10 Ways Korean Expat Life is Like ‘The Walking Dead’

After last Sunday’s shocker of a premiere lets take moment and check out this cheeky list and reminisce the show’s moments alongside memories of your own.

Here are just 10 of the [possibly many] ways that Korean expat life somewhat aligns with the land of The Walking Dead. (And if The Walking Dead isn’t your thing, you could always check out our Game of Thrones version of this list HERE…)

10. Older Ladies Do NOT Mess Around

the walking dead korea

Just as TWD’s Carol will fluctuate between baking cookies and ruthless purging, the women of Korea are serious business.  Get in the way of their children’s education, their subway seat, or that last pair of discounted heels, and you’re likely to regret it.

9. You Get Creative with Your Cooking

the walking dead korea Okay — so we’re not going out and skinning things alive like the TWD crew, but many of us are facing culinary challenges in our expat lives.

And a sad part of you might die inside each time a recipe calls for Ricotta cheese or fresh tarragon or whatever lonely ingredient doesn’t exist, culturally speaking, in the place you live.

Here we are, then, in both cases, living with the culinary fusion of our “brave new worlds.”

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8. You Run into People Who You Just Assumed Moved Away

the walking dead korea

Characters from TWD can disappear and resurface seasons later, when you’ve mostly forgotten them.

A similar thing seems to happen in expat life, when someone lays low or gets a new girlfriend or does, well, whatever these people do before turning up suddenly and prompting your thoughts of “Hey, it’s that guy!”

7. Hospital Visits are the WORST

the walking dead korea

Stay abroad long enough and you’re almost certain to have your own “Beth” moments in a foreign hospital.  Ours might not be as deadly as hers, but then again, they’re rarely pleasant.

Most of us don’t speak the language.  We don’t know if we’re getting actual antibiotics or vitamins. Is the doctor mis-translating bronchitis as tuberculosis (a story I’ve heard more than once)?

And why the bum shot?  WHY ALWAYS THE BUM SHOT?

6. Foods from Your Past Life Take on New Significance

the walking dead korea

It’s pretty much like this.

BACK HOME:  *sees apricot-artichoke goat cheese on sale* “What is this pretentious nonsense?”

AS AN EXPAT:  *sees apricot-artichoke goat cheese on sale*  *buys five packs and tells friends*

BACK HOME:  *sees a Taco Bell* “Psssh…. that’s not real Mexican food.”

AS AN EXPAT: *sees a Taco Bell*  *goes inside and eats five tacos just to feel alive*

5. Traffic is NOT Your Friend.

the walking dead korea

While we’re not getting swarmed by zombies on road trips, we are facing some seemingly life-and-death traffic moments overseas that we weren’t accustomed to back home.

Will a delivery driver come out of nowhere and nail me if I cross the street?  Can I possibly survive this taxi ride?  Is that person in the next car really making a right turn from the left lane? And this is just the tip of the iceberg…

4. Signs Don’t Always *Quite* Mean What They Say

the walking dead korea

Is “Sanctuary” really a sanctuary?  Can “well-being” fried anything really be “well-being”?  Between broken English and cultural concepts lost in translation, what we read is often not exactly what we get.

3. You’re Always Getting Photobombed


The TWD crew are never really away from zombies… there’s usually at least one lurking around somewhere behind.  Similarly, go to any popular Korean landmark and it’s sure to be a challenge to take a photo that’s not being heavily photobombed.

As a foreigner, you might in some cases even find people pulling you into their own pictures or handing you their babies for a quick snap!

2. You See People Shockingly Overdressed to Play Outside

the walking dead korea Fully covered from head to toe at the beach?  Full-face visors and wind suits for a summer walk along the river?   Yep, just another day.

1.  Shopping’s a Bitch

the walking dead korea

The TWD team doesn’t seem to fare too well in grocery stores, liquor stores, department stores… well, any type of store.  Here in our overcrowded corner of the world, shopping can be an ordeal as well.

Besides the stress of finding (or not finding) what you want through language and cultural barriers, you’re constantly reminded that big-box stores and markets are where personal space goes to die.

Sometimes you get out with what you need, but sometimes, through the maze of merciless elbows and unwelcome touching, you’re happy just to get out.


And there you have it, zombie lovers.  Can you relate?  What else connects your life with the post-apocalyptic world of The Walking Dead?  Feel free to let us know in the comments below.