The South Korean won has been weakening against the U.S. dollar not only as the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, but due to increased external economic risks noticeably the prolonged war in Ukraine, a global energy crunch, and the U.S. Federal Reserve's policy rate hikes.
It's not just people here in South Korea that are suffering from the hard-hit currency exchange rate.
This is Ms. Kim who's been running a Korean guest house in Interlaken, Switzerland for 10 years. She's weathered through the global pandemic, but now, just ahead of the peak summer traveling season, the shocking exchange rate has left her with zero reservations.
She is agonizing over maybe having to close her business.
"COVID-19 travel restrictions have been improving, so I was hoping for travelers.
But now gas prices are spiking currency rates are worsening If this continues, I might have to shut down."
Global crises have already raised living expenses around the world, but the weakened exchange rate only makes livelihoods difficult for other Korean residents living overseas.
Among them is Mr. Park who's been studying in Shanghai, China for nine years.
He has had to make drastic cuts to his living expenses.
"I'm studying abroad so I live on the allowance my parents sends. The exchange rate leaves me with less money to spend."
"The exchange rate is outrageous. My allowance of one-million won used to be around 900 dollars but that has now dropped to around 7-hundred dollars I've had to move to afford rent"
With many Korean international students studying abroad, the situation is just as bad for parents paying tuition fees.
The average tuition for a four-year university course in the United States is around 50-million won now, the exchange rate has added at least another 5-million won.
Parents have no choice but to further divide payment installments while they wait for the exchange rate to improve.
"We've seen more parents ask about paying tuition in installments and whether they can use credit card payments rather than bank wire transfers."
This is the first time in almost 13 years since the financial crisis of 2009 that the exchange rate has weakened to 1,300 won to the U.S. dollar.
Current circumstances and signs of major economic risks are expected to remain for the foreseeable near future and households are continuing to face financial challenges.
Lee Eunjin, Arirang News.