When you first arrive in Korea on exchange there are a few situations you need to encounter and a few things you need to sort out.
FINDING YOUR WAY THROUGH THE AIRPORT
I was so worried when I go to Incheon Airport, I had never been by myself in an airport before and it was so big! I remember I had to catch a train to another side of the airport and I was so scared I was going the wrong way. Just keep calm (i.e try not to cry because you’re lost and you miss your family or scream from excitement) and follow the signs (that are in English, don’t worry). At the airport I was met by a man from YFU, and he drove me to my host family’s house. Your host family could also come and meet you at the airport, though.
MEETING YOUR HOST FAMILY
I was so afraid this was going to be the most awkward thing. I first met my host family at their apartment – my host mum and host sister came down the elevator to greet me, and then I met my host dad and host brother inside the apartment. I tried to be friendly and talk and ask questions a lot and my host family was also very talkative. I also gave them presents from Australia and they were really grateful~ When meeting your host family remember that they are sharing their house with you so make sure you express your appreciation. Be yourself as much as you can, don’t try and pretend to be someone you aren’t because, well, you’re living with them.
I will bet anything that in Korea you will be using public transport practically every day, so it’s a really good thing to get a T-Money card. This is a card you can use for trains and buses and even buy stuff from minimarts. Ask your host family if they can help you get one and get the student discount (sooo much cheaper if you get the student discount.) Another note on transportation, it’s a good idea to download the Smarter Subway App, which helps you plan how to get to places using the subway. SeoulBus is a good way to find out when your bus is coming, too.
ALIEN REGISTRATION CARD
You won’t have to worry about this as soon as you get to Korea, but sooner or later you will be told you need an Alien Registration Card to stay in the country. You have to get one if you’ll be living in Korea for more than 90 days. It involves a bit of paperwork, maybe 20,000W and a trip down to an office where you can get your picture taken (kind of like a passport photo but in a little booth thing) and wait for ages until you meet with someone to file your application. Your card will get posted to you a week later. I felt so special having mine, I went around telling everyone I was an alien (HAH i’m so funny no i’m really not). You can’t keep it when you leave Korea, though. I was very upset 😦
This post is kind of a work-in-progress thing, if i think of anything else I’ll add it here~