Sunday, April 29, 2012

Likes and Dislikes

Things I like about Korea:
(In no particular order)

Mandoo/Mandu a very yummy street food, its basically a kind of dumpling and you can get various kinds like Kimchi or Goggi (meat).  I like the meat one, it has minced up meat, some veges like spring onion and some noodles in it.  Very tasty and you can get it cooked all different ways, steamed, fried, deep fried or even in a soup.  All are very delicious, its my favourite Korean food.

Internet its soooooo much faster over here than it is in New Zealand.  New Zealand for some reason has third world Internet. I am going to get very frustrated when I go back home and have to actually wait to view something.

Gmarket online shopping market, its basically a lot of different sellers all on one site (recently bought by eBay).  They have everything you could ever want, its really cheap and it usually ships in a few days.  Sometimes you can even get things the next day.  If you are from New Zealand and know what the postal system is like you will appreciate that fact.

Things I dislike about Korea:
(Again in no particular order)

Elevator Etiquette for some reason Korean people are in such a rush to get on the elevator that they don't wait for everyone to get out of it first. I mean really people its not going to go any quicker just because you get on it a few seconds faster.

Spitting Koreans spit on the sidewalk, its common practice for them but its not really very nice if you are not used to it.

The mobile phone system its really hard for a foreigner on an e2 visa to get a contract phone and their prepaid method is not much better. With PPS which is their equivalent to prepaid you have to put money on it every month and if you don't for a while eventually it stops receiving calls and texts - why when the other person is paying for it?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Suwon Immigration Office (Gyeonggi-do)

The Suwon Immigration Office in Gyeonggi-do covers the areas of:

Gunpo, Uiwang, Suwon, Yongin, Osan, Icheon, Anseong, Hwaseong, Pyeongtaek, Gwangju, Yangpyeonggun, Yeojugun

If you are a resident in one of these areas then this is the immigration office that you will need to visit.

The Address of Suwon Immigration Office is:

1012-6, Yeong-tong dong, Yeong-tong gu, Suwon
(in front of Bandal Park and next to the Yeongtong Social Welfare Center)

Directions to Suwon Immigration Office:

The Suwon Immigration is located beside Bandal Park in Yeong-tong. Please note it is nowhere near any of the train stations so if you get the subway in you will need to get a bus over to Yeong-tong from the station.

From Suwon station (outside AK Plaza go to the bus stop on the right as you come out of the station) take bus 5, 7, 7-2, 9, 310 or 900. Get off at 'Yeongiljung' (about 12 stops or so) start walking in the direction of the bus that you just got off for a couple of minutes and you will see Yeong-il Middle School (its a really big school so you can't miss it). Walk in the direction so that you go around the back of the school. The immigration office is to the left of the Culture Centre(?) beside Bandal Park.

Suwon Immigration Office

Further Information:

If you need any information about documents, visas or directions you should call 1345, This is the Immigration office helpline for all immigration offices in Korea and they have various languages available.

Process once you are at the Immigration Office:
(For re-newing your E-2 Visa)

1. Go to the 'Resident' Section of the first floor (its the biggest area)
2. As soon as you arrive, get a queue number (ticket) from the dispenser
3. Get an application form if you don't already have one, at the top tick 'Extension of Sojourn Period', and fill it out while you are waiting
4. Buy your 'Revenue Stamps', they cost 10,000KRW per stamp and you will need three (this is why you have to bring 30,000KRW with you).  At Suwon Immigration Office you can buy them from the small desk located behind the waiting area for the 'Resident' section.
5. When you ticket number finally comes up on the TV screen go to the desk that is showing your number and present all of your documentation.

Note: You will most probably need a copy of your school’s business registration ID number.  It will be a copy of a form in Korean that your school should provide you with. This is what my school did not give me the first time around, they then gave me two pieces of paper.  Not sure what they were exactly as it was all in Korean but this is why its a good idea to make sure you or your manager rings the hot line number 1345 to ensure that you have everything before you go.

Further Note: Take a book with you - I made a decent start on 'The Girl who Played with Fire' during my wait.

My Trip to the Immigration Office

Recently I re-signed for another year teaching in Suwon, South Korea.  As such I had to make a visit to the Immigration Office to renew my visa. I was re-signing at the same school so I did not have to make a visa run to another country.

It was the first time I had had to do it as my school took care of this when I first arrived.  Once you have been here awhile however they need to take your fingerprints which means you have to do it yourself.

The first thing I would advise is to make sure you have the right documentation, even if your school says its correct, check for yourself.  Especially if you are having to make a long trip to your local Immigration Office, you don't want to get there and not have everything in order so have to come back another day.

The second thing is to arrive early, these offices see hundreds of people every day and the line gets big quick.  For me it was not too big of a deal as the Suwon Immigration Office is not too far from my school. The first time I went was just after lunch and I soon realised that I would not be able to get seen that day.  I had to be at work at 4 o'clock, I spoke with a girl who had a ticket in the 400 region and they were only up to about 200 and something. It turned out to be a good thing as my school had not checked with the Immigration Office and had not given me all the documentation that they should have.

All Immigration Offices are different so you really should check with the one that you are going to visit.  Any time you need information about documents, visas or directions you should call the number 1345. Its the helpline and it has English (and other language) speaking operators that can help you out. I called them to check what I needed to take with me and they were very good.

At the very least you will need:
-Your Passport
-Your Arc Card
-30,000 won
-Your original job contract and a copy of it (You keep the original and they take the copy but they want to see both)
-Application Form (You get from the Office when you get there)

Your best bet is to go as early as you can, go straight to the ticket machine and get your ticket.  That way you are already in line, after that you can get the application form and fill it in while you wait.  You will also need to buy stamps (that's what the 30,000 won fee is for) there will be a counter selling these close by. I got there about 9:30 the second time I went and my ticket was already about 240 something.  I had to wait about 4 or 5 hours to finally get to see someone.

Once you do get there if you have all your documents ready then its really quick.  She checked everything was there, took my fingerprints on the digital reader they have there on the desk and then wrote a new date on the back of my ARC card.  It took about 5 minutes, I was lucky that I was speaking to some other people during the epic wait and they clued me into buying the stamps - if you have not done that you have to run over and do it while they wait which would be pretty annoying.