Most Popular posts of 2014

The Most Popular posts of 2014: It’s always hard to predict what the reader wants to know. These posts hit a common nerve and you were interested in reading this. Here are the Top 10 most popular posts of 2014 (so far), and we don’t plan to stop posting more of these any time soon… Did you miss any of them? Which one was your favorite?

10. Arriving in Korea

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.


9. The ultimate checklist

It’s crunch time, and you’re preparing to actually GO ABROAD! It probably feels like everything is happening way too fast… and truth be told, it probably is. With that in mind, here’s the ultimate checklist to help ensure that you have everything covered…


8. Weird facts about North Korea

According to Kim Jong-Il’s biography, he was born under a double rainbow as a new star appeared. He  started to walk at 3 weeks old, and claimed to be able to control the weather by his moods. What are some other weird facts you’ve heard about North Korea?


7. Weird places in Korea

Yes, we know about all the must-do’s in Korea.. But how about the weird, the different, the unusual places in Korea…?


6. Useful websites in Korea

Are you new to Korea? Have you been here for a few years? Either way, we’ve found these useful websites in Korea to be super helpful in planning nights out, weekends away, or exotic trips out of the country.  We hope this list will assist you as you create memories overseas!


5. What I wish I knew before coming to Korea

What I knew of the world changed during my first few days, weeks, and months in Korea. I did my research, but there were a few things that I missed. This is what I wish I knew before arriving in Korea.


4. Living cost in Korea

So you’re coming to Korea, and you’ll be earning around 2.0 – 2.1m KRW (average starting salary for a 1st year teacher). You’re probably wondering what your living costs in South Korea will look like, right? How much can you save? How much can you send home to pay off student loans? How much will you have in your pocket to spend on traveling?


3. Returning home after being abroad

Reverse culture shock, according to Investopia:

“The shock suffered by some people when they return home after a number of years overseas. This can result in unexpected difficulty in readjusting to the culture and values of the home country, now that the previously familiar has become unfamiliar.”

You just returned from a place that is very different. The language, the customs, the way of living… and now you’re “home.” But if it’s “home,” then how come I feel so… out of place?


2. Learn to read Korean

Did you know that you could Learn to read Korean in less than an hour?! This picture is famous for being a good way to learn to read Korean, in just 15 minutes… (Took some of us closer to an hour), but imagine spending 1 hour – and being able to save so much more time in the future, by being able to read!


And the most popular post of 2014:


1. What not to say to an expat

I’ve been gone for a while, and I know you don’t fully understand the ways that I’ve changed. So, to every expat-friend-and-family-member-ever. Here’s what NOT to say to an expat.


What topic will be more popular then this one? Let us know, and we might just write about that next!


10 Apps You Don’t Want To Miss in Korea!

When you arrive in Korea, you will quickly realize the value of having a smart phone. It will help you stay in touch with friends and document your daily adventures (selfies heeey!), it will help you navigate your way around the country and look up info about local restaurants. Here are 10 apps you don’t want to miss while you’re teaching English in South Korea!

mzl.zxzzkxtx1. Subway Map for iPhone + Android

Not sure how to reach your destination? This app provides you with the latest subway maps for Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Daejeon, and Gwangju.


2. Gyeonggi-do Bus Map for Android

Access real-time bus route information in the Gyeonggi, Seoul and Incheon areas. Search for the the closet bus-stops,  look up specific bus routes, or map your own trip. The times of arrival are pretty accurate, too !


mzl.ubmrskep3. Visit Korea for iPhone + Android

What better way to see the country than to listen to those who know? This app offers you the opportunity to really experience Korea.


mzl.biicxeos4.  Naver Maps for iPhone + Android

For those who don’t already know, Naver is to Korea what Google is to North America. Naver Maps is like Google Maps. No wi-fi or data where you’re going? No problem! You can download the map beforehand.


mzl.bkxzouzi5. Hidden Camera for Android


You’ll quickly notice the shutter sound your phone makes whenever you take a picture. Annoying, right? Oddly enough, that sound cannot be switched off. Good news – this app will allow you to snap a pic of your best friend sleeping on the shoulder of an ajumma on the subway… and your phone won’t make a peep!


skype-icon6. Skype for iPhone + Android

Seriously, how did the world ever function before Skype?


 SRZ9o7Z7. Google Translate for iPhone + Android

This app is MAGIC. You can speak into it, type a word, or take a picture of something… and boom = translation.


p56dutd7vfzm8ja78. Kayak for iPhone + Android

When you’re booking flights for epic vacations during your time off, this app will come in handy. Kayak helps you search flights from a handful of airlines to get the best deals!

cgv-app9. CGV for Android

Movie times at your local theater! This app is currently in Korean only, so ask someone to help you out. If it’s not an English movie, make sure there are English subtitles! You don’t want to be end up watching a Spanish movie with Korean subtitles when you are a monolingual English speaker… and yes, those movies exist in Korea. You’ve been warned.


Kakao-Talk-app10. KakaoTalk for iPhone + Android

Korea’s most popular texting and group-texting app. You can add friends from all around the world (up to five friends per chat at once) — for free!



So there you have it – a quick guide to getting the best smart phone apps in Korea. If you are moving soon and are wondering about getting a phone, the team at The Arrival Store can help get you set up!

 Want to learn more about communication in Korea? CLICK HERE!


Differences between expats and travelers

You spot them both in the street. It’s Saturday.

The expat is walking with confidence; you wouldn’t realize that he* is actually lost. He is walking with a smile on his face and along the way, he has picked up some little cultural quirks. He’s not even aware of the fact that he’s doing it. He asks for help, using mostly body language and waits at the bus stop, for the next bus to arrive.  He’ll find his way.


A girl* is walking past. She is trying to make sense of her map. I’m almost certain that it’s the wrong way around, but hey, I’m just observing.  Her schedule is tight: She’s got places to go and people to see. Everything has been planned to the minute, and she’s getting frustrated. She signals for a taxi to stop, because he’ll be able to get her to the address, written on the back of one of her many tourist flyers…She’s called, a traveler.

There are a lot of differences between expats and travelers.


1. Going with it vs Planning

He has a broad idea of things to do, but he will take lemons and make lemonade. He’s got a lot of time (even though a lot of expats don’t use it as well as they should), and instead of having a list from TripAdvisor, he keeps his ears open and listens to recommendations from the people around him.

A traveler has a limited amount of time. Every second counts, and therefore, it’s easier to do research beforehand and follow the plan

2. More Adventurous (Risk takers) vs Comfort zone

The expat likes to take risks. After all, he left his home country, everything he knew, for the unknown. He gave up the privilege to spend Christmas at home as well as the luxury of understanding people. He took a step, and had no idea where it would lead to. It takes courage not to run back home at the first setback.

3. Friendly, more adaptable to culture vs their own way of doing things     

The expat is a lot more flexible and adaptable than the traveler. The expat is aware of the fact that he is the visitor in another country, and he has to adapt to their way of doing things.

The traveler is used to her routine, so she sees no reason why she needs to change for other people. She’s frustrated pretty quickly, because she expects things to go according to the way it is in her home country. She’s not too fond of changes.


4. Less snobs, your group of friends is as dynamic as ever

As the year goes by, the expat makes friends. Lots of them. One as dynamic as the other. The main thing they have in common, is the fact that they:

  1. Moved abroad
  2. Get homesick
  3. Like to explore

It doesn’t matter as much where people are from or what they are doing here. It’s more about the fact that you are her now, and that’s all that matters


Travelers can come across as being a bit more pretentious. They choose who to hang out with, with a bit more care…….


5. Expats know they don’t know, Travelers “know”

The expat is the one who will tell you all about the city that you are about to visit. He’ll refer to the fact that there’s just way too much to do, and that you’ll never have enough time to see it all.

The traveler will tell you how she got everything done in a few days… she was actually bored by the end of her trip. They’ll tell you “everything you need to know”

You don’t know what you don’t know, Ms. Traveler…


6. Think about life vs not to

The expat is the one who is moving to a different country, a new life. He has time to ponder about life, to think about the things that matter and the things that don’t…


It’s very different that being on vacation. You see the world around it, you see the beauty in it, and on impulse, you might decide that you want to move there too… Know that traveling through a country and living in it, would be 2 different experiences. Know that you’ll have a job, do dishes and pay bills, just as you did back home. This time, you might just find it a bit more difficult to communicate to those around you.


This is a generalization to the extreme of the differences between expats and travelers. You might  know some travelers who are more adventurous than some of your expat friends. True. Expats just tend to be, according to the stereotype.

* The fact that the guy is an expat, and the girl is the traveler, has nothing to do with genders, but it is merely to make it easier to distinguish between the two people.

What NOT to Say to an Expat

I’ve been gone for a while, and I know you don’t fully understand the ways that I’ve changed. So, to every expat-friend-and-family-member-ever:

Here’s what not to say to an expat.

Before moving abroad

Will-Work-For-Travel1. You’re going to Korea? No way! My cousin’s friend’s uncle’s niece is also teaching there. What a small world.

Yes, everyone knows someone who is in Korea, or who has been here,or who will move here. It’s just the way it is.

2. I’ll come visit you

Right. And unicorns exist. Say it when you mean it. We’ll be really disappointed if you don’t.

3. You’ll become so rich.

I’m flying to another country, and I’m working 5 days a week. Just as you are. I still have to eat and sleep and pay the bills.

 4. You’re so lucky!

What’s stopping you from joining me?!

During your stay

1. When are you coming home?

One day. Maybe. For now, I consider this home. When are you moving here?

2. When will you get a real job?

I go to work every morning, I work an 8-9 hour day, I leave when it’s done, and I get paid for it. What would you consider as a real job?


Mmmm… Comfort Foods.

3. You must really miss (insert food)?

And you just had to remind me.

4. Do you know (insert name) from (insert country) ? He is also there.

Yes, we are a group of 10 foreigners in the whole country, and there are big flashing arrows over our apartments so we can conveniently find each other.

5. Your life must be one big adventure.

I have a job. I have bills to pay. I miss out on Christmas at home. I would have liked proper Mexican food. Yes, I chose this, but it is what I make of it.

After moving back home


… silence….

1. You’ve changed… (awkward stare)

Is that a bad thing? It happened over time. My world got bigger, and I’ve been challenged in ways I never would have at home.

2. How was the trip?

Such a hard question. It wasn’t really a “trip”… you won’t really get it…

3. So, did you eat insects and stuff?

Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Which explains my trimmed physique. Naturally.

4. How would you say (insert foreign word) in (insert language)

Yes. I’m fluent. So glad you brought that up.


So please, friends and family. Be patient with us. Support us. Give us time to rediscover how to do life in the West. And above all, remember to start preparing for when you return home from living abroad.

Any extras you can think of? Let us know below!