Tips for Your First Week in Korea

Welcome to Korea !

We are super pumped that you’ve finally arrived. We hope you had an excellent flight and that everything went smoothly at the airport. It’s a long trip, isn’t it? Hopefully you were able to catch some good flicks (or Zzz’s) on the way over.

The first few days in Korea are extremely exciting – but we all know they can be a bit overwhelming, too. If you ever feel confused, frustrated, overly tired, or like things are moving really fast, don’t worry! What you’re experiencing is normal, and happens to most (if not all) new folks in Korea. Make sure to eat regularly and drink plenty of water. Give yourself a few weeks to figure things out. You’ve probably seen it before (as I’ve already sent you this link), but this page has some helpful tips for your first few days in Korea, including where to find internet access and what to eat, etc.

Now – on to some extremely relevant and important information! As a new expat, you need to apply for an Alien Registration Card, set up a bank account, and register with the Ministry of Education in Korea. This process can be very overwhelming at first, so let us break it down for you:

Important Tasks to Complete in Your 1st Month: Step–By–Step!

  • Health Exam – your school should be able to point you in the direction of the nearest hospital/clinic that is certified to administer the medical examination you’ll need for the ARC application.

The exam costs between 75,000–85,000 KRW, depending on the hospital. Because it’s for your ARC, you will be responsible to pay for this, not your school.

You should have the results within 3-6 days after you complete the exam.

  • Visit Immigration – your school will help you find the closest immigration office. It will take immigration 4-6 weeks to process your ARC. Be sure to bring:
  1. Passport
  2. Health Exam results
  3. Processing fee (approx. 10,000 KRW)

*IMPORTANT* – ask the immigration office to get you 1 verified copy of your degree and 1 verified copy of your background check. See #4 for further explanation.

  • Bank Account – setting up a bank account is easy, and though you can do it with a passport only, we highly recommend setting up your account with your ARC.

Register with the MOE – Your school should be able to help you register with the MOE, but they will need 1 verified copy of your degree and 1 verified copy of your background check from Korean immigration. You can help expedite this process by getting these verified copies while submitting your ARC application.

Your school should be able to help you throughout #1-4, but now you can have a general idea of what needs to get done, too!

The Arrival Store Facebook Community:

Join us! Especially if you’d like to start connecting with other English teachers and expats in Korea, learn about upcoming events, hear about all the hotspots to visit on the weekends, where to find the best eats, what concerts and special events are happening, and much more. Our online community is growing, and it’s a great way to get involved. We’d love to have you join the Arrival Store family on FB! Click here to check it out!

The Electronic Bus Map

One of the best links to utilize while you’re in Korea is the electronic bus map. It’s a great way to get acquainted with the area you are living in!

Korean Intercity Bus System:
Seoul Bus System:

*NOTE: you might need to download a plugin on your computer in order for the map to work properly. The maps do not work with Mozilla Firefox, only Internet Explorer/Safari.

The electronic subway map is a great asset as well:

We also recommend taking a moment to register with your embassy. It’s quick and painless, and it’s always a smart thing to do whenever you travel.

As always, please feel free to contact us at any time. Nothing makes us happier than assisting you during this transition. And don’t forget that our entire AT team is here for you, throughout your year!

Cheers to the start of your new adventure,

The Arrival Store Team