Why I Love Living in Daejeon, Korea
(And why I’m glad I DON’T live in Seoul.)
I officially got my Daejeon placement from EPIK on December 14, 2016. My immediate reaction was to start frantically searching for cool cafe’s and restaurants and try to figure out where in the city I was hoping to be placed after orientation. All of which was, for the most part, fruitless.
Unfortunately, outside of Seoul the other cities in Korea do not offer much online by way of English information. So while Daejeon had been my preference on the EPIK application, I was more going off a good gut feeling rather than any kind concrete reason.
I knew from the beginning that I didn’t want to live in Seoul and the longer I live here the more I am confidant in that decision. Living in Korea pretty much guarantees that you’ll end up hanging out in Seoul often enough, so living full-time in another city gives you access to other parts of the country and experiences that you might otherwise have missed out on.
And if you’re trying to learn Korean you’ll have a much easier time finding people to practice with outside of Seoul, because the number of people and establishments who speak English are fewer.
So for anyone is the same boat that I was, searching desperately for information about a city that will soon be your home, I thought I’d give you just a few reasons why I love living in Daejeon!
This is probably the most important to me at this point in my Korea life.
Some people could probably make the argument that Daejeon isn’t as much “fun” as Seoul. But the slower pace of the city is absolutely my favorite thing about it now. Whenever I go up to Seoul all it takes is getting on the subway around rush hour, or really anytime for that matter, for me to think to myself how happy I am that I live in Daejeon.
Seoul is fun for playing, but Daejeon is good for living.
#2 There’s plenty to do:
So while the slower pace makes Daejeon a fabulous place to live compared to the overwhelming crowds in Seoul, that isn’t to say that there aren’t also lots of thing to do here! Compared to my hometown at least Daejeon is a big city.
There’s tons of good food, Korean and western, lots of pretty cafe’s, and while the night scene is on a smaller scale here is certainly exists.
I never feel like I need to get out of Daejeon in order to have fun or find something to do. The only thing that really requires you to go up to Seoul is if you want some kind of specific international food or to see some really famous cultural site
#3 It’s small enough that you can actually feel connected to the city
A lot of my friends who live in Seoul don’t realize that Daejeon is actually a pretty big city so when I mention that it takes me about 45 minutes to cross the city to get to the train station they’re often surprised.
It’s big enough that there are lots of things to do, but small enough that when a really cool new cafe or restaurant or something opens up we usually know about it pretty quickly. And that makes it really fun to keep tabs on what hot new places have appeared and get out to try them before the general public realizes they’re there.
Everyone has their favorite areas of the city but once you get to a point where you know them really well, watching businesses come and go makes you feel like you really live here. Like you’re “in the know,” and that’s, for me at least, really fun!
This is the pretty obvious one but Daejeon’s situation in the country makes it the perfect place to take a train or bus in any direction and be just about anywhere in the country in a few hours. The KTX trains are super fast and depending on traffic sometimes my bus ride to the train station itself is longer than the actual train ride to Seoul.
But besides the relatively expensive KTX lines there are also tons of buses in and out of the city for different places so there’s almost always a terminal close to where you’ll be living!
Daejeon is my Korean hometown. For the rest of my life this will be the place where I first lived and worked as an adult right out of college. Whenever my Seoul friends poke fun at there been nothing to do in Daejeon I’m ready with all my pictures and stories to defend my favorite city down in good old Chungcheongnam province.
For anyone moving to Daejeon soon I hope this was at least a little helpful and for everyone else I hope this can shed a little light on a lesser known but equally lovely city in Korea that deserves more attention than it gets.
Daejeon is the best ^^
Thanks for reading!