There are many questions people have when they look into moving abroad to teach English. When I decided to move to South Korea to teach English I know I had plenty, however, the main priority for me was accommodation. Where was I going to live? What would my apartment be like? Would it be furnished or unfurnished? How much would utilities cost? etc etc. Well this blog will explain all.
When looking into accommodation options, I kept hearing the same old thing over and over again, that apartments in Korea are small, well guess what? It’s true they are small, however, that does not mean they are not comfortable. My apartment, while small has everything I could ever need. Most apartments here will have a fridge, a western style bathroom, a washer, others will include a TV, a double bed, and some appliances. When I moved in I had all the above plus: a small toaster oven, a rice cooker, double bed, comfy armchair, and a blender, not to mention some cooking utensils – thanks to the previous tenant. My school were nice enough to buy me some new plates, bowls, knives and forks, they even bought me some new bedding (Hey, what can I say, I got lucky :) )
(My Building, It's very Modern and less than two years old)
Depending on your teaching contract you will either have accommodation included (monthly) or you will have to pay for it yourself (hourly). For me, as I am paid a salary my apartment is included; which was a plus as I had an apartment to walk into as soon as I landed in Korea, after training. However, if you are hourly, then it is not all bad. Your school will help you find an apartment, and in most cases pay your deposit and first month’s rent. Speaking of Rent, it’s not that expensive here in Korea, with an average apartment costing around $300 - $400 per month. While we are talking about price – utilities here in Korea are relatively cheaper than those in Europe or North America. My last Electric bill was €9 / $13.30. (I had to double check my bill with my school as I could not believe it – I had my A/C on almost 24/7 so I was pretty happy!!) I really did luck out with my apartment building though, as Internet and Cable TV are FREE. Although I’m told by my colleagues that for Internet & TV it doesn’t cost more than €16 / $20 a month for both. (I have not had a gas bill yet but am told it will also be reasonable).
(My hallway, It's a pretty nice building)
(My Front door 202, no Key just a pass code, dont have to worry about losing my key :) I do have to remember the code, however :-/ )
Location is also important. When I left Ireland to teach English in Korea I didn’t know what to expect accommodation wise, but one thing I knew for sure is that location would make /break it for me. Turns out I lucked out on this too. My apartment in Daegu is located 3 minutes walk from my school, in fact it’s just across the street, and I am even closer to my local metro stop. I have all the stores I could need just 5 minutes away; from Food shopping to bedding stores (Contrary to myths you can get sheets / matress toppers and pillows here). To the Korean version of the Dollar store or the €2 euro shop, it’s called Daiso and you can really make your apartment feel homely as they sell everything from clocks, lamps, picture hooks, dish cloths, batteries, speakers, cleaning products etc. And just like the dollar store or €2 shop it’s prices are VERY cheap :)
(My kitchen has: Fridge-freezer, microwave, stove, SMALL oven, rice cooker, blender & an ironing board - which I use as a desk)
(I wasn't kidding - it's a great desk, I have not checked it's ironing capacity yet lol.. and yes that is breaking Bad on my laptop).
I was lucky in that my apartment came with a 38” TV. I bought some speakers and a wifi router in my local supermarket, I got both items for less than €25 / $30 for both. So I made my very own entertainment system.... kind of lol! I do love connecting my ipod to it & listening to music when I’m not teaching English.
(Not every aparment comes with a new flat screen TV, but even better this one comes with USB port to connect my HardDrive :) )
(Dividing sliding doors into my kitchen)
(The previous tenant left this comfy armchair)
(Your bathroom will be a western style bathroom, and most likely be a wetroom set-up)
( my laundry room, again seperated by double sliding doors. My washer is a top loader - they do have front loaders here too)
(bedside table, made from wire shelf & spare kitchen shelf - simple but effective)
(My aparment has a double bed - some have twin beds).
From all the photos my new friends (which I made during training) have posted on Facebook, from all over Korea while they are teaching English with CDI, their apartments seem to be pretty sweet too. I’m very jealous of a friend of mine in Busan - who has a floor to ceiling, wall to wall, window overlooking the city – it’s pretty slick. Regardless of where you end up teaching, your apartment, while small, will be pretty cool. Your utility bills will be low and you will be able to save a lot of money, even if you do spend a lot during the weekends!! :)
John May grew up in Dublin, Ireland where he is from & went to Trinity College – one of Irelands best known universities. He graduated from here in November 2012 with a B.A. (Mod) in Geography & Sociology. John has always had a passion for travelling having been to most of Europe, he decided to explore Asia after Uni. He had always wanted to teach and thought what
better way to travel than teaching English on the way. John is currently teaching English for CDI in Daegu, South Korea a position he found through Aclipse; and loves every minute of it!