Comprehensive Support for Foreign People living in Seoul
Comprehensive Support for Foreign People living in Seoul
  • Kim Jin-ah
  • 승인 2011.10.14 13:45
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Many services ranging from counseling to Korean class are available for free
▲ Foreign exchange students are speaking with a counselor on the SGC counseling bus which arrived at Ewha on Sept. 21.
Seoul Metropolitan Government is providing comprehensive counseling services through the Seoul Global Center (SGC) for more than 350,000 foreign people living in Seoul.
Since the center opened in 2008 on the third floor of the Korea Press Center (KPC) near the Seoul City Hall located in Taepyeongno, Jung-gu, the number of center users has been gradually increasing about more than 100,000 foreign people each year.
Services of the SGC are provided from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on weekdays with nine languages: Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese, Mongolian, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Russian, and Uzbek. Foreign people can access the one-stop counseling service from experts for free. They can discuss not only day-to-day issues, but also fields that require professional knowledge, from getting a driver’s license to banking issues.
“International and exchange students usually ask whether they can have a part-time job in Korea while keeping pace with their school work,” said Yi Seong-ock, a staff member who is in charge of the Daily Living section. “Also, besides part-time jobs, many international and foreign students wonder if they can participate in internship programs though they are not Korean.”
The SGC also provides local and on-site consulting services; every Sunday, the service for foreign residents or workers is offered at a site where there is a high concentration of foreign people.
For international and foreign students, a fully equipped bus visits different universities located in Seoul twice a month. Like the counseling provided at the SGC office in the KPC, students can ask and discuss any issues of their interest on the bus.
The counseling bus visited Ewha on Sept. 21 and several foreign students used the service.
“I asked the counselors on the bus about a firework festival scheduled to be held in Yeouido and other extra-curricular activities to get involved in. They were very helpful and informative,” said Anat Schwartz (Temple University, 3), an exchange student at Ewha.
Kelsey Williams (Wellesley College, 3), who used the counseling service with Anat Schwartz, said the answers from the counselors are satisfactory with their fluent English.
“I think knowing about this service will be really helpful during my stay at Ewha for one year,” Williams said.
The SGC provides not only counseling service for foreigners, but also gives them chances to volunteer and to provide services using their native languages. Foreign students easily face difficulties in finding proper organizations at which to volunteer.
“During the summer vacation this year, I was rarely accepted for voluntary services since I am a foreign person,” said Jin Xin (Beijing Language and Culture University, 2), an exchange student at Sogang University. “It might be easier for foreign students to participate in various volunteering programs and share their talents through the help of the SGC.”
Foreign people can take part in three volunteer programs provided by the SGC; visiting and volunteering at centers for children and the elderly, helping for SGC events, and giving cultural education targeted at elementary school students.
“In addition to the three programs, there are other forms of volunteering, such as interpreting for visitors at the SGC,” Yi said.
Students who are interested in any of the services provided by the SGC should visit the center personally or the Web site ( Students can also get further information by calling the SGC, (02) 2075-4180.
“We are holding an international students’ forum and introducing our center at an orientation for new exchange students in many universities,” Yi said. “Even though we try to raise the awareness toward the center, there might be foreign students who do not know about our center. We hope more foreign people, including students, enjoy staying in Korea with our services.”

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