south korea

South Korea, also called the Republic of Korea, is a sovereign state located in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. The name "Korea" is derived from Goryeo, a dynasty which ruled in the Middle Ages. Its neighbors are China to the west,...

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South Korea, also called the Republic of Korea, is a sovereign state located in the southern part of the Korean Peninsula. The name "Korea" is derived from Goryeo, a dynasty which ruled in the Middle Ages. Its neighbors are China to the west, Japan to the east, and North Korea to the north. South Korea lies in the north temperate zone with a predominantly mountainous terrain. It covers a total area of 99,392 square kilometers and has a population of 50 million. The capital and largest city is Seoul, with a population of 9.8 million.

Archaeology indicates that the Korean Peninsula was occupied by the Lower Paleolithic period .Korean history begins with the founding of Gojoseon in 2333 BC by the legendary Dan-gun. Following the unification of the Three Kingdoms of Korea under Silla 668 AD, Korea was ruled by the Goryeo Dynasty and Joseon Dynasty. It was annexed by Japan in 1910. At the end of World War II, Korea was divided into Soviet and U.S. zones of occupation. An election was held the U.S. zone in 1948 which led to the creation of the Republic of Korea. Although the United Nations passed a resolution declaring the Republic to be the only lawful government in Korea, the Soviets set up a rival government in the North.

The Korean War began in 1950 when forces from the North invaded the South. The war lasted three years and involved the U.S., China, the Soviet Union, and many other nations. The border between the two nations remains the most heavily fortified in the world. In the decades that followed, the South Korean economy grew significantly and the country was transformed into a major economy. Civilian government replaced military rule in 1987. Presently, South Korea has strict gun control laws that rank them among countries with the fewest quantity of firearms per capita.

South Korea is a presidential republic consisting of seventeen administrative divisions and is a developed country with a very high standard of living. It is Asia's fourth largest economy and the world's 15th or 12th largest economy. The economy is export-driven, with production focusing on electronics, automobiles, ships, machinery, petrochemicals and robotics. South Korea is a member of the United Nations, WTO, and OECD. It is also a founding member of APEC and the East Asia Summit.

some cities

experiences (3)

have you spent time in south korea? share your experiences

4

south korea - anonymous' thoughts after months there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/14/13.

What brought you to South Korea? Where were you before?

I came here mostly for graduate school, but also partially because I liked the idea of living in another country surrounded by a different culture. Before this, I lived most of my life near Washington DC.

Describe the city you live in in South Korea and your impressions of it.

Daegu, South Korea is one of the biggest cities in the country. Korean cities are very interesting in that there are very modern and developed areas alongside very old and run down areas. The downtown area is really neat, with several blocks of clothes stores, cafes, restaurants, movie theaters, etc. I was much more impressed with Seoul, though. Seoul is the most modern area I have ever seen in all my travels. Everything from the transportation systems to the buildings themselves seem amazingly organized and designed.

How does the city you live in compare to other cities in South Korea? What drew you to the city you live in over other cities in South Korea?

Daegu is one of the bigger cities, but it is somewhat older and less grand than Seoul or Busan, as I mentioned previously. I came to this city specifically because it is where my school...

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3

south korea - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/24/13.

How much time have you spent in South Korea?

I was in South Korea for 2 years, from December of 2010 until February of 2013. I also went back for a week recently for vacation.

How old were you when you came to South Korea? Where were you before?

I’m from Ohio, USA. When I left I was 24. I was still living with my parents up until the time I left.

What brought you to South Korea? What made you choose South Korea over any other place you could've gone?

I went to SK to teach English. I originally chose it because of the possible locations (China, Japan, etc.) it was listed as one of the best places to start and had really good pay by comparison. The goal was to pay off the student loans.

Describe the city you lived in in South Korea and your impressions of it.

I lived in Cheongju, which is pretty much in the middle. There is a common saying in Cheongju: “People that move here never leave.” Cheongju has a very home-like feel to it. It’s small by comparison to other cities but still has a few outs for entertainment and western goods. The foreign community is very tight there because we aren’t very large. Everyone knows everyone by face and you can make some amazing...

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2

south korea - anonymous' reflections after years there in their 20s

posted by anonymous on 10/17/13.

How much time have you spent in South Korea?

I have been in Korea since the summer of 2011 so it is accurate to say around 2 and half years.

Which best describes how old you are/were while in South Korea?

I was in my early 20s when I first decided to live in Korea in a long-term timeframe.

What brought you to South Korea? Where were you before?

I was born and lived in New York city for my entire life. After finishing my second year of college, I re-evaluated my life values and decided to start anew in a country that I've never been before and have a chance at a "new life" with a fresh start.

Describe the city you live in in South Korea.

I currently live in Seoul, the capital city of South Korea. The population density gets somewhat getting used to as it is more crowded than the typical New York City suburbs that I am accustomed to.

What are the the people of South Korea like?

At first I was surprised at how homogeneous Korea was. I went from living in the most diverse city in the world to a city and a country that was over 95% Korean. Being from Korean descent, I fit right in visually but it was still an unfamiliar feeling.

Was making friends and meeting...

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demographics

population

48,860,500 (July 2012 est.)

ethnic groups

homogeneous (except for about 20,000 Chinese)

languages

Korean, English (widely taught in junior high and high school)

religions

Christian 31.6% (Protestant 24%, Roman Catholic 7.6%), Buddhist 24.2%, other or unknown 0.9%, none 43.3% (2010 survey)

age structure

0-14: 0-14 years: 15.1% (male 3,844,033/ female 3,533,963)

15-64: 15-64 years: 73% (male 18,228,643/ female 17,463,195)

65+: 65 years and over: 11.9% (male 2,365,749/ female 3,424,917) (2012 est.)

urbanization

83% of total population (2010)

life expectancy

79.3 years

obesity rate

3.2% (2001)

literacy rate

97.9%

average years of education

17 years

economics

cost of living

5/10 (medium-low)

economic overview

South Korea over the past four decades has demonstrated incredible growth and global integration to become a high-tech industrialized economy. In the 1960s, GDP per capita...

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South Korea over the past four decades has demonstrated incredible growth and global integration to become a high-tech industrialized economy. In the 1960s, GDP per capita was comparable with levels in the poorer countries of Africa and Asia. In 2004, South Korea joined the trillion dollar club of world economies, and currently is among the world's 20 largest economies. Initially, a system of close government and business ties, including directed credit and import restrictions, made this success possible. The government promoted the import of raw materials and technology at the expense of consumer goods, and encouraged savings and investment over consumption. The Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 exposed longstanding weaknesses in South Korea's development model including high debt/equity ratios and massive short-term foreign borrowing. GDP plunged by 6.9% in 1998, and then recovered by 9% in 1999-2000. Korea adopted numerous economic reforms following the crisis, including greater openness to foreign investment and imports. Growth moderated to about 4% annually between 2003 and 2007. With the global economic downturn in late 2008, South Korean GDP growth slowed to 0.3% in 2009. In the third quarter of 2009, the economy began to recover, in large part due to export growth, low interest rates, and an expansionary fiscal policy, and growth was 3.6% in 2011. In 2011, the US-South Korea Free Trade Agreement was ratified by both governments and is projected to go into effect in early 2012. The South Korean economy's long term challenges include a rapidly aging population, inflexible labor market, and heavy reliance on exports - which comprise half of GDP.

major industries

electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel

electronics, telecommunications, automobile production, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel

gdp per capita

$31,200 (2011 est.)

gdp growth rate

3.6% (2011 est.)

gdp composition by sector

agriculture: 2.6% industry: 39.2% services: 58.2% (2008 est.)

unemployment rate

3.4% (2011 est.)

population below poverty line

15% (2006 est.)

gini index

31 (2010) country comparison to the world: 108 35.8 (2000)