Updated: Jul 5, 2019
The following may differ from country to country but here is the general checklist that should be modified to fit your specific situation. If there are any HUGE items on your checklist that are not included here please comment below or message me so I can update this list.
The obvious one that you won't forget...I hope. Make sure you have money for your first, last, and security deposit and make time for settling in! Is that just something for USA? I am sure you were rushed into starting your teaching job and had no time to unpack. Unfortunately, we weren't given the option. Hopefully, you will have freedom to take the process slow and make setting up the new chapter in your life your number one job.
Make sure you start discarding things you won't be taking back with you early. Discarding means selling things off and giving things away. Your trash can be treasure to someone else.
SHIP THINGS HOME EARLY! If it is spring time and you are leaving in August then ship all those winter clothes home now.
2. Cancel Phone and Internet in Korea
Make sure you pay your contract termination fee if you have one. Some foreigners don't honor contracts with phone companies. They complain about getting ripped off. I understand it to an extent but don't complain about not honoring a contract and complain when someone doesn't honor a contract you value.
What if you return? Most of us leave with the intention of not coming back to South Korea. We are closing that chapter of our lives. If we do come back years later, do we really want a KT welcome bill?
3. Driver's License and Passport Renewal Date
4. Contact Home Bank(s)
This is one that can be done as soon as you know your departure date.
5. Health Insurance
I took a health economics class back in University and it was eye opening. Get that done. The cliche rings true as usual. It is a waste of money until it isn't. You don't need it until you do.
6. BUDGET and OVER BUDGET
Student loan contributions, taxes, unexpected travel costs, and not to mention you will have free time! Hopefully you are able to take things slow and not jump right back into a busy life. Hopefully you will have time and a budget that factors in spontaneous trips vagabonding around your old world. Just because you are leaving Asia doesn't mean your adventure seeking lifestyle has to disappear. You can cultivate that for life, so I'm told.
If you are living outside of a city then you most likely are going to have to get a car. Time to add a substantial budget for the car and insurance.
If you do not have a guaranteed job then having at least 3 months of spending is desirable and 6 months would be best
7. LIMITS LIMITS LIMITS
Use whatever strategy works for you. Send money to a savings account you forget exists. Set an upper limit on your budget and then set an absolute max on your budge. Hide money under your bed. Whatever you do, make sure you plan for the necessities, have some fun money, and then set the absolute limit. There is no need for you to go into debt.
It is impossible for me to talk specifically here because you are all going to different cities and different places with a wide varieties of incomes and time constraints. The decision for your next job or chapter in life should play the biggest factor in budgeting and money allocation.
8. MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF = MOST IMPORTANT
Plan time for yourself. While teaching English in another country you are forced to be with yourself. that is one of the benefits and why we become so confident living the life the way we want. However, back home or wherever you go next there will be so many people and so many things we view as obligations. MAKE SURE TO TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF.
I would suggest taking time each morning or each Sunday to journal and reflect on if you got enough time for yourself. Also, plan for the future day or week to get that amount you need.
9. No Job? VOLUNTEER!!!!
Also, don't do something cliche like I did in the past like volunteer at a soup kitchen. Unless, that is what you truly want to do. Volunteer at something you love or have a skill at which can really add unique value. Volunteer teaching refugees English if you aren't burnt out or volunteer at an art studio if you are an amazing artist. Get busy and get involved in the community. You never know what might happen next :).
10. Meet with old friends and make new ones.
You have gained new skills and interests since you left your home country. Share those with old friends and use them to make new ones.
If you are going home from South Korea and are one of the lucky countries then DON'T FORGET YOUR PENSION :)