The proliferation of Hallyu, the Korean Wave, has become a worldwide phenomenon and it shows no signs of stopping. The South Korean influence can be seen in almost everything lifestyle-related, such as Korean dramas, mobile phones, Korean beauty trends, fitness workouts and K-pop of course.
It is cool to be Korean. Romanticised by lovey-dovey Korean dramas and slick K-pop groups, many men and women dream of finding a Korean partner, or at least befriending them. Some just want to converse with real Koreans and practice the Korean language. Others genuinely want to understand more about the country’s culture and people after being exposed to so much Korean culture in dramas and music.
Regardless of the reason, we dug deep and uncovered 5 ways to make Korean friends in Singapore!
Hang Out at Where The Koreans Are
The Koreans love to gather and socialise over food and drinks. There are 2 prominent spots in Singapore where there is a large concentration of Korean restaurants, supermarkets and amenities. One is located along Tanjong Pagar Road and the other around Upper Bukit Timah.
In recent times, Tanjong Pagar Road is popularly known as ‘Little Korea’ because of the sheer variety of Korean food places dotting this buzzing road. The diversity of Korean cuisine found here is staggering, from the ever-popular Korean BBQ to the ubiquitous Korean fried chicken covered in spicy red sauce. Koreans working in Singapore often come here to satisfy their food cravings and also to catch up with friends or colleagues over some Maekju (beer in Korean).
It is easiest to meet new friends in social settings where drinks are flowing and people become less inhibited.
Towards the west side of Singapore, there is another area known as ‘Korea Town’. Scattered with Korean restaurants and cafes, Korean minimarts and also the Singapore Korean International School, this vicinity is home to a vibrant community of Koreans who live in Singapore. Have some Soju over a hearty Army Stew and chat up the table of Koreans dining beside you!
Meet New Friends Via Meetup.com
This is probably one of the least daunting way to make new Korean friends. There are several well-established groups on Meetup.com that facilitate Korean-Singapore ties, such as AllThatKorea, Korea Monthly and ILKS . These interest groups frequently organise activities for both Koreans residing in Singapore and Singaporeans who are keen to learn more about Korean culture. Choose from Korean cooking classes, cultural and language discussion sessions, Chimaek (Chicken and Beer) parties, Noraebang (Korean Karaoke) and many more.
Attend these cross-cultural meetups with an open mind and a ready smile. Who knows you might just meet your Jagiya over an authentic Korean dinner!
Party With Koreans at Club 36
36 is the first Korean-themed Dance Club in Singapore. Opened in February 2018 to much fanfare, this futuristic club blends Korean pop music with electro and hip-hop genres through its line-up of both Korean and Singaporean resident DJs. In a bid to maintain authenticity, 36 also brings in Korean performers and talents to elevate the Korean party experience.
The crowd consists of a mixture of more Singaporeans than Korean party-goers. However, it is still possible to spot a group of fun-loving young Koreans partying the night away with Soju-bombs and bobbing along to a fusion of K-pop and EDM music mixed by the sexy Korean Resident DJ – Queenzell.
Participate in Activities Held at Korea Plaza
Operated by the Korea Tourism Organization (KTO), Korea Plaza is a hub for all things Korean. They have a tourism information centre that provides information for tourists keen to visit Korea and also regularly hold Korean culture-related activities for the public. Some activities include Korean language classes, K-pop Dance classes and Korean Food Making classes.
Korea Plaza also occasionally hosts popular Korean celebrities when they are in Singapore, such as Kim Jeong Hoon, Kim Gang Woo, T-Max, F.T. Island and Brown Eyed Girls. These events are sure to attract many fervent fans, both local and Korean. That is when you can join in the K-pop frenzy, get to know some like-minded Korean fans and discuss about your favourite Korean celebrity!
Join a Language Exchange Groups / Programme
These online groups are set up with the sole purpose of language exchange and thus, they offer a ready base of native Koreans who are interested to interact with Singaporeans in the hopes of brushing up their English or Mandarin. A quick search on MyLanguageExchange.com revealed 478 Korean members who are looking for language exchange partners here on our sunny shores! Tete-a-Tete also organises regular language exchange gatherings in Singapore for people from various countries to meet up and practise the language they want to.
Alternatively, you can also try SingaporeExpats.com, a site dedicated to help foreigners assimilate to Singapore. They have a Language Exchange Forum where you can find a good number of keen Koreans searching for language exchange partners.
Show them some warm Singaporean hospitality! Through mutual language learning, you also get to understand more about their culture and hopefully, make a lasting friend.
If all these ideas still do not work in helping you to make some Korean friends in Singapore, I have the ultimate suggestion – apply for a job in a Korean company! Yeap, this is a tried-and-tested suggestion proven effective by my close friend who is currently dating a Korean she got to know during work! Work is the perfect environment to interact with Koreans on a daily basis and to integrate into their social circle. In no time, you would be hanging out with your Korean colleagues over BBQ and some Makgeolli.
Do you have other recommendations on how to befriend Koreans and expand your social circle? Or are you a native Korean looking for more local friends? Let us know some tips by commenting below!