So you’ve accepted a teaching position in Korea, and you’re wondering what to pack? I’ve got you covered. Here’s my extensive list of the basics, the things you need, the things you want, and the things you wish you would have packed before moving to Korea to teach.


Getting Started

Your airline will probably allow for two suitcases. This should be plenty, but if you need more, contact your recruiter. They can often hook you up with your school’s address so you can ship some things beforehand. Send them early and allow for a lot of time for them to arrive (unless you’re comfortable waiting for your stuff).

Heading home and brought too much stuff?

Ship it! It’s pretty cheap to do from Korea (I paid in total maybe 60 bucks for 3 huge boxes) and it takes about 2-3 months in total. Just don’t ship things you care about too much. Pack your computer with you on the plane.


The List

  • Clothing
    • Underwear (2 weeks worth is probably good, you can always buy more)
    • Socks (2 weeks)
    • Main Clothing (t-shirts, pants)
      • Pack for the season you’re arriving in. If you have a good winter coat, you might want to bring it, but I found myself buying a lot of clothing while living there. I arrived in October, so I brought with me some fall and winter clothing, and then bought t-shirts and shorts for the summer.
    • Winter Coat
      • If you’ve got one, and if you’re arriving just before winter, it’s wise to bring it. Also, all the other blogs warned me about how “cold” Korean winters get… If you’re Canadian, you’ll be fine. I wore a snowboarding shell and a hoodie and was completely fine.
    • Teaching Clothing
      • It’s best to come prepared with smart-casual clothing. I almost never wore it, but I was glad to have it for the first week of “training” and any time there were parent-teacher events.
  • Electronics
    • A travel adapter and a power bar
      • Korea is 220 volts. Most electronics and chargers these days will work on both 120 (North America,) and 220 (Korea and many other places), but not all of them. Make sure you check power adapters and transformers to make sure they can support this high of a voltage before bringing them.
      • If they can support this (like my MacBook and phone charger could), great! Bring a power bar from home an an adapter to plug the power bar into, and you now have access to standard plugs without buying a whole lot of adapters.
    • Your Laptop and Charger
    • Your Cellphone and charger
      • Get your phone unlocked if you can. If not, there’s no point in bringing it. Also, make sure to check that it’s compatible with Korean frequencies (a bit of googling will help).
  • Toiletries
    • Toothbrush and Toothpaste
      • Korean toothpaste tastes like sugar. If you’re not big into that, pack a few extra tubes.
    • Hairbrush / Comb / Nail Clippers
    • A Bath Towel? No.
      • Some of the other sites recommend bath towels, saying that Korean sizes are too small. At the gym, yes, the towels are far too small, but I found regular, North American sized towels at the Lotte Mart down the street. Save some space and leave your towels at home.
    • Condoms
      • Trust me on this one, you want the western ones.
    • Feminine Hygiene Products (if you need them)
    • Shampoo & Soap? Just a tiny bit
      • You can pretty much find whatever you need there.
    • Lots of Deodorant
      • It’s not impossible to find, but you’ll have to go to a foreigner store to get the good stuff. It was just easier (and cheaper) for me to pack about 4 extra packs.
  • Essentials
    • Your Passport
    • As much documentation as you can print out pertaining to your job, your flight, your visa information, etc.
    • Cash
      • Get some cash changed before you head to the airport to take your flight (maybe 100-200 dollars worth). It’ll make your life easier when you land and need to get a taxi, and the first night when you just want something to eat without fiddling with an ATM.


Things I Wish I Brought or Bought

There are a few things that I wish I had brought that I didn’t end up packing.

  • A Carbon Monoxide Detector
    • A good friend of mine passed away a few years ago because of carbon monoxide poisoning. Some Korean apartments often have boilers (for the floor heating and hot water) within the apartment itself (as mine did). A poorly installed or maintained system can vent CO into your apartment. Stay safe, spend the 20-120 bucks, and buy yourself a CO/Smoke detector.
  • Reece’s Chocolate
    • Theres very little of it in Korea. Some of my teachers and I would go on small journeys to get some.
    • Bring some peanut butter cups to make instant friends with your coworkers.
  • Photos of Friends and Home
    • Arriving in winter can be especially depressing, as nobody wants to get out and do stuff. Some photos of your old friends might keep your spirits up, and are very easy to pack.


Any Questions?

Is there anything I missed? Anything you are wondering if you should pack or not? Post it below in the comments and I’ll ask my friends still living over there what they think.


Special thanks to Ashim D’Silva for posting the photo on Unsplash.

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