Sunday, May 25, 2014

Korea in the News #9

A fire at the Goyang Bus Terminal has killed 5 and injured around 20 others today. This is very close to home as Goyang is the city where I live. Initial reports had the death toll at 7 but this has been changed to 5 as two were apparently revived with CPR. Links to some of the reports are below if you want more information.

Fire at South Korean bus terminal kills 7

Disaster agency corrects death toll from 7 to 5

Goyang Immigration Office

It is that time of year again when I had to go and renew my visa. 

It's the first time I have had to do it here in Ilsan however I had been to the immigration office when I first moved here. Whenever you move you have to register your new address within about two weeks of moving. The immigration office has moved since then so I though I would do this post and show the new location and how to get there. I did notice online that there is not a lot of information about the Goyang Immigration Office, I am not sure if I was searching the wrong name or what but luckily the Facebook community had some information on the change of address. It was a bit confusing as the office has not moved far, it is basically just opposite a few blocks of where it used to be.

The Goyang Immigration Office is nowhere near as busy as the Suwon one, I find that you don't really need to make an appointment and the waiting time was about 5 to 10 minutes (not hours like in Suwon), so that was nice.

When you get to the office you can take a form and fill it out (you can also download these from the Immigration website to make things quicker if you like), make sure you get your revenue stamps* and then get a ticket number (for the queue) from the machine just inside the main doors. It's a big touch screen computer (you can't miss it) and you want the middle option (residence) if you are renewing your visa or for basically any such visa processes.

Getting There:
The Goyang Immigration office is located on the orange line (number 6) at Hwajeong Station.

At Hwajeong Station come out of Exit 4, cross the road opposite you (so you are outside Yankee Candle and then turn left and walk up the street a little bit until you come to an alley on your right.
View as you come out of Exit 4 (Hwajeong Station)
Go through this little side street
Go through this side street and turn towards your left when you come out - you will now be able to see the building you need. It's the big grey new building on the corner.
When you come out of the side street (the grey building is your destination)

Cross the road - there is a crossing right as you come out of the alley. Walk to your left up and to the grey building, you will go past the parking entrance (pictured above) but the foot entrance is up further round the corner.

So keep walking to the corner and then round it to your right. Walk on a bit until you come to the entrance.
Main Entrance of Goyang Immigration Office (Level 5)
The Immigration office is on the 5th floor, go in the main doors and cross the lobby toward the reception desk and the elevators are off to the left of the reception desk.
Come out of the elevator and this will be on your left.
On the fifth floor when you come out of the elevators turn to your left and you will see the sign on the wall in the picture above, walk to that and you will be in another corridor and you need to go to your left again. From there you can see the office, it is on the right and has a big blue sign above the doors so you can't miss it.

What to Take:
There is also a few changes to what you need to take with you. It's quite a rigmarole if you don't know what you need. Lucky for me my school is a rather large company and has been through it all before so they gave me all the documents when I re-signed my contract. If you have all your documents then the process is really quite easy and only takes a few minutes.

Once they have confirmed all your documents they stamp the back of your ARC (Alien Residence Card) with the new date of your visa. They do it right there while you wait, it only takes a very short time and you can be on your way.

This is a list of all the things I needed, I know that some branches take more and some take less but this is what my school advised me of:

-Copy of contract (don't give them your original as you don't get this stuff back)
-Copy of passport
-Copy of ARC (Alien Residence Card)
-Copy of the school's Business Certificate
-Copy of the school's registration
-Copy of your housing contract (should have the same address as on your ARC card)
-a list of the teacher's at your school - the number of Korean Teachers, Native Teachers, classrooms and students at the school
-a timetable of the teachers at your school
-revenue stamp*

*Revenue Stamps - these are the payment for your visa and need to be obtained before you get to the desk to hand in your documents. They look like a postage stamp and usually you will be reimbursed the amount for these by your school so make sure you get a receipt). 

There will be a desk somewhere nearby the main area that sell these stamps. At the Goyang Immigration Office it is a door off to the right (of the main office and waiting area) that you go through that leads into a another room, the desk you need is the first one as you head into to the room almost directly in front of you a little off to the left. 

These desks only take cash so make sure you take some money with you, some branches might have ATM machines but I would not bet on it. Also note that the price has gone up, for me it was 30,000 won the last two times I have renewed my visa but this time it was 60,000 won. I have heard that the price depends on your country so it is something you should check before you go so that you have enough cash to cover it.

Further Information:
If you are not sure about what you need (or where to go if you live in a different area) then you can call the hotline - 1345 and follow the directions for English (or they do have options in other languages too) and you can ask any questions. They are very helpful.

Also the website for Korean Immigration can be found here. You can download application forms from here.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Korea in the News #8

Korea is in the news again for another subway incident, a few weeks ago a subway crashed into the back of another subway that had broken down.

Today there was an explosion that has 'lightly injured' 11 people. See the link below for the full article.

This of course also comes after the ferry disaster that has gripped the nation since its sinking in April. Lets hope that bad things really do come in threes and this is the last of it.

Subway Explosion Lightly Injures 11 in South Korea

Ponsonby Pies at Emart

Good news Kiwis (and Australians), Emart has a nice new addition to their shelves. You can now buy Ponsonby Meat Pies here in South Korea. Reports have that they are in most Emarts across the country and I know that you can get them at two of the large Emarts in the Ilsan area - the Madu one and the one over in Daewha.

These are frozen pies so you will find them in the freezer section, usually around the frozen meat patties. There are three different flavors - Beef Mince and Cheese Meat Pie, Steak and Cheese Meat Pie and Chilli Beef Mince and Cheese Pie.

They come in packs of two for just under 5000 won. I only tried the Beef Mince and Cheese because it is the only flavor that I like. They were quite tasty for a frozen pie, definitely better than the Jesters ones at any rate.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Food and Drink Korea #3 - Sweet Snacks

These are a few of my favorite sweet snacks that can be found in most local convenience stores and supermarkets in Korea.

Home-Run Ball (홈런볼)
The original version of this snack is a cream filling surrounded by a ball of fluffy pastry. The version here is the one I like as it has chocolate in it instead, I also believe you can get caramel too. They are creamy and light and very addictive, they cost about 1500 won or so at the supermarket, a bit more expensive if bought from the convenience store but not much more. You get a little plastic tray filled with about 25 of them.

Dweji-Ba (돼지바)
Dweji-Ba translates into Pig Bar - not sure what that is all about except that there is a cartoon pig (who looks suspiciously like Piglet) on the wrapper. It's a classic Korean ice-block and has been around for a while and is considered a classic. I have to say it is tasty so that is probably why it's so popular. It is made up of vanilla ice cream coated in crunchy nutty chocolate with a sweet strawberry syrup filling in the center.

Choco Boy (초코송이)
These are a delicious little chocolate and biscuit snack made by Orion (오리은). They are shaped like mushrooms where the top is the chocolate and the stem is a plain biscuit stick. These are one of my most favorite sweet snacks. You can get them from the supermarket for around 1000 won and again like most things they are a little bit more expensive if you buy them from the convenience store. They come in a yellow box, often at the supermarket they come in packs of two. Inside the box the candy is sealed in a little bag and you get about 20 or so in one packet.

Sweet Cake (소프트 메론홀릭)
This one is probably my favorite non-chocolate sweet snack and is a sweet melon cake. At first glance it is one of those things you think will not be good but I am glad I gave it a chance and whenever I can find it I always buy one or two of them. It is one that I have only seen in convenience stores not in the supermarkets and also it's not in every store, it seems to come and go randomly. The snack itself is like a sponge cake flavored slightly with melon (think the green melon flavor like Midori). It comes in slim rectangle slices and there are four in each packet. The slices are joined in two pairs with a cream holding the slices together like a sandwich. The cream is light and sweet and also has that melon flavoring.

Choco Fudge (초코퍼지)
Another chocolate ice block for the summer. This one is delicious with a creamy fudge goodness. Not really much more to say about it as it's pretty self explanatory but definitely one of my favorites.