Where?

I’ve been doing tons of research on where I would like to be if I end up going abroad. While I would love to live in Japan, South Korea is seeming like the better option at this point. EPIK, for example, reimburses your entrance fee, takes care of your rent, provides you with a settlement allowance, takes care of 50% of your health insurance, and offers 18 paid vacation days. All in addition to your monthly salary. To me, that’s a pretty sweet deal.

Now, picking a city or province.

I have pretty much eliminated Seoul and Busan from my choices. I want to be somewhere urban, but I don’t think I want to be in such a metropolitan city.

Things that are important to me include that I am placed in an urban area with adequate public transportation, there are lots of cultural opportunities at my fingertips (read as museums. Lots of museums), and I am located near some sort of natural setting (beach or mountains being my preferences). I don’t think that’s too much to ask, but maybe it is.

So here is what I’ve come up with so far:

1. Jeju Island

– Considered the “Hawaii of Korea.” It’s an island, so there are lots of natural formations, like mountains and craters. Jeju is home to the Manjanggul Lava-tube, which houses the largest known lava column in the world. There’s also a teddy bear museum and a green tea museum.

2. Gyeongju (in Gyeongbuk Province)

– Known as “the museum without walls.” I like the sound of that already. This city apparently has “more tombs, temples, rock carvings, pagodas, Buddhist statuary and palace ruins than any other place in South Korea” (www.lonelyplanet.com). The Gyeongju National Museum is also considered one of the best in all of South Korea.

3. Ulsan (in Gyeongsang Province)

– Home to the world’s largest shipyard and the world’s largest automotive assembly plant (Hyundai). Ulsan has beautiful beaches as well as seven tall mountains. There’s also a traditional earthward village (Onggi) and a whale museum!

4. Changwon (in Gyeongnam Province)

– So many beaches and parks. There’s a musical fountain and Yongji Lake, “Cherry Blosson Street” (which blooms in April), Seongju Temple (which is over 1,000 years old), and the Gyeongnam Art Museum.

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