Hey, did I ever tell you guys about the time I had to do a medical in Korea? What? I didn’t! Well, anyway, this week’s tale is all about the medical. Enjoy, laugh, cry. Have a good week.
F. M. Laster
“I’ve been things and seen places.”- Mae West
What Fresh Hell is this? Part 1: The Doctor’s Visit
You learn something new everyday and today was no exception. Here in Korea, the dirty foreigners need to do a medical check. So what is this “medical check” and why does it feel like The Spanish Inquisition? Well because it kind of sort of is. Read on and I shall educate you.
Well, gentle readers, the South Korean government brings in thousands of new teachers year after year. Naturally this comes at a great expense to the government. They need to know if their investment is healthy and able to work. Think of it as a pimp making sure his girls are clean and healthy. In other words, how much money can these bitches make for me. We are the bitches and Korea’s our pimp.
Also for some reason, there is a vicious rumor concerning foreigners. Many Koreans feel that if we come into the country unchecked, we can spread diseases to the local populace. Heaven forbid us disease-carrying human teacher pigeons will do that to the good people of Korea.
So I say all that to say this, a part of teaching English in Korea, we need to take a mandatory medical exam to prove we are healthy. If something shows up in our exam and the Korean government deems it dangerous, we are our on our asses quicker than you can say hello in Korean. So, it would be to your benefit to have some sort of exam prior to coming to Korea. You really don’t want to fly all the way over here on your dime just fly all the way back also on your dime. Fuck that.
One thing, which seems to be a big no are emotional issues of any type. If you admit to having an emotional issue, it will cause problems. Somehow it is determined that emotional issues make you a shitty teacher. I can only guess that way back when a foreign teacher went ape shit in class one day and the Korean government chalked that up to emotional issues. Hell, he could have had some bad meth or something that day. I say blame it on the drugs.
Anyway back to the medical. All foreign teachers coming in on the E2 teaching visa are required to pass a medical screening. You can not do this in your home country. No sir. You need to use a government-approved hospital here in Korea land. Once you have the results, you take them to immigration to apply for the ARC, which is the national ID card. Basically, if you screw up the medical, you are on your own.
So what is the Korean government looking for? Basically to confirm or deny the lies or truths you put on your application. The biggies that will send you home is testing positive for HIV/AIDS, TB, any member of the Hep Family, and of course drugs. If you use on the regular, then maybe Korea is not the place for you. Thank the Korean gods they don’t test for alcohol or I’d be up shit’s creek.
So Moon Yeoung and I went to do the health check at this fancy hospital. My bill for all these tests came to a whopping 120,000 won or about 100 USD. Usually, these tests cost between 70,000-90,000 Korean won which is usually around 50-70 USD. Trust me, I can’t do jack shit in Texas land with a hundred bucks in a hospital. Hell, the 100 bucks won’t cover the co-pay for the hospital visit, let alone to see a doctor. Did I mention I did all this shit with NO insurance? No insurance got me this.
Of course, you are all wondering what kind of bang I got for my buck. Well, I’ll tell you next week.