lot of Korean friends who like Chinese food and are interested in my Chinese cooking.

as for Koreatown, i have heard that there is one in London (a member has given the info above) and another in Manchester. i'm not sure if the Manchester one should be seen as a Chinatown or a Koreatown, but i have friends studying in Manchester who say that there're quite a lot of Korean food stuff over there.
my bf and i study in Coventry which is very close to Birmingham. usually he goes to Birmingham Chinatown to buy Korean food stuff. but the choices are really limited. therefore, i wouldn't recommend West Midlands.

in Chinatown, they not only sell Chinese food, but also Japanese and Korean food. but still, i think it would be a better idea to find somewhere close to Koreatown (if there is any).
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pat



Joined: 21 May 2003

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 12:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

during the world cup i read in a broadsheet that there are 25000 koreans in the UK. These are mainly in Kent. I guess that makes sense with the proximity to London. In Belfast where I live there are a handful of koreans at the uni where i work. Ive also heard that there is a small community in a nearby town. There are a few big korean electronics firms here...Daewoo etc. My korean girlfriend who has visited twice and enjoyed it thinks that korean communities abroad tend to be a bit ultra religious. I dont know what you think about that. She didnt feel so comfortable with it. OUr local chinese market has the usual stuff like kimchee etc and japanese rice.
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Lost Seoul



Joined: 10 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 1:21 am    Post subject: Re: Taking a Korean wife to the UK Reply with quote

Samsung wrote:
And does anyone have any suggestions of where's good to live?


London is probably the best place at least then there will be some Korean restaurants and supermarkets nearby. Also the UCL and LSE have a significant amount of Korean students.

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/~zczcv09/information.htm#S
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Squaffy



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
Location: All over the place

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2003 6:16 am    Post subject: Re: Taking a Korean wife to the UK Reply with quote

Lost Seoul wrote:
Samsung wrote:
And does anyone have any suggestions of where's good to live?


London is probably the best place


London? you're not right there at all - London is a pit. Try the south coast, Brighton, Southsea, Bournmouth, even the Isle of Wight - beaches, better weather, not so many asylum seekers who will stab you for no apparent reason.

The south is far more affluent than the north. To be by the sea is a plus. Also - the south UK has Devon, Somerset, Cornwall (South West) - fantastic places and countryside.

It's not a case of 'is there a Korean restaurant' - it's more about where would be a nice place to build a new home.

Brighton is my advice (honestly - it's the only city in the UK that has so much cultural awareness - Bristol a close second, SW, but the job scene in Bristol is bad) - on the coast, 40 min train journey to London if you fancy the big city.
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Ryst Helmut



Joined: 26 Apr 2003
Location: In search of the elusive signature...

PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 10:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Samsung,

Though my wife and I are Stateside, I believe these 'basic rules' apply just about anywhere.

I am in constant contact with Koreans here in Florida, some college-aged students over on student visas, others Koreans married to Koreans, and those Koreans married to a westerner.

Of course, it'll all depend on the independence of your wife, I mean, how much of the Korean tradition she'll fervently hang on to. Luckily, I had a couple years to prep my wife for our arrival, and seeing the things I gave up, has given her strength (a bonus for you).

Like us, we go through culture fatigue (not culture shock), and need some place to blow off steam, or a refuge (could be an idea). My wife has, for the first time in her life, been exercising everyday. She's commented on how much better she feels, and can cope with changes better. Also, like us, we all can say, 'just one more year.' That date on a calendar has kept many of us sane, and with my wife, we've both said that we'd come to America on the premise that we are completing our formal education, then returning to Korea (unless we find the grass is greener here). This takes the burden of make-or-break off of us.

How to minimize the fatigue and homesickness...well, several steps. Keep her within reach of her family. We set up her parents' house with a computer and VDSL hookup, paid 2 years in advance. We as well, and she chats with them via the web-cam every other day. Also, we found really cheap phone service (4.5 cents a minutes), just in case we want better clarity in conversation. Along with the internet, make sure you've Hangeul on the browser, and bring whatever software she'd normally use.

Friends? My wife has realised that she's to make western friends, as even the US based Koreans still can't break their schtick about status. So, even though they are 'friends,' her Korean classmates see her as an ajumma-ish (she's but 26) due to marriage, and the older ones.... hopeless. However, like us (spending time with other westerners, even though we'd never talk to them if met on home soil) , Koreans will deal with each other to keep their sanity....albeit superficial.

Food? Don't rely on Korean markets for everything, as you can sometimes find Korean foods, at regular markets. Also, Koreans won't know England like you...use your personal knowledge to find the groceries to make Korean food. For example, go to butchers....they'll be able to cut exactly what you want and how....something the big marts don't do, and Korean marts do (but charge you out your yin-yang). When in Korea, we would make monthly treks to Seoul and stock up on western goodies. We were accustomed to that, and have no problems doing the same here, for Korean food, of course.

Alas, probably the most important.....have her do SOMETHING. Some of the Korean wives I met here are so dang bored (husbands are in PhD programmes). They're the ones having the most difficulty adapting. Have your lady enroll in language courses, attend grad. school, get a job, volunteer at a kindergarten, wherever....but don't let her veg. My wife took 6 weeks off from school (we just moved, and were getting set up), and she was going batty after 3 weeks. C'mon, even I can't do nothing on Ko Samet for more than 2 weeks without getting anxious!

Oh, as for Koreans being ultra-religious while overseas. Yes, I can see that. I grew up in Korean communities, and church, for them is a social club, business club, and culture school (for the kyopos). Even the non-believers go and put on a good show Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes !

I'm sure there is much more, but I am so tired...sorry.

Shoosh,

Ryst
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slimstinator



Joined: 04 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2009 10:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi,

Has anyone had any experience with the Korean Embassy regarding getting a settlement visa following the recent changes to UK immigration?

How difficult was it to satisfy them? How long did it take? How much personal stuff did you have to hand in (photos, emails etc)
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