Moving to or even spending a few weeks in Korea can be daunting, especially when you’re not sure how to get around or where to go. I have compiled a list of suggested apps to download and some Facebook groups you may want to join in order to ease the transition!
Apps to Download:
KakaoTalk – An app similar to WhatsApp. Basically, everyone in Korea uses this as their messaging service, so it’s pretty necessary. You should download it before you move to Korea because it has to send a text activation code, and some students struggled to sign-up for the service due to not being able to connect to roaming and couldn’t receive the text. Have your family sign-up as well to make it easy to stay in contact with them while you’re here! Also good for group chats!
KakaoBus – This is a good bus app and somewhat English friendly.
KakaoMetro – This is a good subway app and is English friendly. The app has a metro map, you can plan trips, find times when trains are departing, find the length of trip, and when first and last train runs (SUPER important!).
Subway Korea by Malang Studio – Another good subway app and English friendly.
Naver Maps – Similar to Google maps, unfortunately it’s all in Korean. BUT if you can copy and paste a Korean address or name of a location, it’s significantly better than google. The interface is similar to google maps, so it’s not too difficult to get used to. I’ve found google maps either can’t find lots of places and often will send you to the wrong locations.
Google Translate – You can take pictures of things to translate! Cool!
Naver Translate – The app gives better translations than Google and has a dictionary.
**Enable a Korean keyboard on your phone – it may come in handy if you need to type anything. The language is phonetic so blocks are built by each letter.
Airvisual – Air quality app that helps navigate the bad air quality days.
Emergency Ready App – English emergency app for Korea. You can call emergency numbers, get embassy info, find police, fire, emergency medical centers, and shelters. It also gives various other safety and first aid information.
AFN Pacific – The American Forces Network app. “Your source for news, weather, AFN 360, gas prices, and exchange rates.”
Facebook groups to join
There are LOTS of groups you can join on Facebook. Joining these groups can get you updated on local and country wide events. You can also come to these groups if you have questions, are looking to meet new people, need some recommendations, or just need any other support. For the most part, everyone in these groups are very helpful and friendly. If you have a specific hobby, you can also find groups foreigners and Koreans have created for that as well!
Songdo Community – Since you will be visiting of living in Songdo for sometime it is a good group to be part of overall .
Every Expat Korea – This group has loads of information can be found about Korea through this as well as events going on.
Expat Women in Korea – Expat community for women on Facebook.
Incheon English Teachers – even though you’re not an English teacher, you should still join this group. Songdo is in the City of Incheon. It’s a huge community that has been super helpful while I was a teacher and a student here!
Incheon Flea Market – you can buy and sell various items from others who live in Incheon. People are constantly moving, so you can find many great deals for any items you may need!
Seoul Hiking Group - Plans group hikes and trips for anyone who wants to join! Has free and paid trips.
LOFT: Legal Office for Foreign Teachers – You can get legal advice (even if you aren’t a teacher) if you somehow find yourself in legal trouble while in Korea, but hopefully that won’t happen!
Vegan Korea – Support network for those who are vegan (or vegetarian) in Korea.
LGBTQIA and Allies in Korea – for those who identify as LGBTQ or who what to support the community.
Photos and blog post courtesy of Kristen Lefebvre