Getting a Visa
Obtaining a visa is a hard task no matter where you go, although its difficulty may vary depending on which country you come from. In my case, I was able to look up everything I needed, in order apply for the Korean D-2 visa. While Canadian citizens can stay in South Korea for up to six months without a visa, students intending to study in Korea for more than three months must obtain a student visa (D-2).
One of the most challenging tasks, I thought, for the visa process was the $10,000 requirement. As a student I honestly did not have that kind of money in the bank, and I searched for multiple ways by checking what others did; in other words I looked to YouTube. Sadly, every single one of them were American so I could only relate so much which is why I thought it might be important to hear some advice from a fellow Canadian. Although I did learn that if you only intend to stay one semester $5,000 is enough, but in my case I was staying for a year, so did I really need that $10,000?
Well, as a student I pay tuition to my university which is around $7000 a year plus housing, food, and books. So how exactly do I pay for all of that? Some work all summer in order to cover costs, or their parents pay for them, and for the rest of us like me we take a loan from OSAP (Ontario Student Assistance Program). So I wondered if I had been approved for OSAP and granted an amount over $10,000, could I not just use that to satisfy my $10,000 requirement. The answer is…. Not a chance. I had made a call to the Korean Consulate office before actually going there as I had many questions. However, when I asked if OSAP would suffice the phone was handed over to another person and I was told that it was not possible as I would have to prove that I had my own $10,000 lying around somewhere. So as you can image I am devastated, but that wasn’t all. As I asked my other questions I was given an irritated reply to the point where they stopped listening and proceeded to tell me that they were busy and then hung up on me. Even though my heart shattered a bit that day, there was still hope due to the fact that I could use my parent’s bank statement in the place of mine so I manage to hang in there.
In all, once all the paperwork is done and it’s all handed in, within a week I received my passport with an approved student visa for 13 months. I cannot say that it was the easiest thing to do, however once it’s over, all you have to do is sit back, book your flight, and daydream away what you intend to do once you get there. As for me, I hate flying so I am honestly dreading the flight there, but I cannot wait until I touchdown and my new adventure begins.
My First Day
The flight to South Korea was pretty normal. My airline of choice was Korean Air and the flight was rather enjoyable; besides the part about me not getting my cup of ramyeon (라면) since it was finished, it was okay.
Now getting off the plane and finding my accommodations was my next brutal task. First and foremost, Korea is humid!!! Honestly, I have been to African countries down south and Incheon (인천) was the top contender for making me want to get back on that plane. Now I had gone over my strategy of what bus I needed to take as I had done a bucket load of research about getting to Seoul (서울) from Incheon (인천) Airport a.k.a. cruising YouTube.
Through this I learned taking a taxi is never the way to go, and so I took an airport bus which went as close as possible to my accommodations and took a taxi the rest of the way. Although getting a taxi wasn’t the easiest task in the world, being the introvert that I am I had no idea of how to hail a cab. As I had always just called them ahead of time to pick me up, this proved to be a challenge until a nice man helped me get one out of kindness of his heart (bless his heart). So after standing on a curb for 30 minutes, I was finally in a taxi.
Once we arrived at my Airbnb, I was greeted by an ahjumma (아줌마, older woman) who asked me if I was crazy. This was because from her perspective I was taking my luggage into an apartment complex. The doors for these buildings are usually locked and a password must be imputed, however in my case, the door was wide open. Being me I quietly responded in the negative and proceeded to show her my phone with the address in which she responded with a loud, “ahhhhhhh” and tried to direct me to the apartment. Shortly after I completely passed out at about 9pm Korean time and such went my first day in Korea. Although it wasn’t as eventful as I would hope it was more than enough for me.
Till next time,