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Archive for the 'Travels in Korea' Category

Korean Cosmetics Guide: Best Shopping Tips & Beauty Secrets

When you go shopping in Myeongdong, Dongdaemoon, or other areas, you will be overwhelmed by the many Korean cosmetic brands that offer unique products that you don’t often see in other countries. One of the benefits of purchasing Korean cosmetics in South Korea is that people are able to find many alternatives to high-demand cosmetics, products that function similarly but also cost a lot less, therefore you can easily stock up your makeup box!

This blog will include Korean makeup trends and famous Korean beauty YouTubers that will teach you some tips about Korean makeup styles, tips on how to know when the shops have sales, and useful Korean vocabulary and phrases that you can instantly use when you go shopping in Korea.


1. Korean Cosmetic Brands and Trends in South Korea

Korean cosmetics were not popular a decade ago, however when BB cream was introduced worldwide, people started to be interested in Korean beauty products and they became popular. In 2018, the French cosmetic brand L`Oreal acquired one of the most popular Korean cosmetic brands called, 3CE (Stylenanda).

Korean cosmetics are loved by many because they offer unique colors that you cannot find anywhere else in the world. These pigments, preferred in Korea, are suitable for everyday looks. Also, if you have tried some Korean cosmetics before, you have noticed that Korean beauty products such as lipsticks and eyeshadows are a lot more subtle and less pigmented than cosmetics from Western countries.


1- Korean Makeup Trends

There are many YouTube videos that compare makeup styles between Korea and America, or Korea and other countries. If you have watched them before, you probably know that Koreans prefer to have clean and flawless skin and go for natural looks.

  • Skin: In order to achieve a natural look, they apply foundation one or two tones lighter than their natural skin color.
  • Eyebrows: They prefer to have straight and thick eyebrows, in order to achieve a youthful look.
  • Eyeshadow: Very subtle and light pigmented eyeshadows are usually used.
  • Lips: Many Korean women wear vibrant red glossy lipstick and you will be amazed at how many different shades of red lipsticks there are in Korea! You can visit popular cosmetic stores such as Etude House, Missha, Skinfood and so on to have a look at different shades of red lipsticks!

That being said, not all Koreans wear the same makeup style; celebrities with tanned skin and vivid makeup appear more often than before (eg. Jessie, Nada, Hwasa, Hyorin and so on).

2- Popular Korean Beauty YouTubers

If you want to learn more about Korean makeup, there are many famous YouTubers who offer free makeup tutorials so you will be able to learn about Korean beauty brands, cosmetic products and many beauty techniques that Koreans use daily. Famous Korean Youtubers include:

3- Popular Korean Cosmetic Brands

Here are a number of Korean cosmetic brands:

4- Useful Korean Vocabulary for Cosmetics

  • BB 크림 (BB keurim) = “BB cream”
  • 파운데이션 (paundeisyeon) = “foundation”
  • 눈 화장 (nun hwajang) = “eyeshadow”
  • 워터 프루프 (Woteo peurupeu) = “waterproof”
  • 블러셔 (Beulleosyeo) = “blush”
  • 아이라이너 (airaineo) = “eyeliner”
  • 아이브로우 펜슬 (aibeurou penseul) = “eyebrow pencil”
  • 립스틱 (ripseutik) = “lipstick”
  • 아이섀도 (aisyaedo) = “eyeshadow”
  • 컨투어 (keontueo) = “contour”

Planning to go shopping in Myeongdong?
Click here to learn useful Korean phrases

Skin Products

2. How Koreans Use Their Skin Products

In Korea, applying skin lotion after washing isn’t enough. In fact, if you tell Koreans that you only apply lotion, they will be shocked. Usually a skin care routine starts from applying toners, eye cream, essences, serums or ampoules, then day or night cream. And it’s important to do facial masks at least 2-3 times a week in order to keep your skin flawless.

When you go shopping in Korea, you can easily get the products as a set and the staff will be more than happy to explain to you what they are for and the steps you need to follow.

1- The Secrets of Korean Skin Care

Here are some secrets of how Koreans keep their skin always beautiful:

  1. Try to use an ice-cube to massage your face when you watch TV, this is one of the popular beauty tricks that Koreans do.
  2. Rubbing ice cubes on your face helps you to achieve that beautiful radiant glow. If you have time in the morning, try to use an ice cube to reduce swelling.
  3. A cream 황토마스크 (hwangtomaseukeu) “red clay mask” is a very popular facial mask in Korea. Unfortunately, this is difficult to find in stores, so you might need some help from local friends to find decent 황토마스크.

2- Popular Ingredients for Skin Care Products

Other popular ingredients for skin care products in Korea are:

  • 피그 콜라겐 (pigeu kollagen) = “pig collagen”
  • 치즈 크림 (chijeukeurim) = “cheese cream”
  • 연어 크림 (yeoneokeurim) = “salmon cream”
  • 달팽이 크림 (dalpaengikeurim) = “snail cream”
  • 홍삼 화장품 (hongsam hwajangpum) = “red ginseng cosmetic”
  • 젤리 크림 (jelli keurim) = “jelly cream”

There are products that even use gold. Each product with unique active ingredients in Korean beauty products has a different smell and texture, so have fun trying them and don’t be scared to give it a try!

3- Useful Korean Vocabulary for Skin Care Products

  • 마스크팩 (maseukeupaek) = “facial mask”
  • 스킨 (seukin) = “skin product”
  • 로션 (rosyeon) = “lotion”
  • 아이크림 (aikeurim) = eye cream
  • 립밤 (ripbam) = “lip balm”
  • 나이트 크림 (naiteu keurim) = “night cream”
  • 데이크림 (deikeurim) = “day cream”
  • 선크림 (seonkeurim) = “sunscreen”

Want to master Korean pronunciation? Learn the sounds that don’t exist in English!
Click here to access the ‘Ultimate Korean Pronunciation Guide”!

Korean Beauty Products

3. How to Purchase Korean Beauty Products for Cheap

As mentioned above, if you cannot afford to buy high-end cosmetics, why not replace them with Korean cosmetic products? There are so many decent Korean beauty products that provide the similar effects and cost less than half the price of expensive beauty products. There are many ways that you can purchase Korean cosmetics at a cheap price and here are some tips to remember:

1- Check Brand Websites for Upcoming Events

Do you want to buy a cosmetic? Before purchasing it right away, try to visit the website of the brand to see if you can get more discounts or receive freebies. The website often provides upcoming sale events such as 1+1 event, 50% discount coupon, freebies and so on. Also, often Korean cosmetic brands release limited edition items that you can only purchase online. So check out their websites occasionally!

2- Request Free Samples

When you buy a number of beauty products in Korea, you will also receive many free samples to try at home. If you are at a Korean cosmetic store and want to try some products before purchasing them, simply request free samples from the staff. If you do not request them specifically, they will give you samples randomly. So if there are any particular products that you want, request them! Most of the time you will be able to get many different samples for different products. The good news is, they will give you more than enough for you to use them for a few weeks! You will be surprised how many free things you receive after purchasing cosmetics or skin products in Korea. Most likely you will receive a cosmetic pouch or shopping bag depending on the promotion that the company is doing.

3- Register for a Membership Card (Only Korean Residents Can Do This)

This may not apply to tourists, but if you are currently living in Korea, try to sign up for a membership at your favorite Korean cosmetic stores. You can sign up as you purchase the products at the counter and most of the time, you will receive instant 5 to 10% discounts. You’ll also get points which can be used just like money.

Depending on the store, the registration process differs, as some stores may require you to give personal information such as your address and birthday, but most of the time the process is very easy, as you just need to give them your mobile number.

4- Useful Korean Vocabularies and Phrases

  • 세일 기간 (seil gigan) = “sale period”
  • 할인 상품 (Harin sangpum) = “discount products”
  • 교환/반품불가(Gyohwan/banpumbulga) = “exchange/refund not allowed”
  • 샘플 많이 주세요. (Saempeul mani juseyo) = “Please give me many samples.”
  • 세일 중인 상품은 어디에 있나요? (Seil jungin sangpumeun eodie innayo?) = “Where are the products that are on sale?”
  • ~ 있어요? ( ~ isseoyo?) = “Do you have ~?”
  • ~ 주세요. (~ juseyo) = “Please give me ~.”
  • ~을(를) 찾고 있어요. (~eul(reul) chatgo isseoyo) = “I am looking for ~.”
  • 이것은 어떻게 사용하나요? (Igeoseun eotteoke sayonghanayo?) = “How do I use this?”
  • 어디에 바르는 화장품인가요? ( Eodie bareuneun hwajangpumingayo?) = “Where do I apply this cosmetic?”
  • 텍스프리 가맹점 (Tekseupeuri gamaengjeom) = “tax free affiliated store”
  • 택스 리펀드 (taekseu ripeondeu) = “tax refund”

Do you want to learn more Korean vocabulary for shopping?
Click here to check out our free vocabulary lists!

Make Up Products

4. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn more Korean

To sum up, we had a look at popular makeup trends, interesting facts about skin care products in Korea, and we also introduced tips on how to purchase your favorite Korean beauty products for a cheap price. Now, you are ready to go shopping in Korea!

But if you want to buy things in Korea, it’s important to learn some basic Korean phrases. Check out Common Ways to Say Hello and Top 10 Travel Spots in South Korea from KoreanClass101, for free!

If you want to learn even more Korean, sign up for KoreanClass101 today to access free study materials! If you are serious about learning Korean, you can sign up for Premium PLUS which allows you to study personalised lessons anytime, anywhere at your convenience. Why not give it a try today?

Good luck with studying Korean and I hope you have a great day!

Life in Seoul: What is the Cost of Living in South Korea?

Due to Korean Dramas and Kpop influences, the number of foreigners traveling to Korea or living in Korea has doubled in the last decade. This means that more and more foreigners come to Korea to learn its culture, language, customs and so on. Traveling to Korea certainly helps you understand Korea and also helps you expand your perspective.

However, it’s important to understand the difference between traveling and moving abroad. Travelers’ main concerns may be where to stay throughout the trip, or where to shop or to eat in Seoul. But for foreigners who want to live in Korea, one of the main concerns may be the cost of living in Korea. I am sure that you are reading this blog because you have been considering moving to Korea and you want to gather as much information as you can.

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Table of Contents

  1. Cost of Renting an Apartment or a House in Korea
  2. Cost of Food in Korea
  3. Cost of Entertainment in Korea
  4. Cost of Transportation in Korea
  5. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn more Korean

Don’t worry, KoreanClass101 will look into the living costs, such as renting an apartment, purchasing food, enjoying entertainment etc, in Korea, focusing on Seoul. Also, KoreanClass101 will share some tips on how you can save some money while living in Korea, like locals do, so that you can apply these tips once you start living in Seoul, Korea. We will share some useful Korean phrases and words for you to learn from this article so please keep reading!


1. Cost of Renting an Apartment or a House in Korea

If you are going to be an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher in Korea, you do not need to worry about accommodations, as the company will cover all the expenses including the utility fees. However if you need to find your own place to stay, there are some important things that you need to understand about renting an apartment in Korea.

Firstly, depending on where you want to live, your rent will be different. For example, if you want to live in Gangnam, Hongdae or any other main district in Seoul, the rent is going to be extremely expensive in comparison to other areas far from the main districts.

Secondly, Koreans usually search for an apartment to rent through a real estate agent. Koreans believe that it is the safest way to find an apartment and usually the real estate agent will take care of all the work including negotiating with the landlord and reading through the contract for you. If you want to lower the apartment rent, you may want to increase the default deposit. Usually, if you increase the deposit by 10,000,000 KRW, you may be able to lower the rent by 50,000 KRW. Also, sometimes you will notice that the water utility fee is included in the rent. This is certainly negotiable as well. The real estate agent will negotiate this with the landlord on your behalf, and there is no guarantee as it’s really up to the landlord to decide. Also, if you find a house then you will need to pay approximately 10% of your rent to the real estate agent. Koreans also use a number of apps or websites to save on the agency fee, which are 다방 (dabangapp), 직방 (Zigbang), 피터팬의 좋은방 구하기 (peterpanz) and so on.

List of Korean words for renting an apartment in South Korea:

  1. 월세 (wolse) - “monthly rent”
  2. 관리비 (gwanribi) - “maintenance fee”
  3. 수도요금 (sudoyogeum) - “water bill”
  4. 전기요금 (jeongiyogeum) - “electricity bill”
  5. 계약서 (gyeyakseo) - “contract”

Do you want to become fluent in reading Korean?
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Food in Korea

2. Cost of Food in Korea

It is relatively cheap to eat out or do grocery shopping in South Korea. For example, a carton of milk costs around 2,500 KRW and the price of snacks and sweets usually start from 1,000 KRW. Also, the majority of supermarkets offer special discounts such as 1+1 events or coupon events. So look out for these signs when you go to a supermarket. In addition, a good thing about doing grocery shopping at supermarkets such as major wholesale stores like emart, Home plus and some local supermarkets, is that some supermarkets offer free delivery if you purchase over a certain amount.

Regarding eating out in South Korea, dishes usually cost from 7,000 KRW if you go to an inexpensive restaurant. Just to give you some hints about the cost of food in Korea, a McDonalds meal usually costs from 6,000 KRW and beers cost from 3,000 KRW. Waiters and waitresses often can speak English if you go to the city area, but if you are living outside the main districts, you will need to order food in Korean. If you learn a few phrases and order food at a restaurant, using honorific Korean, Koreans will appreciate you for trying to speak Korean.

List of Korean words for food:

  1. 닭 가슴살 (dalg gaseumsal) - “chicken breast”
  2. 사과 (sagwa) - “apple”
  3. 바나나 (banana) - “banana”
  4. 감자 (gamja) - “potato”
  5. 소주 (sojoo) - a Korean alcoholic drink typically made from rice or sweet potatoes.

Click here to learn more Korean essential vocabulary for fruits and vegetables!


3. Cost of Entertainment in Korea

The cost of entertainment in South Korea really depends on what you want to do as a hobby or for pleasure. For now, let’s focus on movies. If you purchase movie tickets at the counter, the tickets cost usually around 12,000 KRW, without any snacks or drinks. The price of the ticket becomes more expensive based on the type of movie. For a 3D or IMAX film, expect to pay a lot more.

But don’t worry, there are many ways to enjoy the entertainment without spending a fortune. Here are some tips on what locals do to receive some discounts on their movie tickets.

1) Try to purchase a movie ticket online as tickets are usually around 7,500 KRW online. Also, try to sign up to receive more discounts, ranging from 10% to 30%.
2) If you are an active SNS user, many South Korean companies offer free movie tickets or drinks if you share their contents on your SNS pages.
3) Look out for special discounts offered by different cinemas, such as 조조할인 (jojohal-in), 심야할인(sim-ya-hal-in), 무비데이 (mubidei) and so on.

List of Korean words for entertainment:

  1. 영화 (yeonghwa) - “movie”
  2. 티켓 (tikes) - “ticket(s)”
  3. 조조할인 (jojohal-in) - discount tickets offered to customers who come to the cinema early in the morning
  4. 무비데이 (mubidei) - Every Wednesday is called “movie day,” and you will receive some discount on the movie tickets.
  5. 심야할인 (sim-ya-hal-in) - discount tickets offered to customers who come to the cinema late at night

Do you want to challenge yourself by memorizing 100 essential Korean words?
Click here to access Korean Core 100 Word List for free!


4. Cost of Transportation

Transportation in South Korea is extremely convenient and cheap. You will need to purchase a T-Money card, which is a prepaid rechargeable touch-and-go transportation card. You can purchase this card at the ticket machine inside the subway. If you can apply for a credit card in Korea, you can also apply for a card that offers discounts for people who use transportation often. You can consult your bank if you are interested. When you scan your transportation card at a subway station, usually it costs 1,250 KRW for an adult and 720 KRW for a child (with the transportation card). For buses in South Korea, the price differs, from 1,200 KRW to 2,500 KRW, depending on the company and time of the day. Regarding the cost of taxis in Seoul, 일반 (Ilban - “regular taxis”) start from 3,000 KRW and 모범 (mobeom - “deluxe taxis,” black with a yellow top )cost from 5,000 KRW. If you catch a taxi late at night, there will be a late night surcharge.

List of Korean words for transportation:

  1. 대중교통 (daejung-gyotong) - “public transport”
  2. 버스 (beoseu) - “bus(es)”
  3. 지하철 (jihacheol) - “subway(s)”
  4. 택시 (taegsi) - “taxi(s)”

What should we watch in Korea? Learn how to express your intentions!

5. How KoreanClass101 Can Help You Learn more Korean

In summary, we looked at different areas’ of cost of living in South Korea, focusing only on Seoul. The price range may vary depending on which area you go to, therefore it’s important to compare the prices and do a little bit of research in order to save some money while you are in Korea.

Regardless of how cheap or expensive it is to live in South Korea, it’s important to study the language before. If you understand Korean language, it will be a lot easier for you to navigate around in South Korea.

If you have more questions about Korea (apart from cost of living in Korea) why not visit our KoreanClass101 forum? You can get a lot of advice from Koreans or foreigners living in Korea. Also KoreanClass101 has many Korean resources where you can access many study materials for free, so sign up for KoreanClass101 today to receive a free trial!

Good luck :)

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10 Reasons to visit South Korea


Click here to discover 30 travel phrases you should know!

For many Korean learners, traveling to South Korea is the main source of motivation.
So, why not give you some other motivations for going to this country? Here our 10 reasons why you should visit South Korea!

1. Eat authentic Korean Barbecue


2. The cafe culture


Cafes and little bakeries are everywhere in South Korea. They are meeting spots and people will stay there over coffee for hours before going elsewhere. The themed cafes are not to be missed as well!

3. Cherry Blossoms


Just like its neighboring country Japan, Korea is also a country with natural beauty during the spring. There are many cherry festivals where you can enjoy strolling around and looking at the cherry trees.

4. Go shopping


Korea’s got all these trendy stores that don’t exist in the United States, and its young people care a lot about fashion. The big department stores like Lotte and Hyundai are great for exploring, and the markets like Namdaemun and Dongdaemun are also must-visits.

5. A land of beauty


According to Asian standards, Korea has the most handsome guys and most beautiful ladies. And Korean beauty is not limited to famous actors and actresses!

6. Get tropical in Jeju


Jeju is a tropical island off the Southern Coast of the Korean Peninsula. It is known as the “Hawaii of Korea,” as it shares many of the same features such as a warm climate, beautiful beaches and tropical mountains.

7. Cultural heritage


South Korea is a land with a long history. It is home to eleven UNESCO World Heritage sites. It has lots of palaces which are so big that you just have to discover what is hiding inside.

8. Great nightlife


In Seoul in particular, whether you like to kick back and enjoy a beer with some friends, or dance at a nightclub, the city has something for you. Seoul is a city that may shine even brighter at night than during the daytime. Gangnam and Hongdae are very popular nightlife areas that are worth seeing.

9. The subway


The stations are also clean and easy to navigate; both the stations and trains have high-speed WiFi that doesn’t stop working even when everybody is using their phone. Some subway stations have big markets that are worth exploring for the cheap clothes and atmosphere too.

10. It’s K-Pop’s country-of-origin


No matter you think, K-Pop has a significant impact on Asian teenagers. Whether they are girls or boys, everybody has their idols. And one last reason everybody knows K-Pop: Oppa Gangnam Style!

Click here to access the top 30 travels phrases lesson for FREE!

May is Family Month - Save 30%!

The Month of May in Korea is often called Family Month. There’s Children’s Day, Parent’s Day, and Teacher’s Day. Korea takes Mother’s Day to a whole different level! On these days you give your Children, Parents and Teachers gifts to show them how much you appreciate them. Children often benefit the most with candy and money being popular gifts. Teachers get quite a lot of gifts as well as they have many students and parents to receive gifts from. And that’s why the month of May is called Family month in Korea!

Well… did you learn something new about Korea?

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We’re celebrating Family Month here at KoreanClass101.com by extending a steep discount for three days only. This offer is for those who would love to learn a little bit of Korean culture while learning Korean with fun and effective lessons!

For three days ONLY, receive 30% OFF any Basic or Premium Subscription! Learn Korean fast today!

This offer expires on May 13th, 11:59 PM EST. So be sure to act now, or if you can’t do it right now, I suggest you save this e-mail for later so you can act later. Remember, this offer is valid for a limited time only!

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Seoul Metropolitan Subway: clean, punctual, and scary

 Subways in Korea.

The Seoul Metropolitan Subway is a thing of beauty. It’s quick, efficient, and cheap. The subway itself also divided into three separate but similar entities: Seoul Metro, Korail, and SMRT (Seoul Metropolitan Rapid Transit corporation). Where have I heard of SMRT before?
Our diligent 현우 has posted a nice introduction to to Seoul’s subways in this forum post. Note the loudspeaker - each stop is announced in both English and Korean. It is very foreigner friendly in that regard. The air conditioning doesn’t hurt, either :)

1000 원 buys you up to 6 miles worth of track and 100 원 for every additional 3 miles. Not bad. Actually that’s more than not bad - that’s a great deal. Remember the post about the size of Korea? We’re not talking more than a little more than 230 square miles for the whole city with the majority of stops located nearby each other. So we’re talking a cheap ride no doubt. Buy a 10 dollar card and call it a day.

The card that I am referring to is non other than the T money card. These nifty little guys really make you feel like you’re paying for your subway ticket electronically…wait…well that’s exactly what they do. Okay so their novelty wears off quick. But not for me. In my case, I almost was so excited by the convenience of them that I was tempted to swipe them twice.

Hey what do you want from me? Texas has a lot of limestone so it’s not like they’re going to build any subways in the Lone Star State anytime soon so just let me swipe my card twice in peace.

Oh and T Money almost begs to be scanned twice - Seoul Metro gives you a 100원 discount if you use the card instead of a paper ticket. I especially like the T Money card’s tap n’ go way of paying. Just tap your wallet or purse on the magnetic reader located on thew top of the turnstile machine, wait for the beep, read your remaining balance, and you’re goo to go. Except I always end up losing my card or have another card already in my wallet that interferes with the subway card in the first place. But that’s just me.

Speaking of which, there are ticket booths available for paper ticket purchases, card refills, and for general directions. Not that you’ll need them - all signs are in English and Korean. But fear not - you will find Seoulites sometimes even checking the subway map prior to swiping their card. I also like how the ticket booth guys will let elderly people  and those who are down on their luck through a special entrance gate for no charge from time to time (like a rain-soaked, broke American who slaughters Korean pronunciation and who also just happen to have left his T Money card on the bench at the last stop where he got lost and frustrated but not frustrated enough to not buy two rolls of 김밥 and then wonder how much it would cost to buy some fruit from that lady but he couldn’t remember the word for the specific type of fruit she was selling so he just asked 과자 얼마예요? but then later realized that 과일 is fruit and 과자 is cookie so then he felt kind of validated when the vendor giggled at him).

But unfortunately, it’s not all bells and whistles for the operators of the trains. Several news articles and TV specials will make you wonder why don’t they raise the fee so as to support these hard-working employees.

As far as being punctual, I don’t have any numbers to support this claim but here goes anyway: Seoul’s subway is the best subway in the whole universe and way better than anyone else’s subway. Bam.

Now as far as the scary aspect - let me explain. Drinking and driving isn’t as big of a concern in Korea compared to America. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that Korea has safer streets - because they don’t. But as far as traveling to and from the bar, the majority of people use public transportation be it bus, taxi, or subway. So, the scary aspect isn’t the same as someone stalking you - it’s more like a creepy drunk person within arms length of you. I mean, drunk people got to get home somehow, you know?

Although it can get cramped as all get out, there are several times when it’s also creepily empty at times. Either way, all things considered, it is clean and quite useful. Foreigners need not fear the subway - it’s well-lit, heavily used, and moderately well-maintained with minimal breakdowns.
The Green Line Mile
Now, subway social culture - who should stand and who should sit - that’s a whole nother can of worms.


Business or pleasure? (Korean visa regulations)

Visa regulations.

Ever changing and always with controversy it seems.

I should point out that to apply for a visa to go to Korea, one must go through their local Korean consulate. The three most common reasons to visit Korea are for traveling (tourist), teaching (English), and business (international). For this blog entry, we will focus on the first one. Next week will focus on the E-2 teaching visa. Visa application information changes somewhat frequently so it’s important to check with official online resources prior to making plans. This post is intended to provide an overview from a strikingly handsome American citizen’s point of view.
Below is a breakdown of the tourist (C-3 90-day) visa. Information was pulled from the Houston Consulate.

Visitors Visa [C-3]

    If you are a US citizen and are a tourist staying in Korea for less than 30 days no visa is required.

    If you are a US citizen and are applying for a visa to stay up to 90 days for tourism, visiting friends and/or relatives, goodwill match, events,conference, cultural art, training, religious ceremony or academic data-gathering you need to submit the following documents:

  1. A signed US passport with remaining validity of at least 6 months and one blank visa page.
  2. A completed and signed Application for visa 
  3. A recent passport color photo (2″x2″ ) attached on the application form
  4. $45.00 Visa Processing Fee. All fees can be paid by Cash or Money Order.  All Money Orders should be made payable to The Korean Consulate.
  5. If you are applying by mail you will have to include a prepaid postage return envelope (USPS Express mail, Fedex or similar kind of overnight mail) with complete address for the passport to be returned.
  6. If you are applying for tourism or visiting friends and/or relatives - A Flight itinerary or a copy of Round-trip Airline ticket lf you are applying for goodwill match, events, conference, cultural art, training, religious, ceremony, academic data-gathering - Original Documents proving the purpose of entry
  • This office will not make copies, if you need original documents, please bring the original and one copy.
  • This office is not responsible for the loss of any documents including passports.

Below is an index pulled from the Korean consulate website that details the required documentation for certain types of visa. Bolded items are a bit more applicable to KC101 students.
Diplomats (A-1)

Officials (A-2)

Agreement (A-3)

Temporary News Coverage (C-1)

Short-Term Business (C-2)

Short-Term Visitors (C-3) summer jobs, short-term Korean classes, extended travel

Culture/Art (D-1)

Students (D-2) full-time Korean university students

Industrial Trainees (D-3)

General Trainees (D-4)

Residence Reporters (D-5)

Religious workers (D-6)

Intracompany Transferees (D-7)

Treaty Investors (D-8 )

Treaty Traders (D-9)

Professors (E-1)

Teaching Foreign Languages (E-2) common teacher visa, position tied to visa

Research (E-3)

Instruction of Technology (E-4)

Specialty Occupation (E-5)

Art and Entertainment (E-6)

Particular Occupation (E-7)

Training Employment (E-8 )

Visiting& Joining Family(F-1) 

Residence(F-2-1) if spouse is Korean citizen

Dependent Families(F-3)

Korean Residents Abroad (F-4) for Korean decedents and adoptees

Permanent Residence (F-5-9) must be in Korea 5 years or hold F-2-1 for 2 years

UPDATE 1/09: More on student study visas.
Essentially, so long as you go to Korea for less than 30 days (the vast majority of tourist agendas) you’re fine. You won’t need any special visa, but you will need a valid passport and a return ticket (proof of round trip ticket or e-ticket is generally acceptable). But get ready for a seriously long flight. Mine was fourteen hours with no leg room.

I should point out that recently a big change in Korean visa regulations has occurred. Starting in late November, South Korean citizens can visit the United States for up to 90 days without any special visa requirements. Some are grumbling at the possible influx of illegal immigrants with fake passports; however, a new electronic passport system will also now be in place which will most likely curb such practices. Either way, this new law will encourage international exchanges within the two countries and speed up the other “for real” visa process for the rest of us. It also will save South Koreans the $110 visa application fee that they were previously required to pay. Below is a graphic organizer that shows the new step-by-step process for Korean citizens. The new application can be completed as soon as 72 hours prior to departure.


What are visa applications like for Korea in your home country (other than USA)? Anyone been to Korea with any special visa considerations?

Here’s a nice little international visa chart taken from everyone’s favorite punchline tourism campaign: Korea Sparkling. The first chart is for citizens who can travel to Korea visa-free while the second chart is for those citizens who can apply for a visa

Visa Exceptions

Woah there Canada, 180 days? No fair.


King’s Wedding in 경복궁(Gyeongbok Palace)

Hi, 현우 here.

Did you all have a nice weekend?
모두 주말 잘 보내셨어요?

I went to 경복궁 (Gyeongbok Palace)  with Michael, also a listener to KoreanClass101, who was with visiting from New Zealand for a few days before he starts studying in Korea next year, and also some other friends of mine.


We went to 용산 in the morning to see what’s new at the electronics market and then went to 경복궁 where we were supposed to meet up with my other friends. And we were REALLY lukcy - not only had the rain stopped just a few minutes before we entered the palace, but also this fantastic re-enactment of the wedding of 숙종임금 (King Sukjong: 1661 ~ 1720) and 인현왕후 (Queen Inhyeon: 1667 ~ 1701).


And here’s the video!

(It might be better if you watched it in high quality by clicking on the video and clicking on the ‘high quality’ button.)
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Two funny facts - 1) even the cameramen are dressed in the traditional costumes. 2) look what they are using to balance the weight of the camera.


Michael ↑

and me ↓


And actually the first guard behind me was chewing gum!
And some of the food that we ate ↓

(Clockwise from left-top: (1) 비빔밥 (2) 파전 (3) 불고기 정식 (4) 돌솥비빔밥)


안녕하세요. 현우예요. How was your week? I hope you had another exciting week!! ^^

Today I’d like to share a video that I took in the Summer when I was in Jejudo - Jeju Island/Province (제주도), the biggest island and the southern most province in Korea - a beautiful place! 정말 예쁜 곳이에요. It’s a very short video, but I hope it will help you feel refreshed a bit ^^!!

It might be better if you clicked on the video and watched it in high quality. :)
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Korea.net’s Promotion Event

안녕하세요. 현우예요.

There’s an interesting promotion event going on at http://korea.net - you can watch videos and participate in the quizes and puzzles, and if you win, you get some prizes ^^ Click [ HERE ] to go to the webs  page!

I can’t eat that… a vegan’s guide to Korean food (vegetarianism in Korea)


If you are 1 in 5 billion people that are vegan (these are verifiable facts here, people), you must be:

1) Angry at something, or
2) Conscientious of something that doesn’t quite sit with you.

Either way, you have chosen a meat-free life that has almost exclusively alienated all of your closest friends and family. Great job! You will continue to live this lifestyle until you are a tired, old, cynical shell of a human being that is known more for vulgarity than eco-friendliness. Wow! I can’t wait to subject my own children one day to this Hollywood-esque lifestyle!

Hey, I’m okay with it. But many vegetarians react to their diet defensively almost like being accused of racism. “But I have lots of meat-eating friends!” Sure, that‘ll convince them that you don’t secretly hate them.

So, somewhere along 37°35′N and 127°’E, there lies a country where vegetarianism isn’t as strange as you might expect. Korean people are indeed eating more meat now, but there is a long-standing history of vegetarian cuisine. Granted, their reasons for a meat-free diet aren’t the same as most western vegetarians, but regardless, let’s go over some key phrases and more importantly, how exactly vegetarianism works for Koreans.

Korean Vegan Vegetarian Food Korea

I’m here to tell you that it blows my mind how Koreans look at the abstinence of meat or other animal products. In America, I simply have to tell someone “Oh, I’m a vegan” or “Oh, I don’t eat meat. No thank you”. Some people ask what exactly is a vegan, but most just take a moment to wrap their head around that idea. “…there goes the Whopper, the Big Mac…” but generally, most Americans understand the idea in general. Every so often, someone remarks “Well you can still eat quesadillas or fried eggs at least” In which case you can simply point out that for many vegetarians and all vegans, those foods are like Paris Hilton - you just don’t want to touch that. Some people get defensive (because come on, who wants to feel like a murderer of sweet little chickens?), others attempt to find common ground (”That’s cool - last year for lent I gave up hamburgers” ) while others are simply baffled (”Well, then what can you eat?”). But really, when you look at the psychology behind the responses, all of them indeed recognize the philosophical aspect - it becomes like a koan - an unanswerable question or riddle.

But with Koreans, it really doesn’t matter. You can tell the cook “채식주의자임니다” all day long and it really doesn’t mean anything. He will still give me 오징어 or some other 반찬 that clearly contains meat. I find it more useful to order food using a three-step process.

  1. say which food you want
  2. say what you don’t want in it
  3. then tell them you are a vegetarian.

This formula usually gives the person taking the order a logical process to absorb the reason. “He wants this, without this, because this”. I also like to add this little ditty in. “고기를 못먹어요” This means “I can’t eat meat” as opposed to the more commonly heard “고기를 안먹어요” “I don’t eat meat”. The latter phrase implies that you may or may not eat meat, but as for right now, you don’t want to eat meat.

Speaking of meat, the idea of vegetarianism encompasses a plethora of meat. This is generally understood to include bacon, pork, chicken, beef, fish, etc. In Korea, it’s not this way. You pretty much have to specifically say what you don’t want/can’t eat. All too many times I have told the 아저씨 that I am a vegetarian, I can’t eat meat, I can’t eat fish - and I STILL get a steaming hot bowl of 순두부찌개 with happy little 해산물 floating in it. From an American mindset it makes me think “What exactly did you think I was talking about it when I said no fish?” His response: “Shrimp isn’t fish. Clam isn’t fish”. He’s a sweet guy though so I don’t let it bother me. More than anything, I just feel embarrassed that he has to make another one. After all, I’m not there to get anyone mad or upset or preach my values - I just wanted some food.

Also, I would strongly recommend giving the 아주머니 or 아저씨 a little credit. Admit it, you have an accent. It might take them a while to understand you as it is. Also, you’re messing with their menu. Exceptions to dishes are not as common in Korea as it is in America. In America, we can order a cheeseburger with no lettuce, extra pickles, no sesame seed bun, and extra cooked and it not be a big deal. In Korea, it is slightly unusual to make changes to a menu item. They are likely used to people just saying “김밥 주세요” and that’s all. So try to order things that are already pretty close to being animal-free but need only a little tweaking.

Here’s a little formula to remember. (모모) 안먹어요. Replace (모모) with anything you don’t want in your stomach.

  • 고기 - beef
  • 해산물 - seafood
  • 물고기 - fish (also 생선)
  • 새우 - shrimp
  • 계란 - egg
  • 햄 - ham
  • 조개 - clam (also 대함)
  • 낙지 - octopus
  • 오징어 - squid

Keep in mind that many dishes are naturally vegan while others can be modified. Most 순두부찌개 comes with 해산물 (seafood) but as long as you point out to the server that you can’t eat 해산물, you can enjoy the spicy goodness that is 순두부찌개. Also, if you are unsure if a menu item has meat in it, you can ask “고기 있어요?” There is another phrase I use and has been met with huge success. “고기빼고 해 주세요” means “Leave out the meat”. Insert anything you don’t want in your food instead of meat and you have a perfectly good formulaic phrase! But keep in mind, it kind of depends on the food. This is appropriate if the restaurant makes its 짜장면 sauce separate from the beef topping. However, many places cook the beef in the black bean sauce in which case you should order something else.

The word 야채 (vegetables) is sometimes placed in front of something to indicate that it is devoid of animal products. I would like to remind you that not everyone considers 계란 (egg) an animal product. In which case, the 야채비빔밥 while likely still have a bright and smiling egg right on top to greet you. However, I am usually pleasantly surprised that 버섯 순두부 찌개 (mushroom tofu jjigae) oftentimes comes completely meat-free without any special requests. Score!

I leave you with a few suggestions. I hesitate to list some non-standard dishes because I don’t want to get anyone’s hope up. The following dishes are pretty common and well known.

  • 돌솥 야채 비빔밥 (or just simply 돌솥비빔밥 minus egg and beef)
  • 비빔 국수 (minus egg on top)
  • 비빔 냉면 (minus egg on top)
  • 떡뽂이 (careful here - usually there’s 오댕 mixed in - it’s your call)
  • 버섯 순두부 찌개 (or just 순두부찌개 minus seafood)
  • 김밥 (carefully poke out ham, crab, egg - these are usually pre-made so no special ordering here)
  • 김차 김밥 (minus the egg and you’re all set)
  • 매운고추김밥 (if you can stand the heat - one of my favorites!)
  • 쫄면 (minus egg on top - careful - quite spicy - but oh so delicious)
  • 빔치파전 (batter contains egg - not vegan friendly)
  • 된장 찌개 (minus seafood)
  • 김치 찌개 (varies - may contain pork, tuna, or other meats - just ask)
  • 야채 민두 (my veggie dumplings will rock your socks)
  • 의김치 (my personal favorite)

So maybe you don’t eat because of animal rights. Maybe you are trying to reduce your eco-footprint. Maybe you are trying to get closer to the source of energy in your foods - take on a more natural approach. Maybe you just want a lighter meal. Either way, it is 100% possible to live a vegan lifestyle in Korea. However, one must realize, though that you will be eating out less than your meat-eating friends. It’s just like in America. I don’t really eat out much; I go out to eat maybe twice a week. I most generally cook and eat at home. Although I must admit, I find it so much easier to eat vegan Korean food than I do vegan American food. Plus veggie Korean food is guaranteed hippie-free!  Bonus!

My advice? Grow tough skin, be confident, and dust your shoulders off if you get some uneatable food served to you. Always remain polite about your choice of foods and people will learn to respect your decisions instead of dread your patronage. I was a vegetarian/vegan for years and years and I always found a way. If nothing, I hope this guide will get you going in the right direction.