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What to bring with me?
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Joined: 04 Nov 2003
Location: Changwon

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2003 2:07 pm    Post subject: What to bring with me? Reply with quote

Hi everyone,

I will be coming to Changwon in January and was wondering what kinds of things I should be sure to bring with me from Canada. Deodorant, underwear and socks are already being taken care of but what else should I bring which I won't really be able to find in Korea?

Thanks for your help!


P.S. - I'm average height (5'10), slim to medium build with size 10 1/2 feet if any of this matters... Smile
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Mr. Pink

Joined: 21 Oct 2003
Location: China

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2003 4:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would bring shoes if I was you.

Don't bother bringing blankets...I might bring a pillow if I was you, as the Korean style ones are big and hard. It might take you awhile to find a decent pillow in country.

Large size towels...bring 1-2 of those too. The only place I have seen decent towels in Korea is at Costco, and I am not sure if there is one where you are going.

They have toothpaste/brushes/razors here.

Not sure what else to suggest. It is cheaper to get clothes made here (dress pants/button up shirts) than buying them in your home country.

The summers are pretty you might want to bring enough summer casual wear. Winters are not as cold as Canada or the northern states. It is colder than Australia/N.Z. though. So bring clothes for those situations.
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Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2003 5:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shoes are an excellent suggestion. Also, deodorant. If you are a 36" waist or below, then underwear aren't a big deal. Above that, things are more difficult here.

Bring some photos of your home and family. I didn't do that my first year, and I was sorry I didn't. I know your home looks boring to you, but Korean kids (and adults) will be very interested in it.

Because of my size, I brought white T-shirts and long underwear. A pillow isn't such a big deal for me, and takes up a lot of travel space (unless you shrink it down in one of those air removal bags).

If you like music, bring a walkman-type CD player. Then buy computer speakers here and whola, you have a stereo. The stereo and small electronic equipment costs a LOT more on average, and quality control can suck. Computer stuff is similar in cost, but quality control on the Korean parts stinks. Boom boxes are double the price. Digital cameras are 1/3 to 1/4 higher in price. Buy one at home if you plan to get one (I suggest anything Cannon. The A70 is a perfect beginner camera).

Oh.... and gosh forbid... CONDOMS! They are smaller here.
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Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Location: Hoke-y-gun

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2003 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are picky, bring a few months' supply of any personal care items (toothpaste, deodorant, etc.)

If you are a reader, bring a few months' worth of reading materials in paperback. Then you can trade with others.

I would definately bring shoes for a year -- dress, casual, gym, sandals.

All of these things are POSSIBLE to get in Korea, but it takes near-constant shopping to find what you want.
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cisco kid

Joined: 13 Nov 2003
Location: Outlaws had us pinned down at the fort

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2003 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bring a down comforter.
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Joined: 01 Dec 2003
Location: In the pot with the rest of the mutts

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2003 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi guys, this is my first post, but I've been following the board for awhile now.

One thing I'm kicking myself for not bringing with me is a couple of rolls of pennies. I once had some change I brought to work with me and the kids were falling over themselves competing for the pennies as prizes.
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Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: Sunny Glendale, CA

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2003 7:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good thing, he was almost gonna come barefoot.
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The Hammer

Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: Ullungdo 37.5 N, 130.9 E, altitude : 223 m

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2003 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


If you are going to be teaching kids consider bring the following:

Laughing Stickers- You can get books of stickers at Wal*Mart or Target. They also come in rolls and they are very inexpensive. Kids love stickers!

Razz Videos- In NA videos are cheap. Pick up Toy Story, Toy Story 2 and other cool videos like that. (I brought a whole bunch of movies and my school bought all of them from me.)

Cool Play money- If you bring it, use it with adults because the kids will borrow it... permanently.

Surprised Flashcards- Go Fish, numbers etc. These are also available at Wal*Mart and Target. I would bring extra packs of Go Fish because they tend to get worn out. In addition, you can make other teachers happy if you score a game for them. (School Zone makes the cards I have.) Cost = Cheap

Very Happy Rubber ink stamps- You can get all kinds of rubber stamps for example: smiley faces, Great Job!, A+ etc. (Even uni students like to get a happy stamp on their work.) Eventually you will run out of stickers but you can always buy ink for the stamps.

Wink Kids books- If you have nephews and nieces get them to donate some of their books and videos. Kids in NA have so much stuff that it is good for them to take time to think of others.

Idea Go to your local teachers supply store and see what they have.

Arrow If you make learning fun for your students they will be happy and so will you!

Have fun in Korea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The Hammer Laughing

Packing note: Bring the max allotted weight. I packed all my stuff into two army duffel bags and then weighed them on a bathroom scale.

Last edited by The Hammer on Sun Dec 07, 2003 5:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2003 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I definately agree on the "stickers" suggestion. They have them here, but they are not as easy to get, or less than exciting, and are more expensive. Kids go nuts over them, and it helps with bribing them to do their work!
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Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2003 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cisco kid wrote:
Bring a down comforter.

Why would he need that space-taker?

There are tons of blankets you can buy which are warm enough. Not sure about down, but I'm sure you could get it somewhere.

Maybe you love down? I know after seeing my gf's satin sheets, I'm envious of those.
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buddy bradley

Joined: 24 Aug 2003
Location: The Beyond

PostPosted: Sat Dec 06, 2003 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I say bring a smile, an open mind and a good heart.

As for material possessions, the Holy Bible has gotten me through many a cold, lonely night.
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Joined: 16 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2003 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sheets. Decent western- style thin cotton sheets are unobtainable here.
Clothes. Decent western style, colorful, stylish, well- fitting clothes are unobtainable here.
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Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2003 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stylish clothes??? You've got to be kidding!

Tons of clothes if you aren't a really big size. Nice clothes too.
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Joined: 16 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2003 2:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great clothes??Not if you're a guy. The womens clothes here are wonderful: so cool, stylish, in a huge range of designs and colours to fit the individual.
As for the mens section, The confucian male is expected to modestly deck himself out in the drabbest of grey/darks/ browns, in 1950's syle, with geeky shoes and conservative lines. Ok, the younger sporty stuff is there, but all emblazoned with dumb logos or writing... the finesse, the compliment to shape or the suiting to skin tone just isn't there.
I searched high and low for a decent v-neck sweater in my color today, a reasonable request you might say. Not a sausage. Plenty of extravagantly woven/ patterned stuff in polo neck, but generally nothing either in my colors: electric blue or rioja red.
Shoes are another story altogether. I'm still existing on my italian designer leather imitation cayman skins, purchased at a Mayfair store a year ago. The semi-plastic foot wrappings I picked up here lasted only a few months, which i'm grateful for as they looked like cabin cruisers.
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Lost Seoul

Joined: 10 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2003 3:09 am    Post subject: Re: Packing Reply with quote

I kept this post from the old board on packing, I think its rather good and covers a lot of the bases:

Korean Job Discussion Forum
Posted By: amyjade
Date: Wednesday, 8 January 2003, at 10:10 p.m.
In Response To: things to bring (Jamie)
Packing List &
The Whys and Why Nots
Whether for excitement, adventure, teaching experience, or money, you are moving to Korea for at least a year. You've got the passport, signed the contract, memorized your gate numbers and boarding times, but you haven't even started packing yet because you just don't know where to begin. So let's go through the list of must haves first:
1. Clothing
Bring your favorite clothes, but use discretion. Extremely patriotic (American anyway) T-shirts might anger a few Koreans. If your shorts don't reach your knees, you probably shouldn't bring them. Yes, some Korean women wear very short shorts, but they aren't exactly thought highly of. Tank tops are also a no-no. Your shoulders should be covered. Of course you can see people wearing these kind of clothes...but not at work. Face it...your packing space is limited. Bring mainly clothes you can teach in. However, you can bring the pants that look like they were painted on. Even if you are tall, don't worry much about finding clothes. I'm five eight and a half and the jeans I buy are all way~ too long for me. Shoes are another matter. I'm a size nine and the only shoes I can buy usually are sneakers. Bring your shoes. Be sure to have a couple of pairs that are comfortable enough to stand in for hours on end....because you'll be doing a lot of that.
2. Medicine
If you must take regular medication, check if it's available here before stocking up. I have asthma and was delighted to discover that the inhalers that cost about $50 in the States cost me a grand total of about $4 here. Same brand. I also take Anaprox and it is so much cheaper here. Western medicine is very cheap and sold like candy. You don't need a prescription--just tell the pharmacy what you want and they give it to you. However, you might want to bring some of the over-the-counter products you are used to. A couple bottles of Tums might provide just the thing to reward your stomach with after sampling an exotic or hot dish. Also, if you prefer Kaopectate or Pepto-Bismol, you should bring some with you. I've found that the flu medicine here works wonders (doesn't cure you, but sure gives you a lot of energy), but the cold medication does nothing. Go to your local Wal-Mart or Wal-Greens and look at what's available. If you see anything you've ever taken in the past, buy a bottle or package. Then, later, if you need more, you can just ask a friend or family member to send some. You can get birth control pills easily and no prescription is necessary. It's also cheap...6,000 won for a pack. Be prepared for dirty looks from the guy behind the counter when you ask for it. Learn some brand names before you come. Chances are they'll have it or can give you the generic version.
3. Personal products
Okay, if you insist on tampons, you'd better buy a year's supply. They are available at pharmacies, but they are very expensive and I've never heard anything good said about them in the way of comfort or function. Better bring a year's supply of deodorant, too. It's extremely difficult to find, and once you do find it, the chances of your favorite brand being in stock is one in a million. Also, deodorant is very expensive. (I've seen lady speed stick being sold for about $9.00 for what looked like a sample.) Cosmetics are widely available, but I'd advise to bring what you like to use.
4. Spices
The day I found cinnamon, I did a little dance of joy right there in the supermarket. The only common-to-American-household spices I've found here are salt and pepper. If you like garlic powder, paprika, basil, or anything like that, you'd better bring it with you.
5. Electrical Appliances
If you bring any electrical appliances, keep in mind that you will need to buy a voltage changer. (However many apartments in Seoul have both types of voltage--check before you come but don't count on it. I brought a clock/radio/alarm, a hair dryer, a curling iron, and an iron. They came in handy, but with only two outlets in the voltage changer, they were sometimes a hassle to use. Before you bring your stereo equipment, keep in mind that if it's expensive, you might not want to risk taking it here because it might get damaged on the way here or back.
6. Personal Photos
of you, your family, your pets, your house, state, and country are wonderful to bring. Your students will love seeing pictures of your life back home. Younger students would be especially delighted by your baby pictures. These photos are also great teaching tools. You may have to lock them away from yourself during down times to avoid massive crying sessions. Or is that just me? Smile_
7. Videos
VCRs are the same here (except for the voltage). You will most likely have access to a TV and VCR for the classroom. Many movies are probably too fast-paced for students to follow, but kids will love cartoons. Home movies would also be excellent teaching tools. (If possible, film your house before leaving.) Also, Mr. Bean tapes are excellent for teaching a variety of concepts and ideas for middle school to adult students. You might want to bring a few favorite exercise videos as any you find here would of course be in Korean. However, don't worry about bring videos just so you have something to watch that's in English. Video stores are everywhere and you can rent a copy of an old favorite or a new release for a rather cheap price.
8. Books
You can get fabulous English/Korean and Korean/English dictionaries here at cheaper rates. You can also buy many novels here as well as good books of literature DEPENDING ON WHERE YOU LIVE. In fact, literary classics are dirt cheap here. What you should bring are your favorite teaching training books, a few books for your students, and a few books of easy games and very easy puzzles.
9. Holiday-related items
Halloween is not celebrated here, but if you are teaching children, you will find them eager to embrace the holiday. If you have room, bring a coloring book with a Halloween theme. You can make copies of it or use it to give the kids an idea of what kind of decorations to make. Bring a costume for yourself. You can wear it to school and the local foreign communities usually have some kind of Halloween bash. Another fun holiday to teach them about is St. Patrick's Day. Valentine's day is celebrated here, albeit differently. Only the males get gifts. Females get gifts on the much anticipated "White Day" exactly a month later.
10. Tapes and CDs
Take one or two of your favorites. Leave the rest at home. You can buy all the big name latest releases cheaper here than at home. If there is a certain band or signer you cannot live without, you might want to check with the resident foreign teacher to see if that particular music is available in Korea.
11. Camera, Video Camera
Even if you only have a cheap one, it's better than nothing. If you can afford to upgrade, do so before you come as those kinds of things are very expensive here. You'll want to take many pictures of all the sights you see and places you go. A video camera is invaluable in the classroom. You can use it for many different things.
12. Pets
If you want to bring a pet, small is the general rule. You may not know how small your apartment will be--remember who will have to be cooped up there all day while you teach. Also, check into the roommate situation. They may or may not appreciate sharing their housing with a furry creature. I wouldn't bring a cat. 99% of Koreans greatly fear or hate cats. Finding cat food is difficult and once you do find it, you must pay a lot. I've never seen kitty litter in any reasonable quantity or price range. The biggest package I saw was about 10 cups and it was expensive. With any pet, you must consider that long flight it would have to endure. See the pet section for more information on pet life in Korea and how to bring one.
Well, you are probably bringing a lot of stuff and are worried about having to pay fees at customs. Here's a little trick to get you through no matter how many videos you think you need to bring.
Be sure to talk with the resident foreign teacher of your new school to discover what level your students are and what materials are appropriate and needed.
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