Floundering can be a good thing

Life in Hwaseong Dongtan as a Chungdahm April Teacher

First day & Medical check up

on February 27, 2013

The bus that takes you from the hotel to the Training Center to the Hospital.

The first day of the training week consists of orientation and the medical check up. Easy peasy. Around 9:20 a.m., you are expected to wait outside your hotel and get into a shuttle bus (basically a large tour bus type vehicle) that takes you to the Chungdahm Training Center. There, you get to go through orientation where you basically are welcomed and are give a basic layout of how things work. You also get to know the people in your training group (I highly suggest just getting people’s emails right then because it’ll be hard during the week).



Orientation is fairly short. For my particular group, we had our medical exam in the afternoon, which meant starving until the whole exam was done. Some of the other training groups that were in different weeks had their medical exams in the morning.


The building where the medical exam will take place.

After orientation, you once again get on the wonderful shuttle bus and get driven over to the hospital. Don’t worry, Chungdahm isn’t going to just dump you in the middle of nowhere and leave you in the hands of the friendly, but barely English-proficient staff of the Korea Medical Institute. There will be one to two trainers that will go with you to the medical center to make sure that all things are in order. There shouldn’t be much of a problem.


There is a medical form that you fill out at the Training Center during orientation that you need to bring to the hospital (along with 3 passport photos). Once you’ve given your papers to the staff, you will be given a locker key and directed to the changing  rooms. There, you expected to remove all your jewelry, and clothes and change into these interesting, colorful ninja outfits that seem to be the equivalent to our medical gowns (theirs are way better… no breeze coming in from the back door if you know what I mean). The girls can keep their underwear on but should take off their bras.


Girl’s outfit


Guy’s outfit


The order of the different medical procedures differs from person to person. You basically do whichever procedure the nurses tell you to do. The first step to my medical check up was to get weighed and have my height measured. Thank goodness I am used to looking at pounds, because I’m pretty sure that my weight in kg was not a pretty number. I blame the good eating that I had before I left for Korea. Nothing like home cooking.


Second step, checking the blood pressure!


The torture device! Jk…

Here’s a fun step to the medical exam. You go into this room so that they can get an EKG on you. They open the top of your ninja su- I mean medical gown/outfit and stick a bunch of wires connected to suction cups to your chest and also clip wires to your ankles and wrists. Girls, I will warn you, there is a bit of just lying there with your boobs out in the open. Don’t worry, it’s a private room and you definitely get a female nurse.


Next step! They take a mini camera on a stick and check the inside of your mouth for coffee stains, cavities, and signs of poor dental health. No big deal really. My nurse said my teeth were pretty ^-^.



I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to take pictures of the x-ray machine. But they do take an x-ray of your chest. To see if there’s any pneumonia or TB i guess?



The hearing test room

The oooooh so effective hearing test. This part was the second most ridiculous part of the whole medical exam (the most ridiculous comes later). I mean, when I think of hearing test, I think of hearing a ton of beeps that get softer and softer as you progress. Yes, there was a button that you had to press when you heard the beep. But honestly? They only had me listen to two beeps. TWO! One each ear. Really?! I could’ve gotten luck with those! How do they know that a person being tested using that method doesn’t have a friggin’ hearing problem?! I honestly thought that there was something wrong with my hearing when I didn’t hear anything after the two beeps. But then the nurse got up and came over to tell me that I was done with the test.



Pee test! Who doesn’t love a good pee test? Basically, you pee in the cup, pour some of that pee into the tube, dip the stick into the cup, and only bring the tube and the stick back to the nurse. Yes, you have to carry the pee stick and the tube from the bathroom all the way back to the desk where the nice nurse gave the the tube. So not sanitary….


After the pee test came getting my blood drawn. God I really hate needles. It has nothing to do with the pain or the blood. It’s just the thought of the needle pierce my skin and vein. The nurse was really good at drawing the blood so that it was fairly painless. She was worried when I kept staring at my phone (I was taking pictures for this blog, haha….).


Ok, I have saved the best (worst) for last! The eye exam! There are so many words I want to use to describe this particular exam… It was the ABSOLUTE worst one out of all the exams. The other ones were fairly pleasant. The gist of the exam is to look into the machine and determine which way the opening of the C is pointing. You use the joystick to indicate which way you felt that the C was pointing or press ? if you are unsure. The C starts out reasonably large and is easy to see. However… The damn thing gets smaller and smaller and pretty much looks like a tiny circle at one point. How the hell is anyone supposed to see that?! SERIOUSLY?! I’m pretty sure that even 20/30 vision is ok. But good lord… these people must’ve been trying to see if someone had a bionic eye that could zoom in that far. There was no way that anyone got 100% on this test. Not unless they have amazing luck (which they wasted) or they cheated. I vote for option 2.

The other thing that you had to do was get checked for color blindness. Basically they have you look at a book of pictures of numbers and tell them what the numbers are. If you don’t know what a color blindness test looks like, look it up, you’ll find plenty of examples. Needless to say, I am not colorblind, but the test was pretty hard regardless. All the colorful circles make it pretty hard to tell which numbers were which. I was probably the only person that the nurse tested a few times. I blame the circles! The five and the 6 look the same!

Anywho, I’m pretty sure that the only thing from the medical exam that would get you not hired would probably be if you tested positive for HIV, drugs, or were color blind (you kinda need to be able to see the slides you use to teach kids).

Well! That’s all for this post! Please feel free to comment and ask questions! Until next time!


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