FINALLY found some time late at night to type this blog post in my new room! I shifted to Seoul from Gwangju 2 weeks ago the day after we finished our last finals for summer semester in language year and man, I have been so busy for the past 2 weeks just by cleaning and buying new stuff for my new room! Oh, and not to mention all the paper work to be done within 14 days after I shift because we need to declare our new address and change our D-4 visa to D-2 visa, which I would write a separate post to explain in more detail.
Anyway, in this blog post I will be covering some tips and my shifting experience. After signing the room contract in Seoul in July, I went back to Gwangju to wrap up the final month of language classes but although the homework and study load is significantly lower because towards the end almost all of us has at least TOPIK 3 already, we still had to attend classes everyday from 9am – 1pm. So basically in August, my weekends are mostly spend either saying goodbye with friends, going to my favourite hang out places (for the last time before I leave LOL), house shifting planning or PACKING! I’ll only be focusing on the latter two in the post though so hopefully my experience can be informative!
House shifting planning:
I think a month before the actual shifting date is a good time frame to start planning AND packing. Although I’ll admit some people may think it is too long of a time but I like planning my journey and process slowly without a hurry just in case something unexpected happens. Plus, I like to enjoy the process of planning and packing because it just adds to the excitement!
So, what did I planned?
1. Bus ticket time – It takes 3.5hours from Gwangju to Seoul so I left Seoul at 9.20am because by the time I reach Seoul I can have lunch and start cleaning my house instead of coming late and sleep in a dusty house.
2, Delivering stuff through parcel delivery – There are many companies offering to send our parcels. For my case, I could go to the post office but I decided to go with CJ Express because I found a 4000 won/box (20kg) deal online. Normally a 20kg big box will cost around 8000 won – 9000 won depending on the area. Plus, roughly a month before I left CJ Express came to our dorm to sell boxes used for the delivery (size 6 btw) so I bought 7 of them. The boxes itself is 2000 won each and I ended up sending 6 boxes up to Seoul.
Point to consider: Due to box size and parcel weight limit, it is good to take some time to consider how many boxes you may actually need. And it is always good to have some spare room because if I did not buy enough boxes, I would have to make an extra trip to get more boxes under the hot summer sun. (You really won’t want to do that, really)
3. Getting help – I was fortunate enough to get a Korean guy friend to help me shift. I live on 4th floor without an elevator and even after sending 6 boxes up, I still had 3 luggages + 1 hand carry luggage with me on my moving day #dontjudgeme. It is not easy to pull these heavy luggages up the stairs so make sure you get all the help you can! If you have friends in Seoul who can help, call them. If not, you can also request help from your agent. Mine was kind enough to handle all my parcel delivery boxes that was sent 1-2 weeks prior to my moving date.
4. Budgeting and shopping list – Actually this is the most important aspect of the ENTIRE PLANNING and I should have put this at first place but forgive me as I am typing this at 11pm and I am typing this post wherever my mind leads me as I recall on my experience :p Glad you have made it this far though haha. Anyway, the tip is it is best to start saving some allowance 6 months before language year ends because if you don’t have some savings to fall back on, chances are you will be running short of money because moving costs A LOT. Even if you are planning to move to the dorm and you will be paying cheap rent (unlike me), considering the money needed to pay to travel and sending your stuff up is also quite a lot of money. If you are planning to stay out in a one room like me, even with a full option one room, you still have to buy lots of daily necessities and electrical appliances too so it’s best to fatten up your account beforehand.
Things to consider:
- Parcel delivery
- Bus tickets to Seoul
- Necessities to buy (WiFi router (if not provided), toilet paper, clothes hanger, detergent, drinkable water if needed, room cleaning tools like brushes, detergents, cloths etc)
- Any extra furniture and electrical items to buy for the room (not applicable for dorm I guess) – These are the heavy weight items in terms of weight (literally) and cost
- Taxi fare to travel from dorm to bus station to new place or T-money reload cost
Pro tip: Due to lack of budget as we are not allowed to do any part time work to earn some extra cash, consider setting a priority list and wait till the next allowance to come in before buying stuff that you don’t need urgently.
Pro tip 2: While shopping it is best to check out a few online sites first to check on the price of a certain item. You may be able to find a really good deal randomly! It helps with budgeting and it will also save you a lot of time when it is time to order them at your new place!
Not-so-pro experience of mine: I needed to buy a water filter to filter tap water into drinkable water. I asked around and my friends suggested to buy a Brita jug since it is the most convenient way to filter and it is not too big or expensive. I searched online on a website that I always go to because I thought I could get a good deal there and not any other place. Turns out another platform was selling the same model at a cheaper price and they were offering a faster delivery time too! So lesson learned, always go to several websites!
Another not-so-pro experience of mine: I had a clothes hanger in the Chosun University dorm but since I shared it with my roomie, I left it in Gwangju since she still needs to use it. We bought the hanger at E-mart and it was quite a good deal because it costs like 18,000 won and it has a really nice structure. I searched other platforms for a cheaper option but I couldn’t find any so I ended up buying the same one in Seoul. Turns out, I found cheaper options in Ikea last week… (different model and structure though but I would have bought that if I found out earlier……..) So the lesson is, never assume that everything that is under a more premium brand to be ALWAYS more expensive than lesser known brands.
5. Dorm check in date and check out date – Not my own experience but I am just relaying what I observed among my friends who signed up to stay in their university dorm. So our Chosun University dorm only allow us to stay latest until 17th August. But, the degree university dorm would only allow students in earliest on the last week of August, if not by beginning September. So most of my friends are actually left stranded without a place to stay due to this mismatched check-in and check-out date. Most dorms are pretty strict when it comes to this so it was almost impossible for my friends to ask for an extension in our Chosun dorm or an early check in from their university dorm. So extra cost will also incur because you would have to live outside in a goshiwon or something with all your stuff for 2 weeks.
6. Paper work – OK this is like the second most important thing, if not, actually THE most important thing in the eyes of the law because within 14 days of shifting we need to change our address in the immigration office. For those staying outside of dorm at a place where there is a deposit involved, I would advice to also go to the local court to stamp your contract. More info on this in next posting! Also, we need to change our visa from D-4 to D-2 and there are a lot of documents to prepare even BEFORE you move!
After buying the boxes it is time to pack and send my stuff to Seoul! I was fortunate enough to receive help from my agent and I could send my stuff to my new room 2 weeks before moving. But this varies case by case because some dorms will not be able to store any luggage before hand so it is best to check with your agent or person in charge of the dorm!
Since it was really hot in the middle of July, I reckon it won’t be wise to send food stuff or sensitive items like make up, skin care, medicine etc first so I sent other non-perishable items like notebooks, clothes, handbags that I will not need to use for the last 2 weeks up first. Then, few days before moving up I sent the remaining like food, electrical items (I bought a mini fan because dorm doesn’t have AC for certain hours) and more clothing. To reduce cost for delivering the parcel, I actually left quite a lot of clothes, make up/skin care and valuable items to be stuffed into my 3 big luggage bags.
For some reference, here is my priority list for packing from pack first to pack last:
- Winter clothing, followed by thick clothing that is not worn in hot summer weather
- Unused notes, books, documents, extra stationary, souvenirs, memorabilia
- Stuff bought in bulk/extras that I know for sure I won’t be able to finish in the last 2 weeks – mask packs, free make up samples, handbags etc
- Shoes that I won’t be wearing till I move, summer clothing that I can do without for 2 weeks
- Unused, big electronic items
- Food, Make up, Skin care, Medicine (these are perishable items and not advisable to leave them outside in hot weather for too long)
- Summer clothing – Because you still need to wear some clothes while running around hahahaha. I would suggest keeping at least 1 week worth of clothes for home wear and outside wear.
- Electronic Items – Laptop, camera, chargers, powerbank etc (CARRY THESE WITH YOU!)
- Bedding – pillow, pillow covers, mattress covers, smelly bolsters (It’s an Asian thing) (I have the whole complete set so I just fit all of them in a hand carry and took them to Seoul with me!)
- Important certificates and documents! (DO NOT SEND THESE VIA PARCEL DELIVERY!)
Pro tip: Head to Daiso and buy some vacuum packs because they are super handy while packing bulky, furry winter clothing! It is not too expensive and you can reuse it again and again so it is worth the investment!
Pro tip 2: Maximize all the space in the box! Just make sure it doesn’t go over 20kg. If you live near a gym like I did, you can weigh the boxes using the weighing scale in the gym!
Pro tip 3: In relation to pro tip 2, you can sometimes fill up small spaces/gaps in the box by stuffing a pair of socks in it HAHAHAH. I have like almost 30 pairs of socks and I actually managed to stuff more than half of it just by filling up the empty gaps~
Pro tip 4: In case of rain/leakage of roof or for whatever reason your box comes in contact with water, always lace your box or wrap your items in plastics bags! My items are literally flood proof hahahaha because I didn’t want to risk losing my items if it somehow gets soaked.
Pro tip 5: Somehow we would end up having a few fragile items like glass cups, porcelain plates and so on that we HAVE to send via parcel so it is nice to keep some bubble wrap that you get when you buy things online because they do come in handy! Also, prior to packing just do a small check on what fragile items you have and just stuff it in between all your clothes after wrapping it in bubble wrap! We are warned by the delivery staff that the boxes are sometimes thrown to the ground rather harshly so any broken items will not be their responsibility. So pack well!
Pro tip 6: Aside from bubble wraps, save up some cardboard boxes along the way too because it is easier to pack smaller items into them and arrange them in the bigger courier boxes.
All in all, it was really hectic to pack everything and plan for the big move to Seoul! But it was also an experience that taught me a lot and definitely will come in handy if I need to move to another place again. I hope this post will provide great help especially for KGSP students who will be moving from their language university to their major university. Even though it was a tough process mainly due to language barrier and also lack of experience on my part, it also fun and exciting because finally after one year of language course, I am going to start my new life in a new place for my long awaited masters degree! At this point of time, everything will feel so real and in a flash, here I am in Seoul!