What Should You do if You Get Sick in Korea?

Since coming to Korea, I’ve felt sick more times than I can count. Runny nose, fever, sore throat, muscle aches – if your immune system is easily weakened, then you might want to take some precautionary measures ASAP. In this article, I’ll be sharing some of my personal experiences with local pharmacies and doctors, and some tips you should note in case you ever get sick.


1. Before arriving…

Before coming to Korea, make sure to purchase health insurance in your home country. It is required by Hanyang for all students to have health insurance. You can also get coverage here in Korea (visit the international office in the FTC building for more information). If you take prescribed medications regularly in your home country and want to bring them in your suitcase, make sure they’re legally approved in Korea being doing so.


2. When you do get sick…

1) If you do catch a cold (nothing you think is too serious), then I recommend going to a local Korean pharmacy (약국). The pharmacists can usually understand some simple English – such as a cough, sore throat, and etc. However, I recommend bringing a native speaker just in case. The pharmacist will usually sell you 3 to 6 day worth of small boxes/packets of Korean pills with a bottle of cough syrup. Korean meds are fairly cheap. You can get them for 5000 – 10,000 won.

2) If you’re experiencing a high fever, the flu, or symptoms prohibiting you from leaving your bed, then you should probably visit the Student Union Health Centre (beside the Hanyang book café, on the second floor). There will be signs in English on a door leading to the office. You are required to fill out a form with your student ID, name and your symptoms. The doctor will do a basic check up and provide you with some medicine at no cost.

3) You can also visit a private clinic but you’ll need to have your alien registration card (ARC) for identification. I recommend going only after you’ve visited the student health centre or if you can’t identify the cause of your illness. The doctor at the clinic I visited spoke very limited English (again, you might want to bring a native Korean speaker with you). It’s also more expensive than the other options (around 15,000 won, not including the cost of the meds).

4) The last option is the Hanyang University hospital. (If you need a thorough check up or if you’re incredibly sick).


Note: Korean medications are very potent yet effective. Some side affects include drowsiness and sleepiness (this really affected my daily activities for almost a week).


Article by Sharon from Canada

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