Well, with this step I had a bit of a kerfuffle with my bank. Word from the wise…write down the phone number to Sogang University before you go!!
Now it could have just been that my bank didn’t really know what was going on any more than I did (I’m quite possibly the only member who had ever had to wire money to Sogang from it), but it was still enough to fray my nerves. When you get your acceptance email, it will also provide you with all the bank information you need. This includes addresses to both the KLC and the university bank, wire number, and a swift code. What the email does NOT include is a phone number…something that is apparently necessary if you’re sending a wire from a Credit Union within Canada.
Going home with the wire unsent, I went back to the Sogang KLC website. On the right hand side of the main page, there is a box called Call Center. It is the second last box on the page, right above a thumbnail of the campus map. It contains the email, phone number, and fax number to the university. Now, from first hand experience, I would NOT rely on email for any kind of urgent correspondence. I waited two days after sending an email asking about the phone number before I caved and simply placed a call to them to double check. I was 98% certain that the phone number on the website was the one I needed to use, but I like to make sure. After all, it costs $40 (CND) to send off a wire to South Korea. I really did not want to be sending off more than one these.
The next part of this required a full day to build up my courage to do. As I mentioned in my first blog, I’ve been studying Korean on and off for about a year. It hasn’t gotten me anywhere past ‘tourist level’ Korean. This includes introducing myself, asking for directions, basics (yes, no, thank you, sorry, ect), and asking if the person can speak English. I pretty much only speak to myself since I do not have the confidence in my verbal Korean. So, I spent a good half of the day practising one of the few sentences I knew how to say: “안녕하세요, 영어 할 줄 수 있습니까?” (“Hello, can you speak English?”)
I sat there, my Skype dialling the number to Korea, practising the phrase in my head. You can imagine my happiness when the man who answered the phone replied “네.” (“Yes.”) A quick conversation later and I was informed that the number on the website was in fact the number I needed for the wire transfer. I was back on the ball and rolling!
Bank, Take 2!
Alright…so, I went back to my bank, all my information in hand…and it still took an hour and a half to do. This had nothing to do with my information and more so with the fact that my bank had never wired money to South Korea before…EVER! (this time I checked) Not only did they want to send my money to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (aka: North Korea), but we also had to wait a considerable amount of time to get the special rate for converting Canadian money to South Korean won.
Regardless of all the mishaps and puzzling conversations with more than three bank officials as we tried to get the transfer ready, my tuition has now been paid!! One positive of this whole exchange, the bank manager recognized me from when I was trying to get my funds in order for Norway almost two years ago (I think I’m going to be getting a little red flag next to my name in the bank records as a ‘difficult request client’ ^^).
In retrospect, both my teller and I agree, it would have been much easier to have simply transferred the money in US funds (a viable option, and probably one less confusing). So, if you have that option, take it! It will probably save you a lot of time. It was a good thing I didn’t have anything else to do today.
Till next time!
P.S. Now, as someone who has lived abroad before (I spent the last 6 months of my geology degree living in Tromsø, Norway) I cannot recommend buying some Skype-to-phone credits! There is several options, buying credits or paying for a subscription. When I was in Norway I paid for the monthly subscription, but to each their own.