Ok so I imagine most of you will find this in some way useful. If there are any other things I think of or if there are other things you want to know about that I haven't included please comment at the bottom and I will either include it in the post (if it's a big reply) or comment back :)
Ok so again in some kind of order......
What to bring with you
Now depending on what kind of climate you live in it is difficult to say what to bring with you. At the moment it is really cold here in Ulsan. I mean makes-your-eyes-water-if-you-walk-too-fast kinda cold!! By nature I'm usually a warm person, the cold doesn't bother me that much but I go out in my Uggs, coat, thick woolley hat, snood and gloves and I'm STILL cold! It's -4°C here at the moment and it's supposed to get colder :((
It's also supposed to be really hot and humid in Summer so you need to think about that too. You can buy clothes easily out here and you can always order online and have things sent to your school (I do) so that you don't miss the post.
Ok so practical things: gentlemen I think you will be ok whatever you bring, although the men tend towards tight skinny jeans (from what I've seen anyway) so perhaps bring some jeans as a starting point.
Women.....BRING BRAS! Unless you have little cupcakes you are not going to find any that fit you out here!! Trust me!
In general I would suggest bringing a hefty supply of toothpaste (the stuff out here is 'rank' so I'm told) and deodorant. Deodorant out here is a) very difficult to find and b) costs about £7 per aerosol!! I would also recommend bringing things like paracetamol, alka seltzer and BITE CREAM! The mosquitos are apparently nasty in Summer, great!
The only things I wish I had brought with me are things to put in my apartment to make it feel more homey, things like photos and fairy lights (because it's Christmas nearly now and they're expensive out here), gravy and chicken seasoning (it's either spicy or totally bland here), then practical things like more pharmaceuticals like paracetamol, you can get them here but they're not the cheapest. Otherwise near enough everything you can get out here. There's a supermarket out here called Home Plus+ which is the same as Tesco in England (they have Tesco products and clothing) so most stuff you can buy out here. Be warned that shampoo, conditioner, shower gel etc is probably the most expensive thing you'll have to buy, they're about 10,000 Won each (about £5).
Bring lots of adaptors too! It's a European plug (two pin) here. I bought a haridryer and straighteners that already had a two pin plug so the only thing I needed an adaptor for was my laptop and alarm clock :D Ladies, Toni & Guy so really good electricals, that's where both of mine are from!
Oh! I also bought bed sheets! Now I only brought them because i heard that they aren't easy to come by. Maybe in smaller cities but Home Plus+ have loads of them so I nedn't have bothered but then again it's more comforting to have home stuff, you'd be surprised how weird it feels living in an apartment that doesn't feel like it's your home!
One more thing! While I think of it! I would HIGHLY recommend doing some lesson plans before you get out, just so you're covered for your first lesson. My first lesson I just did about me (the kids loved being nosey) so I showed them some pictures of my family and hometown and told them some interesting stuff about it (the boys liked the fact that there's a gibbet/guillotine in my home town!). Then I asked them to pick their own English name (my co-t said this was a good idea) and needless to say it went down well, I have a lot of Beyonces, Optimus Primes and Hagrids in my classes but it has helped getting to know their faces! Then I just asked them to think of a question to ask me, most of them wanted to know if I had a boyfriend lol. The first few lessons you do can be about England or wherever you're from, they love to know all that stuff! And if you like Manchester United you're well in because Ji-Sung Park (or Park Ji-Sung out here) is the national treasure!! Also swot up on your Justin Bieber songs (for the girls) the Twilight and Harry Potter saga and K-Pop too, that's very popular, especially Infinite!
OK so it is most likely that you will get insurance etc via your employer. BUT this to my knowledge doesn't come through right away, I think it's once you have your ARC card that the insurance comes into effect.
So I went on http://www.comparethemarket.com/ and got travel insurance from there. Just a basic one, I think it was about £30 or thereabouts for 2 months insurance which included medical, flight and baggage cover I think!? This would take me from November to January by which time my work insurance should have come through. Now you may hear the recruiters talk about Ex-Pat insurance, I think this is more an American/Canadian thing because I couldn't find anything in the UK about Ex-Pat insurance so don't panic.
If I hear anymore about the insurance I will update this post but I doubt I will. I have heard of some other teachers who have gone to the doctors/hospital etc when they are ill and they've just shown them their ARC card and been treated fine.
OK you should ONLY book your flight once you have your visa back. I flew out here with Emirates as they gave you 30kg luggage allowance whereas the other airline only gave you 20-22kg. Believe me, when you have to pack an army of jumpers (it is FREZZING out here) you'll be thankful for it! My flight was around £470 including taxes etc. I flew from Manchester but you can fly from London and Edinburgh (or Newcastle, one of the two) as well. I took the later 1.30pm flight which got me into Dubai at midnight local time. I only had a 3 hour wait (which flew by because the queue for security was HUGE) and then my flight on to Seoul was at 3am and landed at 4.30pm local time.
Now a good trick, for if you're only a few kgs over and can't fit all your luggage, is to what I did. I had my sister hold on to my laptop (2kg) and my Uggs out of my carry-on bag (they only weigh it when you check in) so that I was under the weight limit and then snuck them in afterwards :D hehe
You can pay for additional luggage but it was something ridiculous like £140 for an extra 5kgs! It's cheaper to post stuff out there. If you send a 20kg box with DHL or the Post Office it's only £100!!
Chances are they'll have you fly out here on the Friday ready to start on the Monday so I left on Weds, arrived in Seoul on Thursday and then travelled down to Ulsan on Friday morning. I have heard of a few people arriving and literally going into school in the same afternoon so be prepared for the worst!!!!
Now the flight, including stop-over in Dubai, was 17 hours in total, then it takes aother 5 hours to get from Seoul down to Ulsan. If you're working in Seoul you don't need to arrive early like I did but if you are coming anywhere near Ulsan I would 1,000,000% recommend staying the night in a hotel before you travel the extra 5 hours! I was sooooooooooo tired when I arrived there is no way I could have done another 5 hours. I stayed at the Incheon Airport Guesthouse which I found on www.hostelworld.com. I had a double room (actually had 2 double beds) and it was about £30. The shower was good too, fast and hot, made me feel human again! They picked me up from the airport for free and then took me back there (to catch the bus) the next day, again for free. If you stay over and stop here I would recommend getting some food at the airport as there wasnt much nearby.
I would also recommend bringing Korean Won with you. I didn't because you had to pre-order it at the travel agent and i didnt know this and so didn't have time. They do accept US dollars but unless you know the exchange rate chapter and verse chances are you'll get ripped off a little.
One point to note is that O2 doesn't work out here. I'm not sure about the other networks but my phone (Blackberry) doesn't even pick up a Korean signal so it was pointless bringing it. The only thing it's good for is storing numbers should I need to use a payphone.
Buses/Flights in Seoul
Now I didn't fly from Seoul to Ulsan because Korean Air only give you 20kgs luggage and I already had 30kg from Emirates. Apparently it's not expensive to pay additional baggage but I had booked my hotel for the night and had already arranged to meet my co-teacher at the bus station in Ulsan. All domestic flights go from Gimpo Airport which is about 45mins away by bus. Apparently there is also an express rail that takes you there too. If you are flying from Gimpo the same day I would recommend giving yourself at LEAST 3 hours between flights as you have to get through baggage, immigration and get there with enough time to check in.
Buses from the airport are a doddle to catch, when you come out of arrivals just head for the exit near Exit 7-8 and you should see a little stand next to the door that mentions transport. The lady there was very helpful and took me outside to the ticket office and got my ticket for me. The buses come regularly if you're going to Gangnam Station (Seoul central bus station) so keep an eye out for them, the number is written clearly on the front/side.
Buses to Ulsan go every 5 hours. The first one is around 7.30am then again at around 1pm then the last one is around 6pm. I thought they went every 30mins (I read the website details wrong) and so had to take a bus into Seoul station and then wait 15mins for the bus to Ulsan. So you know, if you take the bus to Ulsan via Seoul, the bus will drop you off literally at the side of the road. Cross the street go down the subway stairs, turn left at the bottom and walk straight ahead, there is an escalator at the other side, go up it and turn right, that is the central terminal!)
Now I had to pay for my medical which I wasnt aware of, some people didn't. It was 80,000 Won. I had an eye test, hearing test, chest x-ray, urine and blood sample taken and I was weighed and measured. The results came back in about 4 days and then you can send off for the ARC card.
Now my apartment is lovely (check out my video) but please don't be misled, not ALL apartments are this nice. Mine is in a new building and is a good 20mins north of Ulsan centre. Apartments in the city are more expensive and aren't as nice. They're not horrible by all means, I have been to some other teachers apartments and while they're not as new and shiney as mine they aren't bad. As long as you dont expect the Ritz you wont be disappointed. Just think of an average apartment in the UK and you'll be fine. Just the decor is a little dated. But they are a lot bigger, most of the ones I've seen have more than one bedroom!
All apartments should come with furniture already i.e. bed, wardrobe, desk or table and chairs, washing machine, microwave etc check your contract for more details. If you want additional furniture you can use your settlement fee (usually 300,000 Won) to buy stuff. I've seen a brand new sofabed for sale (on sale) for 80,000 Won (116,000 full price) so 300,000 should go pretty far! I will post details of where to shop etc in another post.
ARC/Immigration, bank account and phones/internet
Your co-teacher should take you for your ARC card once you have your medical results back. You'll need your passport, 10,000 Won and a recent passport photo. The card takes about 2 weeks and they will likely post it to your school. Once you have your ARC card, you can get things more set up.
Once you have your ARC card you can set up a bank account. Most people have an NH Bank account to get paid by their school but they aren't the best bank for foreigners. KEB Bank offer better rates for foreigners and for sending money home. You can open as many accounts as you like. Once you have your bank account set up you can then get a phone and set-up an internet connection.
If you read my other post about things to do while you're waiting for your contract you'll know that you can have a phone waiting here for you via the Arrival Store (http://www.thearrivalstore.com/). Otherwise you'll have to wait for the ARC to get one.
I don't have either a phone or internet just yet but I will update this section once I have them :D
If there is anything else you would like to know that I have missed please message below......thanks!