Picking up girls in another country is never easy, and it’s a good bit more difficult when the natives don’t have extensive knowledge of English. Places like Europe and touristy destinations around the world will have a ton of locals who speak English with at least decent proficiency, but East Asia generally does not. On top of that, if you go to places like Central and South America, Spanish is relatively easy to pick up to a conversational point. Korean is not.
Korean is definitely one of the most difficult languages in the world to learn, which is why many expats have been here for years upon years without learning more than survival phrases. I, for one, refuse to be that guy. I took it upon myself after arriving here to develop a strong proficiency with the language, and I’m now at a point where I’m functionally fluent but not native. This is entirely unimportant though in terms of picking up women.
A lot of guys here think that the language barrier will stop them from being able to pick up women, but that’s absolutely untrue.
Counterintuitively, using Korean during your pickup attempts can actually hurt you to some extent. I’ve noticed a very sharp parabolic curve when it comes to the effectiveness of using Korean in the context of meeting new women, in that a little bit of Korean helps a lot, but a lot of Korean can hurt you a lot too. If you try to approach a girl using only Korean but you’re a complete beginner, you sound a bit cute and interesting, like you’re trying to make an effort even though you’re not doing it too well. Conversely, if you approach with intermediate or better Korean, they will be initially impressed and then it will turn into disappointment or even scorn when you aren’t able to do it completely fluently.
I’ve found instead that it’s much better to always approach in English. This does a couple of things for players of all levels. First, it sets the tone that she will be accommodating your needs rather than the other way around. Second, it weeds out the girls who are too dumb or who just aren’t that interested in you.
Every Korean student takes English classes all through school, from third grade until high school graduation. After 10 years of classroom study, they actually don’t come out very proficient at the language, but they all know how to at least hold a basic conversation in English. The only exceptions to this are the girls who are too dumb to do well in school and the girls who aren’t interested enough in you to try using their English. They basically weed themselves out for you so that you don’t have to do it later.
All that being said, there is still a place for using Korean effectively in pickup situations. Having a good handful of situational phrases memorized to say at certain moments will almost always get a good laugh and demonstrate extra value. One of my friends has only been here a few months and he knows how to use phrases like, “You know you like it,” or “Your place or mine?” with a wink for exceptional effect. Another guy I know memorized the words to a popular Korean song, and will always plan his pickups around going to a singing room together where he can show off his song and they can be alone to escalate physically at the same time.
Ultimately, using Korean language during a pickup is only a tool, much like money or fashion style. And just like those, it can give you and the conversation a notable boost, but shouldn’t be the crux of any approach.