Exchange in Kimchiland

From Korea with Love

Tag Archives: visa

Got my visa!

Yesterday was a happy day – my Korean visa finally arrived! It was supposed to take 4-5 working days for the Korean Embassy to process my visa application, but it ended up taking two weeks. I finally called them on Tuesday, and they said my visa was ready, they just needed to print it out. Don’t know how long it would have taken if I hadn’t called them. The lady on the phone was a Korean woman speaking very good Finnish. She was nice enough to tell me the tracking code for my registered letter so I could get it sooner from the post office (wouldn’t need to wait for the pick-up card that usually arrives one day later).

I started packing my stuff yesterday and bought some souvenirs that included chocolate, candy and Moomin gum. Why gum? In Korea, Finland is well-known for its xylitol gum, click here to see why.

Today I got an e-mail from Ajou University about our orientation day schedule. The orientation takes place next Friday. Here’s the schedule.

♦ 10:00 ~ 10:20 Registration
♦ 10:20 ~ 10:30 Introductory Video of Ajou University
♦ 10:30 ~ 10:35 Introduction of Staff Members
♦ 10:35 ~ 10:40 Welcoming address by Vice President for External Relations
♦ 10:40 ~ 11:00 Introduction to Ajou University
♦ 11:00 ~ 11:20 Information Session 1: Key Information for Int’l Students
♦ 11:20 ~ 11:40 Information Session 2: Campus Life & Living in Korea
♦ 11:40 ~ 11:50 Break
♦ 11:50 ~ 12:20 Information Session 3: Dormitory Life & Fire prevention
♦ 12:20 ~ 12:30 Introduction to CCAP program
♦ 12:30 ~ 12:40 Group Photo
♦ 12:40 ~ 14:00 Welcoming Luncheon @ Lobby of Yulgok Hall
♦14:00 ~ 14:15 Registration
♦14:15 ~ 14:30 Video of the former Exchange Student Program
♦14:30 ~ 16:00 Exchage students program presentation
– Program Schedule
– Event Schedule for 2011 spring semester
– Course Registration Notice & Confirmation
– Tips for better life at Ajou
– Introduction to A.G.A students
♦16:00 ~ 17:00 Campus Tour by A.G.A.
♦18:00 ~ Dinner with A.G.A.

Wow, a long day! Don’t know why there are two registrations marked in the schedule, but we’ll find out. The A.G.A. in the schedule stands for Ajou Global Ambassadors, which is like a tutor organization to help the international students at Ajou University. They’re even coming to pick us up at the Incheon airport next Wednesday and they’ll arrange some program for us during our stay in Korea – how nice! Can’t wait to meet all the local and international students at Ajou University! See you soon!

Visa application, housing & Korean won

I finally did my visa application one week ago! So, how did I get my lost acceptance package? It had arrived to JAMK on the 20th of January, but the international coordinator of Leena (different person from my international coordinator) tought that all of the papers belonged to Leena so she sent them to Finnish Lapland for Leena to have. You can read from Leena’s blog why it took some time for her to get a good look at the papers. On Thursday the 27th I got a phone call from Leena stating that she has my papers. Leena kindly sent the papers to me the same day and they arrived to Jyväskylä the next day. Yay!

The most important thing that the acceptance package included was the Certificate of Admittance which you’ll need to apply for a student visa. Once I got the certificate, I filled in the visa application and sent them to the Korean Embassy of Finland together with my passport, 40 euros, Finnish Study Certificate and a return envelope. If I’m lucky, I should be getting the visa back next week.

We also received information about the dorm housing. They had assigned a two-person dorm room for me and Leena! Just what we were hoping for! Our small room is located on the second floor of the HwaHong Hall. I was actually hoping for the sixth floor with a nice view, but I think we’ll settle with this one. ;-)


I got my study abroad grant from JAMK this week so I decided to change some Korean currency. They actually didn’t have that many Korean notes at the exchange office since it’s so rare that someone would like to have Korean won in this little town. I decided to take everything they had (which was around 500 euros and 700 000 won). I think that’s enough to start my life in Korea – I can always get more from ATM’s there. A hot tip: go and reserve your Korean won at least one week before your trip – it will take some time for them to order the currency for you.

In South Korea they have four different kind of notes; 1 000 won (0,70€), 5 000 won (3,5€), 10 000 won (7€) and 50 000 won (35€). The 50 000 won note was released as late as the year 2009, so before that the largest note was only worth 7 euros! That is so weird. You would need to carry around a huge pile of money if you wanted to purchase something a bit more expensive. I wonder if they’ll release a 100 000 won note soon as the economy is getting better and the prices higher.

A little over two weeks to go!