Navigating the Korean Post Services

Authored by:
Tyra B.

Tyra B.

Getting closer to the end of the program I started to realize that I had bought quite a few items....not only for myself but for friends and family back home. I realize that I needed to find a way to send some of the items that I bought in Korea back home. I wanted to do this to avoid a heavy bag and to ease the worry that I had about items breaking or opening in my luggage on the long flight back home. I was starting to wonder what are the steps and what is the process of mailing a box from Korea over to the U.S! Turns out shipping overseas isn't as difficult as it seems especially when there is a post office in the main campus of Yonsei University next to the Student Union Building (Building Number 207) inside the area where the Woori Bank (우리 은행) is located. 

I was a little worried about being confused about the process of sending the package from Korea to the U.S. I read a couple of blogs about other Americans who sent items home before their trip as well as I looked at the Korean Post Office Website for any additional details. The website wasn't too hard to navigate as there is an option to switch the language from Korean to English. The website definitely helps give an idea of the length of time the type of mail that is sent will take to get to its destination. The price of the item being sent especially if it's a package does depend heavily on the weight of the package and the size of the package being sent.

My package sending experience went like this. The day before I sent the package out I went into the 우체국 (Post Office) for the first time. I was wanting to get a box that would fit all of the items I wanted to send home. Walking into the post office to the right of the door after walking in there are options for different sized boxes. In order to get the box of choice, I had to go to take a number and wait my turn to tell a post office worker that I needed a box and what size I needed. There is a little machine in the front of the counter where you and take a number for the service you are needing help with. There are two options: send money or mail services. I pushed the button for the mail service ticket and grabbed my number and didn't have to wait terribly long for my turn to receive assistance for receiving my box. The workers there know some English so it was nice to be able to communicate just about what I needed and how much it was to the man who was helping me. The price of the box was a lot cheaper than I expected for a box that was the next size down from the largest box I could buy! Only 1,400 won ($1.17) for the box. The worker helping me after I paid he grabbed the box for me from behind the counter and I was all set to go. 

The next day I was all set to send the package back home. I placed the items inside the box and since I didn't have tape I just folded the box flaps in until I got back to the post office to tape the box up. Returning to the post office I went to one of the customer counters which had tape available for those who needed it. One cool thing about Korean post offices is that not only do they have tape available but they also have bubble wrap and other things to secure your package. After I taped the bottom of the box up I walked over to the machine to get a ticket to wait for service. Again, I didn't have to wait very long at all to get help! The woman helping me this time asked about where it was getting sent to, what type of items were in the box, if any of the items were medication, and so on. Next, she weighed my box which was about 4kg (which is about 8 pounds). I know it sounds like a lot of weight but was that heavy because of clothing, cosmetics, albums, mugs, etc.,  Weighing the box determined the price along with the size of the box, country of destination and what type of mailing service it should be sent under determined how much shipping would be. The worker showed me the different options and the price for each option. The main overseas shipping options are EMS (3-5 days),  AirMail (10 Days), Regular Mail a.ka. K-Package (2-4 weeks),  and Surface Mail (6-8 weeks). Since I wanted it to get home as soon as possible I opted for the EMS shipping*!

The next step after weighting the package is inputting the address and package information for the arrival destination. They had me go around the counter to a computer where I had to fill everything out there. I found the computer inputting to be a lot easier and simple than having to fill out a paper form which is what the Korean Post Website said would have to be done. 

At the computer, I began filling out the information. The sender's address (SK Global House's address), phone number ( I have a Korean phone ), email address, what type of package is it (gift, merchandise, etc.,), what's in the package (example: shoes, clothes, etc.,). Then you put in the recipient's information, name phone number, country, zip code, address, and even email address as well. One of the workers was helping me fill out the information on the computer since it was all in Korean. It was very nice of him to be there if I had any questions during the process. Once I filled out all the information the worker with me at the computer told me what to click next and then I was done. They will print off the boxes label after everything is done! 

I sent the box out on Tuesday afternoon in Korea which would have been early Tuesday morning back home in the U.S. The package due to choosing EMS got home on Friday! My family was super happy to have received the box full of goodies so quickly. I was so impressed by the speed of the mail from Korea over to the US! 

SO if you want to mail out a package follow these steps!

1. Look for a post office! If you study in Korea (especially at Yonsei University) use Naver Map and type in Post Office or type it in Korean as "우체국".

2. You can either buy a box and take back to your dorm or place of stay to fill it up and then bring it back. Or you can bring your items there to the post office and box them up there! There is tape, bubble wrap, and other supplies available for free! (Need to get a ticket for mail service to get a box!) 

3. Take a number from the kiosk for mail service and wait your turn. 

4. The workers there will help you with weighing it, creating a label, picking a shipping option. Also, be prepared to be asked what is in the box! They just want to make sure anything like medications or anything that could cause any difficulties while in transit!*

*If you use KakaoTalk and the phone number that you use is attached to it, you will receive updates on KakaoTalk about your package! They will give you updates on when it is shipped and when it has arrived. It gives you all types of updates! For EMS packaging someone will need to be home to receive the package because it will need to be signed or they can pick it up from the post office! 

*EMS is typically the most expensive option. Only choose the shipping option that is financially sound for you as well as how quickly you wish to have the mail arrive.


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