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3 Must Know Tips for Packing for Korea!

Posted on Tue, Aug 18, 2015 @ 11:01 AM

Packing for Korea can be one of the most stressful things you do prior to moving across the world to teach abroad.  If you have never lived in Korea and or experienced Korean culture, misleading stereotypes and conflicting stories about what you can and cannot buy in Korea can make packing confusing.
packing for Korea
When I first moved to Korea, I tried to squeeze a ridiculous amount of stuff  into numerous suitcases. Traveling abroad was not only stressful but also uncomfortable, and I arrived in Korea with many things I didn't need. Prior to my departure I had done a lot of research on the internet about Korea but unfortunately I didn't look into what I should pack. 
 
Now that I have much more experience traveling abroad and living in Korea, I understand  what to pack for your life in  Korea. 
1. Seasonal clothes
 
Bring clothes suitable for the season when you arrive and the season that follows. Your parents can ship your winter or summer clothes and most teachers actually buy new clothes since Korea is a shopping Mecca. It is tough to leave your favorite items behind, but you should really consider how uncomfortable it is to travel with too many things, and things that you do not need right away. For example, if you are coming in May, you should bring mainly Spring and Summer clothes.  There is no need for big jackets and boots for at least the next five months.
packing for Korea
 
2. Training week and work
 
New teachers to Korea ask me what they should to wear for training week with Chung Dahm Learning and their first weeks teaching at school. Although, Chung Dahm says smart-casual, Koreans care a lot about first impressions and clothes. Koreans dress really smartly at work and have high expectations about appropriate 'work-appearance'. Your Branch manager and staff will most likely be Korean and expect you to adapt to the Korean professional dress habit. Also, dressing professional goes far  with your students, setting a good first impression and garnering higher respect.
 
For your first six weeks in Korea, until you get paid, most of your time will be spent in training and in the office. Pack a range of work clothes that you can mix and match for those first few weeks. To downsize on luggage bring 3 neutral pairs of work pants or skirts (such as black, gray, beige) and mix and match worktops and jackets to create a variety of outfits. Pick flat shoes that are suitable for work and after work.  Shoes take up the bulk of your luggage space, so choose carefully.
packing for Korea
 
3. Toiletries, Bedding and Extras
 
Many English teachers pack too many toiletries. You can buy almost everything in Korea that you can buy back in your home country. Pack a mini-toiletry bag for one week at training. On your first weekend in your new apartment you can buy the rest at the store. It is better to bring extra money for these things than a over filled suitcase. Ladies should bring at least one month’s worth of make-up, since it is not guaranteed that your favoriate products will be sold in Korea, Once you are settled, you can find and buy products sold in Koea that suit you face and skin.
 
Also, do not bring bedding with you,  It is such a waste of space and can be very heavy to carry. Instead, buy your bedding from the Arrival Store and have it delivered on the day you move into your apartment. Short on cash? Purchase from the Arrival Store to buy now, and pay two months later. This is a real benefit  for new teachers who haven't been paid yet.  G-market  or IKEA  are also great options for bedding if you don't like the plainer ones on the Arrival Store.
 
Foreigners often believe you cannot buy deodorant, international plugs, or girls sanitary products in Korea. This is a myth. You can find almost everything you need in Korea. While these products may be more expensive than your home county, there are plenty of options for toiletry shopping. If you must use Western products you can easily order them online at the foreign market called High Street.
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It is no surprise that Tijana Huysamen, a South African born Capetownian, avid traveler and travel journalist, fell in love with South Korea and its people. After Tijana arrived in South Korea in 2010, she had the opportunity to live in the heart of the Korean countryside. During her time spent in Chungnam province she learned to speak Korean, prepare Korean food and experience the humble nature of the countryside people.  After a year break in New York, Tijana jumped at the opportunity to return to Korea again, and is currently working at the CDI Jamsil Branch, in Jamsil, Seoul. Read Tijana’s Aclipse blog to gain a unique perspective on Korea and her shared experiences and adventures both in a major city and in the countryside. Follow Tijana on Twitter @TeeAnni or email tijanahuysamen120@hotmail.com to request more information on teaching in Korea!

Tags: dressing in Korea, packing, Training Center, Clothes in Korea, traveling, training week

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