Foreign Residents’ Satisfaction about Seoul Life Increases for 2 Consecutive Years
The Seoul Metropolitan Government announced the results of a survey of foreigners’ satisfaction with life in Seoul in main five fields, namely transportation, education, the residential environment, medical services and the cultural environment, on May 2. The survey, which was conducted on 900 foreigners who have lived in Seoul for three months or longer, revealed a satisfaction score of 3.81 out of a possible 5 points (3.59 in 2008, 3.78 in 2009), showing a rise for the second consecutive year. The City Government also announced the “Implementation Plan for the 2011 Campaign to Make Foreigners Happy Too,” in a bid to increase the quality of life for foreign residents of the City to a similar level to that of Korean nationals.
According to the survey, foreign residents showed the highest level of satisfaction with the transportation environment (4.03 points), while their level of satisfaction with the educational environment rose the most, up from 3.66 points in 2009 to 3.78 points.
Based on the results of the survey, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has launched the “Implementation Plan for the 2011 Campaign to Make Foreigners Happy Too” in order to identify and address inconveniences in daily living faced by foreigners, and to create an incontestably global city.
Under the plan, which comprises 35 global projects in three areas, the City Government will focus on expanding the global infrastructure and enhancing its services for foreign residents; expanding living assistance to support their settlement in Seoul; and implementing a social integration policy geared towards communication and exchange with diverse cultures.
First, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will construct a building exclusively for foreigners, comprising 15 stories and four underground levels, in Seorin-dong, Jongno-gu in the heart of Seoul, and expand the Seoul Global Center currently in operation on the third floor of the Korea Press Center. To enable foreigners to easily identify and locate the 17 foreigner assistance facilities situated throughout Seoul, the Seoul Metropolitan Government plans to develop a city identification system and implement it consistently .
The City Government will also significantly expand the range of educational facilities for foreigners. Having opened a branch of Dulwich College in Banpo last September, the City now plans to open a branch of the Dwight School, a famed private school based in the U.S., in the Sangam-dong DMC next year.
Notably, the City plans to provide extensive educational assistance for children and families from non-OECD countries, who are relatively underprivileged. As some foreign mothers lack Korean language schools and cannot read students’ school correspondence, and also experience difficulties in giving their children guidance on school issues, the City conducted an “informational session on school entrance” last March, which received a highly positive response. The City will also offer mobile Korean language classes to allow both mothers and their children to learn together.
The City also plans to step up its efforts to improve matters in the medical service and housing fields, where foreigners have shown relatively lower levels of satisfaction. In order to increase the number of residential spaces for foreigners, the City is constructing 178 rental apartments in the Umyeon district, which are slated for completion in 2012. To help ease inconvenience in housing transactions, the City also plans to increase the number of Global Real Estate Agencies offering foreign language counseling from 138 to 160.
Meanwhile, the Seoul Metropolitan Government will finalize the Phase 1 Basic Plan on Global City Development by the end of this year, and will seek to devise a Five-Year Phase 2 Basic Plan on Global City Development from next year.