Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!

Top 5 Things to Buy in Korea

Posted on Thu, Apr 25, 2013 @ 04:40 PM

When teaching and living in Korea, there are going to be things that you need to have during your year long stay that you just won't be able to pack or bring with you. Plus, you should take advantage and buy some things that happen to be cheaper or of better quality in Korea. A year in Korea goes by pretty quick and you can learn to get by with a relatively small amount of stuff, but still, there are things that you might want to have to make your life in Korea more enjoyable or more fun (and who knows when you might actually have another opportunity to buy some of these things!). So with that in mind, here is my list of the top five things that any teacher in Korea should consider buying.


1. Scooter/Motorcyle (Or at the very least a bike)

First, it is important to make myself clear and say that you will never have to have a form of transportation such as bike or scooter. Chungdahm does a great job of finding you an apartment that is close enough to your school so that you can walk or easily take public transportation. You will never need your own transportation to get to your school!

But in saying that, if you really enjoy having the freedom of having a car or being able to go wherever you want to go, then you might want to consider buying a scooter. I never thought I would buy one, but when I did, it completely changed my life in Korea. I suddenly felt less restricted and I was able to explore more of Jeju (the place where I live.) Also, scooters are just easy to buy and drive. There is no need for licenses, no need for insurance, or meeting other regulations. Just find someone selling a used scooter, make sure it runs well, and then enjoy your joyriding!

2. Rice Cooker

I know it is not quite as exciting as the first item on the list, but a rice cooker has been really helpful for my cooking and meal preparation. Rice is such a common food in Korea and really cheap so I often end up cooking lots of dishes with it. A rice cooker seems to cook the rice in such a perfect way and it is so easy to use. Plus, it keeps the rice moist and warmer for longer and there is really no worry about overcooking it. I highly recommend one!

RICE cookers are the best!

3. Eyeglasses

I don't even know what eyeglasses cost in the U.S. anymore, but I know they aren't cheap. An examination, fitting, and the actual price of the glasses can cost you quite a bit in the U.S. and it can take a while. Buying glasses in Korea, on the other hand, is a quick and enjoyable experience. First, there are just so many more styles because everyone in Korea wears glasses. Second, while not all are cheap, you can find some really good quality glasses that are inexpensive and the examination/fitting barely costs anything. Last, the two times that I have went, the whole process took about 10-15 minutes. You can't beat that!

Too many choices!

4. Gym/Sauna Membership

I see my gym/sauna membership as having three major benefits. First, it is great place to stay fit and work out some stress from teaching (haha). Second, the sauna helps me relax and relieves tension and muscle pains. I always feel so good after leaving the sauna. Third, I feel like visiting the gym/sauna a few times a week is a really good cultural activity. You get to partake in an activity that is very important to a lot of Koreans and is a big part of their culture.

5. An Instrument

With our great schedules, you are going to have a lot of downtime in the mornings. Being away from your normal routine in the U.S. and living alone with some extra time on your hands gives you a great opportunity to take up a new hobby or learn something new. I have chosen to get back into the guitar after taking several years off. I know a lot of fellow coworkers have done the same. It doesn't have to be a guitar either, some of have taken up the harmonica and others are really into the keyboard. Bottom line is find someone willing to sell you a used instrument and start learning!


So I am sure there are many more things that could, or should, be added to the list. Let me know your opinions on the matter and what you would add to the list!

Teach in South Korea!

Adam Montgomery is a 25-year old teacher at the Chungdahm Branch on Jeju.  He has been teaching in Korea for over a year.  When he is not teaching, he enjoys exploring the wonders of Jeju and Korea.


Tags: Korean culture, teaching in Korea, living in Korea, gyms in Korea, year in Korea, sauna, what to buy in Korea

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