Why Korean Men and Women Marry Foreigners (Matchmaking Poll)

I’m not big on talking about the whole dating and marriage thing, but when I came across this article I figured I wouldn’t be the only one who was intrigued.  The Chosen Ilbo recently reported a poll taken by matchmaking company, Bien-Aller, about the reasons why Korean men AND women make their choices to marry someone from outside their own ethnic and cultural group.

According to the poll, 32.1 percent of the men said they felt the biggest benefit of marrying foreign women is their lack of interest in their groom’s educational background and financial or social status

For me, the reasons Korean men and women make their choices, according to this poll, were not what I expected.  The next three most popular reasons for seeking a foreign bride?

  • Foreign brides would be submissive
  • Would make their lives more comfortable
  • No stress from the in-laws

Clearly, they must be referring to non-Western countries.  I don’t ever recall anyone referring to women in the USA as being “submissive”.  In these cases, I think they generally refer to men going to SE Asia to look for a wife.  Apparently they feel SE Asian women are submissive and their parents won’t stress them out.  In addition, if you’re under the impression that Korean women are submissive, these Korean men are telling you otherwise.  I never thought they were.

I think we confuse the subtle Korean style and outward social respect gestures as a sign of submissiveness.

For those of you who have spent time in Korea and observed Korean couples, I think you can agree that K-women are not submissive.  No way.  If you think that…more power to you.

Women, on the other hand, indicated that their #1 reason for seeking a foreign husband is because it would make their lives more leisurely.  Followed by:

  • Foreign husbands would be more dedicated to his family
  • More mature (???)
  • Less picky about educational level, social status, etc.
Top factors in choosing a spouse
Men:  Skin color
Women:  Being from an “advanced” nation

It never ceases to amaze me the reasons people look for someone.  The reasons are as varied as the people themselves and they’re never what they appear on the surface.  My opinion, if you can’t be with the one you love, love the one…

Somebody stop me.


  1. Avatar Anonymous says:

    I have a question. Are you still keeping or planning to keep your American citizenship? There is a growing movement from Americans renouncing their citizenship as the U.S tax laws change and the fact that the new healthcare laws will force employers to only employ part time workers…many Americans are looking to work abroad and i suspect Korea would be high on their list especially teaching as a job.

    As far as Korean marrying foreigners…maybe they just feel the expectations like you mentioned is just too much…having to live up to educational and social status is just too much and they're fed up with it.

  2. I don't plan on it no. At least not at the moment. Maybe if I land in some country I can't imagine leaving, then it may be a good idea. Probably not Korea though. The US really taxes us hard, that's for sure.

  3. this topic inspired me to write my opinion and questions about it.
    I hope you have the time to read it ..

  4. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Hi Tom,
    I was wondering if you could answer a question for me. I'm currently in a master's program at a California university and am interested in teaching in Asia someday. The only worry I have is that I'm kind of a nontraditional student in terms of age. I'm in my early 30's now, but I only got my undergraduate degree a few years ago in my late 20's (what happened was I started uni at 18, dropped out to work and didn't come back until much later to finish).
    Will this hurt me at all in Korea? I'm hoping the fact that I'll have a master's while many other potential ESL teachers only have a bachelor's will soften any damage that brings to my resume..

  5. Avatar Anonymous says:

    Hey Tom 😀
    I've been reading your blog for a whole now and there has recently been one question on my mind: how much Korean do you need to know to get by in Korea?
    Anyway, great job with the blog and videos.

  6. No that won't hurt you. I'm 40 now and studying online and just getting started. You'll have no problems. With a master's degree you'll have many opportunities. Good luck!

  7. You really don't need to know any for the job. However, getting around in daily life will be much easier and more enjoyable if you pick up some key phrases. You'll learn through osmosis once you get here too.

  8. Avatar Ivan Sang Che Aiyabei says:

    Bravo Tom! I am profoundly joyous to find your gems of blogs. Over the past months I have been researching on the atmospheric readings pertaining ex-pat employment in the Republic of South Korea. I am an undergraduate student of English Language and Literature in a varsity in Uganda and my graduation is due next year. My dream is teaching in a secondary school there in Korea. In preparation to embrace any future opportunity destined to knock on my door, hence, I am currently pursuing an online TEFL course courtesy of the University of Toronto. On the other one hand, however, I have been struggling to find a suitable Korean Language training assistance online and as such, I am yet to start intensive Korean Language training anytime soon prior to my graduation.
    Many thanks for the hints concerning recruitment agencies. The only idea that has been lodging on my mind is approaching the Korea Agency for International cooperation (Koica) that has currently opened here in Uganda.

    My hopes were swung as I heard that teachers from the Developing Nations such as Uganda have got to bear with discrimination as far as payments are concerned. Furthermore, is it true that teachers from the natively-English speaking nations are taken? What about those from Anglophone countries such as Uganda, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria among others?
    Thank you very much for your insightful info. Wish you all the Best of luck.
    Ivan, Mbale, Uganda, East Africa.

    • Thanks so much for writing, Ivan. I think it’s great that you are pursuing your dreams of teaching abroad. I have no doubt that your efforts will pay off some day. With regards to Korea, it may be difficult (but not impossible) to find a teaching job here. The issue lies mainly with the issuing of work visas. As you mentioned, they are reserved for English-speaking nations on their list. I don’t believe Uganda is one of those, unfortunately. However, if it’s something you really want to do, all you can do is continue looking into the opportunities. If not Korea, there may be opportunities elsewhere for you. All the best with your endeavors!


  9. Hi Tom
    Was asking if you can help me,if i want a job,
    Working in a botique or a shop can i get it and what are the things needed in korea from uganda

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