What Welcome Gift to Bring to Korea

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When I was preparing to come to Korea, one thing I heard a lot about was bringing a welcome gift for the school that I would be assigned to.  The only problem was – what should I bring?  As I did so often, I read all the blogs and watched all the YouTube videos to get opinions on this topic.  There were many ideas ranging from bringing nothing to bringing a bottle of booze!

Now I don’t know your opinion on any of this, but I certainly had my reservations about bringing alcohol to school.  Not only would it be my place of employment for a year (now going on two), but it’s also a place full of little kids.  I just didn’t feel comfortable with the whole concept of showing up with some whiskey for the school principal the first day.  I certainly wouldn’t do that in any other workplace, so why would I do it in a foreign school of all places?  It sounded a little absurd to me, and it really is.


When I was preparing to come to Korea, one thing I heard a lot about was bringing a welcome gift for the school that I would be assigned to.  The only problem was – what should I bring?  As I did so often, I read all the blogs and watched all the YouTube videos to get opinions on this topic.  There were many ideas ranging from bringing nothing to bringing a bottle of booze!

Now I don’t know your opinion on any of this, but I certainly had my reservations about bringing alcohol to school.  Not only would it be my place of employment for a year (now going on two), but it’s also a place full of little kids.  I just didn’t feel comfortable with the whole concept of showing up with some whiskey for the school principal the first day.  I certainly wouldn’t do that in any other workplace, so why would I do it in a foreign school of all places?  It sounded a little absurd to me, and it really is.

There are many other things you could consider bringing.  I’ve heard people brought Girl Scout cookies.  This is something I never even thought of but it’s a really great idea.  A country like Korea doesn’t have Girl Scouts, so this would be a great, unique gift from the states.  Something that would conjure up a conversation too.  Someone on my YouTube channel also mentioned bringing a family crest.  Also a GREAT idea.  These crests are very much foreign to most Asian cultures and would be a great ice breaker and something the teachers would otherwise not be able to get other than through a foreign teacher!

I personally opted to not bring anything.  Sounds like a bit of a bail out, I know.  My thinking was to wait until I got to know who my co-workers were first and then buy them something that I knew they would probably like.  And that’s what I did.  It worked out great.  I just waited for one of the holidays to roll around and I went out and got something locally or had my family send me something.

Whatever you go with, think long and hard about bringing a bottle of booze with you.  Though it may cause some laughter, it could potentially shine a strange or negative light on you.  Be a little more creative and I think your first impression will be more meaningful in the long run.



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