Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!

A Teacher Spends Sunday Afternoon at a Korean Bath House

Posted on Mon, May 19, 2014 @ 08:26 PM

 If you are moving to Korea, there are many things you have to experience before leaving. Call it the English Teacher in Korea Bucket List. Obviously there are things like the Boryeong Mud Festival, trips to Busan, the Korean War Museum, the DMZ, and maybe a quick expedition to China or Japan, but there are other important must-do's that are far more convenient. What I did today is definitely on the English Teacher in Korea Bucket List and that was a trip to a Jjimjilbang! You can take a look at what they say on Wikipedia, but I would just describe it as a traditional Korean Bath House. 

Since it was my friend's birthday and this is all that he wanted to do, we decided to take a trip out to the Yongsan Dragon House Jjimjilbang.

 

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(Immediately after entering, we became so excited it was difficult to compose ourselves.) 

 

It was 12,000 won for admission, which is a little higher than usual, but this Jjimjilbang was definitely on the higher end. When you first enter, you are given shorts and a T-Shirt to wear around the common areas. You are also given a handy bracelet with a key for your locker to store your clothes and valuables. The bracelet also serves as your tab, and so if you want to buy snacks, drinks, or lunch, they simply just swipe the bar code, so you don't have to carry around cash. 
Korean Bath Houses are gender segregated for obvious reasons, and so you must be comfortable in your own skin. I was very impressed by the cleanliness and the number of spas, saunas, steam rooms, cold rooms, hot rooms, etc. They also have areas for you to shave, brush your teeth and to cut your hair. Like most things in Korea, the Jjimjilbang is an efficient and orderly place. 

 

(The hot sauna rooms are for anyone to enter. It was so relaxing that I fell asleep.)

 

 

(After the heat, we checked out the Cold Room. Believe or not, there was actually a lady napping in the corner.)

After a few trips to different spas with varying temperatures and a lunch break, we decided it was time for the Main Event.  I call it the Main Event because it really was the reason why I was looking forward to the bath house and should be required for all foreigners. For 13,000 won you can get a deep, deep Scrub Down over our entire body. Imagine someone scrubbing you with a rough brush... that's almost what it is like, but not at all.
Although at the time, it was painful, and I definitely made some funny faces, it was so worth it. The goal of the Scrubber is to wipe away any old skin off your body and to make you feel extra, extra clean. They also aren't shy and don't hold back on where they go with their brush, so that's why you have to be comfortable in your skin. However, when you come out, you will feel how all the parts of your body are SO much softer. 
It might seem a little strange to us foreigners, but the Jjimjilbang experience is a requirement. Being uncomfortable and trying something new is why you decide to teach in another country. Even if you know you prefer to bathe in your privacy, a Korean bath house is so relaxing and fun for everyone. At the Yongsan Dragon House, they have an outdoor pool, arcade games, screen golf, a cinema, and many other features. It is a very social place for couples, friends, and coworkers to unwind and enjoy each other's company. 

(After a very enjoyable Sunday with my friends, I know that I will have the right mindset and peace of mind for an awesome week of work.)

 

Apply for your adventure now! 

 

After graduating from Georgetown, Brian sought out the life of international travel and living abroad. Beginning with his volunteer work in South Africa, Brian decided to continue on to South Korea to experience East Asian culture and society. In February 2014, Brian accepted a position through Aclipse to teach for Chungdahm Learning at the Bundang branch just south of Seoul. When Brian is not in the classroom, he is busy with his running club, exploring the surrounding mountains, and learning the Korean language. 

Tags: free time in korea, Jjimjilbang, Beauty Products in Korea, Weekend activities in Korea

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