Category: How To Living

How-To: Ulsan buses

By , March 10, 2014 12:11 pm


Hi there! You’ve made it to Ulsan – congratulations! After getting unpacked you’re going to want to explore and the bus system here is great for that! And even if you’re not a Newbie, understanding how the buses work could save you a lot in taxi fares! So, here are some answers to the questions most frequently asked:

Where can I take a bus from?

Any bus stop.

How do I know which bus to take?

Check out the link on the Ulsan Online home page. Just type your destination and you’ll get a list of buses going that way. You can also type in the bus numbers and see the route they follow. There are also numerous apps available (though non are in English yet). I prefer 울산버스정보.

How much is the bus?

Here in Korea, there is a flat fare for a city bus, meaning that whether you are going just one stop or twenty, it will still only cost you 1,200 won cash and 1,140 won with a travel card. (More on those later.)

How do I pay the fare?

Unlike in Japan, it is very simple here. Cash goes into a big plastic box as you get on. Any change comes out a coin slot next to this. Try to have the correct fare or as close to as you can as the drivers don’t take 5,000 won! If you’re using a travel card, hold it over the dark blue/orange box near the driver. If you need to transfer buses, a travel card is crucial here as it allows you to make a free transfer to two other bus within 40 minutes. This is great if you want to do a whirlwind shop at Home Plus and don’t want to pay again to get home! To do this, hold your card over the box at the back doors of the bus as you get off and then again when you get on your next bus. Note: This only works when taking a different number bus and is effective for 40 minutes after the time you swiped your card each time.

What’s this travel card, then?

Travel cards here are awesome. Seriously.

Why?!

Not only does having a travel card allow you to use public transport cheaper than cash, they can also be used nation wide. And not just for buses – they can be used for the subway as well. No more fumbling for change and panicking about where you put your ticket!

Many taxis also accept travel cards – no more worrying about saving 10,000 won to get home on a Saturday night. Have another beer and let your travel card take care of you! Note: Do check that the taxi has a “Card” sticker in the window.

And that’s not all! You can also use the credit on your travel card to buy things from convenience stores and Lotteria!

So, where can I get one of these travel cards?

Larger bus stops have a kiosk where you can purchase a card. You can also top up the credit here. Some convenience stores also allow top up – especially if they are near a bus stop. Just look for a MyBee or CashBee sticker in the window.

Anything else I should know?

Well, the buses also have free WiFi, air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter! You can get just about anywhere in and around Ulsan. But do be prepared to experience some hair-raising rides – some of the drivers are insane!!

I hope that helps you feel more confident about using the buses here. Have fun and be safe!

New Address System in Effect

By , January 18, 2014 1:07 pm


As of January 1, 2014, Korea has officially moved away from the old, very confusing addresses, which were based on things like land lots, and what order buildings were constructed in on a block, to a new, streamlined system based on street name and building number.

This is meant to help with general navigation, as the only people who understood the old system seemed to have been postal workers and pizza delivery guys. If you’re not sure what this means, check out the little blue plaque on the front of your building.

building numbers

From http://eng.juso.go.kr/eng/about/AboutPolicy.do

대로 (Dae-ro) means “Big Road” or boulevard.

로 (Ro) means “Road” or “Street”.

길 (Gil) is a side-street.

The basic naming system is as follows: Dae-ro and Ro have individual names, such as DaeHak Ro (대학로) or University Street, the main street through Mugeodong. The side streets have names based on the main road they feed off, numbered in order. This is still a bit random seeming, but how they decide the system isn’t really important. If your street is off Sinjeong-ro, then it’s likely a Sinjeong-ro #-gil, or beon-gil.

They explain it with pictures on this site, which is all in English, which is very kind of them to do. In fact the whole address change site is very helpful, if you need more detailed information. There’s supposed to be a map that can help you translate your old address to your new one, though it was having difficulty loading when I gave it a go.

Your postal code will remain the same.

Korea’s Tourism Site also has some basic information on the topic.

 

My LASIK Adventure

By , November 25, 2013 5:05 pm


Many expats choose to have laser eye surgery while they’re in Korea, as it is much cheaper than in many of our home countries. As such, I thought I’d share my recent experiences for anyone considering the operation.

My background research mostly consisted of talking to numerous friends who have had undergone the procedure, of whom all but one had a thoroughly positive experience, and even the one bad experience ended up all right in the end. This anecdotal evidence was good enough for me, so I called a Korean friend, and went with her to the clinic she’d had her surgery in about 10 years ago. We called beforehand, but they said for the initial evaluation, no appointment was necessary, so we headed into the Shinsegae LASIK Clinic on a Tuesday morning, around 11am. The clinic is located next door to the KEB in Samsandong, across the main road from the Lotte Hotel. The LASIK center is on the 8th floor.

That day, the friendly staff led me through a series of eye tests on a variety of machines, including a test for glaucoma, to measure everything from my cornea thickness to my ability to see. Then I had a consultation with a staff member, who explained that I was a good candidate for the surgery, and outlined the risks involved. I needed my friend to interpret for me, as my Korean is not up to this level of conversation, and the 8th floor staff have limited English.

After I decided that I did want to proceed, I was taken to another floor where I met with the doctor who would perform the procedure, for both a consultation and further tests. Dr. Kim’s English was excellent, and he again explained the risks involved in the procedure thoroughly. The most common side effect is dry eyes, followed by seeing halos around lights at night. There is also an increased sensitivity to light, which can make night driving uncomfortable for some patients. Not all surgeries correct vision 100%, mistakes can happen, and ultimately, you’re having lasers burn bits of your eyeball, so you need to consider it seriously.

source: triby3.com

The Process. source: triby3.com

It turned out during the further tests that I had a small hole by my retina, which put me at risk for it (the retina) becoming detached during the surgery. I had to go in the day before (as I had to teach that afternoon, and couldn’t do the procedure then) my surgery to have a small procedure to “fix” the hole. I’ve also been warned that if I feel something floating in my eye at any point in the future, I should make haste to the eye clinic. Yikes.

That was the end of my first day. I booked my appointment for that Friday afternoon, and for the small procedure on the Thursday morning beforehand.

Thursday, I had a quick check up to measure the hole exactly, and then was strapped into a machine that pulsed a green light into my eye. It lasted only about 5 -7 minutes, but it was terribly uncomfortable. The green light hurt – almost like my eye was being squeezed – and made me tear up uncontrollably. I won’t lie – it wasn’t fun. But it was over soon, and the hole was fixed.

Friday I was pretty nervous. I kept imagining the surgery would feel like the procedure on Thursday, and freaked myself out a bit. I went to the clinic and underwent a few quick eye tests to confirm my vision strength. Then it was time to review the risks again, in detail, and sign the waiver (it basically said that this was an elective surgery, that I was making the choice, and that I understood the risks involved). As my friend had informed them I’d be coming alone, the staff had prepared a printed English version of both, which I thought was really kind of them. I’ve often had to sign Korean forms with just a vague understanding of what I’m putting my name to, which always makes me feel uncomfortable. I appreciated the extra effort they’d gone to, to make sure I knew what I was getting into. While the 8th floor staff didn’t speak much English, they were very helpful and kind, and they worked hard to make themselves understood.

After signing the consent form, I was led up to the 9th floor, and put in a little bedroom. I saw the doctor again for another examination, and he again explained the risks. Finally, it was show-time. I was given eye drops to numb them, and led into the operating theatre, which consisted of two big machines. I lay down on the first bed, where they would cut my corneas. This was the only part of the surgery which hurt, and it wasn’t the cornea cutting that was the problem. They have to clamp open your eyes, of course, which is vaguely uncomfortable, not only because it feels like that scene in A Clockwork Orange. But then they stabilize your eyeball by pressing this cup-like thing down hard on your face. It’s not so much painful as it is very uncomfortable. Thankfully, it lasts less than a minute per eye. You stare up at a circle of lights as they push this cup down, and before you know it, they’re all done.

Not me, also not Dr. Kim. source: blog.arizonalasik.com

Not me, also not Dr. Kim. But it is LASIK source: blog.arizonalasik.com

The next part is the actual vision correction. I was led to the second machine, and again lay down, this time staring at a green blinking light. Again my eyelids were clamped apart, and then the green light went from a dot to a big, blurry blotch – the doctor had peeled back my cornea. As I stared straight up at the light, I smelled a slight burning smell, and then the doctor replaced my cornea with what seemed to be a tiny, soft brush (though I felt nothing). This was repeated for my other eye. The whole thing seemed to take about 2 minutes.

The doctor did a quick check up, and found a bit of debris in one cornea, so I lay back down on the table, and had the eye flushed with water. On the second check, it was all clear.

The nurse then took me to the little bedroom, where I lay down in a lovely warm bed, and closed my eyes for 15 minutes. When she returned, she gave me a list of dos and don’ts (she’d taken the time to translate it all for me, which again, I thought was really kind of her): don’t rub or touch your eyes, do apply drops regularly, don’t wear makeup for a week or two, don’t do exercise or running for a week, etc. I had one more checkup from the doctor, who explained the eyedrop meds I’ll be taking for the next two weeks, and told me to spend the rest of the day with my eyes closed. Apparently, too much blinking can cause a wrinkle in the cornea, which is obviously not a good thing.

The clinic gave me a pair of googles to wear that day, and at night for the next two weeks, and my prescription for antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and artificial tears. I had a follow-up appointment booked for the next morning at 9am, and was sent home. It’s really hard to sit around with your eyes closed, and not fall asleep, so I napped most of the afternoon, and then listened to a bunch of TED Talks that evening.

goggles

Sexy and comfortable. Source: howisavemoney.net

In the morning, I had a couple of vision tests, and then the doctor took a look at my eyes. My right eye now has perfect vision, but my left is a little bit blurry (way better than it was before, though). He felt confident that the left eye will clear up a bit more over the week, but if not, my vision now is still 1.00 (20/20), which is amazing.

I’m thrilled with my results, and I would highly recommend the process to anyone considering it. There are absolutely risks involved, and you should weigh them carefully. The clinic will review the risks with you, thoroughly. If they don’t, you may want to consider visiting a different doctor. I would be highly skeptical of anyone who guarantees your results, or promises you perfect vision. You also may want to research the LASEK process, which is slightly different, and the better option for some people.

The Shinsegae Clinic is located in Samsandong, next door to the KEB, across from the Lotte Hotel. The LASIK/LASEK clinic is on the 8th floor. They are open 9am-7pm on weekdays, 9am – 5pm on Saturdays, and 9am-12pm on Sundays and holidays.  Phone: 080-274-0001 – Minimal English spoken, you may want to have a Korean friend help you.

Tragic Child Abuse Case in Guyeong-li

By , November 1, 2013 6:12 pm


Today at lunch, my friend recounted to me a story she’d heard in the news. An 8-year old girl in Guyeong-li (a suburb of Ulsan, just outside of Mugeodong) had been beaten to death by her step-mother. Apparently the girl was about to go on her first school outing and had asked for some kimbap (a typical picnic food). When her step-mother had refused to make some for her, the girl stole 2,000 won to buy some at a local shop. Autopsy results show 16 broken ribs, and the reports are the little girl was beaten for 2 hours. The investigation has revealed an ongoing abusive relationship, and left the neighbourhood reeling at the news.

This tragedy brings to light an issue here that is very often overlooked, or kept quiet within families. There has been a push in many Western countries in recent years to bring domestic violence out from behind locked doors and into national focus, but like many cases at home, here it has very much remained “none-of-your-business”.

My first year teaching here, one of my middle-school students arrived one day with circular marks on her hands. I asked her what happened, and she lightly said, “Oh, I got a bad mark on my math test, so my father burned me with his cigarette.” I was horrified, and went immediately to a co-worker to ask what we should do, who we should report it to. I was told nicely to not worry about it. That this kind of thing happens, and it was none of my business. “Don’t interfere,” I was told. I was at a loss as to what to do at that point, and not knowing Korean law or procedures, I told the student that if she ever needed to talk, I was there for her, and I would help her – but beyond that, I felt helpless.

A few years later, my housemates and I overheard a horrible fight between a mother and her adult daughter in which it was clear someone was being beaten. Again I asked a Korean friend for advice, and again I was told to stay out of it. I was told (though I now doubt how true it was) that the police wouldn’t bother with a fight between parents and children.

Well, now I can pass along a number that you can contact if you are in a similar situation to what I was in – the Dong-a Ilbo story on the death of the little girl in Guyeong-li had this number at the bottom – Child abuse reporting number is 1577-1391. I don’t know what the English abilities are, but if in doubt, try to get a Korean friend or co-worker to help you out. Child abuse is illegal, and the police will investigate the situation. If a kid tells you they’re in trouble at home, you can call that number to report it.  If you hear an assault in progress, call the police at 112 (119 is Fire and Ambulance, though they will send police ’round if you call them – it just may take a little longer). They have a translator on call who can help you if your Korean is not ready for phone calls.

 

 

Translation for Ko Bus Ap

By , October 31, 2013 4:50 pm


Thanks to Kim Hyeong Yeong for the translation work here:

This is to make reservations on the KoBus ap “전국고속연합” (Jeon Guk Ko Son Yeon Hab), though there may be difficulties regarding your ID number (foreign IDs are one number different from Korean IDs, which can play havoc with online bookings). Also, a basic knowledge of reading Korean will be needed for figuring out location names. If you need help reading Hangeul, please check this article out.

ko bus 4Ko Bus 1ko bus 3ko bus 2

 

Translation for Ulsan Bus Ap

By , October 31, 2013 4:32 pm


A student at UNIST, Kim Hyeong Yeong, has recently translated several of the bus ap screens for the international students at the school, and has graciously allowed me to repost them here on Ulsan Online. The bus ap is called “울산버스정보” (Ulsan Bus Jeong Bu) and is available for both Android and iOS based phones, but is only in Korean. Even with this translation, some basic Hangeul will be need for location names. If you need help learning to read, check out our handy reading guide.  I hope you find these helpful!

bus ap 3bus ap 9 bus ap 8 bus ap 7 bus ap 6 bus ap 5 bus ap 2bus ap 4

Munsu Dog Park

By , October 21, 2013 11:14 pm


Tucked away behind the Munsu Archery Centre, across the road from the Munsu Stadium complex, lies the Munsu Dog Park. As far as I’m aware, it’s the only dedicated dog park in the city.

At the far end of the Archery parking lot, look for this guy

At the far end of the Archery parking lot, look for this guy

Just past the sign, there’s a little spot where you pay the entry fee, and then it’s play time!

ff

[Namgu Residents 1,000 won. Other regions - 2,000 won. Open April - October 10am - 10pm, November - March 10am - 6pm]

The window where you pay

The window where you pay

The park is sectioned into two areas, one for small dogs, and one for large breeds. Due to the overwhelming popularity of small dogs here, this section is bigger and nicer, with a large shaded area for people to sit, agility equipment and a water fountain. The large-dog area also has some agility equipment, and plenty of room for a good game of fetch. The areas are fenced, with the gates double fenced to prevent dogs from escaping when someone enters.

The foreground is the large-dog play area, the background is the small-dog play area.

The foreground is the large-dog play area, the background is the small-dog play area.

Some of the agility toys in the small-dog area

Some of the agility toys in the small-dog area

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A vending machine stocked solely with dog treats.

A vending machine stocked solely with dog treats.

 It’s a great place to let your furry buddy run around without worrying you’ll be yelled at by some random dog-hating ajumma. There will likely be playmates for them to run around with, or there’s always the agility equipment and plenty of room for fetch. Beside the park, there are stairs leading up to one of the hiking trails that lead into Ulsan Grand Park, if you get bored of the enclosure.

The dog park is pinned on the Interactive Map, under Pet Care.

Getting Aquainted – Pets

By , September 2, 2013 7:28 pm


Often when people arrive here, they feel a little lonely without their family and friends close by. For some of us, coming to Korea is our first time living alone, after years of sharing rooms and apartments through university and those first years after school when student loans overshadow all other expenses. What better way is there to solve this loneliness than by getting a pet?

Who could resist this face? Apparently the people who abandoned him on the street.

Who could resist this face? Apparently the people who abandoned him on the street. (Found by a member of our Facebook group)

Well, let’s be realistic. Yes, pets are a great addition to a person’s life, providing companionship, love, and fuzzy cuddles (depending on the type of pet), and there are proven health and psychological benefits to caring for one. But there are downsides to pet ownership that many people overlook, which often ends up hurting the animal. If you are thinking of getting a pet to keep you company, please consider the following.

Pets are not disposable. Please, do not get a pet if you cannot or will not take it with you when you move on from Korea. These little creatures form deep bonds with their humans, and they suffer greatly when their person disappears from their life. Cats and small dogs can live for 20 years if properly cared for – this is a lifetime commitment you are making. Please take it seriously.

The bunny my friend and I pulled out of a garbage pile.

The bunny my friend and I pulled out of a garbage pile.

Korea does not have a system to handle unwanted pets, either. There are very few animal shelters in the country, and they’re all privately operated. They have very limited resources for helping stray or abandoned animals. Likewise, many vets offices will try to help with finding homes, but there are time limits. A dog or cat left with a vet or in a city pound will be euthanized after a week or so, as there is simply no place to put them.

If you can’t take the pet with you when you leave, consider volunteering for a group like Busan Abandoned Pet Sanctuary (BAPS), where you can go on weekends to walk the dogs at the shelter. Get your pet “fix” and help out a great cause at the same time.

One of the rescued dogs at BAPS, Hani.

One of the rescued dogs at BAPS, Hani, who was likely used for illegal dog fights, then bred repeatedly, before being found wandering.

If you are prepared to make the commitment to a pet, then there are some options for finding the right one for you.

Please don’t buy from pet stores. Puppy mills are rampant here, with sickly, malnourished, neglected dogs caught in a continual cycle of breeding and whelping. The puppies are taken from their mothers far too young, so that they have a longer shelf life of being cute at the shop, and they often have serious behavioural and health issues, from infected eyes to bad hips. Similarly, don’t buy from the lady on the street with a box of puppies or kittens. Doing so only perpetuates the cycle. You may be “rescuing” one animal, but you’re dooming the parents to another breeding cycle, as long as money can be made.

A kitten at the Animal Rescue Korea site

A kitten at the Animal Rescue Korea site

Instead, look to the shelters, like BAPS or Animal Rescue Korea. Here, your adoption fee goes to cover the costs of feeding and housing the animals, and you’re making room for another pet to be rescued from a horrible fate. They often have purebred animals if you’re looking for a specific breed of dog or cat, and there is a wide range of ages, from energetic young puppies to steady, older pets who just want a comfortable retirement.

There are also reputable breeders to be found in Korea, so please do your research if you choose to go this route. Visit the location to make sure they’re not a puppy mill.

Keep in mind that pets can be very demanding. They need to be trained where to go to the toilet, not to destroy your stuff, not to bite or scratch, etc. They need to be exercised (remember the mantra “A tired pet is a good pet!”), and they need vet care (rabies shots, distemper, heartworm meds, spaying or neutering – don’t add to the unwanted pet problem!). Pets take a lot of work, and if you’re coming home from work exhausted, it may be the last thing you’ll want to do, to clean up poop, or have an excited pet chewing on your fingers. You can’t go away for weekends without finding a pet sitter. You need to come home from work and walk the dog before you go out to the bar (and then you’re leaving it alone again after it’s been alone all day long). These are all things that people often forget when they see happy cavorting fur-babies in a pet-store window.

This is how they get you...

This is how they get you…

It pays to do your research into training and behaviour before you ever adopt an animal. The more you understand and expect before a furry creature enters your house, the less likely you are to be driven completely insane by their midnight capering, or chewing of your new sneakers. I highly recommend reading several books, such as Good Owners, Great Dogs by Brian Kilcommons (my bible when raising my Lab many years ago), anything by Caesar Milan, or anything off this Amazon list - or surf the net for advice. We also have an Ulsan Dog Owner’s group on Facebook, which is a great place to find helpful people, or organize doggy play-dates.

Don’t get me wrong. I love animals. I would have a house full of animals if I could (in fact, my apartment is so small, that my dog technically does make it full of animals). I think everyone should have a pet in their life if it’s possible for them. But every year I see countless posts on our Facebook group of animals found abandoned on the streets, or animals looking for new homes when their owners leave the country, and my heart breaks for them. If you can make the commitment to give a pet a lifelong home where it’s properly cared for, then by all means, go out and find one! But if you just want something to keep you company for the few months you’re here, try one of those apps where you have a “pet” to play with.

My brother's dog, Gogi, who was abandoned on the streets in Korea, and has accompanied him to Egypt, and soon will join him in Sweden.

My brother’s dog, Gogi, who was found on the streets in Ulsan, accompanied him to Egypt and Canada, and soon will join him in Sweden. Pictured here in the White Desert, May 2013.

Making Ulsan Connections through Facebook

By , July 30, 2013 7:28 pm


It’s rare these days to come across someone who isn’t on Facebook. The Social Media site has taken on a huge role in many of our lives, as an easy way to keep in touch with friends and family back home (even if it’s just passively checking statuses or flipping through photo albums) while we’re living abroad. It’s also a great way to meet new people and discover ways to get involved in your new community while you’re living here. Ulsan has always had a very active foreign community, and with help from the members of the Ulsan Online Facebook group, I’ve compiled a list of groups that can help you make connections, and get more out of your time in the Land of the Morning Calm.

General help for living in Ulsan

Ulsan Online – with over 1800 members, and growing every day, this is probably the most active group online in Ulsan. The intention is to extend the information available on our website – if you can’t find an answer to your question on here, ask it there!

Ulsan Used Goods – a buy and sell list. Since many expats are here only for a year or two, there is a rather steady trade in basic household products and furniture, or even the odd vehicle. If you need something, or want to unload something you can’t bring

home, check it out.

Ulsan Parents Club - great support if you have little ones. They occasionally organize group outings, such as picnics and Christmas parties.

Ulsan Mothers Group – similar to above.

What’s Hot in Hogye – for anyone living in Buk-gu (the north end of the city), in neighbourhoods like Hogye and Hwabong, as it can feel a little isolated out there. There’s also the Yeonamazing group for people in Hwabong and Yeonam dongs.

Dong-gu Ulsan – a similar group for people living in Dong-gu, which can also feel a bit cut off from the rest of the city at times.

Eonyang Family – for those way out in Ulju-gun, by the KTX station.

Volunteering

T-Hope - Teachers Helping Other People Everywhere. A group of volunteers who do orphanage visits, gather donations for charity, and run fundraising events. This is a page, not a group, but you can find out more about them through this link.

T-Hope – Lotus Center for Autistic Children

Language Skills

Ulsan Language Exchange Table and

Let’s Talk Talk Ulsan - these two groups organize events where Koreans and English-speakers can come together to practice their other language. Usually half the event is run in English, half in Korean.

Ulsan Korean Study Group - a group centered around the study of the Korean Language in Ulsan. In this group you can share your tips and materials on studying Korean.

Ulsan Skype Cultural Exchange Group - meet up over Skype, from the comfort of your own home.

Spanish Conversation in Ulsan - get together with other Spanish language speakers to keep up your skills.

Hobbies and Recreation (these are pretty straight forward)

Ulsan Online Debate Forum

Ulsan Photography Club 

Ulsan Wine Club

Ulsan Dog Owners 

Ulsan Social Dance

Industrial Theatre Troupe

Irish in Ulsan

Ulsan Partying

Ulsan Happenings

Ulsan AfterHours

Ulsan Social Club

Ulsan Homebrew Group

Sports

Ulsan Rock Climbing

Foreigners CAN Hike

Ulsan, Busan, Daegu, Pohang Ice Hockey

Ulsan Football (American style, not soccer)

Ulsan Bolts Rugby Club

Won Shot Wanderers FC  (soccer/football)

R.O.K. STARS 2013  (basketball)

Ulsan Sports - for a wide variety

Ulsan Ultimate Frisbee (UFF)

Healthy People of Ulsan

Waeguks Got Runs – for runners/joggers. Often lists marathons and other running events.

Teaching Support

Ulsan Substitute Teacher Group - if you need cover for a day off at your hogwan, try listing it here.

Ulsan MOE Substitute Teacher Group – same as above, but for public school teachers.

Teachers in Ulsan – share resources, get advice for dealing with difficult classes, etc.

Ulsan EPIK – for public school teachers.

High School Teachers in Korea - support for the small number of native speaker High School teachers.

Ulsan Middle School Teachers

Resources for Teachers in Ulsan

Student Support

UISO – UNIST International Student Organization, for students at Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology.

University of Ulsan International Students Association

Religious Organizations

Ulsan English Fellowship - A Mission Outreach of the First Congregational United Church of Christ

Ulsan Catholic Community

Simin International Church Ulsan

Ulsan Han-Fil Families – Korean-Filipino families “working together to fulfill the will of Heaven.”

 

 

 

How to Get a Pension Refund

By , July 8, 2013 6:19 pm


This question is appearing on the Facebook group a lot lately, as we approach the big August change-over in public school teachers. Here’s the basics on how to get your pension payments (and the matching sum made by your employer) refunded, compiled from the Ulsan Online members advice.

Citizens of countries that have an agreement with Korea* can receive a lump-sum refund of their pension fund money when they leave Korea. Also, people working here under an E-8, E-9, or H-2 visa qualify, regardless of citizenship. For more information, please check the English Website for the National Pension Plan.

To get your refund, you can apply in person at the Pension Office (there are two in Ulsan, which are pinned on the Interactive Map). Bring the following documents:

1. A ticket to prove your exit from Korea, dated within one month of your application.

2. Your Passport

3. Your Alien Registration Card (ARC)

4. The information for your bank account, Korean or foreign, where you’d like your refund deposited. It must be in your name. For Korean banks, you’ll just need the account number and bank name. For international banks, you’ll need the necessary information for a wire-transfer.

5. The application form you can pick up at the office.

The staff at the Pension office are not necessarily fluent English speakers, so you may need to either bring a Korean friend to translate, or have a note that explains what you are looking for. It takes 4-8 weeks to process, and you can apply within a month of your leaving date.

Offices in Ulsan:

The locations are both pinned on the Interactive Map, under “Government”. They are open from 9am – 6pm.

Nam-Ulsan (South Ulsan) office. On the road between City Hall and Lotte Mart. 4th floor of the Hanhwasaengmyeong Building. Phone 052) 226-2130.  Buses 127, 1127, 317, 327, 337, 412, 452, 704, 705, 708, 712, 714, 718, 722, 732, 734, 807, and 827 go past either City Hall or Lotte Mart.

Dong-Ulsan (East Ulsan) office. Near the Junggu E-Mart, 1st and 2nd floor of the Ulsan Broadcast Building.                    Phone 052) 290-6141. Buses 203, 215, 226, 402, 712, and 732 run past Hakseong Park. From that stop, walk 10 minutes towards Shinjunggang Market.  Buses 104, 225, will stop at the Shinjunggang Market, right by the Ulsan Broadcast Building. Buses 402, 421, and 442 run past the Daishin Building. From that stop, walk up to the next street and turn right, walk down to the main road and turn left. It’s about a 5 minute walk from the Daishin Building to the Ulsan Broadcast Building.

You can also apply at Incheon Airport, or from abroad – please see their English website for full information on this.

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