Gone2Korea’s top pre-departure preparation tips!
You will need to bring enough hard currency to keep you going until your first pay day. Gone2Korea strongly advises all teachers to bring $700USD minimum to get started, but closer to $1000USD is best if you can manage it. You will not receive your first months salary from your hiring school until roughly 4-6 weeks after you arrive so having a cash float is mandatory.
There are 4 distinct seasons in Korea so you’ll need to bring suitable clothes to accommodate the weather changes. Additionally, you will need to bring work clothes that are acceptable with your school. Refer to our School Dress Codes page for details.
Most Korean pharmacies carry similar drugs and medications as the West. If you require prescriptions that may not be available in Korea then make sure to speak with your family doctor before departing.
Photocopies – It’s always wise to make photocopies of all the documents you plan on bringing overseas. Before you depart make sure to photocopy any and all documents that you’ll be bringing with you. Leave the photocopies with someone you can trust. The photocopies will be helpful if you should happen to lose your wallet, backpack, etc. at some point while abroad.
If you plan on sending money home then you will need to bring all of your bank details with you.
Bringing a small gift for your new Korean employer is recommended, not required. First impressions are always important and offering a small gift from your hometown is a nice gesture and way to show your appreciation. Nothing expensive is needed, although it should be something symbolic of where you are from. Tourist books, a nice bottle of local wine, a souvenir of sorts that’s specific to your state or province, etc. will work well.
Many westerners end up at a few formal events each year and having the appropriate attire is advised. Gone2Korea recommends bringing at least 1 formal outfit to Korea.
We suggest loading up on stickers, pencils and erasers that have logos and symbols of things specific to your country and/or home town. These items make great prizes for your students and you can give them away after tests, quizzes, games, etc. You can purchase hundreds of small items from most dollar stores in the West. Stock up on items that have your favorite sports team logo on it, your countries flag, your university emblem, etc….the kids will love them!
Bringing some multi-vitamins with you is recommended. It will likely take your body a month or two to adjust and taking a multi-vitamin daily will help. You can find vitamins in Korea but your first few weeks will likely be hectic and that’s when you’ll need them the most!
There’s a difference between an adaptor and a converter. Adaptors are small prong like objects that you place on the end or your electric device in order to make it fit into the foreign electrical socket – adaptors don’t alter the wattage going into your devices. If you plan on bringing small objects that don’t require specific power amounts than using an adaptor will suffice. If you plan on bringing larger electronic devices that will need specific wattages (i.e. laptops and gaming systems) then you will need to invest in a power converter. Failing to use a converter for larger devices may permanently damage your electronics. You can find adaptors and converters at most major electronic stores in Korea. Adaptors are quite cheap, only $1 – 5$ USD and converters are substantially more. How much the converter will cost usually depends on the size. The more compact the converter is the more expensive they become.
After your first few days in the country you’ll likely realize that there are some essential items you need to purchase. The Arrival Store is a great ‘one-stop’ resource to source many essential household and living products. They offer useful individual items plus pre-packaged deals.
If you are a large or tall person then you may have some problems finding suitable clothing in Korea. Korean’s are noticeably smaller than westerners therefore many of their stores don’t carry larger sizes. You can usually find clothes in Korea that fit, although it can take a while to locate stores that sell the sizes you require in the styles you prefer. Make sure to consider these factors before arriving.
If you have larger than average feet them make sure to bring enough shoes with you. On average Koreans tend to have smaller feet and their shoe stores will have limited selections of oversize shoes and boots available. Anything larger than a US size 11 for males and US size 8 for females will be hard to find in Korea.
You can find deodorant in Korea but the selection will be limited. If you have a preference for a specific brand then you will need to stock up before arriving.
Korean toothpaste is perfectly fine. There seems to be this myth that Koreans don’t put fluoride in their toothpaste which is not true. Finding toothpaste in Korea with fluoride is rather easy, additionally many stores also sell American brands such as Crest, Colgate and Sensodyne.
Korea could easily be the cosmetics capital of the world, literally! You may want to bring some cosmetics with you so you have them during your first month on the job, however, it’s ridiculously easy to find all the major western brands in Korea (Cover Girl, Avon, Clinique, Sephora, Chanel, Estee Lauder, MAC, etc.) plus all the Korean and Japanese brands as well.
Most international flights allow passengers to bring 24 kilos of luggage on the plane, some allow slightly more and some slightly less. If you’re luggage exceeds the weight restriction then you will need to pay extra money (by the kilo or pound) when you check your bags at the airport. Please Note: The airlines can only accommodate so much extra weight and if you check in late then the airline may deny your additional luggage and ask you to reduce the weight of your bags to the maximum amount. If you arrive early then this shouldn’t be a problem so make sure to weigh your bags in advance and arrive at the airport early if needed.