Nathalie from the YouTube channel TravelingNat stops by Korvia.com to give girls an in-depth tutorial on what to pack before coming to Korea to teach English. Make sure to watch the video above for the full tutorial!
Packing your whole life to move to another country is already hard, but trying to decipher exactly what you do and don’t need is another story. Even in my case, I packed my two suitcases to 70 pounds each (40 pounds OVER weight combined). Just like you, I thought that I needed absolutely everything imaginable. I am going to help prevent you from doing what I did. I have made the Ultimate Packing Guide for Girls Teaching in Korea. It’s quite a long list, but if I had this breakdown before I moved to Korea, I wouldn’t have almost broken my back from lugging all of the extra weight in my suitcases!
Body Wash/ Lotions/ Shampoos etc.
I would suggest that you bring the small travel size version of body wash and skin supplies, mainly because you can find a lot of that here in Korea. Don’t waste space on not-needed supplies. However, if you have skin care supplies with a specific scent that you love then bring it. Skin care items tend to have a milder scent and also scent preference is fairly different as well, so if scent is a huge factor for you, then bring it.
When I was packing to move to Korea, one reoccurring theme that always came up was how difficult finding deodorant would be here. Since I’ve moved here, I actually haven’t had that hard of a time finding deodorant, however, I was lucky enough to be placed less than 2 blocks away from an Emart. Now, if you aren’t as lucky as me with your housing situation, deodorant can be quite difficult to find, also, it’s on the more expensive side. I would suggest you to bring 4-5 deodorants with you to start you off.
Just like skincare products, hair products are pretty easy to find in Korea. However the products only cater to straight, silky hair. If your hair is anything but that, then I would say to bring your own hair products. I have used several hair supply sites that are located or ship to Korea. Check them out and see if they stock your favorite hair products. If so, then you don’t need to bring your whole arsenal from home.
Honey Hair Korea: https://honeyhairkorea.com/
iROKcurls Korea: https://www.irokcurls.com/
Feminine products is another item that you can find easily around Korea, however if you are a tampon wearer, that is a different story. Tampons are nearly nonexistent here, so your best bet would be to bring them from home. Go to your local Sam’s, Costco, or BJ’s and buy yourself a huge box!
Plug adapter (220 V)
When you first arrive in Korea, one of the first things you will need to do is charge one of your electronics. Make sure that you have a plug adapter on hand with you that is able to adapt to 220v. You can buy one from Walmart, Amazon, Ebay, or really any big name store in your area in the electronics section.
If you take a look at your computer cord, you will see that it already has a built in AC adapter. All what you need to do is to purchase the 220v cord to switch out with your current cord and you are good to go!
I would HIGHLY suggest not adapting appliances that heat up such as your flat irons, blow driers, etc. You run the risk of frying them. If possible, just wait until you get to Korea to purchase your own with 220v capabilities.
If you love to cook or bake, then bring your own spices such as your all-purpose seasonings, vanilla extract, and cilantro.
If you are living organic, need protein shakes, or like to eat natural foods, there is a website that will probably be your best friend while living here. iHerb.com is great for all of your health food needs, they also sell hard to find spices, oils, organic hair and body care and much more, plus they ship to Korea!
Basically, if you are larger than a small and have above a B cup, bring your own underwear and bras. Don’t forget about your tights and fleece lined tights and leggings (those are life savers during the winter months!)
TIP: Bring layerable clothes that are transferrable through all seasons.*
Bring some basic tops such as your tank tops (use for undershirts), short sleeves and long sleeves. Bring light, flowy tops that are breathable yet dressy enough for workwear, but casual enough for everyday wear. Bring sweaters for the winter months. All of the tops that you plan to use for work should cover cleavage and shoulders should not be shown. Korea is fairly conservative, so the higher the neck, the better.
Bring jeans for everyday wear. If your school only requires casual wear, you may be luck and wear jeans a majority of the time. When it comes to skirts, knee length or longer is best. In my case, if my skirt is any shorter, I just wear leggings with it and it should be okay. Trouser work pants are not only comfortable but are great to have for schools that require more business-like attire. Shorts are a big ‘No-no’ on school campuses, however outside of school is fine!
Dresses are the easiest outfit ever, so definitely bring some that you are able to wear to school. You can never go wrong with your LBD (Little Black Dress). It’s not only great to layer for school, but there is sure to be an occasion where you need to dress up, and your LBD will be there to save the day!
Cardigans are always a great clothing piece to have in your closet. It prevents you from being the slight chill of the classroom and it can make some slightly risqué tops into work appropriate wear. Light, mid-weight and Heavy-weight jackets are all needed especially for the weather changes between seasons.
Bring sneakers with great arch support (trust me, your feet, ankles, and knees will thank me). You will also be surprised with how almost every girl in Korea can dress up a pair of sneakers (they can go with anything..no..really!) Boots are great for the fall weather. I would suggest leather boots or water proof boots. You will also need one great pair of snow boots. Make sure that they are water proof, warm, and have a thick rubber sole to help prevent you from doing the splits on ice. You really just need one pair of flats that goes with everything. Also bring sandals. Surprising, everyone wears sandals in the summer! Lastly, please ladies, do not bring heels. Save your time and space and leave them back in your home country.
I hope this list helped you learn what to pack when moving to Korea. If you think there is anything missing, leave a comment below!