Living in Songtan
Living off Osan Air Base can be a great experience. Songtan city is located just outside Osan Air Base and offers lots of restaurants, places to shop and a booming night life for military. The community is accustomed to the military and U.S. civilians, so the businesses are great at catering to your needs. You will always be near a local grocery store and plenty of places to eat.
All military members will need to get permission to move off Osan Air Base. Currently, Osan is building new family housing complexes and unaccompanied officer and enlisted dorms, so permission to move off base is not always given. You will need your commander's permission as well as the housing office's go ahead (if there are slots available).
When moving off base into Songtan, it is important to either sign up through the housing office for a free tour or enlist an off base realty service. All Korean realty services off base are free of charge to the military. The major benefit to an off base realty service is the excellent service and same day appointments (it can take as long as 5 days to see houses through the Osan Housing Office). Additionally, the realtors are at your service should you have problems with your apartment or landlord.
All members living off base are given Overseas Housing Allowance (OHA), which is similar to Basic Allowance For Housing (BAH) in the United States. OHA is computed by rank, location, and if you have dependants living off base with you. Use the OHA Query to see how much you are authorized. For more information on OHA go here.
Cost of Living Allowance
Additionally, all service members are authorized a Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) while living in South Korea. COLA is computed by rank, location, and if you have dependants living off base with you. Use the COLA Query to see how much COLA you are authorized. For more information on COLA click here.
Utilities are very inexpensive in Songtan, South Korea. Basic television service cost about 6,000 Korean Won ($6). The service comes with about 50 channels with 20 having English movies or other English language content. Basic telephone costs about 20,000 Won ($20), but all phone calls are changed to your bill. Korean DSL service is very fast, but will cost you 40,000 Korean Won ($40) a month and is added to your phone bill. Typically, your landlord or realtor will handle your utility bills due to them coming in Korean. You will simply pay them as you pay your monthly rent dues.