Right before coming to South Korea, everyone amongst my close friends and family asked if I feared going. They were worried that the tense relations with North Korea would make the country unsafe. Of course, I was not frightened or I would never have decided to go, but still, I asked myself the question: will I really be safe in South Korea?
Imagine my surprise when only a few hours after landing, I discovered that this was maybe one of the biggest clichés I had ever heard. For example, I once forgot a bag in a park and it took me an hour to realize it, but when I rushed back, my bag had not moved an inch and nothing was missing in it. This is a sad thing to say but in France I would probably never have seen that bag again.
However, even if the country is indeed safe, there is a big difference between being safe and feeling safe. France may be safer than a lot of countries in the world, I will not deny that, but there still are a lot of situations where I do not feel safe; riding the train to get back home at a late hour for example. In Korea, I have seen convenience stores employees counting the registers money right before me. I have seen people leave their stuff in a coffee shop for half an hour and come back like that was completely normal. That made me feel safer than ever.
Finally, I knew language would be an issue, and I was convinced it would handicap me in my everyday life. I thought it might affect my safety if I were to be in trouble one day. But quite the opposite happened. I discovered that Koreans have something that too few people possess in France: they are nice. Every time I needed help and asked a random Korean to help me, whatever the reason, they helped me as best as they could, stopping their day just for me. That would never happen in France!
Now, all of this might be because I have not been here long, or because I am a stranger, but I do not think I have ever felt so safe in a country! I am glad that I jumped with both feet into this adventure and I wish for everyone to experience that at least once during their lifetime.
PS: France still is a great country, you just have to be a bit more careful!
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