September 4, 2009
Planning on coming to Korea? What are you going to bring with you in your suitcase? Surely by now you’ve heard stories, about what Korea has or does not have, but as we discovered, a lot of those were just rumors. Since we’ve been in Korea for well over a year now, we can squash those rumors. After visiting Canada for summer vacation, we prepared “a what to pack” and “what not to bother packing” video. Unfortunately, the video could not cover everything, because it would be far too long, so this post will serve as the exclusive extras list of things you must pack to Korea.
Not mentioned in the video are the following:
ELECTRONICS: Simon packed his Wii and PS3, and has had no issue with them whatsoever. Nothing has fried after many hours of usage. The secret? Read your cables! If they say anywhere on them “Input: 100-240v” you’re safe! You can plug in your electronics from anywhere in the world so long as you have a little plug adapter to pop on the top of it. If you don’t have that cable, it’s ok! You can still buy a power converter. Go to any supermarket and in the lighting section (usually), you’ll find a thick, ugly, clunky metal box that will plug into your Korean outlet and let you plug in two of your North American plugs. It ain’t pretty, but it works.
BOARD GAMES: If you’re geeky and like board games like us, we had a hard time finding reasonably priced English games (ie: Scrabble was double the price) and the newer games (ie: Cranium, Apples to Apples) were impossible to find. Playing cards are also expensive. Pack any games you find necessary.
COMFORT FOODS: Fruit teas, chai tea, and your favorite black tea brands are impossible to find or are otherwise really, really expensive. Starbucks does offer a small selection of TAZO brand teas, though.
COOKING FOOD: Dried spices such as nutmeg, cinnamon, oregeno, and basil are available in speciality import sections but crazy expensive, and Martina was unable to find liquid vanilla extract anywhere.
COSMETICS: If your skin tone isn’t similar to a Korean person’s skin tone, it can be hard to find pressed power or liquid foundation to match your skin, so come prepared. If you wear contacts and can only use a specific brand of solution, pack a few bottles to be safe.
GIFTS: It’s nice to bring your new employer a gift to thank them for hiring you. If you’re at a public school, get a small gift for your Principal, Vice Principal, and the co-teacher who will be taking care of you when you first arrive. We suggest a product that is only availble in your country. For example, a specific food (we brought organic maple syrup), hand cream/soap (Bath and Body Works is not available in Korea yet, and it’s sought after) or even alchohol (rum, ice wine, or rum filled candy).
Feel free to contact us or leave a comment about anything you’re worried about Korea not having. We might not know all of the answers, mind you, but we might be able to tell you if you should pack it or not.