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Considering Korea

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Joined: 25 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2003 4:23 pm    Post subject: Considering Korea Reply with quote

My husband is in the military and is getting stationed in Korea. I found out about this website and I've been checking it out and really considering moving to Korea to teach english. I was just wondering if anyone could give me a little insight into what it's like there. Is this a hard job? Are there alot of other english speaking people to talk to? Thanks

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Real Reality

Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2003 8:13 pm    Post subject: Life in Korea Reply with quote

Lee Nam-hwa, a 27-year-old ethnic Korean from China, who has been married to a Korean man for almost three years, said things were more complicated before she became a Korean citizen.

"Every company I went to asked me to submit a copy of my resident registration because I look Korean, but I didn't have one," Ms. Lee said. "I could not buy a cellular phone or get a credit card either. When my son had to submit his family's resident registration to his school, it looked like he had no mother because my name was not included."

Many recently naturalized people complain that even though they are now citizens, Koreans' narrow views on nationality and the ethnocentrism in some sectors of Korean society make it difficult for them to settle here.

A man from Bangladesh who entered Korea as an industrial trainee and is now a citizen said foreigners who have obtained Korean citizenship may have escaped institutional and legal prejudice, but social prejudice is still a great barrier.

"The life here is difficult even though I have become a citizen," the man said. "People have mistaken me for an illegal worker and tried to start a fight. In their eyes, I am a foreigner regardless of my legal status."

Even where the security alert is low, expats may be in for a less chummy cross-cultural experience after war breaks out in Iraq. "It's hard not to develop antipathy toward the U.S. in such a situation," says Cho Eun Jung, a 22-year-old political science student at Seoul's Yonsei University.

With declining economic conditions, the unemployment rate in February reached its highest since last February. Unemployment is emerging as a major factor behind the sagging economy with the youth jobless rate in particular rising sharply.
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Dude Love

Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Location: Korea

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 11:21 am    Post subject: Go for it! Reply with quote

I give everyone the same simple advice: Do it. If you don't like it, quit. It isn't a big deal. Just do your homework and make sure you find a good school. That includes checking out the school's reputation on this board and others, as well as getting current teacher's email addresses and asking them how they like it.
Another thing I like telling people is that people are more likely to complain about bad experience than they are to rejoice good experience. That's why some of the horror stories on this site, while mostly true, don't tell the whole story.
As an English teacher, I experienced the whole lot. Some was good, some was bad. It's up to you to be optimistic and focus on the positive. Good luck!
BTW, to answer your question, teaching English to kids, with your administration's support, will be the easiest, lowest stress professional job you'll ever have. Just listen to people when they advise you not to do kindy.
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The Great Wall of Whiner

Joined: 24 Jan 2003
Location: Middle Land

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 11:33 am    Post subject: lots of good, lots of bad Reply with quote

There is lots of good, lots of bad.

It depends on what you want to see.

I came to Korea with a positive outlook, and a basic knowledge of what to expect.

Some people come here expecting girls/guys to jump on their lap, croon over them, treat them like Gods..just won't happen to the average person.

If you can stand people staring at you like they have never seen a foreigner before

If you can stand weird smells coming from God-only-knows-where

If you can stand strong anti-American sentiments (not just from Koreans, but from everyone in Korea who is not American)

Then you can have a pretty good rewarding career.
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Dude Love

Joined: 17 Jan 2003
Location: Korea

PostPosted: Thu Mar 27, 2003 11:50 am    Post subject: See what I mean? Reply with quote

That's what I meant when I stated that people tend to focus on the bad and ignore the good.
Korea says: When I do good, no one remembers. When I do bad, no one forgets.
Whiner, I mean you no disrespect. I've gone through everything you mentioned. But there are good aspects to living in Korea as a foreigner too.

-Getting seated ahead at restaurants

-being overpaid for an easy job

-a great schedule if you teach kids (no kindy)

-older people and students inviting you out and paying for you continually

-people taking a genuine concern in how they're comportment affects foreigner's views of their country

-people offering help the second you look lost

-close, strong friendship in the expat community (solidarity)

Yes, there's annoying crap. But there are great aspects too. The bottom line is that no one else can tell you if you'll like it or not. Some stay here for years and some pull runners after a few days. That's why I say to come over and find out yourself.
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The Great Wall of Whiner

Joined: 24 Jan 2003
Location: Middle Land

PostPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2003 9:19 pm    Post subject: yes Reply with quote

Yeah man you're right. We foreigners have it made at times.

Other times, not so made.

But I have seen people of the female gender hate Korea more than people of the male gender because (at least in my experience), these things tends to irk women a bit more than guys.

I'm just saying "if" people can overlook these negative things (for the most part, I have), then people can really enjoy it.


I do have a question for kim_d:

Do you have a university degree?
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Joined: 27 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2003 12:03 pm    Post subject: Black or White Reply with quote

Blunt question Kim: are you black or white? If you're black, you'll have a much harder time. In a town starving for native speakers, I offered a black man I knew, and all I got is "no one would send their kids." I have seen blacks prosper here, but a lot of the time they have had to work harder, deal with more shit, and learn the language better than us white, waegugin, barbie doll, bimbos. All we have to do is look pretty and smile.

(No shit, teaching at a hokwan is a lot like being a barbie doll--I asked what to teach, and they said "smile a lot." Why do you think they ask you for a photo with your application?)

Regardless of your color, living on post will allow you the niceties of home a lot of us could only get on the black market, and you could even ask for more money since your employer won't need to provide an apartment. Most importantly, you can be selective, checking out the schools and picking out where you want to teach. That, my dear, is a luxury a lot of poeple here don't have.

In your position, I'd say definitely. Teaching can give you a good inclome and good hours and allow you to experience a different culture. Dealing with Korean bosses, co-workers, and students can also be a headache, frequently even worse than the US. But I'll tell you: I was in a dead-end job where I was always working and always broke. The high-point of my life was eating Chinese food. Going to Korea was the right decision for me.

Just a warning, as the Great Wall said, you will run across Anti-Americanism. This can surprisingly include Canadians, Australians, and the other native speakers over there. It won't be any worse than what you'd encounter as an Army wife, but spending time off-base and mingling with the population will expose you to more of it than you would normally see.
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Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Location: Busan

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2003 9:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Last edited by itchy on Mon Jun 05, 2006 3:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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William Beckerson

PostPosted: Sat Mar 29, 2003 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or this:
Scroll down a bit and you'll see the guy's rants about Korea.
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Joined: 17 Mar 2003
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2003 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

itchy wrote:
It goes a little something like this:

Hehe - that journal is pretty darn good - better than most.

Thanks for the link.

Cheap, fast TESL certification -
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