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Korea, Japan, Taiwan or Thailand - Where To Go ?
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gsmith68



Joined: 03 Jul 2003
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Thu Nov 27, 2003 5:45 pm    Post subject: Korea, Japan, Taiwan or Thailand - Where To Go ? Reply with quote

Hi all,

This is directed primarily to those who have taught in more than one of these places. First, let me introduce myself. I'm a 44 y.o. male from the U.S. I have a TESOL certificate and a Master's Degree in English Lit. My primary purpose in going abroad is to make as much money as I can for a couple years. No, that's not my ONLY motivation, but it's crucial. Where in Asia are the best opportunities for making and saving money now? I also have two cats, and they are coming with me, because otherwise I will have to give them away and I am not going to do this unless I am on the verge of homelessness. I realize some schools may refuse me on the basis of my cats, or provide lodgings that are too small to be workable. I will need an apartment not smaller than 37 square meters (400 square feet), because anything smaller is unworkable for three sentient beings to live in. I've heard some of the apartments in Japan are incredibly tiny -- 12 foot square rooms. This will not work for me. I'd rather live with roommates than endure living in such a cell, although roommates are not my first choice either.

My sense is that Korea is the hot place to make money now, even more than Japan. Is this true? Please give me the rundown on the relative advantages, vis a vis cost of living, housing, salary, decent schools, job opportunities, etc. I'd like to start by Feb. or March, and I want to be hired before I leave.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2003 1:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All I can say is...leave your cats at home. Read the following info to see why (regarding Japan, anyway). If you really love them, you'll not subject them to overseas travel and the subsequent hassles.

http://www.maff-aqs.go.jp/english/
http://workabroad.monster.com/articles/bringingfido/

BTW, the schools in Japan will not refuse you on the basis of pets. Landlords will, even if you are Japanese.

And, think of what you have written. You insist on bringing pets PLUS you insist on roommates sharing space with them. C'mon. You are just asking for trouble and limiting the opportunities where you can live.

I suggest you go to the Korea forum to see what a horrible place that is. There are more unscrupulous school managers that you can swing a..... ummm..... cat at. (apologies)

Just a question... how much money are you hoping to make in a couple of years? In Japan, figure on an average of US$500 a month (barring any outstanding debts you must pay at home).

Lastly, if you want to compare Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, read this. It is a little outdated and not entirely accurate, but it is fairly well rounded by someone with experience.
http://seamonkey.ed.asu.edu/~jonb/
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sigmoid



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 1001

PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2003 9:23 am    Post subject: NOT THAILAND Reply with quote

Quote:
Where in Asia are the best opportunities for making and saving money now?


Well, certainly NOT in Thailand although you may be able to get a better than average job with your credentials, the salary will still not compare with what you can make and save in other countries. Travel in Thailand after you've made your money.
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Ladybug



Joined: 15 Dec 2003
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2003 5:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello all....
I am a "veteran" of the Korean ESL scene (two years straight) and am currently thinking of going home for a bit, and then possibly either returning to Korea (but this time Seoul) or heading off to another country altogether, either China or Japan or somewhere else. Ideally, I would love Europe, but know all about the flaming hoops I might have to jump through to get that.
If I lived in Japan, how would it differ from Korea, and if I lived in China, or Hong Kong, how would life be different there? My main thing is I love working here cause I can pay my bills off fairly well and not live as a pauper, and feel if I lived anywhere else, it would be like living at home (can't go out all the time, can't buy this, make an overpayment of a bill, eat ramen for three weeks) but I really want a scenery change. Of course, am planning on visiting my dad in the deep south once my contract is up...that may be all the change I will need to hop back on a plane to Seoul pronto. Smile
But does anyone have any suggestions as to where I should look?
Thanks
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khmerhit



Joined: 31 May 2003
Posts: 1874
Location: Reverse Culture Shock Unit

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 10:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup. Kampuchea. Very Happy
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daily chai



Joined: 16 Nov 2003
Posts: 150
Location: Brussels

PostPosted: Mon Jan 05, 2004 6:41 am    Post subject: cats in Taiwan Reply with quote

My housemate imported his two cats, and it went well. We live iwth them and I personally love them. It was a selling point for this house, actually--but that is for a cat lover. People who love cats are everywhere, but so are those who are allergic. If you are committed to bringing your cats you can do so.

One thing to mention is the cats had to be in quarantine before entry. Taiwan's quarantine area limited the 3-week period to one visit because they are understaffed. One cat changed drastically in personality, from a spritely being to a cowardly lion. He is terrified, and acts like an abused animal. I doubt if they abused him (if they're understaffed, then who would have the time to abuse the animals after work is done?), but the experience changed him. He is afraid of strangers, but still a loving cat once he gets to know you. He is also afraid of sudden noises and such--pretty much a feline post-traumatic stress disorder patient. You cats may or may not have similar reactions. This cat has remained changed for 2 years, so it's not likely he will go back to normal.

Having said that, I left behind my cat my first year abroad and she died of heartbreak within months; although I left her with a cat-loving friend. I did not know, because she rapidly deteriorated while I was incommunicado on a trek. In all, I think it would have been better for her to go through quarantine with the risk of a personality change than for her to die of heartbreak; and better for me too. I still regret her needless loss. Make a decision you can live with. If your cats are a priority, then make an informed decision and go with them.
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surrealia



Joined: 11 Jan 2003
Posts: 237
Location: Taiwan

PostPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2004 3:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You can find some very useful reading about teaching in Korea and Japan at:

http://www.geocities.com/allhou/korea.htm

and

http://www.geocities.com/allhou/japan.htm
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WorkingVaca



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 135

PostPosted: Thu Mar 04, 2004 6:45 am    Post subject: Cross out Thailand Reply with quote

Iíve worked in Thailand and Taiwan. I agree with the others about the cats. Find them another home before you leave for Asia.

If money is a "crucial" motivation that Iíd strongly advise you to forget all about Thailand. Cross it off your list. You would only make about $400USD per month there, with ONE job. Maybe $600-800USD with TWO jobs.

In Taiwan, in Taipei anyway, you can make anywhere from $1,000USD-$3,000USD per month depending on how much you want to work. Considering that youíre open to having roommates, youíll be able to save AT LEAST half your income, probably more. I know people saving $1500-2000USD a month. Me, I save about $800-$1,000. It also depends on how you keep yourself entertained.

I have a few friends here that also worked in Korea. They said the money in Korea was better, but the lifestyle was more difficult. But I canít speak from firsthand experience on Korea.

In Taipei youíll have big city comforts like public transportation and choices in international food (although anything NON-Asian tends to suck, e.g. TGI Fridayís, Hooters, Chiliís). Thereís a lot of delicious Chinese and Taiwanese food (although you must learn how to discriminate), traditional markets as well as supermarkets, shopping malls as well as night markets and sidewalk vendors, pubs catering to foreigners as well as local hangouts, etc. However, Taipei, as hard as it tries, is NOT a cosmopolitan city like Hong Kong. You might find it disappointingly parochial at times and will have to remind yourself how much money youíre saving to make it worth living here.
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WorkingVaca



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Posts: 135

PostPosted: Tue Mar 30, 2004 5:40 am    Post subject: Taiwan vs. South Korea Reply with quote

Here are some quotes from the "Taiwan" forum comparing Taiwan to South Korea:

chi-chi wrote:
This is kind of like asking whether you should go to hell or purgatory (speaking as someone in Japan right now and having worked in both places) but ok...
Korea, hands down.
While I was in Korea, I hated it, but then I went to Taiwan...
-The pay is MUCH better in Korea. Before my fiancee and I went to Taiwan, we shipped over boxes of electronics to our school, cuz it was too much to pack. The people at our school (in Taiwan) wondered how we could afford all of our stuff that we shipped.
-Traveling with pets=quarantine in Taiwan, which will drain your already stretched resources when you first arrive. Traveling with pets in Korea is a cinch, just keep in mind that they hate cats, but you will get nothing more than weird looks.
-People dress better in Korea. So you will get nicer clothes when you go shopping.
-Service is better in Korea. In Taiwan, service is good at the high-class places, but in Korea, service is good everywhere. You just have to get used to people staring at you when you go shopping.
-Other foreigners are easier to get along with in Korea. Yeah there are a lot of alcoholics, but in Taiwan there are a lot of out-and-out addicts. Now of course there are teachers in Taiwan who arent. But there are many who are. Many more who hate Americans in Taiwan, too. Of course this will be of no consequence if you are Canadian.
-More psychopaths in Taiwan. I witnessed a lot of psychotic incidents among my Taiwanese coteachers. One time I was actually threatened. Or it may have been the new guy I was training who got threatened, I am not sure. But anyway plenty of psychotic behavior.


jason_seeburn wrote:
I've taught in both. To answer your questions: Pace of life: it's always more relaxed in the tropics. But they do expect you to teach in Taiwan. In Korea, you just play Bingo and baby sit. In Taiwan you generally get paid more per hour (average around $15CDN/hr in Korea versus average $27CDN/hr in Taiwan, but those are really rough guesses based on what I've been seeing and currency exchange rates. You can work it out for yourself if you like by looking at the salary offerings). Internet, utilities and TV standards: Taiwanese TV beats Korean TV hands down. Internet is really expensive in Taiwan, as is telephone service, because you pay by the second. Internet cafes are cheap and plentiful in both places. Home internet in Korea is cheap, as is telephone service. The heat: Taiwan is like a dry sauna in July and August. It is worst down south (Kaoshiung just boils). Added to the pollution, it can be quite unbearable if you're not used to living in tropical cities. For the people who live there, anything less than 20 degrees celcius means winter, and dressing in hats, scarves and mittens. 45 degrees is how they like it. While you stink and sweat, they are happy, dry and energetic. Some people get used to it, others don't. Air con: your school should have it. Your accomodation will have it, if you pay for it. You generally rent an airconditioner, and then pay the huge hydro bills at the end of the month. Keep in mind that you will be dealing with temperatures in the high 30s to low 40s from April to September, and airconditioning your appartment to 20 degrees can be quite expensive. I airconditioned my bedroom to 27 degrees at night so I could sleep, and turned off the air con during the day. Also with temperatures like this you have problems with insects. We used to get lines of ants coming through our appartment whenever someone left a pop can on the living room table. I once left an apple core in my bedroom and came home to find it covered in ants. How do you get around? The rich drive air conditioned cars. You will more than likely ride a moped. I lived through moped hell for a month or so (sore legs and cramps and all) then moved up to a motorcycle. I hate those d*mned little scooters.
Which would I choose: Taiwan. It is more interesting. But Korea has better food, better public transit, and most importantly, better looking women.
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liehtzu



Joined: 26 Feb 2003
Posts: 35
Location: North Thailand

PostPosted: Fri May 28, 2004 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Can't speak for Taiwan but did a stint in Korea and loved it. The money is good, the job a breeze, the food and nightlife are top notch and, as has been mentioned, Korean girls are quite nice. Might want to stay out of the major cities - most of the complaints about Korea are from those stuck in Seoul, though that's where the really big money jobs are. For my money Busan is a much cooler town; it's a port city and there's a lot of diversity. Lots of folks hate Korea but I had a blast. I think a lot also depends on the employer. If you get a good one they coddle you.

Took a trip to Japan and think it's fantastic, though the prospects for saving money aren't as hot as Korea because the costs are so high.

In Thailand now, small northern city, laid-back and hot as all hell. Everyone I meet really likes living here (not always the case in Korea, but there are a surprising amount of whiners there) but you ain't gonna save any money. Figure on about $500-700 US/mo here and three times as much in Korea. Good luck and I agree: nix the cats.
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The Great Wall of Whiner



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Posts: 4930
Location: Blabbing

PostPosted: Thu Jun 03, 2004 5:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have done all four of the countries you described, so let me try to answer your questions as best I can.


Quote:
Where in Asia are the best opportunities for making and saving money now?


Korea is the best for saving money, hands down. It is also the easiest to find a job that will pay for your ticket and apartment.

Taiwan rarely pays for your flight, Japan never does, and China is a crap shoot, though it's getting better.

Quote:
I also have two cats, and they are coming with me, because otherwise I will have to give them away and I am not going to do this unless I am on the verge of homelessness.


Your cats will do all right in Japan or Korea, but I'd be careful of Korea. Many people like to abuse animals there. If they get out, they'll end up getting at best kicked around.


Quote:
This will not work for me. I'd rather live with roommates than endure living in such a cell, although roommates are not my first choice either.


You can find schools in Korea that will give you spacious accomodations. Just look around.

Good luck.
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Glenski



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Posts: 12844
Location: Hokkaido, JAPAN

PostPosted: Thu Jul 08, 2004 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The JET Programme DOES pay for airfare, so to say that Japan never pays is incorrect.

Plus, some of the bigger eikaiwas offer discounts on airfare, and they also offer an end of contract bonus that makes up for the airfare cost.

I got lucky and landed a job with a small eikaiwa that paid my airfare, so such opportunities ARE out there.
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chi-chi-



Joined: 17 Jul 2004
Posts: 194
Location: In la-la land

PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 11:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's a lot of horny boys there in Asia.
As far as getting some, Japan as a country is more expensive than Thailand, but I heard (from teachers) that the girls are super-easy and much cheaper to get, as long as you don't mind the horrendous teeth.
(Sorry but I've just read a lot of getting it threads ok!)
So Japan is an expensive brothel, but you don't have to tip as much.
EDIT: I am making fun of the people who just go there to have casual relationships and don't give a hang about anything else. I am NOT making fun of the Japanese but rather people who play that stupid game. I am making fun of those posters ok not the Japanese, but rather what those posters SAY about the Japanese.
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Rice Paddy Daddy



Joined: 11 Jul 2004
Posts: 425
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Thu Aug 12, 2004 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chi-Chi - quit defending your comments.

Did your boyfriend throw one of the local girls in the sack?
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cheekygal



Joined: 04 Mar 2003
Posts: 1987
Location: China, Zhuhai

PostPosted: Fri Aug 13, 2004 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would go to Taiwan. My friends live there and enjoy it pretty much. You get paid well there and you could live there fine with all the savings. Even if you are a freelancer.
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