Packing For Korea: Girls
Ladies, it’s about that time when you’ll start worrying about what to pack for the big move to South Korea. I decided to write down a list to help you better organize your suitcases! This one is for the ladies! Boys, check back here next week to see what’s on your list!
Things To Bring
1. Dresses/Loose T-shirt/Shorts
Pack first and foremost for the humid summer in which you’ll arrive to South Korea. The heat is unlike anything I’ve experienced…and I’m originally from Texas so don’t take this suggestion lightly.
Again, that summer heat is gonna get ya!
3. Walking Shoes
You’ll be walking insane amounts during orientation to get to classes, your dorm room, and the dining hall. Nip any potential injuries or blisters in the bud by wearing comfortable shoes until your little piggies get used to all the miles you’ll be clocking in on your pedometer.
Obviously, pack this only if it’s your preferred weapon of choice. If you use sanitary pads, it’s not necessary to pack a year’s supply because they’re abundant and cheap in Korea. Tampons, however, are insanely marked up compared to a box in the U.S. After buying a couple months’ worth, ditch the boxes and store them in a ziplock bag to save room in your suitcase. You can always have your family/friends mail you more during your year here.
The only deodorants I’ve found in Korea are the spray or roll-on kind by Nivea. They don’t do a great job and are pretty pricey. Bring a few sticks from home, and again, have your loved ones mail you more as you need them.
7. Hair Bands/Hairbrush/Hairspray/Bobbypins
I wore ponytails, buns, and braids the entire summer last year. I even learned a few new up-dos watching Youtube tutorials – anything to keep my hair off my neck. I have extremely fickle hair and need certain products to tame it. If you’re in the same boat, bring all of your hair tools from home.
9. Light Make-Up
You’ll need it during your orientation when you’re out exploring.
11. A Small Gift For Your Co-Teacher
It’s sweet and thoughtful to give your co-teacher, who will help you during your time in Korea, a small gift. It’s even more thoughtful if the gift somehow represents you or where you’re from. Being Mexican American, I brought my co-teacher a small bottle of tequila. She literally clapped her hands and giggled when I gave her the present. (FYI: Alcohol is fine to gift in Korea. In fact, it’s a great gift!)
12. Any Medication You Need (Prescribed or non-prescribed)
13. Plane Snacks
We’ve all heard the jokes about how terrible airline food is. If this is your first time flying, you should know that the jokes are all true.
14. A paper fan
In case your orientation site can’t use their air conditioning 24/7, which happens more often than you might think.
15. Reusable water bottle
Stay hydrated during those summer months!
16. Bras if you’re a C cup or higher
17. Copies and originals of all your EPIK documents
Things To Leave At Home
1. Heavy Duty Make Up
It’s best to leave your entire MAC collection at home unless you have dark or sensitive skin. Korea doesn’t cater to darker skin tones or sensitive skin.
2. Your entire collection of sky high heels
You don’t understand yet the amount of walking you’ll be doing in Korea. If you’re one of those gifted girls that can run a marathon in 6 inch stilettos, then disregard this message. For the rest of us who don’t have freakishly strong feet and ankles, you won’t be using them as much as you think – even on “girls’ night” you’ll be begging for a pair on ballet flats by the 3rd bar.
3. A Mountain Of Snacks You’ll Miss
Bring a few, but don’t overdo it. Leave some room in your suitcase and tummy to be adventurous and taste some of the Korean food!
4. Every Piece Of Winter Clothing You Own
It takes up space and weighs down your bag. Bring the bare essentials and have anything you need mailed to you before winter hits.
1. Space saver vacuum seal bags are your best friend.
2. There’s nothing more stressful than lugging around 2 suitcases, a carry on, and a back pack through a large, crowded airport which you’ve stepped foot in before.
3. Minimalism is key because believe me when I say that you will shop in Korea since shopping is insanely cheap and Korean fashion is adorable.
4. No one really cares what you wear to orientation, so bring comfortable, cool clothes. During my orientation stay, the university wasn’t allowed to run the a/c the entire time like we do in America. I rocked spaghetti strap dresses every day because it was so stifling hot and humid. Although these kinds of shirts are a big no-no in Korea (showing shoulders in Korea is seen as too “sexy), orientation was more like a giant foreigners’ convention so no one was offended.
5. Anything important you forget can always be mailed over to you or purchased online. Don’t sweat the small stuff!
6. Don’t pack the night before you leave. No matter how much of a procrastinator you are. I made this mistake and spent the last night I had with my mom and sister debating how many pairs of bikinis I should pack – which, by the way, I have yet to wear a single one since moving to Korea 9 months ago!
I hope your organizing and packing is going well for you. If you’ve already made the move to Korea, what did you feel was absolutely necessary to pack with you? Tell us in a comment below! And to learn more about certain things I gave up as a girly girl to move to Korea, read my article The 6 Things A Girly Girl Gave Up To Travel.
So you mentioned that bare shoulders is inappropriate. When I visited Hong Kong I noticed that they also covered their shoulders, but their dresses a lot of casual dress wear was above the knee. What dress lengths are appropriate for work and what is appropriate for casual wear?