Seoul is relatively polluted: traffic and local industry contribute this, but there is also pollution from Chinese industry which affects the general region and this can cause and/or exacerbate respiratory problems in some individuals. Overcrowding in some areas and unsanitary practices also contribute to a large number of people suffering from colds or flu during the winter months.
Vaccination for Hepatitis A & B is recommended but not mandatory. Tuberculosis still occurs in Korea and it is advisable to have a regular skin test during your time living there. A yearly flu vaccine is recommended, particularly for those with asthma and other respiratory problems, who may be particular vulnerable due to the high levels of pollution.
Before coming to Korea you may consider boosting your immune system with a course of vitamin/mineral supplements.
Since 1989 all foreign residents wanting to stay in South Korea without their spouses for 91 days or more are required to undergo an HIV test. ESL teachers (on an E2 Visa) and Foreign Workers must also be tested. The number of people infected with HIV or AIDS is very low in Korea and the common perception that foreigners are the carriers is still prevalent. Those diagnosed when applying to come to Korea will generally be refused admittance.
With so much to deal with before leaving your home country, (taxes, moving house, paperwork etc.) the careful planning of your expatriation to Seoul is an essential step. As far as healthcare is concerned, your local social security scheme won’t be accompanying you to your host country and, once abroad, you might be surprised by the care system you find in South Korea. So, before leaving, make sure you have appropriate cover!
EasyExpat.com works in partnership with APRIL International to provide specific insurance solutions for travelling or staying outside your country of nationality.
Designed for either short or long stays, APRIL International’s insurance policies offer protection against any problems that might arise before departure or during your time in South Korea: cancelling your trip, medical expenses following an illness or accident, needing to be repatriated, causing damage to a third party or losing your luggage.
For more information on expat health insurance in South Korea, visit our partner APRIL International