Category: Health

Grocery Shopping in South Korea

The Korean Grocery Scene

Are you getting ready to embark on an ESL teaching journey in Korea? As you prepare for your exciting new chapter, let’s delve into one of the most essential aspects of daily life: grocery shopping. Korea offers a unique and vibrant grocery store scene that caters to both convenience and quality. In this blog, I will take you on a tour of the diverse shopping options, from common markets to online shopping.


Major Chains: Emart and No Brand

When you’re in the mood for a more extensive grocery haul, Korea’s food supermarkets offer an impressive variety of options. Emart and No Brand are two prominent names that stand out. No Brand, in particular, is a favorite among budget-conscious shoppers. It’s known for its affordability and convenience, offering a plethora of grocery products. However, keep in mind that they might only accept credit cards, as experienced by some shoppers. On the other hand, Emart is a paradise for those seeking fresh produce. Offering the flexibility of both credit card and cash payments, it’s a one-stop-shop for all your grocery needs. Other honorable mentions include Homeplus and Lotte Mart.   


Prices of Common Goods

My weekly market runs consist of eggs, bread, milk, chicken, fruits, and veggies. A pack of 15 eggs costs 6,000 KRW ($4.44), a loaf of bread goes for about 4,000 KRW ($2.96 USD). A 1,800 mL carton of milk can be purchased for 6,000 KRW ($4.44 USD) , and a 1 kg of chicken breasts costs about 9,000 KRW ($6.65 USD) ($1.00 USD = 1352 KRW). Fruits and veggies are a bit more expensive, as they are typically imported. Regardless, market prices are still very reasonable and affordable.


Delivery Services

In the age of digital convenience, Coupang emerged as a game-changer for grocery shopping in Korea. This online shopping platform boasts lightning-fast delivery right to your doorstep, with options like “rocket shipping” ensuring next-day delivery. While the convenience is undeniable, there’s a crucial detail to remember: to make purchases on Coupang, you need to register with your Alien Registration Card (ARC). As a foreign teacher, this means waiting until you have your ARC to fully embrace the convenience of Coupang. The platform’s easy exchange, return, and refund policies make it an attractive choice for many, earning its reputation as one of the best online shopping experiences in Korea.


As you prepare to teach ESL in Korea, rest assured that the country’s grocery store landscape offers a variety of options to suit your preferences and needs. From the freshness of supermarkets to the digital ease of online shopping, you’ll find everything you need to make your stay enjoyable and comfortable.

Amber Ochoa is from Los Angeles, USA, and just recently moved to South Korea in May. She studied Biochemistry as an undergraduate. After graduation, she began venturing out and embracing her love for adventure. She finds that “nothing holds greater power in our life than the unknown.” One night while applying to random jobs on Indeed, she came across an English teaching position in Seoul, Korea. Flash forward, she is now teaching at CDI, Mokdong branch. She claims that Creverse found her and ended up becoming a blessing in disguise. Amber says giving knowledge to students & inspiring them for higher achievements in life is one of the greatest feelings in the world.

Korean Healthcare Guide

Korean Healthcare

South Korea stands as a top choice for English teachers, thanks to its rich culture, vibrant cities, and welcoming locals. Worried about Korean healthcare? No need! Satisfaction of healthcare has been consistently among the highest in the world – South Korea was rated as the second most efficient healthcare system by Bloomberg.

Healthcare System Overview

The Korean Healthcare system offers affordability and quality care to both natives and foreigners alike. When you teach in South Korea, you actively enroll in the National Health Insurance System. This reduces medical costs, making routine doctor visits economical. While not all English language institutes in Korea provide insurance for its teachers, some like CREVERSE provide full coverage through national healthcare insurance! The cost is roughly 7% of gross salary. About 3.5% of salary is deducted from your gross monthly pay, and the other half is covered by the school! (These are the same exact rates for Native Koreans.)


Hospitalization Costs

While there may be some hospitalization expenses, insurance actively eases the financial burden during unforeseen medical emergencies. While this cost can sometimes be substantial, the presence of insurance ensures that you don’t have to shoulder the entire expense on your own. This Korean healthcare system provides a safety net that’s especially crucial during unexpected medical situations.

Quality of Care

Korea actively provides exceptional care, even for non-Korean speakers. Healthcare professionals actively overcome language barriers to deliver top-notch treatment. Many major university hospitals have foreigner friendly international health care centers where doctors and nurses speak English as well! 


Specialized Medical Attention

Korea actively maintains an extensive network of specialist doctors. National Health Insurance and the Korean Healthcare system actively covers these services, ensuring personalized medical care in all areas. Whether you need a dermatologist, psychiatry, obstetrics, or other specialty, Korea has you covered. 


Comparative Perspectives

Korea’s healthcare, while not free, actively combines quality, accessibility, and efficiency.

In conclusion, if you’re planning to teach English in South Korea, rest assured that the healthcare system will actively cover all your healthcare needs. National Health Insurance, along with skilled professionals and specialized care, ensures you will have the best healthcare available. So, embrace your journey without concerns for your health!

Bella Maselana hails from South Africa where she earned a Bachelor’s of Psychology and has served as an English teacher and Lecturer at the University of SA. Bella currently teaches at April English in Sejong, South Korea. 

Getting a Personal Trainer in Korea

Gym Memberships in Korea

First off, if you didn’t know already, fitness is HUGE in Korea. You can find a workout gym on almost every corner. I recently stumbled upon a very lucky find. A fitness center near my work had a small fire not long ago. Nothing serious, but enough of a cause to close down and do a partial remodel. Sounds terrible. But the point is they had to remodel, and this disrupted their business. Get where I am going with this now? Discounts!

I’m located in a rather pricey area, so usual gym memberships at well-known chains are about 70,000won a month to 336,000won for a year. These prices are normal in Gangnam, Seoul. There is always a hook to their prices. Pay more upfront and you end up spending less per month in the long run. Anyway, thanks to their remodeling promotion. I have been trying out the gym for 150,000won for three months. Thus, it is a relatively cheap price. Also, I got two free personal training sessions! I’ll add the information for the gym I go to at the bottom.


The Personal Trainer

Now this is what I really want to talk about – my personal trainer. Personal trainers in my area usually run about 50,000won to 90,000won per session. A session is an hour long. I know, it’s so expensive. It can fit into one’s salary as a teacher in Seoul, so it is a matter of how much value one places on exercise. Again, the amount you pay upfront is the deal you get. Thus, one can get about 30 sessions for 50,000won per session, but you have to pay 1,500,000won. So my luck is that due to when I signed up, I can now get personal training sessions for a flat rate of 60,000won per session. Still pricey, but working out is a great addition to one’s lifestyle. The benefits of having a routine workout impact all aspects of health – mentally and physically. Plus, with how cold winter is this year in Seoul, working out gives me something productive to do, so I don’t simply hibernate.

My personal trainer keeps track of my workout. So far she has made sure that I obtained my workout goals in an efficient, effective and safe manner! The personal trainers in Korea aren’t much different than those in the United States. Luckily, most can speak enough English to have foreign clients. They know how to instruct and guide in English pretty well at the gym I attend. 

My first meeting with my personal trainer was about discussing my workout goals, checking the condition of my body (how much body fat I have, how much muscle mass I have, how much water retention I have, etc) and discussing what work I have to do outside of the gym to reach my goal (how much sleep I should get and what type of diet I should be maintaining). Afterwards, we slowly eased into learning some workout exercises. My second meeting with my personal trainer, began with a massage. My PT prepares my body for the workout I’m about to have by making sure the areas I will be targeting aren’t tense. Then, we went into checking how well I learned what was previously taught and building off from that. The sessions I’ve had since then are similar to my second session. After each workout, my PT sends me a review of our workout along with videos that were taken of my posture doing new movements I learned during our session. I can reference them when working out alone. 


Korean Gym Etiquette

Here is something I wish I had known before my first meeting with my trainer that may be useful information to one – bring a clean pair of gym shoes that are only for gym use! While these gyms offer their own gym uniforms to workout in, they never offer shoes. There are shoe lockers right at the entrance of the gym and beyond that point one should be wearing their clean gym shoes. It is a major Korean etiquette. One of which I will never forget! 


Seek the Discounts!

I hope as English teachers in a foreign country, we all find an activity to keep us active, healthy and positive! Maybe signing up at a local gym would be a great way for you to integrate more into Korean society. Look out for discount opportunities! Having a personal trainer is an interesting experience. 

Here is the site for the gym franchise I recommend:

Humake Gym in Seoul


Giselle Moreno is from California, USA where she attended the University of California, Riverside. While a student, she always worked with international students and she decided to teach English abroad upon graduating during her third year of university. It was through the experiences of being an English tutor for international students that she felt really fulfilled. She found it particularly easy to get along with Korean students which is why she decided to pursue a teaching opportunity in Korea. She even attended Yonsei University in Seoul for a semester as a study abroad student and fell in love with the city. She is currently working at ChungDahm Learning’s April Daechi branch located in Gangnam, Seoul.