Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!

Shipping Your Belongings as a Teacher in Korea

Posted on Tue, Jan 10, 2012 @ 11:10 AM

Having lived here for two years, I am finally beginning to think about how I will get some of my possessions back to Canada. This process got me thinking about how much I’ve learned about the Korean postal service during my time teaching English in Korea. It’s a topic that garners some interest amongst newcomers and for good reason: When someone leaves Korea to go back home, the big decision is generally whether to sell something, ditch it, or send it back home.

The shipping machine at my local post office (in English!)

This machine is generally how I ship things back home or around Korea.

When I sent home my first package from Korea, I was admittedly pretty nervous. I still didn’t speak any Korean and the post office in my neighborhood is a bustling hotbed of activity. Thankfully, the experience was completely pleasant. Not only that, but I didn’t need to speak or know any Korean to send home my package. You see, Korean post-offices are equipped with special machines that are able to work in English and simply ask you where your package is going. You then weigh the package on a waiting platform and make your payment (for which you can even use your transit-money card!). As for the cost of shipping, I’ve been shocked at how cheaply I could send items via international air mail from Korea. I’ve never paid over 20,000 KRW ($17.26 US) for a shipment and that even includes sending home a DSLR camera in-box. The packages also promptly shipped, generally arriving back home within the next week.

Here's my local post-office, consistently busy.

For sending your own possessions home, if you have a couple of months you can wait, there’s a really cheap method of doing so. For example, I’ll be shipping all of my winter clothing through slower surface mail as I’ll arrive home just in time for summer. While it does take a lot longer, the cost is only a fraction of airmail. A 20kg parcel to Canada or the USA would cost 79,700 KRW ($68.78 US) via airmail, but only 40,200 KRW ($34.69 US) by boat. As for larger items, most teachers I know generally opt to sell them to friends and co-workers. Thankfully, teaching at Chungdahm provides you with a network of people who are willing to buy used big-ticket items for their apartments.

For receiving larger packages from home, most instructors I work with generally opt to get their things delivered to work. That way, they are able to bring the packages home at their leisure. Packing up your life and moving all of your things to teach English in Korea is daunting, but not as much as moving back all of the things you’ve accumulated here when you decide to go back home. For anyone who’s apprehensive about getting all of their things back in one piece, I hope this information helped. Let me know about the experiences you’ve had with the Korean postal service!


Teach in 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: Korean shipping, Korean Post, shipping, teaching in Korea

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