Category Archives: Information

Korean Labor Board (filing a petition)

Korean Labor Board (filing a petition)

When we found ourselves in a bad situation with our director, we knew we needed to ask for help. The first thing we did was call the Ministry of Labor hotline. This article helped me find the phone number.

Call 1350, wait through the Korean automated voice, press 5 for Foreign Languages, and then press 1 for English. They have been very quick at answering my call, too. I think, at most, I waited about 2 minutes.

After listening to our story and asking me questions, the woman advised me to file a petition because our director had definitely done something illegal. My next questions were about the process of filing a petition, and she was more than helpful in explaining what needed to be done.

**She warned that we would need a Korean speaker to go with us because no one there speaks English.**

I also asked her where I should go, and she informed me that the Suwon location was the closest to where I live. I found out later that it’s actually called the Gyeonggi District Office. She told me what station to go to, what exit to take, and also what building it was near.

For those of you that also need to go to the Suwon location (Gyeonggi District Office), follow these instructions:

  1. Go to Sungkyunkwan University station (Line 1)
  2. Go out of exit 1
  3. Cross the street directly ahead of you
  4. Cross the street to the right (the building is on the right)

I found this post on Dave’s ESL Cafe forum which gives a link right to a map on Naver (Korea’s version of Google). See the picture below for a screenshot of the location in Google.

Gyeonggi Labor Board District Office map _ GOOGLE

For Google Maps, use this address: 575-5 Cheoncheon-dong, Jangan-gu, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do

The building itself has a sign near the sidewalk, so it’s not hard to miss. Their hours are 9am-6pm, Monday through Friday.

**I want to point out that after researching where exactly this place was, I could NOT find an exact address. The MOEL website was no help, and other articles listed incorrect addresses.

I found that forum post, went to Naver, and then copy and pasted the address into Google. The only reason I knew this was the correct address to use was because it was near the station that I was told to go to, by the woman from the Ministry of Labor hotline. Why was it so hard to find an address?!**

Next, we had to find someone who speaks Korean to go with us to the Labor Board Office. I typed up a plea for help and posted it on a few Facebook groups, and we got many replies! We were prepared to pay the person, but we ended up contacting a Korean man who wanted to help, free of charge.

Once inside the building, we entered an office to the right and found a table with cubbies filled with different documents. Our new friend found the correct form and filled it out in Hangul. We filed 2 petitions, one for each of us. This is the information we put on the document:

  1. Name
  2. Phone number (they will send you text messages)
  3. ARC number
  4. Our director’s name
  5. School address
  6. School phone number
  7. Reason for filing the petition (big space at the bottom)

He wrote the same information on both of the documents, including the reason for filing, because our stories were the same. Then we handed it to a woman behind a desk, and we were finished.

A few days later we received a text message from the Labor Board. It stated (in Hangul, so you will need someone to help translate) our names, a 4-digit registration number, and gave the name of our representative. Another text came in giving us the second registration number. One for me and one for Andrew.

Three days later, we received another text message with the date and time of our Labor Board meeting. We were to come back to the same office where we filed the petition. Thankfully, our work time (2pm-9pm) allowed us time to go to an early a.m. meeting and still make it to work on time.

A week later, all four of us showed up for our meeting: Andrew and I, our Korean friend, and our director. We showed the text message to the woman at the front desk, and we discovered that we had to go up to the 3rd floor office to find our representative. We found him sitting behind his desk, among a row of computers. He acknowledged us, asked us to pull up 4 chairs, and we started the meeting.

**We wrote our story down a few days before the meeting and had a trusted friend translate it into Hangul. We brought it to the meeting and handed it to the Labor Board representative so that he could read what we had to say. It wasn’t necessary, but I believe it made things a bit more easy because he immediately knew what we wanted.**

He gave each side a chance to speak, and he asked our director and our Korean friend some questions. It helped that we had discussed the situation together, so our Korean friend knew the answers to most of the questions directed at us.

The meeting lasted 30-40 minutes. The representative concluded that our director should pay us back the money that he withheld from our checks, and we all signed a document confirming it. And then he typed something in the computer, and off we went! Case closed.

**I do want to add that we contacted a lawyer after this ordeal, and we were told some interesting facts. He said that the Labor Board has no real authority in situations regarding private school contract disagreements, and that even though they demanded that our director repay us, they wouldn’t have had any power to enforce their decision. The lawyer told us we were lucky that our director had even paid us because he could have just ignored the Labor Board and gotten away with it. He also advised us that if/when we hire a lawyer and pursue legal action, having an active Labor Board case would be detrimental. So, for people in our situation, it would be better to seek legal action first and have the lawyer sue for money owed to you – instead of filing a petition at the Labor Board.** (For anyone who is interested, we went to FLAg Association and would definitely recommend them. Send me a message if you have any questions.)

Bringing Doggie Carry-on

Bringing Doggie Carry-on

Bringing a dog as carry on was a breeze! Our flying experience couldn’t have gone any smoother, and we are so grateful for it.

Nothing got lost, forgotten, or stolen. All of the people in our neighboring seats (on both planes) were nice and quiet. But I think one of the best anxiety relievers was the fact that Lizzie was safely tucked away under the seat in front of me.

She was such a good girl! Not a peep, no whining, no accidents. I leaned over many times to try to hear her, and I could hear her sleeping (she’s a snorer haha!). I kept one foot near the mesh window of the carrier, so that she could smell me and see that I was with her the whole time. It helped that I gave her a mild sedative before the long flight to Seoul.

My vet prescribed a tablet called Cerenia (60 mg), which helps with motion sickness, but my vet recommended it because it would help Lizzie sleep. The instructions said to give her a half tablet every 12 hours as needed.

We had plenty of time to spare as we waited for the second flight from CA to Seoul. So I waited to give it to her until we were about to board the plane. During that time, I also took her into the bathroom handicap stall and let her walk around. I wasn’t able to leave the airport to take her to the potty area, so I had to make do.

In the bathroom stall, I put down a pee pad and tried to make her go. It wasn’t as successful as I would have liked, but she got to relieve herself a little bit.

I opened a small can of wet dog food and fed it to her. Then I filled the empty can with water and she drank a little bit too. I gave her the pill right before we left to walk to the boarding area.

Getting her back in to the carrier was so hard, haha. You would never think a 10 lb dog would be that hard to put in, but it was as if she had 15 arms and legs and each of them were sprawled out to catch on the edge of the carrier. I gave up for a little while and carried her in my arms as we walked to the gate.

On the way, Andrew and I grabbed a sandwich to eat, and I used some lettuce to coax Lizzie back into her carrier. She loves her some lettuce 😀

Placing the carrier under the airplane seat was easy enough. It fit well and also had some room to spare on the side, so I could stretch out my legs. I’m glad I had the aisle seat!

Airplane_Lizzie under seat____

Lizzie tucked away in her carrier under the seat

When I was searching for a carrier to use, I made sure to find one that was labeled as “Airline approved.” One of the main reasons that I made this a goal was because I wasn’t sure which airline we were going to take, so I was worried about the dimensions. I figured an airline approved carrier would at least meet the minimum requirements for most airlines.

It worked out great! I used an Argo carrier, and I couldn’t be more happy with it. The company, Teafco, sells it on Amazon and calls it “Petaboard, style B.”


I actually didn’t buy it on Amazon, though. I found it on eBay for $10! Yay for saving money 😀

I purchased the Tango Orange color, size medium. It says it is perfect for dogs up to 12 lbs, but I was a little worried about the length. After all, Lizzie is a long dog! But it was perfect for her. She was able to stand up and turn around. I put a small blanket in there with her, and she curled into it comfortably.

The best part about this carrier are the zippers on top. They are connected so when you zip one side, the other gets zipped up along with it. It makes it so much easier to close the top when you have a dog that’s ready to burst through at any given moment.

Click here to read more about it on Amazon. There are a lot of neat facts about the carrier that I don’t want to go in to detail here.

Suji Emart

Suji Emart

As an American who is used to Walmart’s long lines, disheveled looking people, barely stocked aisles, and misbehaving kids – Emart was a welcomed surprise! I was impressed when I first walked in, and I’m still in awe at Emart’s efficiency and organization. I’ve never waited more than a few minutes in line at the register. The employees are hard working and very helpful. The aisles are always stocked and arranged neatly. An employee comes around every so often to “front” the shelves and turn the products, so that the item is at the front of the shelf and its label faces forwards.

The Suji location is somewhat of a small building compared to other locations, but it’s bigger than any Walmart I’ve ever been in to. It’s three stories tall and and has two basement levels for parking. The top floor is also for parking. The building stands alone on a corner of a wide open intersection, so it’s hard to miss. At night, the lights are so bright and the sign is so big, you can see it from far away.

The ground floor includes things like pet food, paper towels, makeup, bedding, bathroom misc (like toilet paper, shower caddies, etc), electronics, big kitchen appliances and things like sandwich baggies and aluminum foil. There is also a small bike shop area, a photo print shop, and a Starbucks.

The next floor down is all groceries. It includes things like milk and cheese, bread, cereal, baby food, condiments, tons of ramen noodles, flour, fruit, seafood, and cuts of meat. Back at the meat counters, there is a section where they saran wrap different meal items.

Here’s a tip: when it’s late at night, Emart discounts those meals because they need to sell them before the place closes at midnight. It’s usually around 50% off. It works out perfect for us because we get off at 9pm, so we can get half-priced chicken!

Deli. They have a nice selection of meat, although we can't bring ourselves to pay the prices! haha

The deli counter. They have a nice selection of meat, although we can’t bring ourselves to pay the prices! haha

The seafood section is to the right of the deli

The seafood section is to the right of the deli

Grain dispensers. It made me giggle to read "Slim Lady"

Grain dispensers. It made me giggle to read “Slim Lady”

Not sure what these are...

Not sure what these are…

Took a close-up, and I'm still not sure...

Took a close-up, and I’m still not sure…

Seaweed. Tons and tons of seaweed

Seaweed. Tons and tons of seaweed

They even have a craft beer section

They even have a craft beer section

There is also a food court on this floor that has different restaurants to choose from. Baskin Robbins and Popeye’s Chicken are stand alone restaurants, where you can just order at the counter. But the rest are grouped into a different ordering system.

To place an order, you go to the counter in the back of the seating area, pay, and receive a ticket. The row of restaurants have LED screens at each counter and when you see your number, you walk up and take the tray. Afterwards, you return your tray to that same counter.

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There’s a giant menu behind the ordering counter (which looks more like a podium with a cash register) that has a list of food to choose from. It includes food from all of the restaurants, except for Popeye’s and Baskin Robbins. Each meal/set has its own number, and the number corresponds to the different restaurants’ menu items.

But for those of you that can’t read hangul, like me, there’s an easier way to know what you’re ordering. Right next to the ordering counter, there is also a glass case that shows plastic versions of each plate.


It’s creepy, but really helpful!


20150201_1645082 20150201_1645123

So far, we’ve only tried a few things. Our favorite, by far, is the crispy breaded pork!

This is a Japanese style meal. Krispy breaded pork, noodles, kimchi (of course), yellow pickled radish, and a dipping sauce.

This is a Japanese style meal. Crispy breaded pork, noodles, kimchi (of course), yellow pickled radish, and a dipping sauce.

This is also a Japanese style meal, I believe. Crispy breaded pork, rice-stuffed omelet with a sort of gravy over top, yellow pickled radish, shredded cabbage with a dressing, and pickles.

This is also a Japanese style meal, I believe. Crispy breaded pork, rice-stuffed omelet with a sort of gravy over top, yellow pickled radish, shredded cabbage with a dressing, and pickles.

It’s so helpful to see the dishes, in that glass case, before we order. And then we memorize the number, go to the counter and say the number. With our limited Korean, it’s never been a problem. We always lean towards the meaty meals. Crispy pork FTW!

It’s interesting to note that the cart system is much different than what I’m used to at any of our Virginian grocery stores. The carts at Emart are attached by chain, and you have to insert a coin to be able to take it out. Though, it only costs 100 won, which is roughly 10 cents.


Close up of the coin insert

Close up of the coin insert

The best part of these carts is that they have wheels that allow it to move in 360 degrees. It is soooo convenient, especially for those moments when you need to push your cart to the side of the aisle to allow someone else to pass through. The wheels even have special grooves on them, so that when you take it on to the escalators it doesn’t roll away and smash into people. We took a video to show it in action!

Korean ARC Medical Check

Korean ARC Medical Check

On the morning of our fifth day in Korea, our school director picked us up outside of our apartment and drove us to Ajou University Hospital, in Suwon. He said he specifically chose this hospital because 1) it has the capabilities of doing a complete head-to-toe health check for the purposes of obtaining an Alien Registration Card, and 2) it’s close to Suji.

Here is what my ARC looks like

Here is what my ARC looks like

Checking In

When we exited the elevators, we were plopped down in front of a desk and handed a clipboard. Andrew sat at a different desk than I, and our school Director had to go back and forth to help translate for the receptionists.

She took our passports for a second, typed something on the computer and handed them back to us. The form on our clipboard was written in Hangul, so our Director had to help us fill it out. There was a column, for different diseases like gonorrhea, HIV, etc, where we had to check “Yes” or “No.”

We signed our name and handed it back to her, along with a passport photo, which I believe was for our Alien Registration. Read the rest of this entry

How to get an Alien Registration Card in Korea

How to get an Alien Registration Card in Korea

The first step is to get a medical check. You can read more about our experience with that, here.

Then, assuming you’ve passed and the hospital has processed you, you’ll receive 2 things – your test result form and a sealed envelope. You may be able to get them mailed to you, but we went back to the hospital about a week later and picked them up.

Read the rest of this entry

Incheon Airport Quarantine Office

Incheon Airport Quarantine Office

Having your documents in order

“Quarantine” is an intimidating word, and it’s definitely something every pet owner can say that they never want their furry one to go through. I’ve read all kinds of horror stories from people whose pets were kept in quarantine for weeks, and even months!

One of the most important things that I planned for was getting all of Lizzie’s paperwork completed and on time. To find out more about what documents are required, read Bringing a Dog to Korea (and the costs).

Below, I’ve written about my experience that I went through. Read the rest of this entry

Bringing a Dog to Korea (and the costs)

Bringing a Dog to Korea (and the costs)

It can be very overwhelming trying to gather all of the information needed for your dog’s travel needs. I spent many days digging around the internet, calling different offices, and pulling out my hair trying to narrow everything down to a hit list of steps that I needed to follow. It seemed like the more I dug up, the more questions I unearthed, and the more confused I became. BUT! Never fear, for I diligently wrote everything down and then organized it in this blog post. Below are the steps I took in bringing Lizzie with me to Korea. Read the rest of this entry

The Requirements to Teach English in South Korea

The Requirements to Teach English in South Korea

Staying Organized

I’ve always been a fan of lists! I love the feeling of checking things off and coming that much closer to the end goal. So when we made our decision to move to South Korea, I busted out my pen and notebook and got on the internet.

We originally did not want to use a recruiter because we had read stories of people being mislead into taking a job that wasn’t what the recruiter painted it to be. They make a commission, so to say, when you sign a contract, so it behooves them to tell you what you want to hear instead of what you need to hear. So we spent many many hours researching what we needed, so that we wouldn’t have to use a recruiter. Below are the steps we took in our pre-adventure to South Korea. Read the rest of this entry