Purchasing Necessities for Your Life on Exchange

As the semester is wrapping up, I want to give some advice to incoming exchange students on what to bring to Korea and how to get your hands on some of the necessary items you won’t probably pack with you.



One of the things that appears most on these types of lists of “what to bring on your trip” is medicine, and it is there for good reason. If you take daily prescription medicine, be sure to get enough from your home country to last you while you are here. For other types of medicine, I recommend bringing allergy medication, pain reliever, stomach relief, and cold medication. I have been abroad both in Spain and Korea and when I was in Spain, my allergies hit me hard the day I arrived from the change in climate, but taking my allergy medication for a few days helped my body transition to the new climate. I also recommend bringing a pain reliever that you are familiar with such as ibuprofen or Advil. I forgot my American ibuprofen when I went on a trip and had to take some Korean ibuprofen. The Korean ibuprofen made my stomach hurt because I think it was a bit stronger than what I’m used to.

The stomach relief medication should treat things like traveler’s sickness, diarrhea, and nausea. Since you will be trying a lot of new food, you won’t know how your body will react to it. You don’t want to be in a hostel in Spain trying to explain what Bepto-bismal is and what you need it for because it’s a bit embarrassing, I would know. In Korea, some people are concerned about how clean the food is but I did not have any issues with the cleanliness of food. However, both times I had stomach issues here was from undercooked meat: once from street food and one time from undercooking my own Korean barbecue.

Lastly, I recommend bringing your own cold medication. This is more of convenience rather than necessity. You can receive free medication on the third floor of the student union building at Hanyang. I personally have not been there, but I have seen some people get some medicine that seemed a little unusual to me. However, the person taking the medication said it worked well.

This is not a medication, but it might be a good idea to bring a multi-vitamin. Since fruit is very expensive here, it can be a little difficult to get enough vitamins in your body. Vitamins here are also expensive, and I ended up buying some children’s vitamins from Olive & Young (올리브앤영).



Bedding and towels are things most people do not bring with them and usually buy when you get here. Some online articles claim that you cannot find “normal” sized towels here that wrap around your whole body. However, I was able to find a “normal” sized towel on the 2nd floor of E-mart (이마트) in Wangsimni (왕십리) for only 10,000 KRW. If not, you can try using Korean sized towels which actually made me realize how much towel I don’t need. Another option would be to purchase in your home country a travel towel which is usually made of microfiber and is very compact.

Bedding here was a little difficult to shop for. If you are living in one of the dorms, I highly recommend bringing your own fitted sheet. I am really unsure if the bed is a Twin or a Twin XL (Extra Long), but I would say bring a Twin XL just in case. I was very surprised to find that fitted sheets were rather expensive and being around the price of 25,000 KRW. You also have to purchase the pillow case separately and there are no loose sheets to go on top of the fitted sheet. I ended up buying a duvet cover here and using that to put on top of my bed instead of a fitted sheet because it was cheaper than a fitted sheet. I also recommend purchasing the bedding that is sold by the International Office because it is cheaper than buying each piece individually at E-mart. If you decide not to do that, you can buy pillows at Daiso (다이소) for 5,000 KRW, and the rest of the bedding you can find at E-mart on the second floor.

Speaking of Daiso, this is where you should purchase the majority of your necessities for your dorm room or apartment. Daiso is a low cost store which most of the items cost around 5,000 KRW.

List of things you should buy at Daiso:

  1. Pots and Pans
  2. Dishes
  3. Kitchen Utensils
  4. Hangers
  5. Beauty products such as nail polish remover, cotton balls, mirrors, etc.
  6. Dish soap
  7. Containers to organize your room


Hygiene Products

Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, toothpaste etc. are items that are more of your personal preference on whether or not you should bring it. If you don’t bring your own, I recommend looking into these types of things at a cosmetic store such as Olive & Young or LOHBS (롭스) next to E-mart. While E-mart has a wider selection of these products, often times you have to buy them in a huge pack so you can’t buy just one. Also, sometimes the cosmetic stores has sales which make the product a little cheaper than at E-Mart.


These are just a few things I wish I had known before coming to Hanyang, and I hope this will help you when you arrive!


Source: mrdesignsandgifts.com


Article by Catherine from the U.S.A.

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