This is not converting a driver’s license from your home country to an international license. This is rather actually obtaining a driver’s license in Korea – I do not have my license back at home in America.
Story is my main school offered to help me get my driver’s license since they have a car that I may utilize for transportation to all 4 of my schools within this area – thank goodness I may add; one school is 1.5 hours or more out by an express bus, with a transfer!
The process is similar to how it is in America, but slightly different – it’s essentially a 3-step procedure.
- Written Exam
- Functional Test
- Road Test
The school sent me to an academy to prepare for all sections to get my license. I sat for close to 5 hours reading poorly written English practice Q&As, and then went to the local DMV to take the written exam; not that the American written exam is difficult but I recall one or two questions that weren’t 100% clear – it was much worse here, but that comes with the territory.
The next step is where things deviate quite a bit. Here you are tested on things such as turning on your lights, high beam included, wipers, signals, emergency brake, and suddenly stopping for hazards. It’s a pretty straight-forward section but this time it was not in English. I was panicking on the inside because it was too much Korean to memorize in such a short amount of time. This time I had only 2 hours of practice before taking the test, but I got used to the procedure and managed to pull it off without a hitch. We don’t have this section, and I suppose it wouldn’t hurt but it sort of is unnecessary – I guess they assume our parents teach us those small details.
The road test is very similar but the school has 4 routes that you practice on and you are actually tested on 1/4 routes of which is chosen at random. You follow a computer-operated program telling you when to turn and such, but after 6 hours of practice you should already have memorized all 4 routes anyways. I’m in a small town in the countryside and I turned out to be the only one out of five taking the road test for a car and not a truck so I went last. Man, I was tired of waiting and anxious to getting it over with. Luckily I didn’t rush through the test and all.
A couple of days later, I have the license in my hand! 🙂 This definitely opens up new doors for future travels! Looking forward to converting this to an international driving license someday soon! Here’s to a city-kid growing up!