You’ve waited weeks for this moment, perhaps even months. You have landed at Incheon Airport, and you’ve been told how to get out of the airport (take a bus into Seoul, look for someone holding your name when you come out of baggage claim, etc). But you probably have no idea what comes next, right?
Here’s how to make your first weeks after arriving in Korea a little less stressful:
Once you arrive, you should be able to find the free WiFi at Incheon Airport. While you’re waiting for baggage, standing in immigration lines, or waiting for your bus to arrive, you can use your laptop or phone to connect to the internet.
If your school is putting you up in a hotel for the first few days, you’ll probably have internet access. If you’re going straight to your apartment, it all depends on whether the teacher before you has cancelled or kept their old internet contract.
Solution: Find a coffee shop in the area – they are plentiful, and most have free WiFi. You could also look for PC-Bongs – computer rooms.
2. Your Apartment
Do you have any expectations about what your apartment might or should be like? Some advice – don’t have any. It will probably be dirty. You’ll likely spend your first 2 days deep cleaning every single surface. You’ll probably have to throw out a bunch of random stuff that was left by the teacher before you.
Trust us – it happens to everyone. Just buckle down, clean it all up, and then start to settle in. And hopefully the experience will motivate you to leave the apartment in a better condition when you head home!
Apartments in Korea come in different shapes and sizes, and just remember to keep an open mind. After all, this will be your home for at least the next year!
You’ll learn how to use hand signals you never knew existed… you’ll probably make up a few, too!
No: Cross your arms in the form of an ‘X’
Yes: Show the Okay sign
Be cute: Show the peace sign, next to your face
Learn some basic Korean – a little bit goes a long way! Then, learn how to Read Korean – if you have someone helping you, it shouldn’t take you more than a few hours! You won’t have any idea what 99% of the signs actually mean, but hey, you’ll be able to read them!
4. Grocery Shopping
There might be a Home Plus, Lotte Mart or E-mart close to you. If not, you’ll be able to get the basics from corner stores like CU, IGA, 7-Eleven or GS25. You should also have a bakery, like Paris Baguette, in the area.
You’ll slowly get to know which products you can find (and which are impossible to track down) in Korea. Until then, make friends with people who have been in Korea longer than you!
5. Dealing with colleagues
We’ve created this section, to get you prepared for the working culture of Korea, and to give you an insight in what might be expected of you. This will change your attitude in the workplace and definitely score you some brownie points in the office!
Eager to know more? We’ve spent a lot of time developing Adventure Teaching’s Guide to South Korea. It’s packed full of information that will help you know how to navigate your first few days in Korea!
So, what did we miss? Do you have any stories to share about your arrival to Korea?