Quarantine itself actually wasn’t as horrible as I had imagined. Is it boring at times? Yes, but you know what your hobbies are and what you like to do in your free time. So bring them!
It’s a great time to read, Netflix is accessible and you can start learning Korean. Working out is always an option (water bottles make great makeshift dumbbells), you can journal, do puzzles, listen to music, etc.
My room was relatively small. The pictures show it’s basically just a bed and bathroom with a tub that also had a clothes line, so if you can bring a small bottle of clothing detergent you can do some laundry. I used bar soap to make the water soapy, but wished the whole time I thought ahead and brought real liquid laundry soap.
I would suggest bringing a thermometer. You do need to take your temperature twice a day for the app they have you fill out. I wasn’t able to get my hands on one until day three of my quarantine, so I was always putting in my temperature from when they took it at the airport. They ended up bringing a few of us a kit later on with a thermometer, hand sanitizer, a spray sterilizer/deodorizer for the garbage you will accumulate and have to sort, more masks, and information (all in Korean).
Just for fun I’ve included some pics of the food that they gave us during our hotel quarantine stay. It’s always a good idea to bring snacks that you know you like in case the food is not to your liking. There is also an app that I included that is in English and is very user friendly called Shuttle Delivery. You only need a KakaoTalk id to use it, so no need to worry if you don’t have a phone number that will work in South Korea yet. They accept credit cards as payment; however, only deliver to certain areas in Korea. Other food ordering app ideas include Baedaltong (배달통 -delivers all over Korea) or UberEats.
My final suggestion is to always ask questions and reach out to CDL if you are having any issues, or concerns. They constantly said to tell them if we were experiencing any discomfort. At one point, I had no choice but to ask for help when I developed the rash on my face. It was growing worse every day and by my fourth day of it getting worse (I shouldn’t have waited that long) I asked for help, and the CDL manager went to the pharmacy, explained my situation, and sent over medicine to my hotel that immediately relieved it. They also check in with you and update you as things are happening. It’s a comforting feeling knowing you are not alone in this extraordinary experience!
CDL also gives training materials that are to be done over the two weeks. I knocked it all out in my first four days, but maybe did myself a disservice. I had to fill in all my remaining free time I had, and now at the end of my quarantine I am trying to re-watch some of the videos so they are fresh in my mind. I’ve personally spent most of my time reading and would recommend it to anyone as the best way to get through this very brief bump in the road.
I’ve decided to take on these two weeks as a positive thing. They have allowed time to slowly settle into a new environment, beat lag, and plan for the excitement ahead. Here’s to an amazing (and disease-free!) year ahead in Korea!!
Christy Connors is from the Chicago area in Illinois where she also attended Columbia College Chicago. Shortly after obtaining her degree she set off traveling and ended up teaching English in China for two and a half years. While in China she was able to see different parts of Asia, but South Korea quickly became her favorite destination and the process began of making her way to becoming an English teacher for Chungdahm Learning in Seoul, South Korea. While she's only been teaching in South Korea now for a short time, she couldn’t be happier with her decision to make the move. Some of the things she quickly came to love about the country include the friendly and helpful attitude of everyone around, the ability to get around and explore easily with public transportation, the amount of things available to do both indoors and outdoors, the shopping, the food, and of course the cafe culture. Coffee, coffee, coffee! Enough said. She definitely can see making Korea home for a good amount of time.