Here are some thoughts to those who might be moving to South Korea to teach English.  I looked for a list like this online before I came, and there wasn’t one, so I had to ask friends (fortunately I already had lots of friends here).  But for those of you out there who aren’t so lucky, I thought I’d make this public on the web.

Personal Toiletries:

  • The largest bottle of ibuprofen you can buy.  You can get it here, but you can only get it in small quantities at a time… so when cramps sneak up at you in the middle of the night, you’re going to be out of luck on more than one occasion.
  • Girls – the same goes for Midol.
  • I highly recommend the Diva Cup to women instead of worrying about tampons.  They aren’t as easy to find here – especially lager sized tampons.  The first time you hear about Diva Cups, you might be – well, I’ve seen lots of reactions – but really think about it, and I bet you’ll find room in your… heart.
  • Glasses are cheap here, but if you wear contact lenses, bring as many as you’ll need for the year.  Again, you might be able to find those, too, but I actually don’t know.
  • Your favorite make up.
  • If you need special shampoo of any kind, bring it, but if not, there are plenty of options here.
  • Any other medication you require.  Of course healthcare is great here, but it’s not worth it trying to go to the doctor and find the exact same thing.  I tried – and I went months without a medicine my body went crazy over not having.


  • If you are larger than a size small in the U.S., you might have some troubles finding clothes here.  In the summer you’ll be okay if you waver between small and medium.  However, the winter time clothing has been harder for me, because the length of my arms surpasses the length of most long-sleeved clothing.
  • Shoes if your feet are larger than a 7 or 8 in U.S. sizes (girls).   I’m a 9 or 10 and I’ve only found one pair of winter boots that fit.  But if your feet are smaller, you’re going to have a hard time not buying every shoe you see.
  • Bras.  There are lots of lingerie stores here, but I am particular about my bras, and I bet anything most bras here don’t allow for too large of a cup… just sayin.
  • If you have a winter jacket, I’d suggest bringing it just so you don’t have to spend money on a new one.  It’s not as cold as where I’m from (Iowa), but I live in the southern part of the country, and it’s still cold enough.  If you’re anywhere north of here, it’s definitely cold in the winter.

Household Items

  • I would suggest bringing sheets if you know how big your bed is going to be (couples usually get king sized beds, but not always; single people usually get a weird half-single-half-full-sized bed).  But sheets are expensive.
  • Curtains are also expensive here.
  • Your favorite cooking spices, snack foods, cake/brownie mixes, and candy.  I wouldn’t pack a ton, but maybe enough to keep a stash for when you’re feeling food-home-sick.
  • Photographs from home – maybe a couple larger sized photographs for hanging in your apartment.
  • It would take up a lot of space in your bag, and you can get a version of it here, but I’m definitely bringing a Swiffer back with me next year.
  • Some books you’ve been wanting to read – English books can be found in bigger cities, and you’ll find friends to swap with, but it’s good to have some on your shelves on days you don’t feel like being adventurous.
  • You can find movies here no problem, but I brought my collection from home, and I’m glad I did.
  • Bring a good computer (i.e. APPLE), as well as adaptors and converters for your other electrical appliances (camera charger, battery chargers, etc.).

Things you should buy here:

  • blow drier
  • straightener (or get Magic Straight at a salon)
  • jewelry
  • cold weather accessories – scarves, hats, mittens, etc.
  • clothes and shoes if you are small enough (like I said, if it’s for warm weather, I’ve had no problem – it’s cold weather clothes I’ve had problems with).

Not sure what else… but if you have questions, you can feel free to ask!