Doongji

 

Korean Language

 

As you may have already heard from other Korean adoptees, the Korean language is a basic must to get a good chance for a suitable job for you.

Some jobs do not require any Korean skills such as teaching jobs (however there are exceptions, some hakwons and academies require bilingual or Korean speakers with English as a second language), restaurants, bars, cleaning etc. These days they ask for basic Korean speaking skills but if you apply in the foreign districts English would be enough. It is highly recommended to apply for a Korean language course at a University in Korea. 

 

Here are the most popular Universities to follow a Korean language course:

The most popular Korean language course is at Sogang University. Be aware that every university has different requirements to enter the Korean language course. Also the fees could vary.

F-4 Visa

 

In order to make a longer stay possible, you need a valid visa. For the most Korean adoptees, F4 visa (Foreign overseas Korean) is necessary to live and work in Korea for at least 3 years. Visit our F4 page for more information on how to apply for this visa or visit G.O.A.L Network / friends / socializing. To get more into the Koreans, networking and socializing is a must to learn more about the Korean culture but also for your own benefits in cases like when you're in trouble with the language or finding good housing etc.

Korean friends can also help you without any costs. In the best situation they can even get you a job or girl / boyfriend by introducing their friends and business relations to you. Separate from that, making new friends is always a good thing for your personal development and it makes surviving in Korea much more easier and fun. Local Koreans are everywhere and most adoptees can meet them at the University / work / bars etc.

Most young Koreans can speak English well and it won't be that hard to have a good conversation with them.

 

Koreans would like to meet people that can speak English very well and a language exchange is for that reason very common in Korea. If you prefer to be more on your own you still can talk with Koreans online through chatting apps or Facebook etc. Kakaotalk and Line are the most popular chatting applications for your mobile and PC. 

Job

 

Getting a suitable and major-related job in Korea depends all on your Korean ability in terms of Korean work culture (can you handle the hierarchy?) and the Korean language. The Korean work culture is totally different from that of the West.

 

Separate from your qualifications, working from early in the morning till late in the evening are standard in Korea (unpaid overtime except some companies pay your overtime) and drinking after work with your managers and co-workers are almostf mandatory.  

 

Also you can't leave your work before your boss and you have to be on time in the morning before your boss arrives. These are just a few manners in the Korean working culture. Korean companies prefer business / management / economics or finance majors. It's ok if you majored in another field but it could take perhaps a bit longer before you have a suitable job here. 

 

Like Western companies in an interview Korean companies are looking for candidates with the best first impression. Formal clothes and a neat appearance is obviously important. To stand out from the rest a representative resume is a must. On the Work in Korea page you can find more information about writing the resume. Age matters alot in Korea and the best range to apply for jobs to make a good chance is between 24 - 28 years old.

 

Most of the Korean men finish their military service when they are around 20 - 23 years old and return to the University to graduate. When they apply for professional career jobs the age is mostly common around 25 - 26 years old. For women, it's similar but can be earlier or even a bit later depending on their private situation. Standard work-finishing time is roughly 20:00 pm - 23:00 pm or even 01:00 am past Midnight! Some companies even have a mattress in their office. 

Bank Accounts

 

After you attain your F4 visa you can open your own bank account in Korea. There are many choices and each bank offers different services to their customers. If you are planning to wire money through online banking from your local account to a foreign bank account (International), please do not feel stressed because just about any banks in Korea offer the service.

 

Most companies are connected with Woori / KB bank. If you travel a lot from Korea to China, Citi bank would be a better choice because in Hong Kong there are also citi bank ATM's. 

 

From 2016 the banks in Korea changed their policies for everyone who wants to open a new bank account. Because of many fake and unused bank accounts, the Korean government wants to avoid those issues especially because some accounts were used for criminal purposes.

 

The strict policies made it impossible to open a new bank account just with only your passport these days. 

 

Necessary documents to open a bank account for foreigners:

  • Current proof of residence (If you have a hard copy of your contract with the deposit and rent on it including both signatures of yours and the landlord, that would be enough).

  • Proof (Certificate) of Employment

  • Valid passport from your home country

      (must be valid at least 6 months before expiration date).

  • Valid F4 visa (or any other valid visa)

If you have difficulties with the Korean language you can ask us for a translator that can help you during the process. Feel free to contact us anytime.

National Emergency Numbers

Emergency Contact

Fire, Emergency and Ambulance Tel: 119

Police Tel : 112 / Website

Medical Emergency: Medical information center specifically aimed at foreigners in Seoul Tel: 1339

National Intelligence Service Tel: 111Website (in Korean)

Tourism and Translation Service Tel: 1330

Coast Guard Tel: 122 / Website

International Emergency Rescue Tel: 02-790-7561

- See more at: Website

Helplines

ServiceContact

Government Call Centre Tel: 110 / Website (in Korean)

Seoul Dasan Call Centre: Information related to services provided by the City of Seoul Tel: 120 (press 9 for English)

Human Rights Helpline Tel: 1331 / Website

Legal Service Helpline Tel: 02-3482-0132 / Website

Health and Welfare Call Centre Tel: 129 / Website (in Korean)

Women's Helpline Tel: 1366 / Website (in Korean)

Consumer Service Centre Tel: 1365

Lost and Found Information - Register online to report a lost object or to search for a lost item / Website

Immigration Contact Centre Tel: 1345 / Website

Missing Person 
Tel: 182 / 
Website

Volunteer Service for Translation Tel: 1588-5644 / Website

Migrant Workers Counselling Centre Tel: 1577-0071 (extension #5) / Website

- See more at: Website1, Website2

 

Living in Korea

 

Living in Korea is totally different from visiting Korea for holidays. Especially living costs could be quite high if you’re struggling with job searching or the Korean language. However, there are some inexpensive alternatives that can help you out for a short period of time and are definitely worth considering.

Accommodation types (short-term: less then 1 year):

하숙집 Hasookjib:

A student co-housing with your own room including meals. Rent is between krw 400.000 - 600.000 depending on location and the type of house.

고시원 Goshiwon:

Rent varies depending on location. Average price range for goshiwons is between KRW 300.000 - KRW 800.000

Guesthouse:

Prices vary depending on location and the room type. Average price per night is between KRW 8000 – KRW 100.000+ per night.

Homestay:

If you want to experience Korean family culture, you can apply for a Korean homestay family. A homestay duration is usually for about 2-3 weeks and it's a great opportunity for Korean adoptees to experience a Korean family setting atmosphere during your stay in Korea. Feel free to apply for a homestay here.

 

Accommodation types (long term: more than 1 year):
If you prefer a studio / appartment / officetel / one-room, it requires a deposit, so-called "Key money".

The deposit will be returned to you after you leave the room at the end of the contract. Usually this is at least 1 year with the possibilitiy to extend the contract for another year. Deposit or "Key money" can vary from KRW 1- 2Million up to KRW 20Million+. The most common amounts of deposits are about KRW 5Million to KRW 10Million. Usually if the amount of deposits goes up, naturally the amount of rent goes down assuming that the houses in comparison have the same conditions.

For example one studio requires KRW 5Million desposit with KRW 750.000 rent per month and another similar studio requires KRW 10Million deposit with KRW 700.000 rent which is only KRW 50.000 difference excluding utility fees such as water / gas / electricity / wifi etc.

Be careful and do some good research before you decide to contact the landlord for renting a room or studio. Apartments require much more deposits usually over KRW 80Million! depending on location and the size. Real estate for foreigners: Website1, Website2

 

Food

In the Korean culture it's normal that you eat outside.

Compared to Western countries, doing groceries and cooking at home in Korea is more expensive unless you have a family with minimum of 3 persons. Eating outside is cheaper and more convenient for the most Korean people.

There are many different types of restaurants with wide price ranges. 

There is good news for your wallet because eating under for  KRW 10.000 is no problem here.

For the more expensive restaurants the price range will be between KRW 18.000 - KRW 60.000+. If you are vegetarian, it will be a bit harder to find a good restaurant that serves dishes with only vegetables but here's a link with Vegan.

 

dishes:

Avoid the convenience store food as much as you can! It's bad for your health!

 

The most common convenient stores are:

- CU

- Seven Eleven

- With Me

- Story way

- GS 25

 

The most common supermarkets where you can buy groceries are:

- Lotte Mart

- E-Mart

 

Student areas such as Hongik univ., Sinchon, Hayang univ., Konkuk univ., Ewha Womans univ. areas, etc. have much cheaper restaurants compared to most other areas like Itaewon, Gangnam or Sinsa-dong.

Plus, shopping in student areas can be much cheaper.

 

Transportation in Korea

 

The transportation system in Korea is one of the best in the world. It's clean, on time and fast.

Korea is using a "T-Money card" for their public transportation which you can get in any convenient store for approximately KRW 8000. After that you can charge your T-money card with any preferred value for example KRW 10.000.

You can use this card for the Subway, Bus, Taxi and even some restaurants and shops! You can also collect points with your T-money card for discount or other events. 

Don't charge so much on your T-money card because if you lose it will be gone forever!!

Separate from the T-Money card there's also another subway card available that you can use for 60 rides with the subway for maximum 30 days.

After the 30 days the card must be recharged even if you didn't use up all the 60 rides. The price for charging this card is KRW 55.000. This is called "Seasonal Korean Smart Card" and can only be used for the Subway. You can get this card in any subway station.

Taxis in Seoul

Taking a taxi in Korea is in general cheap compared to how much it costs in Western countries. However, there are several different types of taxis you can take and the rates vary.

 

Be aware that the rates during the weekends increase 20%. Avoid black taxi's (International) because they charge you more than three times the regular, local taxi's in Seoul. Some taxi drivers can speak a bit of English but it's recommended to learn simple Korean words/sentences to avoid miscommunication.

 

If you want to go to a specific address it's better to give the taxi driver a note so he can put it in his navigation system. Taxi drivers don't always know all the fastest short cuts because Seoul is a huge city. 

 

More information about taxis in Seoul:

During your visit to Korea it can happen that you totally forget and leave your bag, phone or anything else in the taxi for whatever the reason. It’s common that it even happens all the time to the locals. They even forget their bankcards or wallets in the taxi when they get off. Fortunately there are ways to get them back if you’re lucky! If this happens to you very often it is recommended to take a picture of the number plate from the taxi that you are going to take beforehand or take a picture inside the taxi of the taxi license in the front seat. 

On the license there is always a picture from the taxi driver. If you pay only with cash and you forgot to make a picture it is hard to trace the taxi you took. When you pay with your card or T-money it is easy to trace the taxi you took because of the registered number on the receipt.

In case you paid with your T-money or bankcard you can call the following numbers:

Credit card: 1644-1188

Press 3 then 2. You will get the driver's phone number.

 

T-money: 1644-1188

Press 3 then press 3. You will get the driver's phone number.

 

If the taxi driver does illegal things to you like driving the wrong way on purpose or even conducting violence or sexual abuse, it can be easily reported after collecting evidence and the information of the taxi driver.

The number for the local police is 112 and they can speak a bit of English (usually basic and some on intermediate levels).

KTX

If you are planning to travel outside of Seoul, taking Korea Train Express (KTX) is recommended. It's the fastest train system in Korea and stops at many places you can visit such as Busan, Mokpo, Daejeon, Suwon, Gwangju and many other big cities.

You can make an online reservation for KTX here.

BUS

If you wish to travel by bus, you can try several bus terminals in Seoul.

The "Express (Gangnam) Bus Terminal" (Subway Line 3 station called "Gangnam bus terminal") is the largest and the most popular terminal but doesn't necessarily have all the bus lines that go outside of Seoul.

Another big bus terminal is "Nambu Bus Terminal" (also a Subway Line 3 stop). This terminal offers buses going other directions out of Seoul than the Gangnam Bus Terminal. Make sure you check and go to the right terminal for your particular destination.

There are other smaller bus terminals in Seoul and in Incheon as well but usually for the most tourists places, these two big terminals mentioned above are where buses depart to and arrive from the most popular destinations.

You can go directly to the venue to buy a ticket or you can make an online reservation.

 

Online reservation:

There are two different options for which buses you can take. One is the standard bus (Regular one with standard seats) and the other one is the express bus (Slightly faster one with luxury comfort seats). It's recommended to book the express bus if your destination takes more than two hours. 

 

Price range is from KRW 24.000 to KRW 28.000 for the standard bus (depending on destination) and for the express bus KRW 34.000 to KRW 38.000+ (depending on the destination).

 

Please note that the bus ticket price is very slowly increasing. Also, the buses will make a short stop on the way for the passengers so that they can use the toilet or buy some food or drinks on destinations that take longer than 2 hours.

 

Working in Korea

Professional career requirements (Higher education):

  • At least an Apostilled Bachelor’s or Master’s degree preferred translated in English and in the Business / Economics / Financial Management or IT field.

  • An Apostilled criminal background check from your home country.

  • A local Criminal background check in Korea

      (You can get this at any local police office in Seoul after you got your F-4 visa).

  • A standard health check at the local clinic in Korea (This is mandatory for every Korean citizen that is working at a company). Usually every year the company will ask you to do this standard health check but this can be different and depends per company.

  • Any type of visa that allows you to work and stay in Korea for at least 6 months. The F-4 visa is the most common visa for foreign overseas Koreans and allows adoptees to stay and work in Korea for at least 3 years.

  • Work experience would be very helpful however Korean companies prefer more value on your degree and the University were you studied.
    If you studied abroad on an unknown University then you can take advantage with your work experience.

  • A professional English and Korean resume. Be aware that a Korean resume is different from a Western resume. Usually Korean companies wants to see your "biography letter" attached with your standard Korean resume. In your biography letter you put all the details from your parents and siblings for example what kind of job they do, age, married / non married etc. Also about yourself and you write more in detail the educational background and a bit about your life.

  • A valid local bank account however this depends on which bank the company is connected with. For example, if the company is connected to Woori bank and you have Kookmin bank then there is a high chance that the company will tell you to open a Woori bank account. The main reason is for convenience and probably it is more beneficial for the company.


Professional career requirements (Lower education):

  • A college degree or certificate(s)

  • An Apostile criminal background check from your home country.

  • A local Criminal background check in Korea

      (You can get this at any local police office in Seoul after you got your F-4 visa).

  • A standard health check at the local clinic in Korea (This is mandatory for every Korean citizen that is working at a company). Usually every year the company will ask you to do this standard health check but this can be different and depends per company.

  • Any type of visa that allows you to work and stay in Korea for at least 6 months. The F-4 visa is the most common visa for foreign overseas Koreans and allows adoptees to stay and work in Korea for at least 3 years.

  • A professional English or Korean resume. Usually an English resume will be enough. 

  • A valid local bank account however this depends on which bank the company is connected with for example If the company is connected to Woori bank and you have Kookmin bank then there is a high chance that the company will tell you to open a Woori bank account. The main reason is convenience and probably more beneficial for the company.

 

Non-Degree holders:

  • A local Criminal background check in Korea (You can get this at any local police office in Seoul after you got your F-4 visa).

  • A standard health check at the local clinic in Korea (This is mandatory for every Korean citizen that is working at a company). Usually every year the company will ask you to do this standard health check but this can be different and depends per company.

  • Any type of visa that allows you to work and stay in Korea for at least 6 months. The F-4 visa is the most common visa for foreign overseas Koreans and allows adoptees to stay and work in Korea for at least 3 years.

 

Usually a resume isn't necessary but it's recommended to put all your work experience on it. Non-degree holders can get labor jobs. Food & Beverage industry and some service companies have a few labor vacancies open several times a year. The most important advantage in this situation is the work experience or practical skills. Useful links with all the necessary information and documents;


Apostile documents:

Website1, Website2

Notice: For European Korean adoptees it is also possible to get a government recognized degree stamp from your University. You can ask your University or government about it and they can help you further.

 

Immigration office according to visa documents:

  • To apply for your F-4 visa please click on this link for more information.

 

Korean resume: ​

Website1Website2Website3

Job searching websites:

website1website2website3website4website5website6website7website8website9

website10website11

Disclaimer: All the given information is subject to change during the times of alternations of laws and/or company requirements. NestKorea is not responsible for any possible misleading information on such job requirements, etc. NestKorea strives to give Korean overseas adoptees as much useful information as possible for support purposes.