Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!

Winter in Korea: Three Tips to Make it Easier

Posted on Wed, Dec 07, 2011 @ 10:13 AM

One fun thing about teaching English in Korea is that you get to work with people from all over, meaning that there will inevitably be a variety of reactions to Korean winter. While people from the American south are bound to think it’s the coldest place on earth, Canadians like myself might argue that it’s not all that bad. However, no matter where you stand on the temperature, there are a few tips I’ve come to know to make your winters more bearable while teaching English in Korea.

Tip 1: Humidifiers

For whatever reason, my apartment and the apartments of everyone I know here have two things in common: They all get super dusty and super dry.  During the winter, the dryness can make things pretty unpleasant in your place, whether it’s making your throat sore or your skin dry. The easiest solution is to pick up a humidifier from your local E-Mart, Lotte Mart, etc. Alternatively, you could just boil an open pot of water to get some moisture into your place. In my experience, it has made things infinitely more comfortable at home.

Tip 2: Know your heating controls!

Every apartment is equipped with a panel that controls the water and heating temperatures (the gas boiler). Naturally, these are almost always entirely in Korean, so they can take a bit of getting used to. Also, they don’t operate in the same way that heaters do back home (through vents). Instead, Korean homes are generally heated by running hot water through pipes under the floor. This is great because your feet will always be toasty warm if the heat is on. Here’s a helpful tutorial to help get you in the right direction if you are in Korea and still haven’t figured out your heating system. Energy costs in Korea are relatively low, so you also shouldn’t let finance get in the way of feeling comfortable in your own apartment.

Gas boiler in my Korean apartment.

This is the heating panel in my apartment. It is undeniably my best friend during the winter time.

 

Tip 3: Dress for the weather.

Okay, this might seem like an obvious one when I first say it, but knowing the weather and dressing for it can always be a little tricky in Korea. For example, when I was back in Canada, during winter we always knew what to expect: really, really cold. However, my time in Korea has been host to some wild temperature swings and occasional cold snaps. Last winter, I would have to check the weather every morning to determine the thickness of my coat for that day. While this got a little taxing, it was at least nice not to have to face the same weather everyday.

Christmas care package from my mom to Korea

A Christmas care package I received from my mom today should keep my apartment pretty comfortable.

I have only been here just shy of two years, but I’ve picked up some useful tips from other foreigners and personal experience during my time teaching English abroad. I hope that with these tips, you’ll be much better equipped to spend more time exploring Korea and less time worrying about your own comfort in this coming winter. If you have any other tips that can help me weather this season a little more comfortably, I invite you to please share them!

 

Teach in South Korea!

Josh Donner is the current head instructor at a Chungdahm Learning branch just outside of Seoul. Josh grew up in Toronto and after graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario, the 23 year old decided to put his History degree to use by starting a career teaching English in Korea. Josh likes to spend his time learning Korean and soaking up all the culture and adventure South Korea has to offer. In fact, Josh has found his time in Korea so fulfilling, he is eager to share his experiences! Follow Josh’s adventures in Aclipe’s Teachers’ Blogs.

Tags: Teach English in Korea, teaching in Korea, Teach English overseas, Teach English abroad, winter in Korea, gas boilers, Apartments in Korea

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