Living and teaching in Korea is great. I absolutely love it here. But there are a few differences that can make life a little bit more challenging, like the fact that there isn’t a clothes dryer, your parents aren’t here to cook for you, and space is a luxury. In my blog, I hope to help you overcome some of these obstacles so that you can have a cleaner, healthier, and cheaper life.Read More
Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!
So, you have finally settled in Korea, got through ChungDahm training week and finished apartment hunting. You are exhausted and starving after unpacking and now the real nightmare begins... how do you turn on the stove? How does the gas work? What can I make to eat?Read More
Teaching English in South Korea certainly is an attractive option for many, and the motivations for doing so vary widely. Obviously the chance to experience a new culture was a strong draw for me, coupled with the glaring and troubling realization that I was not totally sure of what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. But another large part of the appeal of this profession was the opportunity to save significant amounts of money. Now, there are varying degrees of frugality that you can strive for, and personally I would put myself somewhere in the middle of the savings spectrum. I do not make many extravagant or expensive purchases (some of my friends jokingly call me a tightwad), but at the same time I am a big lover of food and drink, so I like to eat out with friends pretty regularly. Whether you are a dedicated worshiper at the alter of penny pinching, or simply a person who likes to save a few bucks here and there, one of your strongest allies in the fight for a bigger bank account is Daiso.Read More
So I’m sure everyone has his or her own reasons for teaching English in South Korea. Many people come just for the new experiences and the chance to immerse themselves in a foreign culture, but there is a significant portion of the Chungdahm community using their earnings to pay off student debts. With that financial mountain looming over many of us, we are all looking for ways to save money. Personally, I am not one to spend all my nights staring at my computer screen, depriving myself of fun just for the sake of frugality. But I still do make an attempt (some months I am more successful than others) to save a decent chunk of my paycheck, and here are my strategies for doing so. Don’t worry, they don’t require burning whale oil, living off a ramen and water diet, or using smoke signals to communicate with your friends.
I was never much of a chef at home, I usually stuck with boiling pasta, draining it, and then adding a bottled sauce and scarfing it down. So, when I first moved to Korea, I was worried about whether I'd still be able to find and use the sauces and pastas I was used to from the USA. Korean grocery stores have a wide variety of new ingredients (kimchi, radishes, gim, duk, etc.) I had never heard of, and at first I was a bit scared, but with a renewed sense of adventure I have been able to be a lot more creative in the kitchen!
As much as I adore Korean food, sometimes I just need a break from all the rice and kimchi. The availability of western brands and products in the regular supermarkets is definitely respectable, but there are just some things the likes of Lotte Mart, Home Plus, and E-Mart don't carry. Luckily, Costco does exist in Korea, and it's basically a mecca for Westerners who need to stock up on some favorites from home.
"You look like you could use an almond milk coffee smoothie with real mint chocolate bits," the man behind the counter caught me off-guard as I stood at the entrance of the store wide-eyed and drooling. "I can make it for you now and you can enjoy it while you shop." I nodded, unable to verbalize my gratitude. "Did he just read my mind?" I thought. Maybe he did, or maybe he just saw me for the sucker that I am, regardless, the drink was beyond amazing and I couldn't help but make a few annoying slurping sounds with my straw as I managed to enjoy each bit of the almond milk deliciousness as I browsed all that High Street Market had to offer.
If I had a big house with a big kitchen, I would be hosting breakfasts, lunches, brunches, dinners, snacks, and midnight snacks for my fellow Chungdahm teachers. Unfortunately, that is not the case for English teachers in Korea. Some apartments have kitchens that are smaller than a bathroom, while having no built-in oven is also common in most Korean homes.
Teaching English in Korea can be difficult in terms of getting certain items. There have been a few blogs on the topic and even tips on where to get items. For starters, I have constantly asked for care packages from home because there are a handful of items that I cannot find here, or the price is ridiculously overpriced for the items. This is to the point where international shipping is cheaper, unbelievable! I decided to compile a list of things that are a MUST bring if you do come to teach English Korea, and a tip as to where you can pick up certain products.
One goal that I have had during my stint as an English teacher in Korea is to learn how to cook some Korean dishes. I am not a great chef by any means and even when I lived in the United States, I rarely found the time to cook. I wanted to change that when I came to Korea because I would be living alone and I knew I would have ample time to experiment in the kitchen.
To make my learning more fun, I decided to invite some of my local friends who liked to cook over to my place. I would buy the ingredients and they would show me how to make some tasty local dishes. That seemed like a much more fun way than looking up recipes online and trying them by myself. And it has been a lot of fun. Plus, I have learned a lot of the past few months.