What is the name of the city or town that you are reporting on?
Name three things that you wish you had brought and three you wish you had left at home.
Wished I had brought:
1. Mix packages for sauce preparation. Like Swansons for spagetti sauce, and gravy, etc.
2. Converter for 110 to 220 V. The converters purchased in Korea are not reliable.
3. Floor heaters - I only have two and it gets really cold in Korea. The utilities bill is outrageous. Using the whole house heater really runs up the bill. It would be nice just to heat the required rooms and close the door of the others.
4. More winter clothes - it gets extremely cold here and finding proper size can be difficult.
5. Bug killer bombs - when two houses in my neighborhood were demolished for rebuilding - their bugs moved to my house - ants and roaches. After living in the house for 1 year with no pest problem, I thought I would not have any bug problems. Wrong! With the tearing down of the houses, I have a constant battle. I just wish I could let off a couple of bug bombs - but I cannot find in stores - only bug spray.
6. Gardening items - most landlords expect you to take care of the yard. Finding quality mowers, rakes, brooms, shovels (for snow also), etc. is difficult and the quality may not be up to par.
7. Salting for ice on driveway, walkway, and parts of street. Despite the heavy snow fall and sheets of ice that form, the Seoul city does not clear its streets. Slipping is a constant hazard and finding salting material is near impossible. For 2 months out of the year, my walkway to my front door is a sheet of ice.
Wish I'd left behind:
1. US purchased DVD's. They don't work on a Korean machine.
2. Feminine protection - tampons and pads can be found in ever Korean grocery store.
3. Dryer sheets to eliminate cling. These, and softeners, can be found in any Korean grocery store.
Moving to Korea
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What advice would you give someone preparing to move to your area about the actual move, choosing a neighborhood and finding a home?
If you are a family, stay in a hotel until you discover the neighborhood you desire. How I would find that neighborhood is to seek out your child's school counselor or principal and ask what neighborhoods do most expat students live in. Then hire an expat service to find housing in those areas at your price range. ARM, Asian Relocation Mangement Korea, is a very good expat service company (phone in Korea: 011-9547-8383)
What type of housing do you live in? Is this typical for most expats in your area?
I live in a large house. This is typical for many expats that come to Korea with a large foreign company. But, many singles live here also. They live in apartment housing or on a military base.
How did you choose your neighborhood and find your home or apartment?
My husband relocated to Korea first and chose a location close to subways and shopping - an area called Itaewon. Unfortunately, if I had to do it again, I would not choose this neighborhood. The area is frequented by singles and there are many bars. Not necessarily the best neighborhood for raising children.
Are your housing costs higher or lower than they were in your home country? What is the average cost of housing there?
The housing cost is outrageous. My home is almost US 10,000 per month. Definitely outrageous.