After choosing to study abroad in South Korea, it is important that you familiarize yourself with Korean health care. That way, if you should become ill or injured during your stay in Korea, you know what to expect.
High quality health care can be found in South Korea in general hospitals, oriental hospitals (these utilize traditional eastern medical practices), public health centers, and private hospitals. There is a three tier provision of medical facilities in South Korea, depending on the size and number of departments.
Medical facilities in South Korea are generally very high quality. The majority of the medical practitioners in South Korea - particularly doctors and dentists have had high quality training either in-country, abroad, or both. You may find that practices in South Korean hospitals are somewhat different that those to which you are accustomed to back home; for example, in many South Korean hospitals, family members or close friends of the patient are expected to take care of the patient’s non-medical needs. Nevertheless, you will be able to find clinics and hospitals that specifically target English-speaking and foreign patients. You don’t need to seek out these facilities for treatment, however, as English-speaking medical staff can be found in almost every hospital and clinic in South Korea. The doctors in South Korea generally speak English, although their support or technical staff may not (this is changing rapidly nowadays). It is recommended, however, that you write down your symptoms before you visit a hospital or clinic in order to avoid language difficulties, as most Koreans read English better than they understand it.
Hospitals in South Korea are generally equipped with the latest and most cutting edge medical equipment. Several hospitals in Seoul have recently been completely renovated or rebuilt, but sanitation and infection control practices in South Korean hospitals are not always up to international standards.
Patients in South Korean hospitals are generally expected to provide a certain deposit upon their admittance into the hospital, either in cash or with a credit card. This deposit is meant to cover the cost of your stay and any necessary procedures/tests, so the amount of money required will vary. Your bill must be paid in full before you can be discharged.
International clinics in South Korea operate either independently or within a hospital. They are staffed by doctors who have studied abroad, generally in the United States. You should be aware, however, that most doctors staffing international clinics are not necessarily family or general medicine specialists. It can be difficult to figure out their specialties, because they don’t always display their qualifications.
Costs in international clinics are generally higher than for other doctor’s services, and if you are admitted to a hospital through an international clinic, it is likely that you will end up paying more than if you were admitted via the usual procedure. Both clinics and hospitals in South Korea accept credit cards, although some accept only certain ones. You will generally be expected to pay before receiving treatment.