How much money should I bring to South Korea?

How much money should I bring to South Korea?

With our first payday just around the corner, I thought I’d address one of the many things that anyone asks about when they decide to come to Korea: How much money does it cost? If you’re coming through the EPIK program, $1000 is the magic number to bring with you to South Korea. You have to get here, then you don’t get paid for roughly a month after that, and you’ll want as much financial backing as possible during that time you have no paycheck. For many, this isn’t a problem. But for some like me, working 2 and 3 minimum wage jobs before I left the States, this was not a simple “Save up $1000 in your free time” process. Of course, I feel like the more money you can bring with you the better. You never know what kind of emergency funds you might need or what you might need to unexpectedly spend money once you’re here. However, I will say that when I heard that number I almost pulled out of the process completely because I just knew I’d never be able to come up with that kind of money. I’m here to tell you that it is possible and if money is your number one reason for not coming to Korea, maybe reconsider.

Like I said, I was working multiple jobs that didn’t pay very much all so I could get to Korea. It was hard work for about 9 months, and in the end I still only managed to come to Korea with about $700 USD. This may not sound like a huge amount behind $1000, I mean it is only $300. But that $300, if you’re not frugal, can make a world of difference, especially when you’re abroad. Still, I’ve actually done quite well with the chunk of money I brought with me. I’ve been here about a month and I’m finally down to the dregs of my bank account. Still, I’ve managed to do and see ALOT with the bit that I did have. I’ve been to 4 cities, shopped in 3, bought things for my apartment, gone out more than a dozen times to enjoy festivities and still had money for several taxis. I think it might be possible to have come here with less than I did to be honest. I may have been pushing it, but it seems like no matter how much  money people brought with them we are all down to our last leg. Of course, everyone is different, but I feel like the average foreigner coming to Korea doesn’t necessarily have to bring $1000 with them, even if you have NOTHING in your apartment when you get to your city. Purchasing your phone and possibly food may drain your bank account the  quickest, but my co-worker’s phones cost them about $200 and it’s actually been cheaper for me to go out than purchase food for home. Strange, I know, but real.

Now my story’s only one of literally hundreds just this year so your experience may differ. Still, if I had decided just because I didn’t have the money to come, I would have seriously regretted it for the rest of my life. It was a struggle, but now that I’m here every penny I saved, scrimped and spent is absolutely worth it 10 times over. Don’t give up, you can do it! And imagine how relieved and proud of yourself you’ll feel when it happens at last:)

2 thoughts on "How much money should I bring to South Korea?"

  1. victoria bui says:

    I needed this as well- thank you

  2. Zee says:

    I truelly needed this pep talk

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