Uncertainty can be happiness

"Security is a false god," or running around the world as an FSO

I am truely a non-Korean.

Posted by quirksalight on April 18, 2008

At least in the eyes of my bank, and the immigration office.

I had a very annoying run-in with the Korean banking system this week. Two big issues, actually. The first was my debit card all of a sudden stopped working. I found this out the hard way; had no cash, and couldn’t take any out. Nearly flipped out this morning. This issue took the bank almost an hour to resolve as they had problems with my ID card, as it stated that I was a foreigner. (Hmm, she looks like us, but she isn’t one of us…Argh!!) 5 different people, dozens of phone calls, two documents later, my debit card was restored and I was able to withdrawal money.
The second issue was with the internet banking system. First of all, the damn thing locked and wouldn’t let me log on (again, issues with my ID number). Second, was the remittance policy.
There are separate rules for foreigners and Korean citizens when it comes to transferring money to an overseas account. Korean citizen can do it by themselves via internet banking; foreigners can’t. And yes, the internet banking (with my bank, at least) is in English, so it’s not a language issue. Yes, I can go to the bank, take the ticket and stand in line for the foreign transfer guy, but banks are open from 9:30-4:30, M-F. It’s not easy to get to a bank when you are teaching, 8:30-4:30pm, with very few breaks, when you have to get permission to leave the school, even as a teacher. (Seriously – I have to ask the head teacher or the principal if I can run out to do an errand like this)
It is one of many minor things that make it difficult as a non-Korean citizen to truly enjoy living here. Seriously, who would need to be able to transfer money to another country more than someone who is from another country? The internet remittance system is made to be easy to use, it’s accessible to the general populace as long as you are a citizen.
I am not advocating that the country should grant non-citizens the same benefits as citizens; that’s a bit too much. But for a nation that actively recruits thousands if not tens of thousands of foreigner teachers every year to teach their children English, with a government which wants to boost English speaking in their country, a government promoting greater foreign investment in Korea, you would think that efforts would be made to ease the day-to-day hurdles for a foreigner living in Korea. Like remittance policies.
On the upside, I got back to school after this horrid session at the bank, and the kids cheered me up. Sometime, the simple act of being happy is infectious. And having dozens of kids just ultra-cheerful at seeing you and wanting to say hi…. well, it does make me smile. =)


3 Responses to “I am truely a non-Korean.”

  1. mracine said

    It’s not just the bank. When you try to get a cell phone or anything that requires a contract, it’s a big issue.

    LOL, I also have the same problem. I’m always having to keep repeating “Mi-gook seram” but they keep speaking Korean to me.

  2. Amy said

    agreed. and AGREED.

  3. gmlee7 said

    oh, i didn’t know there are so many difficulties like this for foreigners. korea was kinda closed country for a long long time. so i think situation will be getting better. (but still i think koreans are still kinda close-minded. u know the us beef issue these days)

    btw, for the banking system, i really agree that 9:30 to 4:30 open hour is inconvenient to many korean workers as well.

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