Archive for December 2nd, 2007

The Challenges of Expat Life

A FORUM BETWEEN SEOUL officials and the local expat community highlights the many pragmatic challenges that expats face in their adoptive countries (JoongAng Daily):

[…] In the ninth such forum, questions ranged from how to withdraw money abroad from South Korean bank accounts to why a national identification number is needed to purchase a theater ticket on a local Web site.

The room was packed with about 160 foreigners for the 2.5-hour meeting.

“I could not withdraw money from my Korean bank account with my ATM card when I was traveling abroad. But I saw my Korean companions withdraw money without any problem,” said Anne LaDouceur, the moderator of the meeting and a member of the city government’s Foreign Investment Advisory Council.

Some in the audience noted that they could not even use their ATM cards in Korea for several months after they opened new bank accounts here. “Nonghyup [Bank] recently refused to open my account even though I have lived here for four years and have an alien registration number and a passport. I was ashamed,” said a Nepalese man. [read full]

This also highlights the question of how traditionally closed societies – such as China, South Korea, and Japan – will adjust their infrastructure to as their immigrant communities grow.

RELATED NEWS: Korea is considering requiring criminal background checks from new English teachers after a recent child molestation case, which is certainly understandable, but the bureacracy that’s involved with getting these checks makes the process a logistical nightmare, at least for U.S. citizens not of Korean descent, as there apparently is no central agency that can provide these documents.

More visa information here.


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