By: Kim Se-jeong

The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) and Hana Tour will pay for overseas trips for 11 interracial couples in Seoul who could not go on a honeymoon because of financial difficulties or other reasons.

The couples will leave on Saturday for Phuket, Thailand, and spend four nights there.

“We wanted to give the couples a chance to travel,” Chung Young-jun, director of the multicultural division at SMG, said. “We hope the couples will come back with memorable experiences and a stronger bond.”

Immigrant spouses often have a tough time after getting married as they start a new life in an unfamiliar environment. This often damages the relationship, resulting in domestic violence or separation. The situation is worse if the couple also struggle with money.

Hana Tour will pay the airfares and accommodation for the couples.

“I would like my body and soul to recover through this trip,” said one of the winners. The Chinese immigrant, who did not disclose her name, said she has been living in Korea for 12 years with her Korean husband and three children. “My wedding was simple with our families,” she said. “We decided to skip the honeymoon because it was expensive.”

Chung said the selection process made his team realize the tough conditions for some interracial households.

“Going on a trip, although it’s free, wasn’t an easy decision for them. For example, the wife can go but the husband can’t because of work, or vice versa. Also, some said they were reluctant because of pressure from in-laws.”

Seoul has almost 48,000 immigrants who settled after marrying Korean spouses. China is the top country of origin, followed by Vietnam, Japan and the Philippines. Nationwide, the number is almost 300,000.