Being a Foreigner in Korea: Getting Stared at – Seoulistic

Being a Foreigner in Korea: Getting Stared at

You know that feeling when someone’s looking at you? You pause, feel their eyes on you and look around. And sure enough, there’s an old lady behind you looking at the back of your head. Well in Korea, that might happen more often than you’re used to.

We invited Chelsea from ChelseaSpeak3 to come talk about her experience of being stared at in Korea:


Conclusion: The more different you look in Korea, the more you’ll be stared at. And you won’t be stared at much in Seoul, but go farther out to the countryside, and you’ll get stared at pretty hardcore.

Are foreigners stared at in your country too? Write a comment!

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Keith Kim is a Korean-American who has been living in Korea for almost a decade. Being in a unique position as both a Korean and a non-Korean, he's put all his experience and knowledge for surviving in Korea in Survival Korean . Read it to learn how you can survive in Korea. Follow him on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.


  1. shirley says:

    Im searching a makeup course in seoul!!

  2. Jon says:

    Oh, Keith… XD

  3. Rebeca says:

    Well, In my country there are many Koreans, my mother has a Korean boss. In this country, when they see an Asian person they ALWAYS assume they are Chinese. They keep staring at them for a long time, my friend is a Filipino and people always ask him “Are you Chinese?” My other friend is a Korean descendent and his classmates tell him that he is Chinese when he is Korean.

  4. ondal says:

    As a Korean American with a beard, when I was in Seoul I would get stared at a lot on the subway, mostly by older people. I think they thought I was Japanese.

    Then when I grew my hair long they stared even more.

  5. Justin says:

    I live in Eumseong which is just about in the middle of the country. It’s about an hour and forty five minutes from Seoul and much farther from Busan. The town has a handful of foreigner. Four of us are black, only I have dreadlocks. The staring is constant. I have had cars slow down next to me and speed back up after they pass me for no apparent reason. I’ve also had a couple people touch me. It’s strange, but it doesn’t bother me for the most part.
    People stare at others in America too, but it takes more than skin color to be different there.

  6. Christine says:

    I am a Korean American raised in NY. When I got married 3 years ago I moved to Tennessee and I get stared at ALL THE TIME. I completely can relate. =)

  7. j says:

    LOL. Cute video. If I got stared at, I’d think of myself as the moving educational exhibit.Or I’d just stare back. They’d be as exotic to me as I am to them.

  8. The adjacent kingdom, a hill beyond , the prevailing tyranny and misery.
    You always have the option of help from another player, but they’re never fully there.
    Here tourists will fins remote control vehicles, diving gear and even submarines.

  9. diana says:

    well… in my country most of the people were already used to seeing foreigners, we can see them almost everywhere! lot’s of people here were not solid filipino they can be half american, half korean, half chinese and etc.
    but here if you would be stared at they must be thinking “what country did he/she come from?”, “is he/she enjoying the trip here?” or “oh a new person” unless you did something that caught their attention.

  10. Gabriela says:

    I have lived both in the USA and Mexico. In the USA foreigners are not stared at but in Mexico yes, foreigners are stared at. In Mexico if you look Asian then you are labeled as Chinese. This particularly bothers me because even when I correct people they still will call Japanese or Koreans, Chinese. Its due to ignorance because we do have a large Chinese immigrant population in Mexico so the assumption is every Asian must be Chinese.

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