Guide for Life in Korea
In most campus cafeterias/restaurants, breakfast, lunch and dinner are served. A meal usually costs 3,000～4,000 won. Otherwise, there are usually plenty of restaurants located around the universities. Chinese, Japanese and Western style restaurants as well as Korean restaurants are abundant and easy to find. Convenience stores, fast-food outlets, and snack bars are also common. In general, boarding students are recommended to have their meals at a dormitory cafeteria. Cooking is not allowed in most dormitories, except in the family dormitories. However, some university dormitories have a public kitchen for their resident students. You may make inquiries regarding this at your university’s international office.
Korea has four distinct seasons: very hot summers, very cold winters and mild weather in spring and autumn. Students should prepare adequately for each season with light cool clothing for the summer and heavy warm clothing for the winter, as well as something for in-between.
- December ～ January : Very cold, below 0℃
- February ～ March : Cold , below 10℃
- April ～ May : Warm, between 15℃and 25℃
- June ～ August : Very hot, above 30℃
- September ～ November : Warm, between 15℃ and 25℃
Public transportation in Seoul is usually cheap, convenient and easy to use. Comprised of 9 lines, the subway can be taken to almost any spot around the city. The basic subway fare is 1,150 won. In case of using a traffic card, the fare is 1,050 won. and it may cost a little more for cities on the outskirts of Seoul. There are four types of buses in Seoul. Standard buses have only a few seats and cost 1,200 won. The other type of bus has a lot more seats and has less stops than the standard bus and costs 1,900 or 2,100won. The fare is discounted by using a traffic card. Buses traveling to outskirt cities may be more expensive. Taxis are easy to use. The basic fare for a standard taxi varies with regions but it normally starts from 2,400 won in Seoul. Between 12p.m. and 4 a.m. taxi fares increase by 20%. Black taxis (Mobum taxi) are more expensive than the standard taxis. Tipping is not usual in Korea and is not necessary when taking a taxi. Students may drive in Korea but it is not recommended as traffic is very heavy in Seoul. It is usually much more convenient to use public transportation.
Korea is a fairly safe country. Possessions of handguns, knives and other weapons are prohibited, and acts of violence are uncommon. There are usually no problems taking the subway or walking around the city late at night. However, it is a good idea to take precautions against pickpockets in crowded areas. On a related note, using or dealing in any form of narcotic drugs is strictly prohibited in Korea.
All grantees are insured by their host universities from the 1st of September.When disease occurs after entering Korea, according to the insurance policy, the medical fee is to be paid by the student first, which will then be reimbursed by the insurance company later. Students may apply for the reimbursement of the medical fee via his/her university or directly to the insurance company. However, it is important to remember that it will take longer to get reimbursed via the university as additional time is needed for the university to forward the relevant documents to the insurance company. Finally, it is recommended that grantees inquire and confirm the range of insurance compensation with their university’s international office in advance, as there may be important distinctions in the insurance terms offered by different insurance companies.
documents to be submitted : An application, A photocopy of bankbook (account number shown), M.D.'s diagnosis, Receipt, other documents (upon request of the insurance company)
Reporting a Burglary
If students experience or witness a suspected burglary, dial 112 for police assistance
In the event of a fire, dial 119.
Injury or Illness
Go to the nearest hospital. If the injury is serious or requires an ambulance, dial 119.
For Any Other Difficult Situation
Go to the nearest police box or police station and ask for help.
There is no charge for emergency 112, or 119 calls. When using a public phone, press the red button before dialing the emergency number.
News, Media and Communication
Expenses for communications, newspapers, television etc. are the students' responsibility.
Newspapers may be purchased at convenience stores, street stands, and subways. Monthly or yearly subscriptions are also available. There are two English newspapers, The Korea Herald and Korea Times. Newspapers in convenient stores cost around 500 ~ 1,000won.
Korean television networks KBS1, KBS2, MBC, SBS, etc. are broadcast throughout Korea. Students with a television must pay the registration fee of 2,500won per month. Nowadays subscribers of Korean cable TV are increasing, which 24 hours viewing is available and which provides various channels specializing in news, movies, musical entertainment, documentaries, sports, education, games, home shopping.
There are many FM and AM radio stations broadcasting throughout the country.
Internet facilities are well developed in most Korean universities. Moreover, internet access is also available in gamerooms or PC rooms, which are easily found throughout any sizable Korean city.
You can easily purchase books through online and offline bookstores, as well as inbookstores at your respective university. Furthermore, most large-scale bookstores have dedicated sections for foreign books and magazines.
Public Bath Houses
Traditional public baths are still enjoyed by many people in Korea. The cost for one time use is around 7,000 won with no time limit; price varies with size and quality of the bathing facilities.
Barber Shops and Hairdressers
Barbershops and hairdressers can be easily found anywhere in the city. Generally the cost for a haircut is around 8,000won～15,000won.
Department Stores and Markets
There are many department stores in Korea, especially in Seoul. Opening hours are usually between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. Department stores are also open for most public holidays, although they usually close several times a month on a fixed schedule. Marketplaces around the city are often open until 10 or 11pm. Some of the larger wholesale markets are open 24 hours and sell all kinds of products with reduced prices. These markets are well known for inexpensive clothing and fashion accessories.
Most businesses, public offices, and banks close on Saturday and Sunday. In general, universities do not hold classes on Saturdays.
- New Year's day : Jan. 1st
- Lunar New Year's holidays : Dec. 31st, Jan. 1st, and Jan 2nd in lunar calender. Most places are closed during this New Year's holidays. During this time many people come to visit their families hometown, all relatives gather to honor their ancestors with traditional rituals, and bow to their elders「sebae」.
- Independence Movement Day : March 1st, a day to commemorate the independencemovement on March 1st against colonial Japanese rule.
- Buddha's Birthday : April 8th in lunar calendar. This holiday is held in honor of Buddha's birth, and colourful ceremonies are held in Buddhist temples.
- Children's day : May 5th. This is a day for children. People give children presents, or go to picnic with them.
- Memorial Day : June 6th. This holiday is held to remember the war dead. Memorial services are held throughout the country, and many people visit the National Cemetery in Seoul, bringing flowers and special food.
- Independence Day : August 15th. This holiday celebrates liberation from Japan after 35 years of colonial rule.
- Chusok holidays : August 14th, 15th, and 16th in lunar calendar. This is one of the most important festivals like New Year's day in Korea. However, people do not 「sebae」on Chusok unlike Lunar New Year's day.
- National Foundation Day : October 3rd. This day marks the founding of Korea by the founder, Tan-gun, in 2333 B.C.
- Christmas : December 25th. In general, christians love to hold a grand celebration of Christmas.
This is a public holiday to allow people to vote.
May 1st. This is a holiday held only for those in the work force.
Banks and most companies close for the day. However, public servants are expected to work, and teachers and students must go to school on this day.