How to Move to South Korea the Easy Way
Don't let people scare you out of coming
How is Korea? Amazing! If you talk to most spouses that come here they say they love it. A lot of people get freaked out because of North Korea however when you get here you see that the threat level is very low. The public perception of living here while in America changes dramatically when you actually get here. Personally, the food is worth the move! Mcdonalds actually looks like the burgers you see in commercials and most the food I've tried is AMAZING. One of the challenges of living here is not having a car but everything is easily within walking distance and public transportation is very accessible and cheap. It gets very humid here so invest in some good conditioner!
Tips For Before You Move
- Before you come you should take a copy of your spouses orders to your phone provider and have them suspend your contract. IT'S FREE! That way when you get to Korea you aren't paying for a phone you can't really use.
- However, if you choose to keep your phone (like I did) there is wifi almost everywhere you go.
- Almost all contracts are suspendable with military orders... If you are renting an apartment or leasing a car, if your name is on your spouse's orders you can get out of the contract with no penalty.
- Either find a VPN provider or cancel your Hulu. Most VPN's that are free don't really work with Hulu so I'd definitely look more into that.
- The summer is really, really, really, hot... and the winter is really cold! So pack for both for sure!
- Sometimes if your significant other is in the military they don't have to have a passport to travel here but they will if you want to go on a vacation from here. It costs us 350$ to travel to Sydney Australia from Incheon Airport. That's 2 grown-ups and a baby. Get the passport situation figured out...
Look up Facebook groups of people in the area
Make a list of things you're interested in and look for groups that cater to those interests.
- If you are a military spouse chances are your husband/wife will already know someone in Korea. The benefit to having your spouse in good contact with someone already stationed there is that they may let you send things ahead of time and store it for you. My husband was in Korea for nine months before we joined him and it was a lifesaver to just send clothes, toiletries, and baby things ahead of time so we didn't have to lug it around at the airport.
- It is the 21st century, so use the tools that are available to you! Facebook has a ton of groups for spouses for everything between playdates and wine clubs. I would start talking to people before getting here. Jobs are very competitive for babysitting and dogsitting so MAKE CONNECTIONS! A lot of people move to Korea to teach English.
- We are personally stationed at Osan AFB. The Facebook groups that I have found most helpful are the "Osan AB Spouses", "Need a babysitter?, Petsitter? (Humphreys and Osan area)" and "Osan Flea Market (Official page)". These sites pretty much cover the bases of support, side jobs, and selling/buying stuff.
I HAVE LINKS BELOW IN A CHART TO ALL OF THE PAGES MENTIONED
Things I shipped ahead of time.
Think of things that you use on a daily basis.
- A bonus to shipping ahead is that you can send boxes at a slower rate and pay less to get some things there on time.
- Toiletries- Some things you can't take through the airport in larger quantities and my first priority after flying is always a shower.
- If you have a baby make a list of things your baby needs every day. Think bath time, sleep time, eat time, and play time! We got a pack and play for our son to sleep in and it has worked perfectly and as a bonus it's mobile.
- Remember that if you are traveling with a baby you can bring a carry on plus a purse and a diaper bag and most airlines will check your stroller and car seat for free. However, when you get to Korea there are no set laws for car seats except for on base and you will want a stroller with bigger rubber tires because the rodes are uneven.
- The diaper bag I have has room for 3 bottles and a zipper behind the backpack straps to access the bottom of the bag without having to dig all the way through. I will link the exact one below. Another really important thing for me was the munchkin arm and hammer diaper bag dispenser. My son has some stinky poops and on a 12-hour flight when all of the bathrooms were taken up these came in hand. My son also had a blowout on the flight I just stripped him down and put his clothes in one of those bags and you couldn't smell anything!
Best Diaper Bag/Backpack
I used this backpack on a long airplane ride and it held up amazingly! It was so useful to be able to use the compartment behind the backpack straps to get to the bottom of the bag instead of digging all the way through!
Bags for Stinky Diapers Attaches to diaper bags for on the go!
These save me all the time when my son has a blowout. We just put his clothes in it and we are good till we get home! It locks the smell in so that nothing at all gets through. As a bonus, these are awesome for when a stinky diaper happens far away from any kind of trash can.
Find A Realtor
If you live off base they are really helpful and necessary!
My son and I moved here Non-CSP (command sponsored) and we love it! Because the military didn't pay for us to move here we had to pay out of pocket for most things until my husband could move off base. However, most realtors are very understanding and know how military pay works. Our realtors' name is Sue and she works a Dream House.
We found an amazing apartment. It is 3 bedroom, 2 baths, and that's on SrA pay. Because our pay was messed up (still is) our realtor is letting us pay our first month's rent in increments. Along with giving my husband money for a bike to get back and forth to work.
I've also heard of people getting free scooters and mattress toppers included with their lease. (Korean beds are really hard)
Some of the more popular places to live in the area include Madison Square 3, Oprah House, and Gangnam Villiage.
One of the most important things to remember is that if you don't like what one realtor is showing you DON'T hesitate to find a new one.
Spouses Pages/helpful pages
Helpful packing lists and advice
This is a Babysitting/petsitting page https://www.facebook.com/groups/334516089948323/
For traveling with a babyhttps://www.babycenter.com/packing-checklist-for-traveling-with-baby
This is a Flea market pagehttps://www.facebook.com/groups/411255355611007/
For you https://www.eaglecreek.com/blog/what-pack-ultimate-travel-packing-checklist
Osan Spouses page https://www.facebook.com/groups/132356246790904/
VERY HELPFUL https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/air-travel-tips
When you get settled
When you get settled don't forget to explore your local area and try to experience the culture! A lot of the places around military bases are very Americanized so venture out! Get out of your comfort zone! Try the local snacks and candies!
© 2018 Raven B