Thinking of Coming to Korea

printer friendly viewUSFK HOT TOPIC

Yongsan’s 1st Replacement Company provides ‘one-stop’ orientation for newcomers

Featured Topics »

Welcome to Korea

Welcome to Korea, the Land of the Morning Calm

Korea has transformed itself into an economic power house in less than five decades. Seoul is one of the largest cities in the world with all of the amenities you would expect from any metropolis. Located in the center of Asia, Korea has a great mix of historic and cultural sites to explore and traveling to other countries is very convenient.

Service members work closely with their ROK counterparts to ensure regional prosperity continues well into the future.

Related Videos

Tour of Duty USAG Humphreys
Highlights the quality of life and U.S. Army transformation currently underway at United States Army Garrison Humphreys, South Korea.
This text will be replaced
Civilian Newcomer Video
Welcome to Korea For Civilians depicts the exciting place Korea can be for those opting for an overseas tour as a civilian. Korea is a great place to live, work and play.

Contents

Related Links

Military Career Enhancement

Korea remains one of the few locations where soldiers can receive full spectrum warrior training in a stable and predictable operational schedule. Two and three year accompanied tours also mean fewer PCS moves and more off duty time with the family.

Full Spectrum Training
There are two major peninsula wide defensive exercises each year occurring in the spring and fall. The exercises include a full range of equipment, capabilities and personnel and are designed to enhance individual and unit professional competences.

Assignment Length Options
Longer tour lengths are encouraged because they improve family stability and continuity in the work place.

Three year accompanied tours are available in Pyeongtaek, Osan, Daegu, Chinhae and Seoul.

Two year accompanied tours are available in Dongducheon and Uijonbu as well as Pyeongtaek, Osan, Daegu, Chinhae and Seoul.

One-year unaccompanied tours at all locations in Korea.

Please contact your assignment officer to discuss which option is best for your family and your career progression.

Family life in Korea

 

Military posts in Korea provide services comparable to State-side services.

Housing
If available, Service members and their families live in government housing. Housing assignments are determined by the military sponsors rank and family size. Housing options include high rise and low rise apartment building, town houses, duplex homes, and single family homes, ranging from two to five bedrooms. On and off post housing in Korea is comparable to or better than housing at military bases throughout the world, and most places in Korea are new construction.

If government housing is not available, Service members will be issued a statement of non-availability and can work with local realtors to find housing off post. Personnel transferring to Seoul stay that the Dragon Hill Lodge until housing is arranged.

For more information, click the suggested links:

Schools in Korea
DOD schools in Korea are fully accredited and offer a wide variety of classes and services: Talented and gifted classes, special education, extracurricular activities and clubs, Advanced Placement Classes.

For more information on Schools in Korea click here.

Medical
Korea has full health care covered by the Tri-Care program for all dependants while in Korea. The 121st Combat Support Hospital in Seoul provides medical care to active duty, family members and retirees. Major facilities include: Pediatric, Surgery, OB/GYN, Orthopedics, Pharmacy, and Exceptional Family Member Program.

For more information on Military Hospitals in Seoul click here.

Military Hospital in Seoul Youth services
Day care is provided by Child Development Centers offering care for children 6 weeks to 6 years, as well as before and after school care. Teen centers, youth sports, Boys and Girls Club and 4-H clubs provide social activities.

For more information on youth services click here.

Veterinary
The 106th Medical Detachment Veterinary Service Support provides veterinary care to military working dogs and military member owned pets at 5 locations across the peninsula (Camp Red Cloud, Yongsan, Osan AB, Camp Humphreys and Camp Walker).  Information about the available veterinary services can be found at: http://www.korea.amedd.army.mil/veterinary/index.html

Stringent pet entry procedures went into effect in December 2012. Details can be found by following the link Current Pet Importation Requirement for Korea at the top of the page listed above. Failure to follow the guidelines could result in quarantine or return of your pets to the country of origin.  Typical quarantine costs exceed $500.

 

Infrastructure
Military post’s have support facilities for almost any errands: post office, AAFES PX/BX, Commissary, dry cleaners, and gas station. Family-orientated establishments include movie theaters with free first-run movies movies, bowling alleys, libraries, hobby centers, self-help facilities, restaurants, gyms, pools, and thrift stores.

For more information, click the suggested links:

Korean Culture

Korea is a spectacular mix of ancient traditions and modern lifestyles. Korea has maintained its distinct cultural identity, even as it has become fully modernized with the 13th largest economy in the world. The duality of Korea and the Korean people make it a fascinating country to explore.

Food
Kimchi, spicy pickled cabbage, is one of the most famous Korean side dishes and is served at most meals. Grilled meat, soups and noodle dishes are popular and recipes very from no spice to extremely hot. Western restaurants are widespread in Korea, but are usually more expensive than Korean restaurants.
For a summary of common Korean dishes click here.

Shopping
Korea has a wide variety of shopping. Open air markets have street vendors with negotiable prices. Korea also has high end malls with movie theaters, restaurants, aquariums, arcades that are so Western it is easy to forget that you are in Korea.

Small Korean shops selling similar products are often grouped together resulting in districts that specialize in electronics, antiques, pottery, clothing, flowers, sea food, and vegetables.

For more information, click the suggested links:

Around Town
Broadway Shows, musicals, symphonies, operas, museum exhibits, concerts; Seoul has it all. The rotating nature of the performances helps ensure that there is always something new and exciting to see.

Two famous Korean non-verbal rhythm shows are Nanta and Jump. Nanta is a show based on cooking in a restaurant and Jump is a martial arts and acrobatic comedy.

Iteawon, often referred to as the foreigner district, is known for its international cuisine and is a common destination for a variety of ex-pats, not just U.S. Service members.

The Friday edition of The Korean Times lists major weekend events by topics such as Kids, Classical Concerts, Dance, Plays & Musicals, Pop & Jazz, Clubs, Sports Games, Art Exhibitions, Traditional and Big Tickets.

For more information, click the suggested links:

Historical Overview
Korea’s location in the middle of Northeast Asia made it historically significant, and much fought over land. Numerous foreign invasions resulted in Buddhist pagodas next to Confucian shires. Through all the turmoil, Korea managed to maintain a distinct cultural identity, and that resilience of the past helps put the present in perspective.

Hangul, the Korean alphabet, is one of the many unique Korean inventions. The phonetic alphabet with only 24 characters was created in 1443 so that even commoners could learn to read. Today, Korea has one of the highest literacy rates in the world, over 98%.

Korea was colonized by Japan from 1910-1945. When World War II ended, Russian troops accepted the surrender of Japanese forces north of the 38th parallel and U.N. forces accepted their surrender south of the 38th parallel. As a result, a communist government was established in North Korea and a democracy in South Korea, which divided the country. In 1950, North Korean troops invaded South Korea in an attempt to re-unite the country under communist rule. After three years of fighting, military leaders signed a cease fire agreement and pulled back from their last combat engagement. The void that was created became the Demilitarized Zone.

The resulting peace has allowed Republic of Korea (South Korea) to grow into an economic power, and a fully modern country.

For more information, click the suggested links:

Recreation and Leisure Activities

There is something for everyone in Korea, and in Asia.

There are tremendous travel opportunities in Korea to visit historic temples, bustling markets and unique Korean festivals. Korea is also a great starting point for affordable USO/MWR and independent trips to other beautiful locations like Australia, China and Japan.

 

Safety
The Republic of Korea has a very low crime rate and most places are safe to travel any time, day or night. Narcotics production and violent crime are practically non-existent, and even the police do not carry guns.

In Korea
Korea has special events and festivals year round: Spring Cherry Blossoms in the spring, Mount Sorak is especially popular when the leaves change in the fall, Lunar New Year, Chusok the harvest holiday, and numerous local events like the Mud-Festival, Kimchi-Festival and Pottery Expo.

Even when “nothing-special” is going on there are water parks, indoor amusement parks, skiing and snow boarding, hot springs, aquariums, rafting, hiking, biking, zoos, parks, etc.

For more information, click the suggested links:

Transportation in Korea
Seoul’s extensive metro subway system is often a convenient way to travel. Taxis are also availably 24 hours a day. When traveling throughout Korea, a trip from Seoul to Pusan is only 3 hours on the Korean Express Train (KTX).

For more information, click the suggested links:

Other countries
Located in the middle of Northeast Asia, the Republic of Korea is a convenient starting point for travel. Common MWR and USO trips include Great Wall of China, Mt. Fugi in Japan, Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia, the beaches of Thailand, and the shopping of Hong Kong and Singapore.

For more information, click the suggested links:

Disclaimer

U.S. Forces Korea does not endorse any of the non-U.S. government linked sites linked on this page. They are provided as a general reference to show some of the options and information available on the Internet about living and working in the Republic of Korea.