Category: Relocation

My First Two Weeks Teaching English In Korea

Teaching English In Korea

Leading up to my big move across the world, I was beyond nervous. I had a lot of doubts, fears, and uncertainty. As someone who loves adventure while simultaneously struggles with facing the unknown, I felt like I was about to leap into a big, dark pit. Let me tell you about my first two weeks teaching English in Korea.

Landing In Busan, South Korea

As soon as I landed in Busan, South Korea, some of my fears started to melt away one by one. I’m extremely thankful for Aclipse and staff at my branch who helped me make this move more seamless. A couple of foreign teachers from my branch met me at the Busan airport and took me to my new apartment. They helped me get settled and eased some of my anxiety. 

View of the Ocean with the City of Busan, South Korea in the background.

Having lived in Busan for a month earlier in the year, I was somewhat familiar with life in Korea, but having just made such a big move, it was very comforting having such kind people welcome me with open arms. The Korean staff at my branch were also a huge help, and took me to apply for my Alien Registration Card and get my required health check. They’re such kind people that really care about the wellbeing of their teachers.

 

Training Week

I arrived in Busan on a Saturday, so I had that Sunday to settle in before I had to begin training week. Luckily, I was able to complete training online from the comfort of my apartment, which allowed me to continue to get settled. Training week was quite intense, as we had to retain a lot of information in such a short time. However, the other trainees in my group were all so nice, and we all benefited a lot from our group study sessions together. Although challenging, I do feel like training week definitely helped me get familiar with the methodology of how to teach April classes.

Getting Out And About

My first full weekend in Busan after training week allowed me to explore a bit more of my area. I’m a big nature lover, so scoping out some peaceful places to recharge was a priority for me. Busan’s winters are fairly mild, so despite arriving in mid November, I’ve been able to get outside some on the weekends. I love spending time at beaches here, and exploring the nearby parks like Busan Citizens Park

 

People walking in Busan Citizens Park in South Korea with a pagoda in the background.

Officially Teaching In The Classroom

I began teaching at the start of my second week in South Korea. I was definitely nervous at first, as that was my first time teaching English as a foreign language. I really cared about doing a good job, and with the combination of meeting all my students, remembering the methodology of the lessons, and managing the behavior in the classroom, I felt a bit overwhelmed. Luckily, I have a very kind headteacher who really helped make sure I was on the right track, keeping up with the admin work, and answered all my questions. 

After a full week of teaching, I definitely started to understand the structure and flow of my lessons more. My students started getting more comfortable with me as well! I have 90 students a week, and by my second week of teaching, I surprised myself by learning a good majority of their names!

 

A Wonderful Journey

Looking back on my first two weeks teaching English in Korea, I feel quite proud of my ability to deal with change and roll with the punches. I’ve been living here for almost 3 months now, and while I still face challenges, things continue to get more familiar and comfortable. I’ve joined a language exchange program that has led to many great friendships. I’ve eaten lots of great food, spent time in beautiful cafes, and seen only a small fraction of the beauty Korea has to offer! 

Taking on such a big life change always comes with its fair share of ups and downs. Remembering to find small joys every day and finding home in myself has been extremely important to my journey so far. I’m excited to see how I continue to grow this year and grateful I have this opportunity of a lifetime!

 

A group of English teachers and Korean staff at a dinner after classes are over.

Springtime in Korea is full of vibrant experiences for you to enjoy while teaching and living in Korea. I encourage you to embrace the beauty of the season and create unforgettable memories that will last you a lifetime! (Below is a great VLOG done by an April English teacher at Creverse! It’s not me, but hope it helps you get a better feel for what’s to come! )

 

Best Experiences For English Teachers In Spring

The Best Experiences for English Teachers In Spring

Springtime in Korea is a magical season with no shortage of cultural events, outdoor excursions and seasonal foods to enjoy. The season showcases a lot of what Korea has to offer and is one of the best times of year to be living and teaching abroad. So, let’s explore some of the best experiences for English teachers in Spring!

Picnic at Seoul Forest

Seoul Forest is one of my favorite places in the city to enjoy a picnic and spend time with friends. If you are looking to make the most of the weather, consider bringing some food and enjoying the lakeside area. It’s definitely one of the best spots in Seoul with a lot of shady tree coverage. I recommend ordering delivery chicken right to your picnic blanket!

Women holding a camera having a lakeside picnic at Seoul Forest Park in Seoul Korea

Gyeongju Cherry Blossom Marathon

As a runner, this event is one of my top suggestions for the spring season! This scenic race weaves through the historic and charming streets of Gyeongju which are lined with cherry blossom trees. It is one of the coolest ways to enjoy the dreamy spring flowers, see the city, and get in a good workout! You can participate in 5K and 10K distances, as well as half and full marathon courses. If you are a runner, this is definitely a bucket list experience you don’t want to miss!

Sign up for the race here!

Taean Tulip Festival

Taean Tulip Festival occurs from March to April, and is perhaps the most colorful Spring festival you can find in Korea. It’s famous for its stunning tulips which come in nearly every rainbow color imaginable. Recognized as one of the five World Tulip Summit festivals, it is a world-class event that includes performances from Korean singers and a fireworks display at night!

 

Taean tulip festival field in south Korea

Feast on Seasonal Jjukkumi

Jjukkumi, which literally translates to spicy baby octopuses, are not actually octopi babies but are called this due to their tiny size! Spring is the best season to eat them as they emerge from the deep waters on Korea’s west coast. Additionally, during the Spring their head is filled with eggs which makes this dish taste even more delicious and fresh! There are several ways to eat Jjukkumi, but my favorite way is Jjukkumi Samgyeopsal. It consists of eating baby octopuses with pork belly drizzled with a spicy red sauce. You can even add chewy rice cake to mellow out the heat!

Buddha's Birthday

One of my favorite parts of spring in Korea is experiencing the spiritual and cultural significance of Buddha’s Birthday. Celebrated nationally on May 6th, this holiday is an ideal time to enjoy the beautiful lanterns and relaxing incense at a traditional temple. I also recommend trying out a temple stay to enjoy a traditional Buddhist ceremony and some fresh and healthy vegan temple food. My first temple stay was one of my most memorable experiences in Korea so far.

Dragon lantern at night on Buddha's birthday in Korea
Traditional Buddhist temple food in South Korea

Strawberry Picking

Spring is a peak season for strawberry farming and Korean strawberries are especially big and juicy this time of year! There are many different strawberry fields around the country that can be visited and enjoyed once spring begins but I suggest you check out Seongyeon Strawberry Farm Experience (성연딸기체험농장). It’s accessible via Daehwa Station of Subway Line 3 which takes around an hour from Seoul.

 

English teachers enjoying some freshly picked strawberries in South Korea
English teachers enjoying some freshly picked strawberries in South Korea

Springtime in Korea is full of vibrant experiences for you to enjoy while teaching and living in Korea. I encourage you to embrace the beauty of the season and create unforgettable memories that will last you a lifetime!

Michelle Duquette is from Toronto, Canada and moved to South Korea in 2015. She has a Bachelors in English literature and a Masters in ESL Education. Michelle has taught at Creverse campuses in Gangneung, Songpa, and Mokdong and currently works as a CDI and April Trainer. Michelle never set out to be a teacher but fell in love with Korean culture and the excitement of being in the classroom. Michelle lives in Seoul with her partner and two cats, Cherry and Frost. 

A Guide to Buying Furniture in Korea

Furnishing Your New Adventure

You’ve made the move to Korea and you’re ready to dive into the vibrant culture, amazing food and new adventures. An international move can present challenges and furnishing your apartment is likely at the top of your to do list. But where do you begin with finding the perfect furniture at a reasonable price? Let’s explore the best options to buying furniture in Korea.

 

Ikea in Seoul

If you’re a fan of Scandinavian design and budget-friendly options, the Ikea in Seoul is the first place to check out. Ikea is great for DIY furniture that suits small spaces and a modest budget. Weekdays are generally less crowded and allow for a more relaxed shopping experience. The store is located just outside of the city center and is easy to get to with public transportation. If you don’t want to visit the store, you can shop online and have your items delivered. And yes, they have Swedish meatballs!

 

Carrot Market

Carrot Market (당근) is a popular reselling app where locals sell everything from furniture to clothes and electronics. New listings are posted daily and you can search for amazing deals on pre-loved furniture in your area. Not only will you save money, but you can often find unique items that match with your personal style. The app is in Korean but is easy to navigate and has English search capabilities.

Facebook Finds

Facebook is one of the first places I always check when searching for furniture items. Groups, such as “Expat Furniture Seoul” or “Korea Furniture Exchange,” are gold mines as many teachers leaving the country often sell their furniture at reduced prices or even give it away for free. Make sure to check the groups often as new items are popping up daily!

 

Modern-House

Modern-House is famous in Korea for their wide variety of furniture at a reasonable price. They are a one-stop shop where you can buy everything you need to make your space feel cozy and put together. Their furniture has a clean, minimalist style and would suit most interior design styles. The online shop is easy to navigate and they often run sales on things like kitchen goods and linens.

 

Furnishing a new space is never a small task, but between the in store and online options you will be sure to find pieces that fit your needs and transform your space. Before you start shopping, it’s a good idea to take measurements of your space and read all product descriptions to ensure you’re making the right choices.  Happy furniture hunting!

Michelle Duquette is from Toronto, Canada and moved to South Korea in 2015. She has a Bachelors in English literature and a Masters in ESL Education. Michelle has taught at Creverse campuses in Gangneung, Songpa, and Mokdong and currently works as a CDI and April Trainer. Michelle never set out to be a teacher but fell in love with Korean culture and the excitement of being in the classroom. Michelle lives in Seoul with her partner and two cats, Cherry and Frost. 

Timeline To Teach English In South Korea

An Experience of a Lifetime

Are you dreaming of an exciting adventure in South Korea? If so, you might be curious what steps you need to take. Here is an in-depth timeline of the process from submitting your application to landing in South Korea in only a matter of months! Without further adieu, here is the exact timeline to teach English in South Korea.

 

Month 1: Application & Interview

  • Day 1: Emma, our excited and adventurous teacher, takes the first step and applies to teach English in January for a start date in May!
  • Day 3: Then, an Aclipse Recruiter reaches out and they arrange a day and time to speak- either for information purposes or for an interview.
  • Day 6: After she completes an interview with our Aclipse Recruiter, Emma is now ready for the next steps. The excitement is building!
  • Day 7: Emma has passed her initial interview with flying colors and submits the application items. Now, she waits to hear back from her Aclipse Recruiter to find out her application results with schools in Korea!
  • Day 11: Great news! Emma receives the initial offer letter from the school! Her Aclipse Recruiter checks in to congratulate her and to schedule a follow-up call.
  • Day 13: Then, Emma and her Aclipse Recruiter have a phone call to review any questions on her initial offer and to discuss next steps, which is prepping her documents for the E2 Visa.
  • Day 14: Emma accepts her offer and signs a Memorandum of Understand (MOU). This is an intermediate agreement before a final contract is signed with a specific location.
  • Day 15 to 24: In the meantime, she works diligently on gathering her documents for the E2 Visa. Her Aclipse Recruiter checks in to support her and answers any questions that arise.
  • Day 25: Emma submits the required documents for her E2 visa and her Aclipse Recruiter reviews them for accuracy.
  • Day 26: To make sure everything’s in line, Emma’s documents are looked over by an Aclipse E-2 documents expert before she mails them to South Korea.
  • Day 30: Once verified, the Aclipse documents expert ships her documents to HQ in South Korea and Emma receives a confirmation email to let her know. Things are starting to feel extra real now!

Month 2 and 3: Visa & Location Placement

  • Day 33: In just a couple days, Emma’s documents arrive at headquarters in South Korea.
  • Day 34 to 49: Meanwhile, Emma is engaged regularly by her Aclipse Recruiter, to start preparing the logistics for her upcoming adventure!
  • Day 50: The placement process beings and Emma is given a heads up by her Aclipse Recruiter.
  • Day 57: Emma strikes gold!! She receives her contract in the first week of the placement process! She asks her Aclipse recruiter any questions about the contract and sets up an official welcome call with HQ in South Korea
  • Day 60: Emma is excited to speak with HQ and is able to ask any remaining questions that might remain.
  • Day 64: Now that she feels 100% secure about all the details, she sends her signed contract back to her Aclipse Recruiter.
  • Day 69: Emma’s E-2 visa documents (along with her signed contract), arrive at Korean Immigration office so they can process a “visa code” to finalize the visa. Processing times usually take between 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Day 83: Now that everything is being officially processed by Immigration, Emma receives her final pre-departure information from her Aclipse Recruiter and they review together.
  • Day 84: Meanwhile, Emma’s visa code is ready!
  • Day 85: She then submits her FINAL E2 Visa application to Korean Immigration and informs her Aclipse Recruiter.

Month 4: Departure & Arrival!

  • Day 98: Emma’s visa has been put in her passport, and she explores her different flight options!
  • Day 99: Then, she quickly books her flight and informs her Aclipse Recruiter.
  • Day 100 – 114: In the weeks leading up to leaving, Emma and her Aclipse Recruiter have a lot of communication. They discuss her arrival and provide details on what will happen when she gets off the plane. Her Aclipse Recruiter sends Emma final reminders and tips for training and settling in, ensuring a smooth transition! Emma feels very prepared for her upcoming teaching adventure.
  • Day 115: And, finally, Emma arrives in South Korea – she’s done it!

You’ve Made it! You’re in South Korea!

From applying to booking your flight, taking the proper steps to teach English in Korea with Aclipse is quite an adventure in and of itself! Luckily, the countdowns, check-ins, and celebrations with your recruiter make it as stress free and efficient an experience as it can be. You can be rest assured that nothing will be missed and you will land in South Korea as fast as you possibly can. Apply today!

Bethany Coquelle, growing up and living in both the east and west coasts of Canada, serves as an Overseas Recruiter specializing in South Korea placements since 2017! With a multicultural family and a passion for cultural exchange, she understands the transformative power of connecting people from diverse backgrounds. Inspired by the impact teachers can have on students’ lives, Bethany is dedicated to linking educators with their ideal positions abroad. Whether guiding through the intricacies of teaching in South Korea or providing a compassionate ear, she is committed to supporting your educational journey.

What It Takes To Teach English In Korea

Teaching English In Korea

Teaching English in Korea is personally and professionally rewarding. If you are considering applying for a position you’ll need to demonstrate you have what it takes to be a successful ESL teacher. Here are some characteristics and qualifications that are sought after and can help you succeed as an English teacher with Creverse Inc.

 

A Native English teacher in a classroom with Korean middle school students in South Korea

English Language Proficiency

Clear communication and superior English skills are vital for teaching. You must be able to explain concepts in a way that is easily understood and caters to the language ability of your students. Being comfortable and confident in your role as a language model is also necessary to earn the students’ trust and respect.

 

Enthusiastic & Passionate

Students learn best and succeed when their teachers are passionate and enthusiastic. A positive and energetic demeanor helps to motivate and inspire students. Effective teachers are friendly, yet firm; connect well with students, cater to their needs and interests making lessons relevant, relatable and fun.

 

Professional

Teachers need to be punctual, responsible, and committed to providing high level instruction. Demonstrating a strong work ethic is important in any professional setting. Teachers should be open to accepting and implementing constructive feedback and strive to be the best teacher possible.

 

Team Player

Teachers work in collaboration with each other and Korean staff. Being supportive and contributing positively to the workplace is highly valued. Your colleagues are your initial support group and social network…and will be excited to show you the ropes. Establishing a positive rapport from your arrival goes a long way in making the experience mutually beneficial.

 

Adaptable & Culturally Sensitive

Adapting to new environments, teaching methods, and cultural norms is essential. Understanding and respecting Korean culture is integral to adjusting well. Being open-minded and flexible will help you integrate into the local community and work effectively with students and colleagues. It’s important to consider strategies that will help you to have a positive year living and teaching in Korea.

 

Teaching Certification/Experience:

While not required, a CELTA certification will earn you a higher salary. Completing a TEFL or TESOL course may help you feel more prepared and confident in the English teacher role. While formal teaching experience is also not required, those with full-time classroom experience will benefit with a higher salary offer.

 

Visa Requirements

A sample alien registration card required for all foreigners in Korea

Ensure that you meet the requirements to work in Korea. This includes obtaining the necessary documents for a visa and fulfilling immigration requirements. To be eligible you must have at least the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree – any major, however, English and Education majors are highly valued.
  • Background check – with no charges, dismissed or otherwise

Have you got what it takes? Take the next step and submit your resume to find out!!

Colette Neville hailing from Ontario, Canada embarked upon the adventure of a lifetime and taught English in Japan for 5 years after graduating with a Bachelor’s in Kinesiology and a Bachelor’s in Education! While overseas she honed her teaching skills, advanced professionally to trainer, area manager, curriculum specialist and enjoyed the many riches of Japanese culture. Her love of travel led her to explore many of Japan’s neighbouring countries, including South Korea! Upon return to Canada, she landed a job with Aclipse recruiting and now enjoys sharing her experiences and guiding candidates through the steps to secure the perfect overseas placement! Upon reflection, she believes her experience teaching abroad was a very meaningful and life changing event….and is certain it will be for others too! 

5 Reasons Why I Prefer Living In Korea

Here are the top 5 reasons Why I Prefer Living in Korea!

1. Transportation (High Tech Bus Stops)

Korea is often ranked one of the best public transportation systems on the planet. Let’s start with the buses, which can take you anywhere you want in major cities as well as across the country. In the winter, Korea has heated bus stop seats as well as heated waiting room areas at some locations. Not only that but some bus stops provide free phone charging stations, and all buses have public Wi-Fi. The bus system is convenient and affordable for anyone looking to get around quickly and comfortable. This is one of the main reasons I prefer living in Korea over the States.

 

A heated bus stop bench with free wirless charging in Korea
Heated Bench and Wireless Charging
Woman waits for a bus inside a glass-covered bus stop in Seoul, Korea.

The subway is fast, safe, and easy to use. All signs and announcements are made in both Korean as well as English. If you want to leave your city and explore another part of Korea, there are regular trains for the stop-and-smell-the roses type of passenger as well as the KTX bullet trains for those looking to get places fast. All of the options are affordable and give you the opportunity to view the beautiful Korean countryside.

2. Online Banking (Sending Money)

Forget Venmo and PayPal. In Korea, you can make easy and safe bank transfers online with your bank. This means you can pay people and businesses as well as receive funds in seconds. No more waiting 2-3 days to see funds show up in your bank account. In Korea, you can have your money instantly. (By the way, they’ve been doing it this way for almost 20 years! For better context, they never used a paper checking system.)

 

A row of ATMs of the top 5 most popular banks in Korea.
A row of ATMs of the top 4 banks
Smart phone app for a Korean bank to allow instantaneous transfer of money to other bank accounts.
Mobile App for Woori Bank

3. Public Safety (No Theft Or Guns)

With strict gun laws, it’s difficult to gain access to weapons in Korea. Between this and Korea’s CCTV coverage, South Korea is an extremely safe country to live in. When compared with other industrialized countries, South Korea has a very low crime rate, and in 2021, they saw their lowest crime rate in ten years. You may not realize it until you are here, but living in Korea made me realize how much unnecessary stress I frequently dealt with worrying about keeping myself and my belongings safe.  

 

4. Cheap Meals (Delicious & Healthy, too!)

The cost of a delicious, nutritious meal in Korea can be as cheap as ₩7,000, which is roughly $5.50 USD. Not only is eating out affordable, but there are plenty of delicious foods to try from. Korea has everything from bibimbap and tteokbokki to pizza and burgers. Oh, and a huge bonus you probably didn’t think was even a possibility. There is NO TIPPING in Korea! Whether you dine out or take a cab, tipping is not a part of the culture. It is a huge savings and makes life so much easier.   

Assorted fish, kimchi stew, and side dishes at a traditional restaurant in Korea

5. Skin Care (The Mecca for All Your Needs)

Koreans love skin care. With a huge market for it, you can find the exact right combination of products for your skin type. Due to its popularity, there’s a wide variety of options, and they are relatively affordable in comparison to American brands. In addition, Korea has many great spa options if pampering is your favorite method of self-care.  And it’s not just for us girls! Men all across the world are starting to take better care of their skin, and Korea has all the products you can think of.  

 

 

Diana Richtman is a writer and ESL teacher living in Seoul, South Korea. Originally from Savannah, Georgia in the United States, Diana holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Georgia in English & Women’s Studies. After receiving her TEFL certification, Diana moved to South Korea where she works at one of Creverse’s April Institutes. When Diana isn’t working, she loves exploring Korea, drinking warm cups of tea, and scaring away her friends with her karaoke performances.

Top 4 Travel Destinations from South Korea

A Hop, Skip, and a Jump Away!

Many people don’t know that Incheon Airport is considered one of the greatest airports in the world. While living in South Korea, make sure to take advantage of the cheap flights and book your next trip. There are plenty of places to travel to within just a few hours! Here are the top 4 travel destinations from South Korea. 

 

JAPAN

Japan is about a 2-hour flight. Round trip tickets typically range between $210 – $360 USD. The cheapest flights are usually sold around June, while the most expensive flights are sold during the month of March which is peak travel. Korean Air, Peach Aviation, Jeju Air, Jin Air, Asiana, T’Way Air, Air Seoul, EASTAR JET, Air Busan, Air Premia, Ethiopian, JAL and ANA fly directly from Seoul to Tokyo. Check out Diana’s trip to Tokyo here!

Picture at night of the crowded streets of Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan
A pagoda on a cliff in Okinawa, Japan.
Okinawa, Japan

VIETNAM

Halong Bay, the number one tourist spot in Vietnam, is about a 5-hour and 25-minute flight from Incheon. A round trip ticket typically sells for $254 USD. Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam and Hội An, a well preserved ancient town are other places well worth a visit. Both are about a 4-hour and 30-minute flight from Incheon with flight tickets starting at $254 USD as well.

A boat in the waters of Halong Bay in Vietnam.
Halong Bay, Vietnam
Night image of lantern festival at Hoi An, Vietnam.
Hoi An, Vietnam

CHINA

China’s capital Beijing and other cities like Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Chengdu are also about 2 hours away from South Korea by airplane. The lowest round trip tickets start at $175 USD. The highest round trip tickets end at $350 USD. Great Wall, anyone?

 

Korean City
Shanghai, China
Great Wall of China with a purple sunset.
Beijing, China

THAILAND

Popular tourist destinations in Thailand include Phuket, Chiang Mai, Phi Phi and Koh Samui to name just a few! The flight from Seoul to Bangkok is about 5 hours and 30 minutes, with plane tickets starting at $229 USD.

 

Cityscape of Bankok, Thailand.
Bankok, Thailand
Temple in Chang Mai, Thailand.
Chiang Mai, Thailand

These countries are just four of your many options you can travel to on the cheap in just a few hours. You should also consider the Philippines, Laos, Cambodia, or even Taiwan. If you have a love for adventure, this is your time to shine!

 

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.

Getting An Alien Registration Card

What Is An Alien Registration Card?

Obtaining an E-2 visa upon your arrival to Korea does not actually give you permission to live in Korea. I know, I was confused at first too! But, an E-2 visa is a legal document you need to teach English in South Korea regardless of educational institution. An Alien Registration card, or ARC, is an identification card that foreigners are legally obligated to carry with them at all times. According to Yonsei University (2014), “It is illegal to stay in Korea for more than 90 days without being registered, regardless of your visa at entry.” 

 

How To Get Your ARC

To register for an Alien Registration Card, you must go to a Korean Immigration office and provide an application form, passport, 1 color photo (3.5cmx4.5cm), proof of residence, application fee of 30,000 KRW, and medical check-up record for tuberculosis. The staff at your branch will schedule an appointment for you weeks in advance and provide all necessary documents (application form, proof of residence, and medical check-up record). However, you are responsible for providing your passport, colored photo, and application fee the day of your appointment.

 

Sample E-2 visa grant form for teachers in Korea
ARC Application Form

Immigration Office

The day of your appointment, you’ll feel like you’re at a DMV. You’ll sit down, wait for your number to be called, go to the help desk, present your folder, sign a couple of papers. That being said, you’ll be on your way out within 10 minutes. And, yes, the people at the immigration office speak English! The great thing about this Company is that they basically hold your hand when it comes to setting up legal documentation. With that being said, try to release some of that weight off your shoulders. I promise everything will be okay! If you have any other concerns about the ARC process, the Embassy of the Republic of Korea is a great website that conveys helpful information.

 

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.

Cell Phones In Korea

Cell Phones In Korea

When traveling abroad it seems like it’s just you and your cell phone against the world. You need it for navigation, transportation, translation, and so much more. It is essential to have a phone plan upon your arrival to Korea. There are a couple of options to consider and I am here to tell you all about cell phones in Korea!

 

Get a SIM Card

Before arriving in South Korea, it is best to switch from your current mobile provider to the South Korea SIM card provider. A SIM card allows you to utilize your mobile device to receive calls, send messages, or connect to mobile internet services. SIM cards are relatively cheap. The cost depends on how many days you would like the card to be activated. You can purchase these cards almost anywhere, including upon arrival at the Incheon airport in Korea. Just remember to have your passport on hand as it will be necessary to purchase a SIM card as a foreigner in Korea.

 

eSIM

There are two main types of Korean SIM cards you will encounter, the traditional SIM card and the eSIM. The eSIM functions as a regular SIM, but you are not actually inserting anything into your phone. Because you don’t have to physically pick it up, the eSIM is extremely convenient. All you have to do is sign up online, scan a QR code, then BAM! You’re connected to the world. Be sure to click this link to read more on how to access an eSIM.

Do not worry about how well a SIM card will work. According to GSMarena, Korea’s LTE coverage is the highest in the world. Some of the top rated Korean SIM cards include eSIM Korea, Trazy, Klook, EG, and Woori Mobile. These cards are only meant to keep you afloat until you receive your Alien Registration Card, or ARC. Once you receive your ARC, you will be able to register for a permanent Korean number and phone plan.

Setting Up a Phone Plan

There are several phone companies to consider when applying for a phone plan. A few major ones include KT, SKT, and LG U+. It is best to stick with these big phone companies as a foreigner, because you are less likely to get scammed.

I was able to acquire a Korean phone number with LG U+ and paid about 30,000 KRW a month for a basic phone plan. The entire process was painless. The LG U+ employee and I both used Papago to communicate. I simply chose the plan I wanted, displayed my passport and ARC, paid the man, and was on my way out within 20 minutes.

 

International Plans

Most US phone companies allow you to purchase an international service while you travel abroad. For an additional $50.00 USD a month, I was able to use my normal cellular data plan of 15 GB. Upon arrival, I was on a T-Mobile family plan with a displeasing phone balance. Because of this, I was unable to discontinue my payments.

 

Take it from me, pay your remaining phone balance & get off the family plan before arriving. I was paying for two phones, which felt very unnecessary when the only person in the world who ever tried contacting me, was my mother. Now, you might be asking yourself “Why did she continue to pay for both phones when you only need one?” The answer is, Korean bank accounts. In order to access direct deposit, receive/transfer money, you will need your own Korean number on file.

 

The Big Picture

I hope my personal experience and information have brought you a sense of clarity. I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a phone when living abroad. Be sure to plan accordingly, but most importantly, enjoy the adventure. Safe travels!  

 

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.

Making Friends In Korea

An Introvert Making Friends

Being an introvert, moving halfway across the world was extremely terrifying. I came to Korea not knowing a single person or the native language. Making friends in Korea to share all of these new experiences with was something I longed for. I was worried that this wouldn’t happen because of my tendency to become shy around people I don’t know. Thankfully, everyone I have crossed paths with has been extremely welcoming.

 

Workplace

Everyone employed at Creverse has been in the same boat. We all started from the very bottom and created lives of our own here in Korea. Because everyone here took this huge leap & faced all the odds, there is this inherent respect from one another. All of my fellow co-workers have been extremely kind and supportive since I’ve arrived.

I have spent countless weekends with colleagues doing touristy things. If I ever have a rough day, I can always count on a coworker to meet me for a drink after class. These are some of the many perks of my great work environment. 

 

Apps!

I haven’t personally dabbled in meet up apps while being here in Korea. Although, I have met many people who found their wives/husbands and lifelong friends on apps such as Meeff, Meetup, Hellotalk, Bumble, Hinge, etc.. These apps are great ways to meet natives that can show you around, introduce you to some good restaurants, and maybe even help you learn the language.

I actually had the privilege of befriending my hairstylist 2 months into being here. We met up with each other on several occasions. I taught her some English phrases in exchange for some Korean words & knowledge on hair treatments. Shout out to Jin from Moioui, she is great at hairstyling & her English is very promising!

A college of meet-up and dating apps used in Korea including Hinge, Hello Talk, MEEFF and Meetup

Night Life

The amount of people I have met from bars & clubs is astounding. Itaewon is filled with foreigners from all over the globe who are so open and friendly. Hongdae is so vibrant, everyone is there to have a good time. I usually go out with a group of friends, but I think it’s worthy to note that my girl friends go out alone here in Korea. The fact that females feel comfortable enough to go out by themselves, have fun, and meet others is truly amazing. Of course, like anywhere else in the world, you have to take the standard precautions. But, that’s besides the point.

Activities

I go to the gym quite often and have made friends with staff and other members. I have friends in hip-hop dance classes that have met plenty of new people. There are so many sports activities & hobbies to partake in. Pilates studios, clubs such as boxing, tennis, basketball, baseball, soccer, running, etc., are all open to foreigners. There are numerous other programs I didn’t list. Fact remains, there is something for everyone. Finding an outlet when you arrive in Korea is something I highly encourage everyone to do. It is a great way to stay in shape, teaches you how to organize your time, and boosts friendships.

 

I hope this has helped you feel a little more confident about making friends in Korea. It’s probably one of the biggest benefits about teaching English in Korea!

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.