Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Korea University International Health Care Center (Crash Course)

It's really sad that this place hasn't received more a write-up in expat resources, so let's fix that!

The Korea University International Health Care Center is AWESOME. It's a really great option for all of your "I don't feel so good" needs. They offers services in English and Russian (or at least those are the two most advertised) and are friendly and knowledgeable.

I've written about the Seoul National University International Clinic before, ad I do still recommend them, but the one thing the KU clinic has over the SNU one is the fact that they are NO WHERE near as busy as SNU. This might be because SNU offers services to more languages, or because it's a more advertised facility. Whatever the reason, it's sometimes difficult to get an appointment at SNU, whereas I've always gotten an appointment on the exact date and close to the exact time I'd like at the KU clinic.

One of the best things here is the staff. The receptionists are nice, but the English speaking doctor is an awesome guy. He's very laid back; it's like talking to your cool old uncle. He'll often make jokes to help you relax. I went in a few months back because I kept having blood vessels bursting in my eye once every two weeks. I told him my symptoms, and he said "It sounds like glaucoma, you probably have glaucoma." And when I was all like "oh no... really?" he replied "You're too young to have glaucoma, it can't be glaucoma, it's not glaucoma, let's figure it out!" I know some people might not appreciate this awesomeness, but I sure as crap do! It really calms you down. (side note: it was because I ad switched to liquid eyeliner and I'm apparently allergic to it)

I know that visiting a hospital sounds like an anxiety-inducing nightmare, but have no fear! Here's a basic guide to the KU Hospital!

How-To: Korea University Hospital and the International Health Care Center~

First, you need to make an appointment. This should be done during business hours (9-5) so you can speak to an English speaking operator. Give them a call at 02-920-5677. Ask to make an appointment with the "family doctor," the term Koreans typically use for a general practice doctor who can provide referrals for specialists, run basic tests, and prescribe medicines.

Then, you gotta get there. the hospital is easy accessible from the Anam subway station, exit 1. Come out of the exit and walk straight up the hill, the hospital will be on your right, and it's kinda huge:

You can also get there using the Seoul city bus 273, or the Seongbuk-gu district bus 1111, get off when they announce 고려대병원 (Kor-yeo Dae Byoung-won). If you take a taxi, you'll have to clarify that it's the Anam KU hospital you want to go to, because there are two branches (I'm unsure if the other has an international clinic). Tell the taxi driver to take you to 고려대병원 안암동 (Kor-yeo Dae Byoung-won An-am-dong).

Next, you need to find the clinic. It used to be extra-accessible from the main entrance, but recently moved to the second floor (the main entrance is considered to be on the third floor). When you come in the main doors, go left and you'll see some stairs/ escalators down.

This sign may or may not still be there when you visit.
Head downstairs, turn right, and then right again and you'll see this wonderful sight:

Note: The English speaking receptionist is typically the one sitting closest to the doors.

After you see the doctor, you'll then need to go pay before you can get your prescription scripts. Head back up to the second floor and you'll see a massive and terrifying looking set of counters:

All International Clinic patients need to go to desk 16. Don't worry about getting a number, you can just walk up to the desk. Hand them your ID (ARC card or passport) and the papers the clinic gave you. After you pay, they'll hand you a green and white paper, which looks like a receipt.

Take the "receipt" to one of the prescription printers. From desk 16, do a 180 and walk towards the Starbucks, before the Starbucks, to the left, you'll see an ATM and these machines:

Take your "receipt" and scan the barcode:

The machine will then ask you to select where you'd like to get your prescriptions from. I recommend either 미래약국 or 대학약국. They're the two easiest to get to pharmacies from the hospital if you're heading back to the subway. I've never been to 미래, but it's right next to exit 1. I like 대학 because I know the pharmacists who explain the medications speak decent English and there's one REALLY handsome technician.

After you retrieve your prescription papers, take them to the pharmacy, and you're done!

Another reason I like KU Hospital is because the people are really helpful. Even if they don't speak English, the staff will try very hard to help you get to where you're trying to go when you give them the "confused foreigner" look.

Feel better, my lovelies!!!

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