Possibly the very last thing you will do before moving to Korea is pack. Although packing is a pretty straightforward process, it can still be pretty stressful. That is especially true if you’re moving abroad for the first time! How do you know what is important? What will you be able to find in Korea? Korea is a first world country with an enormous Western influence. For the most part, you’ll be able to find anything that you’d find in Europe or North America. Most major international clothing brands are in Korea, technological devices are everywhere (and often cheaper than in the West), there are some decent international bookstores, and so on. Nonetheless, there are a few things to bring with you when you teach in Korea!
Cold Weather Clothes
The first item is cold weather clothing. You can definitely purchase jackets and sweatshirts in Korea. So this item isn’t quite as pertinent as the others. However, Korea can get pretty cold in the weather so it’s best to prepare fully. Also, since you will need a jacket, it’s often nicer to bring your favorite one so you won’t have to purchase a new one.
The next thing you may want to bring is your own sheets. Along with furniture and cooking supplies, your apartment WILL come with sheets for your bed. If you’re not fussy about which sheets you use, then you don’t worry about this at all. However, I know that there are plenty of people who do have strong opinions about using their own sheets. So plan ahead if you’re one of those people! Also, be sure to ask the school which bed size you’ll get so you can make sure to bring the correct size sheets.
Your Favorite Toiletries
Another important item to bring falls under the toiletry category: deodorant. This is an issue because most Koreans do not have the special genetic mutation that causes sweaty armpits. Although that is great for them, it means that finding deodorant is not an easy task. It’s definitely wise to stock up on a few deodorants before leaving your home country. That way, you won’t have to search all over the country while being stinky.
The final suggestion is to bring toothpaste. Of course Koreans brush their teeth, so you will be able to find toothpaste. However, Korean toothpaste (even if it’s a recognizable brand) does not have exactly the same taste or texture as Western toothpaste. I personally had no issue with this and was excited to have a daily Korean adventure every time I brushed my teeth. Nonetheless, I had countless friends who took serious umbrage with this altered, foreign toothpaste. More than one had their parents ship Western toothpaste to them. So again, if you’re picky about things like this, bring plenty of toothpaste from home!
Packing for Korea shouldn’t scare you too much. As I said before, you’ll be able to find just about anything that you want in Korea. However, it might have a slight Korean nuance to it. If you’re up for the adventure, just don’t worry about it! But if you have serious preferences for the original style, it might be best to pack a few items with you!