Friday, 27 March 2015

Mobile phones: improving peoples lives since 2015!

One month on and I have finally received my Alien Registration Card (ARC). Without this card I have been unable to obtain a bank account, and ‘’more importantly’’ a mobile phone for a full 30 days. Imagine living in a world where people bought things with money and not plastic. Where nothing really made sense and the only way to phone home was, from a home! So a bit like the 90’s but with less girl power and more florescent lights (if that’s possible). Imagine that, and now add a few thousand temples, some kimchi and a drink called Soju that just won’t quit...and then ladies and gentleman, you have an expats first month in Korea. WIN. Oh and maybe add this too...

Amazing 'fridge' bars. You basically help yourself to a drink from the fridge and then pay for the empty bottles at the end of the night! Its genius!

Approximately 18 hours after I received my ARC card, my school took me to the bank to open an account. I had absolutely no idea what was being said and I’m pretty sure I signed away my entire life (plus a couple of organs), but ALAS I now have an account. There were about 20 different forms that I had to sign and I genuinely don’t know what they were all for. I’m usually quite a cautious person when it comes to signing documents but you know what they say: when in Korea - just smile and sign everything...I’m not actually sure if they do say this, but if they don’t, then I’m pretty sure they will do very soon. 
Next it was off to the phone shop to buy me a telephonic communication device and some treats. Before entering the shop I was told by a friend that when you sign up for a new phone in Korea, you usually receive a free gift of...wait for it...toilet paper! Just what I needed with my new smart arse phone! Great news! I was however shocked and incredibly disappointed when they only gave me 2 free cases, a charger, some coffee, an extra battery and a battery charger (quite literally the best invention ever) and a free high five! Terrible! I want my money back immediately. I joke, but seriously you can never have enough toilet paper. Once again I couldn’t understand a word they were saying but what I did understand was that I got a 2 year contract with unlimited data, and the best smart phone I have ever had in my life. The Samsung Galaxy Win...appropriate name for an appropriately winning smart phone. Its huge, has an
(optional) Korean keyboard and barely fits in my hand but I love it.
 What the WHAT?!

In Korea it is basically impossible to buy a contract phone that lasts less than 2 years. The cost of the phone is split over 24 months and it gets taken out of my brand spanking new bank account every 4 weeks, so the same as the UK really, but with an incredibly fast connection. To be honest, not having a phone has actually been okay and has felt quite refreshing at times. Before coming to Korea I didn’t have the best phone in the world and I have never really owned a decent phone, so at the moment I’m like a kid in a candy shop! There are so many apps in the world. Why did no one tell me this sooner. Its incredible. Physical maps, books and talking to people face to face are a thing of the past. Brilliant. 

So if you're thinking of coming to Korea, be prepared - you may have to wait at least a month for a bank account AND a phone. But with the wonders of modern technology and in particular, wifi, you shouldn't have to much of a problem contacting people and finding your way around. Oh and one more thing, it has a TV aerial...

...for free Korean TV ofcourse! Score!

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