Korea

Ultimate Guide for Female Expats in Korea

Packing up your bags and moving to Korea is a daunting and exciting prospect for all soon to be expats. The thoughts of navigating around a country with a new language, new cuisine, and new culture can be as thrilling as it is frightening. For female expats, however, everyday life in a new country can have added complications.

I’ve put this guide together in the hope that it can help both current and potential female expats in Korea find the information that they need. Girls, if there’s anything else you want to see included in this guide, leave me a comment and let me know. If you want to keep it confidential, don’t hesitate to get in touch via private message on Facebook or twitter.

I have a lot of information to share with you so I’ve split this guide into the following categories. Just click on the links to jump to the appropriate place!

I really hope that this information can help lots of young women find the information that they really need. Please share this post with your gal pals and help create a community of empowered and informed females expats in Korea!

Hair, Beauty & Skincare

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-Hair

Hairdressers

Korean hairdressers are a common source of stress for most female (and some male!) expats in Korea. Since most of the hairdressers here are only accustomed to working with Asian hair,  they don’t always know the best techniques for styling the hair of other ethnicities. Speak to fellow expats and find out if there is a hairdresser around town that they would recommend. If you are extra precious about your hair, you might consider paying one of the more upmarket western hairdressers in the big cities a visit.

Colouring you Hair

Finding a hairdresser who can colour your hair the way you like it can be particularly tricky. Blondes seem to have the worst luck here. Yes, it is possible to find someone who can give you those gorgeous honey tones, but it will most likely cost you a pretty penny.

Before I came to Korea I was fully blonde, but got an ombre before leaving. Ombre and balyage styles are perfect for anyone who wants to stay blonde without worrying about the regrowth.

Probably the easiest thing to do is to stick to your natural colour, or at least somewhere close to it. It’s possible to pick up reasonably priced Western box dyes, particularly Loreal, at Olive Young, Watsons, E-Mart, Homeplus and LotteMart.

Magic Straight

Magic straight, a type of chemical straightening, is one of the most popular salon treatments for women in Korea. The treatment takes around 5 hours, depending on the thickness of your hair and can cost anywhere from 50,000 KRW  150,000 KRW, depending on where you go. Read about Natasha’s experience getting magic straight here. 

Don’t care for straight hair? You can also get magic volume- straight with a slight curl at the ends, and glam perm- a natural wavy perm. This treatment was a godsend for me in the long humid monsoon months!

Hair Products

In terms of shampoos and conditioners, Korea has a lot of really great products. Western brands such as Tre Semme and Loreal are available at Western supermarkets and cosmetic stores, but the prices are much higher than at home. There is a really popular brand of shampoo called Ryoe that can be found at almost all grocery stores. It’s without a doubt one of the best shampoos that I have ever used, despite the strong ginseng smell!

Sadly, dry shampoo is really expensive here at 15,000 KRW per bottle. Brit girls with a batiste addiction should stock up at home!

-Beauty

Make Up

With The Face Shop and Aritaum on almost every street corner, you don’t have to look far for reasonably priced, good quality make up in Korea. These shops are the perfect place to pick up nail polishes, lip colours, eyeliners and eye shadows, along with a whole range of skincare products (which I’ll speak more about later.)

Foundations

There is one area that these shops are lacking, and that’s on base colours. South Korea is extremely famous around the world for its innovative BB creams and CC creams. But, to most foreigners dismay, these can only be purchased in about 3 shades- pale, really pale and really really pale. This is a nightmare for fake tanning girls like me, but there are a few solutions!

High End Make Up

High end department stores such as Shinseage and Lotte Department Store stock most of the brands that you would expect to find there. I find that Mac and Bobby Brown have the widest range of shades. Perfect if the porcelain doll look isn’t for you! This obviously isn’t cheap, and isn’t particularly ideal if you are trying to save money.

Budget Solutions

Luckily, there are more and more brands popping up in stores like Olive Young and Watsons that have a wider range of foundation colours. I recently found a brand called Caprice that even sells bronzer- both literal and metaphorical gold dust! Very good news for all my fellow tanaholics!

-Skincare

Korea is infamous for its 10 step cleansing routine. Women here invest a lot of time and money into keeping their skin perfect, and there is a huge variety of products available. However, the vast amount of choices can be rather overwhelming.

Skincare Products

If you have a certain skin concern, for example, oily skin (referred to as sebum in Korea), sensitive skin or fine lines and wrinkles, you’ll find that each shop will carry a line dedicated to that. Choose a brand you like, and stay loyal to it. Not only will they give you a load of freebies when you go there, but switching brands a lot can be stressful for your skin.

Acne

If you suffer from acne, you’ll find that most acne products in Korea contain salycilic acid as their key ingredient. Benozyl peroxide is also available, but you need to get it prescribed by a dermatologist. A consultation with a dermatologist should cost you around 10,000 KRW.

If you have any long-term skin issues, Korea is a good place to get them sorted. Dermatology here is much cheaper than in most Western countries, and the doctors here are all extremely experienced in their fields. I had Fraxel Laser Skin Resurfacing done last year to remove my acne scars, and was extremely happy with the results.


Shopping & Fashion

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Korea is a very fashion forward country, and you might find yourself feeling a bit underdressed in comparison to your co-workers, and maybe even your students. There’s a lot of fun, reasonably priced clothing available so it’s a great place to experiment with some new styles.

-Where to Shop

Underground Shopping Malls

You’ll find underground shopping malls in most cities and they’re a great place to pick up some bargains! One downside to shopping in underground malls is that most of the clothes are “free-size” and you’re rarely allowed to try things on. A lot of the shop assistants can be blunt and tell you that you’re too big. Take it with a pinch of salt, and move on.

Western Stores

There’s a lot of times that free size just isn’t going to cut it- I certainly don’t want to wear “free size” jeans, for example! In my opinion, these are some of the best stores to pick up clothing in a wide range of sizes:

  • 8 Seconds (Korean)
  • Top Ten (Korean)
  • Uniqlo (Japanese)
  • Forever 21 (U.S.A)
  • H&M (Swedish)
  • Zara (Spanish)

Do note, that H&M and Zara are significantly more expensive than you might be used to at home.

All of these stores can be found in most big cities around Korea- with the exception of Forever 21. Forever 21 has multiple outlets around Seoul, but none in the rest of the country. Share the love guys!

Supermarket Shopping

It might be a social faux pas to admit to shopping for clothes in supermarkets, but for basic work items in a wide range of sizes, there are definitely some gems to be found. Florence and Fred in Homeplus, which most brits will be familiar will, is probably the best of the bunch.

Online Shopping

Online shopping is really popular here. G-Market is a great place to pick up the styles you’ll see in underground shopping malls- usually at a fraction of the price and in a wider range of sizes. An absolute godsend for me has been ASOS. If you’re unfamiliar with it, ASOS is a British online clothing retailer that offers free worldwide delivery. This is my go to shop for winter boots, jeans and swimwear. Shipping usually takes around 2 weeks.

-How to Dress

What’s suitable to wear in Korea, and what’s suitable to wear in your own country are, most likely, pretty different. I was really shocked to see how skimpy the appropriate skirt length is, despite the fact that showing your shoulders in public is frowned upon. The absolute opposite of what I’m used to!

While you will see some Korean girls wearing strappy dresses in the big cities, it’s still not considered appropriate for work. It’s a good idea to switch out tank tops for t-shirts and invest in some lightweight long sleeved blouses for work in the summer. Uniqlo is a great place to pick things like this up.

-Tattoos

Tattoos are still a huge taboo among the older generations in Korea, but the times are a changin! You’ll see more and more young people sporting tattoos in public. However, as far as work goes, it’s best to keep them covered. If you’re working in a public school, this is compulsory and is stated in your contract.


Feminine Hygeine

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As if having a period wasn’t already annoying enough, you now have to work out what to do with it in a whole new language! Eeeekk. Like most of Asia, the approach to feminine hygiene is a bit different to the West. You might need to change your routine up a bit.

Sanitary Products

By far the most common method of period protection, sanitary towels can be found everywhere from local marts to 7/11s. Prices are higher than you would probably expect to pay so look out for 1+1 offers.

Tampons

Unfortunately, tampons seem to be a bit of a taboo here. I’ve had Korean friends tell me that they would NEVER wear a tampon. Each to their own, but for those of us who still like to live our lives, go swimming etc while we’re on our monthlies, they’re pretty handy. Tampons are available (at a cost) at Olive Young, Watsons and Western supermarkets but don’t expect the same variety as you would get at home.

Menstrual Cups

While you won’t be able to pick up a period cup in Korea, you’ll be able to get one delivered from I-Herb. I personally love my Diva Cup! It will last forever,  help me to save money and help the environment. Contrary to popular belief, it’s perfectly clean and comfortable. Read more about its benefits here.

If you’re in Korea and want to buy your Diva Cup from IHerb, use my code to take 10% off your first order: SGL687

Girls elsewhere, pick yours up on Amazon for a fraction of the RRP!  Get it here.

Feminine Cleansing Products

Korea has a wide range of feminine cleansing products on the market. The popular US brand Eve is available in most Western supermarkets and cosmetic stores. Korean brands are available almost everywhere.


Contraception

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Almost all of the contraception methods that are available at home can be found in Korea. It’s just a matter of how and where.

The Contraceptive Pill

The most common contraceptive pill here is Mercilon. Mercilon is a low hormone combined pill. It can be picked up at almost any pharmacy and will cost roughly 8,000 KRW.

The Korean word for the contraceptive pill is “pim” or “pim-yak.” (피임약)

If you are using the pill to treat acne or PCOS then I would recommend trying to get “Yaz.” This is available on prescription from either a doctor or dermatologist. Female teachers in Korea will probably be quite annoyed to learn that contraception isn’t covered as part of your health insurance but thankfully, it is fairly inexpensive.

Alternative Methods of Contraception

If you’re looking for a more long-term method of birth control then there are plenty of options in Korea. The go-to place for these procedures would be a women’s hospital or gynecologist.

These are the average costs of some of the most popular procedures:

  • Copper IUD: 150,000 KRW (Hormone Free)
  • Mirena IUD: 200,000 KRW
  • The Implant: 300,000 KRW

As a Brit who has been spoiled by The NHS, I find these prices insane. However, I’ve heard from friends from the states that it’s a pretty good deal. Ouch! So US gals, maybe best to get these procedures done in Korea. Girls from countries with decent health care, get yourself covered before you fly out.

Visiting a Women’s Hospital

This is a daunting thing to do in any country, so here’s the lowdown. First, to find one close to you, search 여성 병원 or 부인과 의사 on Daum maps. Generally speaking, all medical professionals in Korea can speak a passable level of English. However, reception staff generally can’t. To make an appointment without the help of a Korean friend, it would be best to go in person with a translation (google translate is a godsend!) of what you’re looking for. You’ll most likely be seen the same day.

Smear Tests/ Pap Tests

This can be performed at any women’s hospital or gynecologist. It’s standard for Korean doctors to also do an ultrasound as part of this procedure- you can ask your doctor to omit this part if you feel uncomfortable with it. It’s also routine for an STD test to be included. You should ask for 자궁경부암검사. The test can cost anything from around 50,000 KRW to 100,000 KRW.

Sexual Health/ STI Testing

This can be carried out at any women’s hospital or gynecologist. I was recently told about a free sexual health testing service for foreigners called KHAP. You can read more about this service here.

The Morning After Pill/ Plan B

This can be bought at most pharmacies in Korea. However, as a foreign, unmarried women, you might get a frosty reception asking for it- I’ve even heard of women being downright refused it. You should ask for 사후 피임약, and it should cost you around 20,000 KRW. If you have no luck finding it over the counter then a visit to the women’s hospital should help.

Abortions

No matter how many precautions you take, accidents can still happen. You’ll be glad to hear that, despite the fact that it’s technically illegal, abortions are still available in Korea up to 24 weeks pregnancy. You should visit a women’s hospital for the treatment. Expect to pay around 500,000 KRW. The korean word for abortion is 낙태.


Thank you For Reading this Bumper Post!

I’ve tried my best to address most of the issues facing female expats in Korea. Like I mentioned, if there’s anything at all that you think I’ve missed, get in touch and I’ll do my best to include it! Please, please, please share this post with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or whatever! Would love to go viral with this and help all the amazing ladies in Korea conquer their every day obstacles.

Much love,

Nicole xx

Gapyeong (1)

 

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60 Comments

  • Reply
    Megan Indoe
    19th July 2016 at 4:02 pm

    This is a great guide for females moving abroad! Alot of this stuff took me awhile to learn! I am tall and have hips, so it’s very difficult for me to shop here unless I go to H&M, the good news is I saved TONS of money by not being able to shop here and broke my bad habit of buying too many clothes! 🙂 I LOVE the skincare here! I’ve tried almost every brand now and swear by innisfree! I have had horrific experiences at the beauty salon here, I have been insulted many times. The worst would be when the hair dresser SCREAMED like I was a monster when she discovered I had a small patch of psorasis on my scalp then proceeded to call everyone over to stare at my head while pointing at it in disgust. Then I did a korean perm for wave, the girl put too many chemicals on my head and FRIED my hair. Then she blamed me and said I came in with my hair like that. Whatever lady. I will only go to a hair salon for a trim these days. Haha!
    Megan Indoe recently posted…South Korea’s 21 National Parks – Shared through Photos and BloggersMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th July 2016 at 10:10 am

      Hahaha Megan, I’m in exactly the same boat as you- have also saved so much money not buying as many clothes. Although I do make a sneaky ASOS delivery every once in a while.

      Innis Free is also my absolute favourite for skincare. I like Banila Co for brushes and Missha for make up and hair products too 🙂

      Oh my god, that sounds like the worst hair experience ever! I’ve had a few horrible chin length boxy bobs that I didn’t ask for lol. Luckily I found a pretty decent hairdresser who trained with Tony and Guy in Australia so I stick to her now. Only ever for trims though!

  • Reply
    Rachel
    19th July 2016 at 8:01 pm

    Wish I could have read this a year ago when I first got to Korea 🙂 So much helpful advice! What was your experience like getting a glam perm? I got magic straight but when I asked my hairdresser for a wavy perm, he told me it couldn’t be done on ‘white hair’. Where did you go? How much did it cost?

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th July 2016 at 10:07 am

      Hey Rachel,

      I also had magic straight, not Glam Perm. My hair was quite damaged after magic straight, but not any worse than it’s been when I’ve bleached it. It’s funny you say that because I went to a hairdresser who couldn’t speak much english to get a wavy perm and she wouldn’t do it for me. Maybe that’s why!

  • Reply
    zamorah
    19th July 2016 at 8:16 pm

    you can buy diva cup here, i bought my second one here 10 years ago from a woman selling them in busan. also korean women are not shy to use tampons, they are very common here, very similar to england.

    there are also many cheaper hair salons that do blonde hair quite well. i don’t understand why so many expats pay over ₩100 000 for a haircut and colour. as for some styles of perms and straighteners they are not often suitable for western hair because western hair is thinner. reason why most wigs are made from asian hair, because they are thicker and stronger and can take more punishment. if you want to know if your hair is suitable ask first don’t say do it and discover later it didn’t work.

    and wearing strapless and thin straps are not suitable even in england as a work uniform, unless you work in a shop selling those clothes or a bar. there is fashion for work and fashion for off work.

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th July 2016 at 6:52 am

      Hi Zamorah,

      Thanks so much for your comment. I’ve never seen anyone selling diva cups here so that’s a big surprise to me. I’ll keep an eye out next time I’m in Busan 😉 I find tampons here much more expensive and more difficult to find than back in the UK. It’s also difficult to find the same variety.

      I couldn’t justify spending that much on a cut and colour which is why I colour my hair at home and only go to the salon for trims. It’s a huge gamble getting hair dyed in Korean salons. I’m sure there are places that can do it really well, but I’ve had blonde friends leave with their hair looking like a highlighter pen lol.

      I would never go to work wearing something strapless back in the UK. I don’t know about England because I have never worked there lol. But im Scotland I would wear a sleeveless dress on a sunny day (in Scotland, most offices don’t have aircon as we don’t have enough hot days lol) and it would be fine. I wouldnt wear the same thing in Korea. However, I would go to the bank or walk around the streets wearing something with thin straps- I don’t always feel comfortable doing that here. But that’s probably because I don’t live in a big city.

      Anyway, thanks for your comment. Always great to hear another perspective on things 🙂

  • Reply
    Alison
    20th July 2016 at 12:35 am

    Great post! I’m heading to Seoul on exchange and this will help me consider what to pack – and to get my hair done before!

    Do you have any other suggestions on things I should bring to Korea? I’m trying to figure out if it’s appropriate to where jeans or yoga pants to university, how cold it will be in December (if I’ll need a jacket) and what to wear when going out?!

    If you have any more blog posts about this topic, I’d love to read them!

    Cheers!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      20th July 2016 at 10:05 am

      Hey Alison,

      How exciting that you’re heading to Seoul- that will be an amazing experience! I’ve heard that student life in Korea is reaaally fun.

      I’m sure that either jeans or yoga pants would be fine, and you should DEFINITELY bring a winter jacket. Seoul gets really cold. I’ve been meaning to write a packing list for a year in Korea for a while, so maybe I’ll do that this week or next week. If you look under the heading “Korea” in my blog, I have loads of info about expat life.

      Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Reply
    The Toronto Seoulcialite
    20th July 2016 at 6:48 pm

    All of these! Definitely going to share this post on The Toronto Seoulcialite’s Facebook Page. I’m writing a post on the KHAP right now. I would add in that there is a free service to get rapid-tested for HIV/AIDS and a variety of other STIs. That’s an important one, especially in the expat community where guys are free to flit wherever Tinder may take them, and in cities where they might not get caught doing so…

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:22 pm

      Thanks so much! Your post about KHAP was so informative. I had heard that there is a bit of a stigma attached to sexual health testing in Korea- glad to hear that a service like that exists making it free and easy for foreigners. Definitely going to link that in here!

  • Reply
    Lisa
    21st July 2016 at 3:29 pm

    I’ve never been to Korea, but one day. This is a really informative guide and really answers any questions a female might have about moving to Korea but also might be useful as things to think about for other countries. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:23 pm

      Thanks for reading, Lisa! I hope you get the chance to visit one day 🙂

  • Reply
    Noemi of Pinay Flying High
    21st July 2016 at 5:06 pm

    This is a great list! But you didn’t mention anything about that one thing I always look out for in a place when I travel – the best place to go for Brazilian waxing. Lol. Is it a thing there in Korea?
    Noemi of Pinay Flying High recently posted…Where To Stay in Santorini.My Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Hahaha! Good point, totally missed that one out! Brazilian waxing is soooo expensive here- it can cost as much as $150! Actually, most hair removal options are expensive here- even disposable razors lol. I pick up loads at the pound shop when I go home!

  • Reply
    Soumya Nambiar
    21st July 2016 at 5:51 pm

    Interesting post. It is always difficult initially to adjust to a new city and this is so helpful for ladies shifting there .

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Thanks Soumya! 🙂

  • Reply
    gelacnicolas
    21st July 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Great post! Interesting! 🙂

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Thanks!

  • Reply
    Anita
    21st July 2016 at 6:51 pm

    It’s a great guide! Lots of detailed, useful, practical information. It’s good to know before moving to Korea. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:25 pm

      Thanks, glad you think it’s useful 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura
    21st July 2016 at 7:27 pm

    This is a brilliant idea! I know how crazy it is being an expat, finding someone i could trust to cut my hair was definitely a problem id never taken in to account when i moved countries! Great guide for people moving to Korea!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:26 pm

      Finding a hairdresser was so stressful for me but luckily I found a good one! Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Reply
    Khansa
    21st July 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Interesting lifestyle there. I would love to visit Korea for a visit though. No thoughts of settling there!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:27 pm

      Thanks Khansa, I hope you get the chance to visit one day! 🙂

  • Reply
    Joanna
    21st July 2016 at 9:03 pm

    This is a great post! I am an expat too, but in a Western Country so it was easier for me to get around and find the products I need. And also, discover new ones and new fashion styles. 🙂

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:27 pm

      Thanks Joanna! I can imagine that it must be much easier in a Western country but you’d still have to make a few substitutions. Discovering new fashion is always fun!

  • Reply
    Flo
    22nd July 2016 at 1:51 am

    What a great post! Thanks for all the super practical advice. I’ve only visited South Korea a few times for work, but one of my close friends lived there as an expat for 7 years and boy oh boy the stories she could tell!

    She worked in a Korean company and said that all the female coworkers got 1 day off a month for “menstruation leave”!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:29 pm

      Whaaaaat? School teachers definitely don’t get the privilege of menstruation leave, that would be amazing! It’s so hard to get any kind of sick leave here- that must have been one good company!

  • Reply
    Eulanda
    22nd July 2016 at 2:17 am

    Super useful guide for expat ladies in Korea! Plus, I really appreciate all the contraception information listed in a no nonsense way! Great stuff!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:29 pm

      Thanks Eulanda! Always good to know your contraception options 🙂

  • Reply
    Naomi
    22nd July 2016 at 6:01 am

    I love how this guide really is for females. Most posts say they are for ladies, but then come up with a bunch of random stuff which can also apply for couples or men, but this one is really females only. Love it!
    Naomi recently posted…Paracas Luxury Collection Resort ReviewMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:51 pm

      Thanks Naomi! 🙂

  • Reply
    Rachel
    22nd July 2016 at 1:54 pm

    This is so important. There are a lot of cultural differences that make life a tiny bit extra difficult for women. My first appointment at a Korean gyno was traumatic. I didn’t realize that there would be Korean differences even in something that I thought a standard medical procedure was different here. That doctor didn’t speak a word of English.
    Finally found a good one– NuvaRing has come to Korea as well by the way!

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:51 pm

      Yeah, I had a pretty bad experience at a gyno too. I walked out the office before she went through with my procedure because she was soo rude! I’ve heard good things about the NuvaRing! Will add that in here (thanks so much!) Do you have any idea how much it is?

  • Reply
    Katie
    22nd July 2016 at 6:37 pm

    This is super helpful! All those things that people don’t really talk about but are key when you are staying somewhere for an extended period of time, thanks for sharing!
    Katie recently posted…Maritime Museum FalmouthMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:45 pm

      Thanks Katie 🙂

  • Reply
    Wendy
    23rd July 2016 at 6:25 pm

    This is a very interesting post. I’ve had one hairdresser since I came over. He barely spoke English and he still can’t these days. But still… hahaha, for some reason we got along well and even though I transferred house, I still go back to his salon for my hair.
    Wendy recently posted…Entering the Holy Door of Mercy: Navalas ChurchMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:45 pm

      Hahaha that’s great, you must have a good connection! I also found a good hairdresser here, such a relief!

  • Reply
    Shirgie Scf
    23rd July 2016 at 8:56 pm

    You did a great job for putting this all into details. I am sure that not every women who are about to become an expat i South Korea will benefit from this. Some of the items you mentioned are also applicable for men too. I am going to share this to every woman I know planning to go to Korea.
    Shirgie Scf recently posted…“From Sketch To Screen” – The DreamWorks Animation Exhibit in SeoulMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks so much, I really appreciate that!

  • Reply
    Emre
    23rd July 2016 at 11:31 pm

    This is very good information for women who come to Korea. As I am a man, not so much in it for me. Although I must say, when I first came here I was very surprised about the clothing style as well.
    Emre recently posted…Yuldong ParkMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:43 pm

      Thanks for reading Emre! The clothing style is definitely a bit different from what I was used to at home too 🙂

  • Reply
    Laura Nalin
    24th July 2016 at 3:28 pm

    This is an AWESOME post and certainly helpful for other expats. I love seeing posts like this online – so thanks a lot for looking out for us ladies!
    Laura Nalin recently posted…Photo Essay: The Temples of Bagan, MyanmarMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:40 pm

      Thanks Laura! Definitely not enough information for us ladies in Korea, was a bit of a mission trying to find all this stuff over the years lol.

  • Reply
    Charisse
    25th July 2016 at 4:57 am

    Great list! I’ve had my own difficulties getting a simple haircut in Daegu. Thankfully, I found an English speaking hairdresser and she cut my family’s hair and I even tried magic straight. Funny, how you mentioned the shades of base color was all in pale and even paler shades. I tend to be tanner and I problems finding a shade that matched. I was a bit heavier and wasn’t even able to wear the “free sizes”. I’ve lost a few lbs and now can wear Japanese largest size and I love Uniqlo! Great list and great suggestions on gynecological needs. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:38 pm

      It’s such a relief getting an English speaking hairdresser. I’ve had a few accidental chin length bobs from Korean hairdressers- not a good look! I’m also quite tanned and hate looking like a porcelain doll. I usually go to MAC because they have the colours that I like, or just stock up at home. Uniqlo is great, I think that the majority of my work clothes are from there. Thanks for reading 🙂

  • Reply
    Gina
    25th July 2016 at 10:33 am

    This is a really great guide and I’m definitely sharing this on my social media! I didn’t know that I could find Mirena here in Korea! I had mine implanted before I came to Korea (and still on my dad’s health insurance). It’s good to know it exists here and when it comes time to replace it, I will be able to do so!
    Gina recently posted…A Guide to Buddha’s Birthday in South KoreaMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:35 pm

      Awesome, it seems to be such a useful birth control method- 5 minutes of pain, 5 years of no babies! All birth control is completely free in Scotland but I think it’s probably cheaper to get it done in Korea than in the states which is really handy for a lot of people 🙂

  • Reply
    Izzy
    25th July 2016 at 11:57 am

    GIRL!!! Why has this never been written about before?? I remember trying to hit up all my lady friends about where to get birth control and how to get a perm done. I’m gonna share this on the Daejeon Women site and new friends headed to Korea. Loving how comprehensive this is! Wish you were in Vietnam to do the same for me 😛
    Izzy recently posted…June In ReviewMy Profile

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      25th July 2016 at 2:33 pm

      Thanks so much Izzy!!! I really appreciate it- being a girl is so confusing in every country lol 🙂

  • Reply
    Roxy Hutton
    26th July 2016 at 3:42 pm

    Oh my! This is a most magnificent post Nicole!
    I wish I had had this post when I first moved to Korea. It’s filled with absolutely everything a lady needs to know.
    I also loved how you included all the things that one would be shy to ask about too.
    Really super post Nicole! x

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      28th July 2016 at 1:19 pm

      Thanks so much Roxy- I still find it so difficult to find information about all the things I want to know in Korea 🙂

  • Reply
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    chanell
    20th October 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Hi Nicole, I found your website through another person’s blog. So far I have found both blogs really helpful. I have just booked my place to be a TEFL teacher in South Korea for March 2017 and to say the least I am bricking it! Even though I have hit 30 years old this is the biggest thing I have every done. I am trying to save as much as I can but I am really worries I wont have enough. I am planning to save £1500 in 5 months, scary, but I think it can be do-able. I think this will cover my first month. Could you provide any insight in living costs out there? Are you still out there if you dont mind me asking? Thank you for writing this post btw really really helpful.

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    Sonia
    30th June 2017 at 9:55 am

    Very interesting I am past childbearing age. . . and when I was (and in Korea) there was no “social media” to share this info. . . I think your post is super cool! For “older” expats (50ish), there are other issues. Its hard to find OBGYNs used to the “issues” that we are going through (especially heavy/irregular bleeding and hot flashes). It takes a lot of effort to find good OBGYNs and female friends (because many Korean women even older haven’t experienced this. . . but if you’ve nurtured the friendships they can listen and explain. The best is if you make friends in the medical profession.

    • Reply
      Nicole Louise
      5th July 2017 at 7:11 pm

      Thanks Sonja- I’ve had a few strange OBGYN appointments myself. It’s never pleasant but even less so in Korea. I also had female Korean friends but a lot were clueless when it came to that kind of thing… Most of them had no idea what a smear test was!

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