Friday, September 23, 2011

Settling in

So, you've seen the new apartment... but not much else! So sorry about that. A lot of things have happened in the meantime. Let's try to get you all caught up!

My apartment and school are very nice. I'm extremely lucky. On my first day, my co-teacher took me out to a gourmet-style Korean lunch. Completely unexpected and wonderful.  Other teachers in the school have taken me around Seoul to look for bedding and phones, and other household items that I can't find around my place.

There was a lot to do in the first few days of reaching my placement school. I had to get a medical check done (around 75 000 won, I think) in order to get my ARC card (Alien Registration Card). Without said card, getting a phone and internet is next to impossible, unless you have a friend/co-teacher to help sign off on a contract. Prepaid phones are available, of course, and cafes with wi-fi are available for the times when you get desperate for contact with friends and family. My school has internet, too, which comes in handy when planning get-togethers with other teachers.

A note on the medical check: Get it done ASAP, as it takes a week to get your results. Then, once you apply for the ARC card, you will have to wait at least 2 weeks. When applying at the Seoul Immigration Office, head up to the 2nd floor (?) before submitting your application and purchase a courier service to have your ARC card delivered when ready. The cost of delivery is only 4000 won, which is worth it when you consider the time and transportation costs (a combination of subway or bus, and taxi) to get to the immigration office. Why not save yourself a trip back... especially with business hours coinciding with school hours. Make sure you get to the immigration office before 6 pm, because that's when the delivery service desk closes. The ARC application area on the main floor was open longer. Get a ticket when you enter to make sure your application gets looked at. Officials will look at your passport, take 2 passport sized pictures (get those done in one of the subway instant photo booths--they're cheaper), school contract and your application. Check their website for the most up-to-date information on applying for the ARC card. It's government stuff... it's going to change from time to time.

Korean-style Gourmet-- look at all of those side dishes!

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