5 Awesome Things You Can Only do in Korea!

Korea is a mind blowing, fascinating, scintillating country where you’ll be bowled off your feet the minute you  arrive. Neon lit streets, skyscrapers that go for miles, technology, public transport. Contrasted by old ladies pushing cardboard carts along the side of the street, food tents that remind you of yesteryear and public toilets that still use squatters. It’s the ultimate mix of old and new and that means you are treated to the best of both worlds as you live out your adventure.

Here are 5 awesome things you can only do in Korea that will have your friends and family back home looking at you with envy;

1. Step into North Korea, stand yards from a live mine field and walk away unscathed!

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The most famous tourist destination in Korea is the Demilitarized Zone or “DMZ” for short. You’d never think you could step inside North Korea and return home to the comfort of your own home in the same day but with a tour of the DMZ it can be done! You’ll leave from Seoul with a guided tour (I recommend using the USO American Army tour which you can book via Korridor) and arrive at the DMZ an hour later.

You’ll be given a safety briefing then taken to the UN peace house where bilateral talks between the “two Koreas” take place. In this room you can cross the border into North Korea under the watchful eye of several South Korean soldiers there to protect you from being grabbed into the North – or so they say!

You’ll also be taken around the area by a US soldier and you’ll skirt live mine fields in the process. You’ll have the chance to catch a glimpse of “propaganda village” (a fake village built by the North to give DMZ tourists the impression it’s a thriving country) through binoculars. You will also be taken to the train station where trains would depart from South Korea into North Korea in the event of unification. The lines and infrastructure are all in place!

All in all it’s a must do and whilst safety shouldn’t be taken for granted you should be fine…

2. Have food delivered literally anywhere, at any time!

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Perhaps the most amazing thing about living in Korea is that you can have food (or anything for that matter) delivered in a matter of minutes to your home or any other location you happen to be. Fancy a pizza, fried chicken, Chinese, Korean, Japanese… you can call and have it brought to you!

If you are at home the delivery driver will deliver your food within 20 minutes and if you ordered something that required plates and cutlery, simply finish your food and leave your plates outside your front door – the driver will come back later and pick them up! If you are outside, perhaps at a park in the summer, the driver will bring your food there for you too!

McDonald’s deliver in Korea too! McDelivery can be ordered online from the McDonald’s website in English and as the picture above shows, the McDelivery scooter will whizz to your home in no time!

To learn how to order food in Korea, Seoulistic has a great step by step guide here.

3. Be awoken at 4am to partake in the morning Buddhist rituals as you experience a temple stay!

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A temple stay is something that should be on everyone’s list of things to do in Korea because it’s so unique and a great chance to experience something so different from what you are used to. Spend the night in a temple with Buddhist monks and partake in their daily rituals.

Meals consist of rice, kimchi, soup and vegetables and you’ll have to wash your plates when you are finished. If you’re lucky they will teach some martial arts before bed which is usually at 9pm. Men and women can’t sleep together so if you are going with your other half you will be split up.

A 4am wake up call will startle you out of your slumber and you’ll then meditate for an hour before doing the traditional bowing which can be a bit much for us foreigners! Breakfast is then served the same way as dinner the night before and you’ll usually take a walk around the temple grounds afterwards for more reflection and meditation.

A very worthwhile albeit uncomfortable way to immerse yourself in Korean culture.

4. “Convenience store beers” – watch the world go by as you sit outside the store having beers with friends!

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Drinking in public is illegal in most places but in Korea you can meet your friends and sit outside the local convenience store and enjoy some beers in the warmer months as Koreans go about their daily lives all around you without blinking an eye. In fact, it wouldn’t be uncommon to be joined by some locals who are interested in talking to you about where you are from and what you are doing in Korea!

This is one of my favourites and although I’m far from being an alcoholic, a few beers at the weekend on a plastic table and chairs is something that really makes me feel comfortable in my surroundings. Your time in Korea is not complete until you have ticked this off your list and I promise once you do it for the first time you’ll be doing it more and more often!

5. Die from “fan death” 

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I’ll let the pictures do the talking on this wide held belief that if you fall asleep with the fan on you will sadly pass away in the middle of the night… whether or not you choose to believe it or not is up to you!

Korea Through The Lens: Haebyeongil (해변길) – From Yeongmok to Kkotji via Hwangpo-hang – 29KM

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Haebyeongil, which literally means the trail beside the coast, is a 100km long trail system situated in the Taean Shoreline National Park.

The trail system is divided into 7 sections; 3 in the north and 4 in the south. Today I’m going to introduce 2 trails from the southern section; 바람길 (Balamgil) which start from Yeongmok, a small fishing town at the most southern tip of Anmyeondo to Hwangpo-hang and 샛별길 (Saetbyeolgil), which starts at Hwangpo-hang to Kkotji, one of the most famous places to see the sun set into the west sea.

The trail passes through numerous fishing communities, wetlands and woodlands. Views are breathtaking since the trail passes through several cliffs and on a clear day, you can see the islands dotted along the coastline. The combined length of 바람길  (Balamgil) and 샛별길 (Saetbyeolgil) is 29km and it took me a good 5 hours to complete it.

Do remember to bring plenty of water and something to snack on since for most of the 5 hours, I was in the wilderness. Although my feet were in agony once I arrived at Kkotji, the photos I took along the way were worth it:

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About Jackson Hung

Hello everyone, my name is Jackson Hung and I am an English teacher at a middle school in Taean Gun, Chungcheongnam-do. Photography is one of the things that I am very passionate about and given that I live next to a National Park, I do try to go out and take photos when I get the chance. “Korea Through The Lens” will be a series about my photography adventures here in the land of the morning calm.

Please stay tuned for updates and check out my website at http://www.jacksonhung.ca

Snoop Dogg and Psy Hangover Video + Why I LOVE Korea!

Okay, so if you haven’t seen the new Snoop Dogg and Psy Hangover video yet then I’m guessing you’ve been living in a cave such is the storm it has caused on social media. Psy has again caused controversy with his new song “Hangover” and whilst I’m not getting into what other people think of Psy’s new attempt – I personally LOVE IT! So there!

I’ll tell you why below but for those who have missed this latest “Psynomonon” here is the video:

Now onto why I love it so much. You see, those who live in or who have lived in Korea will be familiar with certain activities that are ONLY done in Korea. This video pretty much hits on all of those activities and thus tugs on my heartstrings. It makes me get all sentimental as hell and quite sad that I no longer live in the country that formed such a huge part of my life. Let me explain some of the things seen in the video;

1. Drinking “Hangover” Drinks in the GS25

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55 seconds into the video we see Snoop and Psy sitting in the GS25 - Psy knocking back small bottles of “hangover cure” drinks. Whilst I have indeed consumed these drinks before (no comment on their effectiveness) it is not them that make me nostalgic. Sitting in the convenience store eating a sandwich whilst watching the world go round was a daily lunchtime staple for me. Meeting groups of friends and sitting outside the 7/11 drinking beer and eating chips whilst the locals intriguingly looked on was a common occurrence.

Ask anyone who has lived in Korea about “convenience store drinking” and chances are you’ll have to snap them out of a daydream as their minds wander back to the “good old days.”

2. Relaxing in the Jimjilbang

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Jimjilbangs are better known as “Korean Saunas” and at around 1.25 you’ll see Psy frolicking in the warm water with Snoop “chilling” at the edges. Going to the Jimjilbang was a weekly activity I religiously carried out every single Sunday of my years spent in Korea. Again, just ask someone who has lived in Korea about Jimjilbangs and they will literally chew your ear off about how amazing they are.

Basically, these saunas are split into male and female areas and in each area there are several hot tubs with varying degrees of heat, actual sauna rooms, steam rooms, cold plunge pools, areas to get the dead skin scrubbed off your body and areas to shower. Of course, you must be fully naked when in the jimjilbang which is something you get used to really quickly. Some even have co-ed areas where you can wear clothes and lay around in hot rooms, massage chairs and so on.

Koreans of all ages go to the jimjilbangs. Many people, men especially, go daily and replace a shower at home in the morning with a trip to the jimjilbang before work. Amazingly Korean!

3. Soju. The Devil.

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At 1.35 Snoop and Psy are in a bar with a table full of green Soju bottles. Soju is the Korean drink of choice and is the result of many thousands of people passing out drunk at the side of the street at all times of the day. Going into a bar or restaurant in Korea and not seeing each table full of soju bottles would be a huge surprise!

For foreigners, soju is usually much less of a custom. We’ve all tried it, regretted it the next day and then tried it again a few weeks later without learning our lessons. However, just seeing it in a music video makes me yearn to experience restaurants and bars full of people enjoying a drink with their closest friends and family.

4. Noreabangs Until Early Morning

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Noraebang is Korean for Singing (norae) Room (bang) and going to the noraebang is one of the most popular pastimes for Koreans and foreigners alike. After a night out with friends – everyone feeling suitably brave due to the Soju – it’s common for someone to say something like “let’s Noraebang it!” and the group to all merrily make their way to the nearest singing room.

In the singing room there is a large TV where the song lyrics appear, huge sofas for everyone to sit on, microphones, tambourines, disco lights and a book full of songs in both Korean and English. Once in the noraebang it’s not unusual to leave again with the sun high in the sky and people out shopping in the high street!

That’s Why I Love the Snoop Dogg and Psy Hangover Video

Noraebangs. Soju. Jimjilbangs. Convenience Stores. The video pretty much sums up all the great things I used to partake in whilst in Korea and makes me long to return. No, I wasn’t a soju swigging, hangover cure drinking, jimjilbanging dead beat but those things certainly played a big part in my life such is their place in Korean culture.

What do you think of the video? Are you a fan or not? Let us know by leaving a comment below!

Korea Through The Lens; Introducing Jackson Hung + Catching the Sunset at Baekhwasan

We love seeing pictures of Korea and we are sure you will love seeing pictures of Korea too! That’s why we’ve teamed up with the excellent photographer Jackson Hung who will be bringing Say Kimchi News readers bi-weekly “Korea Through The Lens” posts. These posts will feature awesome photographs of Korea from different perspectives and be coupled with a short summary of where, when and how they were taken. Jackson’s photographs are absolutely stunning so please sit back and enjoy the first series from Baekhwa Mountain!

korea through the lens with jackson chungA Few Words From Jackson

Hello everyone, my name is Jackson Hung and I am an English teacher at a middle school in Taean Gun, Chungcheongnam-do. Photography is one of the things that I am very passionate about and given that I live next to a National Park, I do try to go out and take photos when I get the chance. “Korea Through The Lens” will be a series about my photography adventures here in the land of the morning calm.

Please stay tuned for updates and check out my website at http://www.jacksonhung.ca  

Catching the Sunset at Baekhwasan

JKH_5104 Baekhwasan is a small mountain located right next to downtown Taean. It is one of the few places in town where you can get the panoramic view of the downtown area, and if you arrive in time, you’ll also be able to watch the sun slowly set into the yellow sea. It takes roughly around 40 minutes to an hour to hike up the mountain depending on which trail you take. I took the rocky trail which started east of the mountain near Taean High School and made my way up. This trail goes along the ridge of the mountain and there are several areas where you will need to climb ropes to continue. Although it might be a tough hike for beginners, the view from the top is defiantly worth it; JKH_5085 JKH_5089 JKH_5092 JKH_5098 JKH_5102

Attention Canadians; Changes to Criminal Background Check Applications

An important change is due to kick in on July 1st 2014 for Canadians applying for an RCMP criminal background check for Korea. The RCMP will no longer accept paper submissions and will require all applications to be done electronically via an accredited organization.

canadian criminal background check korea changesIf you reside in Canada, it should make things much easier and much quicker! Simply use one of the accredited companies who will take your fingerprints and submit them digitally for you!

If you reside outwith Canada, things may get a bit trickier. You will have to use one of the listed organizations and ask them to turn your paper fingerprints into digital fingerprints and then submit them electronically to the RCMP.

For full details of these changes and organizations able to submit digital fingerprints, please see This Page on the RCMP website.

Buddah’s Birthday Trip – Exploring the Gorgeous Pyochungsa Temple

– Written by Hilary Mitchell.
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There are many random national holidays in Korea but for me the most interesting has to be Buddha’s birthday! It fell on May 6th this year, a Tuesday which meant we got the day off work to do as we pleased… so our close group of friends decided to explore the country and head to Pyochungsa Temple just outside of Miryang City (in Gyeongsannam Do.)

The temple itself sits high in the mountains and is quite hard to reach. Firstly you need to get to Miryang itself which is easily enough done with the great inter city bus network in Korea. Once in Miryang, you need to take the local bus up the mountains to the temple itself which proved to be quite challenging. In my research, I found there were 12 daily buses starting at 7.30am with the last one back down being around 8pm.

Before heading up the mountains, we decided to eat at a local Korean BBQ restaurant where we were treated to the usual array of meat and side dishes you come to expect from these establishments. Delicious – even though we had to sit on the floor…
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With our stomachs full of meat and lined with a mixture of soju and beer, we merrily headed off for the bus terminal to embark on the trip to Pyochungsa temple. The trip itself took only around 25 minutes with a bus packed full of people paying homage to the great Buddha himself!

We quickly made our way through the specially erected lantern lined entrance and into the temple itself which was simply mind blowing in it’s beauty.

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These intimidating warrior type figures greeted us on entrance. I heard they are there to guard off any bad spirits…

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And then we were greeted with some fantastic views of inside the temple grounds surrounded by gorgeous mountains and clear blue skies…

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After an hour of so of wandering around and taking in all the sights and people praying to Buddha, we decided to take part in what was described as the “traditional Korean culture” of preparing and eating a bowl of Bibimbap (mixed rice and vegetables.) We were led to a section of the temple grounds where all the ingredients were waiting for us and with the help of some locals, dived right into to creating our delicious meal…

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After eating our bibimbap, we were told that it was customary to fill your bowl with water and drink from your bowl before finally cleaning your bowl for the next person to use. So it was off to the cleaning stations…

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After our meal we just aimlessly meandered through the temple gardens taking in the wonderful views and people watching the families all out celebrating this special day. I had a “moment” where everything in the world fell into it’s place, where everything just seemed right with the world. It was tranquil and peaceful and a million miles away from life in a Korean city.

I’ll leave you with one final image that will hopefully result in you getting out about more in Korea on special holiday days off…

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Justin & Britney, America; Placed in Seoul

Coming to Korea was something I put an incredible amount of thought into, as should everyone who eventually makes the plunge into the land of kimchi. Two year’s worth of thought to be exact, while I impatiently waited for my travel companion to finish up her undergrad courses…

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This did allow me plenty of time to study up on everything Korea, from the schools to the food and from the shopping to the culture. I purchased many travel guides, learned how to read Hangul, and attempted to pick up what I could of the language, something I wish I would have committed myself to far more seriously (while it is easy to get by in Korea knowing next to nothing of the language, I feel that I miss out on a lot of amazing opportunities to create deeper connections with people and places had I something more to rely on than hesitant words in broken sentences and frantic hand gestures).

By far, the best thing you can do for yourself when it comes to preparing for this opportunity of a lifetime, is taking the time to sift through a sea of recruiters and finding one you can actually trust–I mean, we are talking about your hopes and dreams here. Trust me, there is no shortage of recruiters out there. I easily encountered at least a few hundred in my two-year period of extensive research. I have learned that there are a lot of bad ones out there, a significantly smaller amount of decent ones, and a handful of good ones.

Then there is SayKimchi. Luckily, I happened upon their website early in my search, and it immediately made a lasting impression on me. Spend even just a little time reading their blog or viewing their videos and pictures and you will undoubtedly find that their mission comes from a place of passion, experience, and love for the places they will assist in sending you to. The people of SayKimchi lived out their own Korean adventures and know everything we want and hope for ourselves. Even though I continued to look into others, I knew SayKimchi would be the one I would depend on to get me there. Even before applying with them, they would promptly answer any inquiries I emailed to them, and always took the time to provide helpful, informational feedback.

After I completed the application process, I worked with Anne, who is completely wonderful and awesome. She was always kind when she returned the last of the dozen of daily emails I sent her featuring every mundane or minuscule question I could muster. Beyond being kind, Anne was always insightful, swift in her responses, utterly open and honest, reassuring when I voiced my doubts, and also brought a ton of experience and knowledge to the conversations. I am slightly cynical by nature, and when everything began to seem too good to be true, I did have some reservations. But with SayKimchi, there is really no need for reservations, because when they make a promise, they will definitely deliver.

Britney and I are quickly coming up on our third month in Seoul. While we have had our minor frustrations and confusions, the transition into this new life of ours has been exciting and fulfilling. Seoul is always convenient, always exhilarating, and always full of compassionate people. The love that Koreans possess for each other is well known. I have discovered that this love is also extended as well to the travelers, the foreigners, and the strangers that visit their land. I have witnessed this love in the stranger taking the time to search us out after he accidentally gave us the wrong directions, and again when he accompanied us to our correct destination, making himself almost certainly late for his job. I have witnessed this love in our director and co-teachers when they constantly worry about how much money we spend and especially when they took us to the hospital when we became sick and payed for everything.

And I have witnessed this love in the hugs of our students, the smiles of restaurant workers when they suggest delicious food, and in passerby’s as they stop to point us in the right direction when we are looking hopelessly lost.

By far, the best part of being here is getting to witness daily the kindness of Koreans. We have SayKimchi to thank for that.

Justin & Britney

3 Things To Know Before Teaching English in Korea

Teaching English in Korea

Teaching English in Korea is an amazing opportunity that will change your life and future outlook on life drastically – in fact, I’d comfortably say it will be the best thing you will ever do! All of us here at Say Kimchi! have worked in Korea (some for 1 year and others for over 5) and we all agree that we just couldn’t imagine what our lives would be like had we never took the leap of faith and embarked upon an adventure that took us to the other side of the world!

Having so much experience with living and working in the country, we thought it would be cool to put together a list of 3 things you need to know before teaching English in Korea. We resisted focusing on the usual “bow when you meet someone” or “accept things with both hands” that you’ve likely heard before… instead we have focused on more intricate details of the culture that we feel are very important in helping people have a positive year in Korea.

1. “Saving Face” Is The MOST Important Thing For Korean People.

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If there is one thing you absolutely must know about Korea it’s this notion of “saving face.” It all boils down to this: you should never put someone in a position where you make them appear to be wrong or embarrassed.

Results of causing someone to lose face are usually carried out passive aggressively – you won’t know you’ve done it at the time until you realize the person you’ve offended no longer treats you the same as before.  If you unwittingly cause someone to “lose face” then it could take a long time to repair the damage such is the affect it has on people in Korea. The good news is that many Koreans allow us foreigners lots of leeway with things like this, especially the more traveled ones. However, most people expect you to abide by their rules so knowing about this is extremely important.

Here’s a good example;

You are in class with a Korean co teacher and you realize she makes a mistake with her English grammar. You automatically correct her and say something like “actually, we don’t quite say it like that. Here’s how to do it _________” She smiles and you get on with your class. In the coming days and weeks you realize that the small chocolate cookie that used to appear on your desk is no longer there. The invites out for coffee after work have stopped. Your co teacher isn’t being quite as friendly as they once were.  You want to renew your contract? There might suddenly be a few students who no longer like you. You have caused your co teacher to lose face in front of her students who now think she doesn’t know what she is doing…

Be conscious of making people lose face or of embarrassing people in Korea. It’s probably the worst thing you could do.

2. Korea is NOT Home. You CANNOT Change Their Culture.

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There. I said it! It’s really difficult to move to the other side of the world and away from everything you are used to and familiar with. However, if you aren’t ready for some seriously different ways of doing things, some serious adventure and some serious times where you’ll be wondering what the heck is going on around you then this may not be the right choice for you.

Lots of people come to Korea and underestimate just how different it is from Western countries. The biggest frustration is always the “last minute” surprises; where nothing seems planned and you don’t know what is going on until 5 minutes after it has supposed to happen! Rest assured you aren’t being kept in the dark and no one else knows what’s going on either. You’ll notice large periods of time where nothing is happening and then a period of time where everyone is running around like headless chickens trying to get things done that should have been well planned out in advance. To us, we just can’t fathom why they don’t plan in advance. To Koreans, it’s just the way they’ve always done things.

If you try and change the way Koreans think or show your frustration at the way they do things, the locals may become offended that you are “looking down your nose at them” and you’ll get off on the wrong foot. Just go with the flow. SAP. Smile And Proceed. You’ll get used to it real quick.

3. A Band of Brothers / Sisters. (Try To Break Into It.)

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Korea might just be the most homogeneous country in the world; the people see themselves as one entity. “Hanguk Saram” or “Korean People” are like one big “Band of Brothers.” More interestingly, within that big band of brothers exists smaller bands; same age, same university, same surname, same favorite sports team, same hometown. Some people refer to these bands as herds!

As a result of this, you may find people in Korea to be very stand offish at first. This is because they have their “band of brothers” and are quite reluctant to let outsiders into it. You also may experience Korean people who ask you very personal questions on the first time of meeting; are you married? children? do you like beer? how much money do you earn? how much was your watch?

They ask this to see if you are part of their band or not. If you aren’t don’t be surprised if the person isn’t interested in you. If you are, welcome to the party! These so called bands of brothers look after each other extremely well. Need money? No problem! Want to eat out tonight? Sure, your band will meet you and the oldest will undoubtedly foot the bill. Need help to translate a website so you can book train tickets? Consider the tickets booked and paid for by one of your brothers.

The worst thing you can do if you move to Korea is to focus solely on your Western friends. As interesting as they are, making friends with Koreans is the only way you will experience the culture for real and it would be a great shame if you missed out being part of a “band” as it makes the time in Korea much more enjoyable. You’ll need to put much more effort into your friendships with Korean people but trust me, it’s more than worth it.

Josh Lokken, America; Placed in Jinju

South Korea, like so many things in life, follows the standard cliche.  It is what you make of it.

If you want a hermit life running between school and your apartment with nothing but Netflix and Youtube in-between, sure, you could do that.  Perhaps you’re more of the party boy looking for a multi-day bender.  Sure, you could probably do that too.  Of course, it’s best to avoid both.  Especially the latter, because, c’mon, you’re more professional than that.  Instead, shoot for something tucked nicely between the two.  Take spontaneous bus trips.  Explore the country.  Share some soju and make new friends.  With an outgoing personality and an penchant for new experiences, South Korea will happily deliver that sweet spot.

On a more personal level, I feel blessed to have met so many great people in the four very short months I’ve been in “comparatively small but hardly insipid” Jinju.  Between a friendly director, friendlier young Koreans, and a diverse set of like-minded expat English teachers, I found it pleasantly easy to adapt to this new country.  There are those certain things I miss and just as many things I don’t, but they’re all rectified with those memorable instances that leave me thinking “wow…that’s just so…um…Korean!”  Exploring local temples, adjumas, and couples in matching outfits (yes, that’s a thing) are just the beginning of jovial list that keeps on growing.

And then there is teaching which is a big part of my life.  The students, for the most part, are fun and lively who can laugh with a slightly goofy teacher trying his best to make English less complex.  I’m thankful for a position where it’s common to walk into work with a smile on my face.

In full disclosure, teaching in a hagwon does bring “business like” qualities I wish didn’t exist, but those small frustrations are far from overwhelming.  Sure, the system is not perfect and there are those brief moments of frustration “I just wanna rip my hair out piece by piece because it would probably be less painful,” but brushing off the minority of negatives is just part of the process.

And finally, I owe a nod to SayKimchi Recruiting.   From the beginning they were very helpful, direct, and responsive.  My recruiter, Anne, always gave complete and timely responses to any of my questions.  In short, thank you.

So take the plunge and discover Korea.  I’m glad I did.

Getting to Korea; What Happens Once You Land?

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So, you’ve accepted the job and you’re ready for your new adventure in Korea! Congratulations! Your mind is likely swirling with questions about what is going to happen once you arrive and it can feel almost as if you are taking a giant leap of faith into the unknown. Feel safe in the knowledge that thousands upon thousands of people have traveled the road you are about to travel and in this post I’ll explain what’s going to happen and some things you should know about before arriving in Korea.

Note; you should probably read our “What To Pack” section for a list of must pack items before you set off!

1. Arriving at Incheon Airport – What Happens?

You’ll arrive in Korea at Incheon International Airport which is around 20 minutes outside of Seoul. If you have accepted a job through Say Kimchi Recruiting you will be met in the arrivals hall by our pick up agent who will have a sign with your name on it. He’ll take you to your new school where you’ll meet your new co workers and get settled into your apartment. We will give you your school’s contact details and contact details for your Say Kimchi representative should you run into any problems on arrival.

Fun fact; Incheon International Airport has been voted the world’s BEST AIRPORT for 9 years in a row!

2. Getting Settled; Things You Should Take Care of First

Once you are in your apartment and have slept off any jet lag, you’ll need to take care of a few things that will make your life much easier! The first thing is getting your health check completed which your school will help you arrange. The health check is so important because once you have it the school will apply for your Alien Resident Card (ARC) which is important because it allows you to…

- Get a cell phone
- Hook up internet

A cell phone and internet are really important to your life as an expat in Korea. The internet will allow you not only to talk to friends or family back home but to get involved in your cities Facebook groups for expats where you will keep abreast of what’s going on and be able to ask any questions which the local foreign community will be delighted to help you with.

A cell phone is a must have. Once you start to expand your social circle, you’ll need to keep in contact with your new friends and a cell phone is the best way to arrange meetings! Many foreigners who move to Korea say their lives never really got going in the country until they had a cell phone!

Top Tip: Search Facebook for “City Name + Expats” or “City Name + Teachers” to find what’s going on in your city.

3. The Long Haul; Take It Easy!

Many foreigners arrive in Korea with a sort of “bucket list” of places and sights they want to take in across the country. They start exploring the peninsula the very first weekend they arrive and wear themselves out very quickly. Korea is awesome and has great temples, beaches, mountains and other tourist attractions but a year is more than enough time to take them all in; you don’t need to rush to them all right away.

It’s better, in my experience, to get settled in your new city for the first few weeks and find your feet. Take a trip once every other weekend instead of every weekend. Focus on forming friendships and laying down roots in your new location because if you are out of town every weekend chances are the foreign community won’t have a clue who you are!

Veteran Tip: Visit some of the islands on the south coast for some breathtaking scenery and if you fancy a longer trip take in the “Hawaii of Korea” – Jeju Island!

All in all, just enjoy the adventure and try not to plan too much of it out. Once you are settled into your new apartment, have a cell phone and internet you are all set for life in Korea and ready to start making new friendships and exploring what the country has to offer.