Friday, April 26, 2013

6 Important Things a Foreigner Must Bring When Roaming Around South Korea Via Public Transportation

It's an understatement to say that transportation in South Korea is easy, convenient and hi-tech. I think they have invested and planned properly to make their transportation better.

If you are in a remote place and you want to call  a taxi, you can have it in an average span of 5 minutes. They have this system where you can just dial the number and they will send you the nearest taxi. Their buses are also clean and organized. You can pay through cash or T-money. But my most favorite transportation here is the Railway system. I like how disciplined they are when it comes to riding a train. It's easy to pay trough T-money and you won't get lost because you can trace the stations through on board maps and monitor.

If you are new in South Korea, whether you are here to work or to visit, you must bring these 6 important things with you or at least keep it handy in a pouch or in a bag.

1. T-Money

T-Money comes in different form. You need this to pay for your fare. For example, you want to travel through the metropolitan railway system, you can only pay your fare through T-money.

Image credit to Google Images
Or if you have existing bank account in Korea like Woori Bank, you can also use it as T-Money. You will know it's a T-money card when you see this logo:

You can buy T-money cards from selected convenience stores like 7-eleven or right within the train stations.

For T-money embedded in ATMs, you can reload it right before you enter the station. The reloading machine looks like this:

2. Cash

While you can travel around South Korea digitally, that is without the need of cash, I still think it is important to bring cash. Why? Because when you stop by every station in the railway, you can find almost anything worthy to buy. You can see book stores, food stalls and even coffee and soft drinks vending machines. The more won you got in your pocket, the better.

3. Map of Korea or Metropolitan Railway System brochure

Maps can be seen everywhere in every station, you sure would not get lost once you stuck in your travel. But I do recommend you bring you own map or even the railway system brochure. You can get one from the information office in every station. It looks like this:

It even has legends and colors so you can easily trace the railway line.

4. Documents- i.e. IDs, tickets and Passport

Bring all necessary documents when you go around roaming the city. For workers, always bring your alien card. This is the alien card issued by the Korean government for those who are legally staying and working in South Korea.

My boss told me I should bring this especially when riding public transportation because authorities are allowed to pull you off for random interrogation. If you have no passport or any legal documents or the alien registration card as shown above, you will be put into detention for further interrogation. So it is important to bring any or all documents that would testify that you are legally staying in this country.

5. Mobile Phone

If possible, smart phones. Travelling is awesome if accompanied with music. It would be good to listen to some good music while travelling. And I included it as one of important things to bring because if you get stuck somewhere, you can always call somebody to help you out. Or if you don't want to go around roaming with maps, you can install applications on your mobile phone to check your location and whereabouts.

6. Korean-English Dictionary

You must and you should know basic Korean words. If you can't memorize, bring a Korean-English Dictionary so you could at least communicate to Koreans or ask questions whenever needed.

Discover more about Korea by travelling using Public Transportation. Just prepare the things I mentioned above to experience smooth and seamless travel.

Happy travelling.....

Sunday, April 21, 2013

3 Ways to Use the Internet to Help You Pass the Korean Language Test

image credit to Google Images

I will say it straight to the point, it is not easy to get a working visa to Korea. There are a lot of foreigners who are illegally staying in Korea for that same reason. There are a lot of requirements and one of that is to learn how to speak and write Korean Language. Korea is a non-English speaking country, although new generation Koreans are now equipped with English language, most of them don't know how to speak English. Foreign workers are required to know Korean language before they can get a job here.

The easiest way so far is to take the Exam Permit System or known as EPS. To say that the road to take the exam is cumbersome is an understatement. But with the help of technology, you can get through the challenges. Like in my case, the internet played the vital role why I passed the exam. I never enrolled in any language training program, I just relied on the resources from the internet.

Here are three helpful ways on how to use the internet to pass the test based on my experience.

1. Watch Korean Language Tutorials on Youtube 

What better way to really learn the language is to get a tutor. But if you don't have a budget to pay for somebody to teach you, use the power of YOUTUBE. There are thousands of tutorial videos on Youtube and it is up to you on how to manage your time to go through all those videos. I recommend BusyAtomdotcom Youtube channel. His tutorial helped me a lot during those cramming times. If you will follow his tutorials from Lesson 1, you can learn the language in just one month. I am really thankful to his YouTube channel.

2. Join Forum and Facebook Group Page 

For more tips, information and updates about the exam and the possible items that maybe included in the test, join online forums and Facebook group pages where you can post questions or read information solely about the Exam Permit System. For forums, you can join the Sulyap Pinoy forum. There are a lot of useful information from posters on this forum, and in fact this is the only online forum I know with focus on Korean Language Test.

For Facebook Groups, you can join the following:

Astig-EPS Philippines
Employment Permit System
OFW in Korea Pinoy EPS in Korea 
Pinoy EPS in Korea

3. Download Reviewer Posted on POEA Website

I have to reveal something for those who want to take the next exam, all items in the test were from the reviewer posted by POEA. If you can review and learn by heart all items in the reviewer provided by POEA, you will surely pass the test. Well, that is at least the case during the time I took the exam. Changes may take place without prior notice. POEA will provide a reviewer for READING with 3000 items and another 3000 items for LISTENING. So you have 6000 items to study, but only 100 out of 6000 will be picked for the exam.

For updates and more information, keep checking

Instead of spending too much time on social media networking, convert the usage of your internet into something useful and resourceful, at least during your preparation for the exam. You can do it. Good Luck!

Monday, April 1, 2013

4 Alert Levels That We Must Know During Korean War

We always hope that North and South Korea will one day reunite and forget about the past and their prejudices. But in case worse comes to worst, here are the four alert levels that we must know so we can properly take action during this crisis.

Alert Level 1:

This is what we called the HEIGHTENED ALERTNESS. If the situation is declared on Alert Level 1, that means everybody must be vigilant about what is happening around especially in the Peninsula area and the Demilitarized zone. Watch news, read papers and be alert at all time.

Alert Level 2:

Alert level 2 is RESTRICTION OF MOVEMENT. Minimize your travel in South Korea. If it's not important, you may cancel it. It's better to stay in one safe place during this situation.

Alert Level 3:

This is RELOCATION level. Alert Level 3 signifies Mandatory Evacuation. Whether you like it or not, you must evacuate. You must know some relocation site  or Convergence area where you can stay safe during the duration of war.

Alert Level 4:

This is the most critical situation. At this point, you must go out of South Korea via plane or ship to save your life.

Anybody who is in the threatened area must  know these four alert levels. In case an alert level is announced, you know what to do.