When you prepare to abroad to work or to study, or any other reason, we research many things before we go. We look at visas, accommodations, embassy locations, translation apps, what we need to bring, the list goes on. What nobody seems to prepare you for is the difficulties you’ll experience. Usually when you enter a country, the country first appears strange, but magical. This period lasts for a couple months, depending on the country. But then after a bit, you become weary. The country might not even speak your language and thus you are faced with a language barrier that gets tiring. There can also be a large amount of discrimination. There are these problems and there are also the problems you left at home that you still have to deal with at the same time, just at a distance. It piles up. You do start to go crazy a little bit and sometimes need to vent.
Psychological services are becoming more and more commonplace in Western countries. It is even recommended that all people go at least once in their life to a counselor to talk, just to vent some pent up anger or problems. It is no longer becoming a sign of weakness in our cultures. You are no longer considered crazy, you are thought of as someone who wants to take control of their personal demons and free yourself of guilt, suffering, and worries. You are on the road to becoming a better you. It’s just one step.
However, this concept does not translate in every country of the world and it is important to remember this. In S. Korea, getting therapy is considered a huge weakness and a social no-no. Koreans are very proud people and to admit you need therapy is labeling yourself as crazy and a weak person. This is no good. This is most felt in employment. There is a big discrimination against those who reach out for therapy.
Foreigners, when completing the Medical self-assement form given to you either prior to coming or when you arrive, it will ask you somewhere about your mental health. Do NOT say you are receiving or have received any treatment. This is grounds for cancellation of your contract. You will be out of a job. While your are working at a school in Korea, do NOT get therapy as it will be reported to your school and your contract will be cancelled and you terminated. There are many cases of this online, just do a simple search.
Now, this is not limited to just foreigners. I have spoken with my company colleagues (Koreans) and they say they are also under this pressure. They can’t get therapy or they will be terminated or not get a job if applying.
I hear this and it makes me so angry and sad. While we can be strong, even the strongest need help. I personally believe you shouldn’t be too proud to ask for help. There is nothing wrong with it. It is not a sign of weakness. So, as I have been looking to see whom I could speak to without putting my employment in jeopardy, someone mentioned the site prettypaddedroom.com. They are American therapists licensed in various states and will contact you through Skype on your own time to provide counseling services for you. Their fees start at $45 for 30 minutes but can get as cheap as $50 for an hour depending on how much time you pre-purchase. Since this is an online site, it doesn’t use insurance or anything like that but I feel that the price is reasonable enough not to need it. It is pretty cheap and they all seem very nice. It caters mostly to women but I’m sure men could be assisted as well.
I recommend those in Korea looking for counseling or therapy services to check this out as an option. It is better than nothing, right?