Below is information you may find helpful as you prepare for your journey to South Korea.
International students may also find the Introduction to the Republic of Korea Guidebook useful. Click here to read more.
Campus Location and Directions
The University of Utah Asia Campus is located in Songdo, which is a 1,500-acre city built on reclaimed land off the coast of Incheon, South Korea. Replete with a variety of dining options, shopping centers, and parks, Songdo International City offers students a unique opportunity to experience the exciting and innovative developments of an international city while also being able to engage with the dynamic, culturally-rich history of South Korea.
Preparation & Daily Necessities
All degree-seeking international students must obtain a learning abroad visa (D-2 type) before the beginning of the semester at The University of Utah Asia Campus (UAC). Other types of visas, F-types and A-types can enroll in UAC without the visa status change. A student visa (D-2) can be acquired at a Korean embassy or consulate in the applicant’s home country. You can find the Korean Consulate in your jurisdiction here.
Please note that
- You need a passport with more than six months of validity.
- You can start the D-2 VISA process 90 days prior to your Semester Starting Date.
- The process usually takes 2-4 weeks, depending on the Consulate’s workload. Please apply for your VISA right upon your COA receipt.
- Entering Korea without obtaining a VISA will cause a VISA application cancelation.
General Required documents for Korea Learning Abroad VISA (D-2):
※ The Required documents may be varied by the consulates. It is advised that students contact the Korean embassy or consulate in your jurisdiction before applying for the visa to check if there are any additional documents required for the application.
- A completed Visa application form
- One face photo taken within 6 months (35mm x 45mm or 2inch x 2inch)
- Original (physical, actual) passport and one copy of the passport ID page
- Visa processing fee
- Original Certificate of Admission with a student signature and one copy of the UAC Business registration certificate.
- UAC VISA Specialist will FedEx them to you
- Final Academic Credentials (choose one from the following):
- Undergrad Enrolled Students: Enrollment certificate and transcript of your current university issued within a month.
- High School Graduates: Apostilled or original copy of your high school diploma.
- Funding details (Latest bank statement(s) of the visa applicant and/or visa applicant's parents)
- (If your parents are funding your trip and stay in Korea) 1 copy of the visa applicant's birth certificate or a document that can prove your family's relationship with your parents.
For more information, please contact UAC Visa Specialist, Jung A Seo, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
IGC housing provides basic furnishings, including a desk, chair, wardrobe, single twin-size mattress and bed, and stand.
Electricity and Appliances
- Standard voltage in Korea: 220 volts (and 60 Hertz, or cycles)
- Outlet/plugs: European-style with two round holes/plugs
- Advised to purchase high-voltage electronics (e.g., hair dryers) in Korea
Laptops are often equipped to handle dual voltage and only require an outlet adapter (available at most retail stores in Korea)
- KaKao Talk
- Download KaKao Talk BEFORE departing for Korea (need working phone to confirm app installation)
- Most common app used in Korea
- Similar to WhatsApp or iMessage
- Naver Maps –Use this instead of Google Maps
- Kakao Taxi
- Similar to Uber, Lyft, or Grab; lets you summon a taxi anywhere in Korea
- Use General Request and select “Pay the Driver” so you can use your physical card to pay the driver (if you do not have a Korean debit/credit card a linked Korean bank account)
- Kakao Maps
- Similar to Naver, but can be linked to your Kakao account. Will show walking, public transportation, and driving routes to anywhere in Korea. Available partially in English.
- Kakao Metro
- Provides detailed information specifically about the subway systems of each city in Korea. Available in English.
- Subway Korea
- Another convenient English app that provides schedule, route, and fare information for the entire Seoul subway system (including Incheon).
- Kakao Bus
- Limited English, but very helpful in figuring out bus schedules, routes, and stops. Service available in Seoul, Incheon and other areas in Korea.
- Contact home-country phone carriers to explore options and to see if global data/usage options are available
- Whether you should use your home-phone plan or a Korean phone service will depend on length of stay in-country
- Many services in Korea are linked to having a Korean phone number (e.g., food delivery)
- Carefully weigh options before committing to a plan since most phone plans require:
- a Korean bank account
- one or two-year contract
Korean Phone Plans
- Pre-paid SIM cards
- Good for short-term purposes, but may be expensive past 3months
- Can purchase at airport, online, or at convenient stores 7/11, CU2, GS25
- Monthly Plans
- Requires an ARC & Korean Bank Account oTypically 1-2 year contracts
- Coverage and data options vary
- Can use phone from home (if unlocked) and buy a Korea SIM + phone plan oMajor service providers: KT (olleh), SKT, and LG U+
- Where to go to get a Korean phone plan in Songdo?
- T-World at Campus Town building
- Look for authorized service center
- Potential Short-Term US Phone Plans (to use data while abroad)
- T-Mobile (Korea falls under global network)
- Google Fi
- Requires compatible device or unlocked phone to use Google SIM
- Must be activated prior to arriving in Korea (needs working cell signal)
- Purchase Skype credit to be able to make calls in-country, but use WIFI for other needs (like Skype or WhatsApp, you can make calls to friends using KaKao with internet
- IGC has WIFI students can use around campus.
- Students will still need to purchase a WIFI router to use in their room (can be purchased at Office Depot in basement of Triple Street)
- Students without a Korean phone or data may consider:
- Portable WIFI devices (can purchase and active prior to coming to Korea
- Usually require downloading an app and pre-paying WIFI service
- Renting a WIFI egg from airport (deposit~200,000 KRW; 8,000 KRW per day)
- Portable WIFI devices (can purchase and active prior to coming to Korea
- Inform your home bank you will be in Korea so your accounts are not frozen while using your debit or credit cards abroad
- Consider obtaining a credit or debit card with no foreign transaction fees
- Most transactions in Korea are conducted with cards, but cash is also accepted
- Visa, American Express, and MasterCard are widely accepted
Opening a bank account
- UAC recommends a local KEB Hana Bank branch
- The closest branch is in the HoneStar Building (2nd floor behind Hyundai Premium outlet)
- Offers customer service line in English: #1544-3500
- Will need to bring a passport, ARC, home bank account information to open account
- Some tellers offer services in English, but it is helpful to have a Korean speaker present to help open an account
- Can use Korean-issued debit card to access public transportation services
- A bank account is required for local pre-paid phone plans
Closing a bank account
- Students will need to close their bank accounts in person before their final departure from Korea
- Closing Korean bank accounts from overseas is not recommended, as the process can be difficult
- While convenient for online shopping, students should be aware that internet banking is very strict and you will be required to install several security programs on your computer to access your account
- Not all ATMs accept cards that are not issued in Korea
- May need to use a “Global ATM” (2nd floor of Honestar building behind Hyundai Premium outlet)
- If using a card issued outside Korea, will have to select “foreign” card on the ATM machine
- Outside Dorm Building B
- Global ATM on second floor of Honestar Building behind Hyundai Premium outlet
Students have the option of purchasing meals at the IGC Cafeteria and have access to a variety of local, neighborhood grocery stores.
|Store||Location||Description/Types of Carried Products|
|HomePlus||20-30 minutes walking distance (past Triple Street)||Household goods, appliances, groceries, food staples|
|Daiso||Triple Street basement (10 -15 minutes walking distance)||High-quality clearance, Japanese brand store; cleaning products, household items, snacks, office supplies, etc.|
|Lotte Mart||40 minute walking distance; 8-10 minutes via car||High-end household goods, groceries, food staples (includes mini Daiso on 2nd floor)|
|E-Mart (Yeonsu Branch)||12-15 minutes via car; three subway stops from Techno Park Station||High-end household goods, groceries, food staples (electronics store in basement)|
|Costco||40 minute walking distance; 10-15 minutes via car||Large wholesale store for groceries and other goods. Membership is required for checkout (can use membership card from native country).|
|Halalco Food Mart||20 minutes via car; 1 hour via bus||Halal supermarket options in Incheon|
HELPFUL SHOPPING TIPS
- Bring your own grocery bags
- Many grocery store chains closed the 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month. Visit http://ishomeplusopen.com/to check
- Check-out/cash register culture:
- Have your payment method ready!
- Customers bag their own groceries
- It’s common for the next customer to move close behind you as you pay for and bag your groceries.
- Each student on campus is issued a mailbox with a number corresponding to your door number
- Small envelopes/parcels will be put into students’ mailboxes
- Larger parcels will be held with security guard for pickup
- Room # _ _ _ _ Housing A (OR Housing B)
Incheon Global Campus
Songdo Munhwa-ro 119 Yeonsu-gu
Campus Address to Receive Mail (coming from inside Korea, for example Coupang):
인천글로벌캠퍼스생활관A 동(or B동) #_ _ _ _ 호
Local Post Offices
- Yonsei University Location
- Located in the basement of the Yonsei University Library (type Yonsei University into Naver)
Directions: Descend the stairs once you find the library location; Take a left at the end of the stairs, then one right, and then the post office will be in the back corner towards the left.
- Located in the basement of the Yonsei University Library (type Yonsei University into Naver)
- Downtown Songdo Location
Recommend using one of the transportation apps to map out route.
- Cheaper and easier to use than cash
- Can be used on transit system throughout country
- Can be purchased at local convenience stores
- Techno Park station convenience store sells cards (must have cash)
- Can be refilled at subway stations or convenience stores (must use cash)
- To use, place card at sensors at entrances/exits of buses and subways after boarding and exiting buses and trains
- Can use KaKao Taxi to hail taxis and direct driver to specific locations
- Can use cash or credit card (many prefer card) or some accept T-money cards
- Available around campus; a taxi stand is located next to Building Dorm B
- Helpful to have addresses written in Korean
- Tipping is usually not customary
- Always buckle up!
Two major lines to Seoul
- 9201 (located one block from campus, Yonsei University stop)
- Stops at Gangnam Station within 90 minutes
- View the 9201 Bus Route on Naver Maps
- M6724 (located one block from campus, Yonsei University stop, opposite of 9201 stop)
- Stops in Hongdae at the Hongik University Station
- View the M6724 Bus Route on Naver Maps
- Easiest to use one of the apps above to map your route
- Fast, user-friendly
- Operates 5:30am –12:00am every day
- Best to use apps mentioned above to navigate train schedules and best route options
- Closest stops to UAC:
- Technopark (15-20 minute walk from campus; located in Hyundai Premium Outlet)
- Campustown (1 stop away from Technopark; 20 minutes walking distance from campus)
- Free service for students, faculty, and staff
- Routes extend to downtown Songdo
- Click here to view the current schedule
Schedules, fares, and train information: KoRail website.
- Incheon International Airport and Gwangmyeong Station (about 25 minutes away by taxi)
- Songdo is flat, so purchasing a bike is a cost-effective way to travel around Songdo
- Prices can range from 300,000 won to 1 million won. Secondhand options are available via many of the community Facebook groups.
Healthcare & Health Insurance
- When enrolled in UAC courses, international students are required to have health insurance
- The International Programs Coordinator will enroll international students in Cultural Insurance Services International (CISI) 2-3 weeks before the start of the semester
- *Because students will have to pay-out-pocket for medical expenses and seek reimbursement afterwards, STUDENTS SHOULD HAVE AN ACCESSIBLE FORM OF PAYMENT(e.g., credit card with no foreign transaction fees)
- Cost of CISI is typically $206 per semester (~$42 per month)
- The amount is added to students’ tuition bill in CIS
- CISI covers illness, injury, mental health, emergency evacuation, and repatriation of remains
- Reimbursements generally take 15 business days from the day a claim is submitted
- Students should check their SPAM folder in case their CISI confirmation email is sent there
- Students should consult with their primary care doctor about prescription medications, vitamins, and supplements needed that may be unavailable or illegal in Korea.
- Certain prescriptions are prohibited in Korea, therefore students must obtain proper documentation and approval and submit a written application to the Narcotics Control Division of the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety (MFDS) before travel. Please contact the MFDS for the application and procedure and up-to-date information:
- +82-43-719-2813| email@example.com
- Please review the following information with detailed instructions on bringing prescription medication into Korea:
- *Application and required documents should be submitted at least 10 days before entry date. Legal processing period if 10 business days.
- Guideline for Bringing Prescription to Korea
- Example (Form1-Inbound Traveler's Permit Application)
- Example (Form2-Narcotics bring in permit)
- The Korean Customs Service at the Incheon Airport has authority over which medications will be allowed to be carried into Korea.
- General recommendations: Investigate how to obtain the same or equivalent medications prior to your departure in cause a replacement is needed due to loss, inadequate supply, or the need to resupply maintenance medications is ongoing.
- To obtain medications, carry a written list of all medications taken, including commercial and generic names.
- If you are unsure whether the same or equivalent drug is available internationally, work with your healthcare provider (in your home country and locally in Korea) or pharmacist to select an alternative medication.
- Generally, mailing or couriering any kind of medication from one country to another is illegal.
- For more information: http://www.mfds.go.kr/eng/index.do
Students with recent mental healthcare diagnoses should carefully consult with their primary care doctor, as Korea offers limited mental healthcare support options in English (see below).
- While widely available with a prescription, oral contraception differs in dosage and brand in Korea. Female students may consider bringing their own prescription medication.
- Emergency contraceptives are available only by prescription. Based on your level of comfortability, you may want to consider packing a back-up dosage.
- Menstrual products: Various products may not be available in Korea, so female students should pack accordingly.
- Diva cups are not widely available.
- Small size tampons (without paper/plastic applicators) are available, but ultra-absorbent are typically not widely available.
- Incheon Global Campus Health Clinic
- Multi-Complex Building, 3068
- Open 9-12, 12-5
- Can visit for general health consultations; can be referred to nearby clinics for various needs
- HomePlus Clinic –English speaking services
- Located in basement of HomePlus building (in corner behind escalator going up)
- For general medical concerns
- Doctor onsite speaks English
- Gachon International (GIL) Hospital
- Option 1:
- Visit any medical facility
- Pay out of pocket
- File a claim with CISI by filling out form and emailing it to CISI (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Option 2:
- Visit Gil Hospital
- Pay out of pocket 10% of total cost (often helpful to have one of the translators assist you with this)
- Mental Health Center (on campus)
- Prior to arrival, students should carefully consider and acknowledge that Korea offers limited mental healthcare support options in English. Students are strongly encouraged to consult with their primary doctor and discuss options before departure.
Culture and Adjustment
- Adjusting to a new country is often about self-exploration and how your own cultural values and norms align with the new landscape you’re living in.
- When trying to learn about another culture’s norms, values, traditions, and customs, consider yourself a cultural detective that makes observations. As a detective, it’s important to observe, explore and learn about the histories, politics, societies, religions, philosophies, and traditions of a particular region.
- In order to embrace a more intercultural mindset, consider the following questions as you make observations and adjust to your life in Korea:
- History, politics, religion, and society
- When was the country founded? Was it always autonomous? Did it govern other territories? What are its current geographic boundaries?
- Who are major political heroes and historical figures? How are these heroes and figures celebrated and commemorated?
- What major historical events took place over the decade? Fifty years? Hundred years? How have those events shaped present-day Korea?
- How would you classify the type of government and economy?
- Which major religions or philosophies were represented and emphasized in the past and in present day?
- What does the country’s infrastructure look like?
- What does the education systems look like? What’s the country’s literacy rate, college attendance rate, etc.?
- How is healthcare managed? Is it accessible and affordable?
- What traditions and celebrations were honored in the past? What traditions and celebrations are honored today?
- How would you describe the geography?
- What major ethnic groups make up the country?
- What languages are represented?
- How would you describe gender norms?
- What’s the average life expectancy, median age, and birth rates?
- Individualism and Collectivism
- How important is individual identity versus group identity?
- Is there a focus on “I” identity or “we” identity?
- Is individual competition valued more than group cohesion and teamwork?
- Is personal competence more important than in-group cohesion?
- Which is more important: independence or interdependence?
- Power Distance
- How is power distributed among group members?
- Is there a small or large power distance between leaders and group members?
- Do titles matter?
- Do organizations have steep hierarchies or egalitarian, flat structures?
- Uncertainty Avoidance
- To what degree is uncertainty avoided?
- Is uncertainty valued? Is it a threat?
- Are there strict social rules to follow?
- Is conflict seen as a positive?
- Here are other questions to consider when thinking about how communication patterns and norms may differ from your native culture. Remember, when asking these questions, always ask yourself this too: What is the context?
- How are friendships formed and sustained?
- How far apart do members stand?
- How are decisions made
- How is time treated?
- How is respect given? How is respect reciprocated?
- How are individuals outside major in-groups seen?
- What’s the stress, tone, volume, and speed of dialogue among friends, colleagues, students, etc.?
- History, politics, religion, and society
- 2019 Introduction to the Republic of Korea Guidebook
- CIA World Factbook Korea
- List of Korean films about Korea
- Confucius Meets Piaget: An Education Perspective on Ethnic Korean Children and Their Parents - Jonathan Borden
- Modern Koreaby - Andrew Salmon
- Korea: The Impossible Country –South Korea’s Rise from the Ashes, Inside Story of an Economic, Political, and Cultural Phenomenon - Daniel Tudor
- The Korean Mind: Understanding Contemporary Korean Culture - Boye Lafayette De Mente
- Korea –Culture Smart!: The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture - James Hoare
- Learning to Think Korea: A Guide to Living and Working in Korea - Robert Kohls
Culture shock is natural, unavoidable psychological and physical disorientation that occurs when entering a new culture and environment. This can occur when encountering a new organization, a new state or province, a new team or small group, or when living in a new country.
Symptoms of culture shock include:
- Loss of self-confidence
- Sense of hopelessness, loss, grief and/or mourning
Culture shock will be discussed during International Student Orientation, but international students are encouraged to contact the International Programs Coordinator Anna Yacovone if they are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Students can also make an appointment with the Mental Health Counselor Jan Lee by visiting https://appointmentwithjan.as.me/schedule.php.