Teaching English in Korea: Before You Go

Just before you get on the plane to embark on your adventure teaching English in Korea, you want to make sure that you are not forgetting anything for your year there. You most likely have the main things taken care of: You have your working visa in hand; your plane ticket has been booked; you’ve said your goodbyes to friends and family – but did you remember to pack extra deodorant? Did you buy something for your new boss?

Here are some things that you may not have considered before moving to Korea for a year or more:

Learn Some Korean Before Moving to Korea

This may seem obvious, but learning some basic or survival Korean before living in Korea is essential. While you don’t need to be fluent in Korean to get yourself around town or to buy some groceries, you need to consider the fact that Korean people speak Korean. Not English.

Picture yourself as a store clerk in the U.S: A Korean man walks into your store and starts speaking to you only in Korean, expecting you to just understand what he is saying.

Get the point? Don’t be ‘that guy’.

Beeline Language is an excellent online video program that teaches Korean in the situations you will find yourself in on a daily basis in Korea. Learn the very basics to make your life in Korea easier, less frustrating and simply more enjoyable. If you enjoy studying Korean, keep going with it. If you don’t, at least you’ll be able to communicate with Korean people to a certain extent to get what you want or need.

Use the coupon code: SPEAKNOW to save $15 off of the yearly plan.

What to Pack for Korea 

Be sure to bring personal products such as deodorant, shaving cream and razors. Depending on what city you end up teaching in, you might have difficulty finding these products, so it is advisable to stock up on these items before you go.

Also remember to bring work clothes (dressy casual), as well as clothes for each of the four seasons. You don’t need to bring your entire wardrobe – it is better to pack light – but be sure that you have what you need.

We usually tell our teachers to also bring a piece of home with them. This can range from music to movies to food – anything that you can turn to should you get a little homesick.

And don’t forget to bring some cash!  Depending on when you get there, you may have to wait a few weeks for your monthly paycheck; it’s a good idea to bring $500-700 with you, just to be safe. Credit cards are also used everywhere in Korea, so this is a good option as well.

Travel insurance for Korea

If you haven’t done so already, you should look into getting traveler’s insurance before you take off to teach in Korea. While your school will cover 50% of your medical insurance, this will only reduce the costs of doctor’s visits and prescription medication. Traveler’s insurance will cover you for things like surgery, hospital visits, trip cancellation,emergency evacuation and more. It’s not very expensive at all, and will give you coverage for the entire time you are in Korea as well as other countries you may travel to.  Contact your placement coordinator for more information.

Travel Shots for Korea

If you are planning on traveling on your vacations during your time in Korea or after you have finished your contract, it is a good idea to visit a travel doctor before you leave to see about which shots you will need. Remember though, that these doctors make their money off of these shots, so you have to be careful only to get what you need, as they are quite expensive

Gifts and Souvenirs for Korea

Buying a small present for your new employer is a great way to get your relationship off on the right foot. It doesn’t have to be anything expensive, but the gesture itself will be appreciated.

For your kids, bring small change, pins or little flags from your home country they can be used as rewards in the classroom or just as a little present.

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