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Smiling Korea/OSS English Club/Russell Recruiting Questions

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Joined: 07 Apr 2003
Location: America

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 10:08 am    Post subject: Smiling Korea/OSS English Club/Russell Recruiting Questions Reply with quote

Hello. This is my first time posting. I'm preparing to graduate with my BA and applying to land a job teaching English in Korea, specifically Incheon.
I've been offered one position by <> but the contract has the airplane ticket "reimbursal upon arrival" issue which I am highly skeptical of. Russell Recruiting has provided me with solid info. on what to watch out for and I'm trusting them. The job through smiling korea is at the OSS English Club in Incheon. Can anyone provide experiential knowledge regarding: smiling, OSS in Incheon, and Russell Recruiting? I would be much obliged.

I'm reading so many horror stories about contracts that I don't know who to trust anymore. Of course I want a reliable position and a position in which I don't have to worry about being cheated and used. Does anyone have any contacts in Incheon?
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The Great Wall of Whiner

Joined: 24 Jan 2003
Location: Middle Land

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No no no no no!

"re-imbursement upon arrival?"

This means "let them check you out. If they don't like you, take a hike".
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Lost Seoul

Joined: 10 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2003 10:48 pm    Post subject: OSS Reply with quote

Here are some posts about Oh Sung Sik English schools:

Not sure if the Incheon branch is mentioned but even if it isn't it may give you some idea of how the franchise is run in general. Ask for the EMail addresses of the other foreign teachers at the institute and ask them what its like. Ask many questions, seek many opinions, then, finally, trust your own instincts.
Re: osungsik language institute
Posted By: Been there.
Date: Friday, 17 August 2001, at 2:48 a.m.
In Response To: osungsik language institute (Michael Turcotte)
It depends. They used to be called E-Champ. Then they expanded last year. Now they are a rising star. They like 50 minute classes with 10 minute breaks. This is okay unless they want you to do 6 in a row 5 days a week. One teacher did not get his paid vacation 2 years running(last year and this year). Another didn't get a paid vacation last year. I have not got back any of my deposit for last year. It's been 3 months. I can't get a straight answer why from anyone at head office. I was shorted for my airfare home last year by about 140,000 won. The recruiter they used from Ottawa lied to at least 6 prospective teachers about the wages(he said $3000 CAD a month) and the hours (he said 25-30, closer to 25. They want 30 and up). They continued to use the guy even though they knew what he was up to. The people I worked with were terrific and professional. The Owner Mr. Shin is a personable and likeable guy. I'm happy for his success.
But I can't recommend anybody to a school that shorts money, denies vacations, overworks the native teachers (the hours go up until you scream no) and I had to refuse to work to get to a doctor for food poisoning twice, despite requests to see a doctor at lunch. If you have more time I can tell about having to fight to get my entire paycheck on three different occassions. They admitted their mistake but just didn't give me my money until I threatened to refuse work or to quit or go to the labour board. In all my experience with my co-workers and students was very rewarding and memorable so I prefer to forget out the smelly side but frankly you'll have to fight for your pay and vacation. I had to fight every term to avoid working a 6 day 35 hour schedule. I have to fight for for my airfare and deposit money. They could be great but they have no class. I recently met one of their franchise owners who tried to alter a done deal by lowering my pay by 200k and easing my hours to 8 a day. Yes that is 8. I now have an equitable deal with a decent guy at a nonfranchise school. That's the ticket!
Re: Oh Sung Sik English schools
Posted By: gary moonbeam
Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2001, at 11:52 a.m.
In Response To: Oh Sung Sik English schools (Are they good?)
Hi... OSS in Seogwipo seems a bit sketchy. The teacher reference letter they include in the job post seems fishy, the housing seems kind of up in the air, it's a brand new school, and there are no other foreign teachers. I decided against it at the last minute, but hey, the director seems possibly nice... But on the other hand couldn't supply the name of the teacher she had just employed for two weeks.
Re: Oh Sung Sik English schools
Posted By: Head office
Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2001, at 3:31 p.m.
In Response To: Oh Sung Sik English schools (Are they good?)
Most of their schools are probably newly formed or formerly independant.
I can only speak about the head office.
For two years they did not honor vacations. They did not return my deposit(w500,000 less 2 weeks of utility bills) and $600.00 worth of my property wen't missing under their care. They did not purchase health care. They would not take a teacher to the doctor (food poisoning) despite repeated requests until the teacher refused to go to work. Then the teacher had to pay because there was no health care. The hours started low (around 25) then increased beyond 30. They did not pay full airfare costs. I had to fight for my full paycheque on three occasions. I was given utility bills to pay that I had already paid. Many times. Other times utility bills were not paid on my behalf when I had given them the money.
This may have nothing to do with the Cheju Do school but it is worth repeating.
The head office under the care of the OSS creator's wife was constantly on the lookout to beat their teachers for money. In the end they just kept the deposit and $600 of personal possesions.
I would advise that you don't agree to work more than 30 hours a week without your permission. Spell out the vacation date in your contract. Ask for your health card if you don't recieve it with your immigration card.
You'll have to wait most of a year to hear from others whether this pattern is repeated by their new schools.
Re: Oh Sung Sik English schools
Posted By: Ali
Date: Wednesday, 10 October 2001, at 6:54 p.m.
In Response To: Oh Sung Sik English schools (Are they good?)
HI, I just thought I would give you my experience, which is very brief, with Oh Sung Sik. I have been applying for a job through an agency in Vancouver, Canada, who supposedly handles the job placements for this school. The people at the agency, by the way, are very nice and fair. However, the school has not been very straight forward on their dealings. They first offered one thing, then, 2 days later, completely, for my thinking, became very unreasonable and not very nice about it. To my way of thinking, if they do this at the beginning, what are they going to be like to work with. I have had rather a lot of experience teaching and living abroad, so for me this threw up some very red flags. For what it is worth...
Oh Sung-sik was canned from Good Morning Pops
Posted By: little voice
Date: Thursday, 11 October 2001, at 4:30 a.m.
In Response To: Oh Sung Sik English schools (Are they good?)
because he attacked the English-speaking co-host of the show. A story about it appeared in the English newspapers. A previous co-host told me that he cheated her out of about 5 million won. Stay away from any school affiliated with him.
Re: Oh Sung Sik English schools
Posted By: just checking
Date: Thursday, 11 October 2001, at 5:52 p.m.
In Response To: Oh Sung Sik English schools (Are they good?)
I was checking them out and most of their teaching materials are in Korean with some English phrases. Elementray stuff was better but instruction are all in Korean. Program seems to be set up for a team teaching approach.
Posted By: Been there
Date: Thursday, 11 October 2001, at 8:16 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Oh Sung Sik English schools (just checking)
They just give you a book and point you to the classroom. If you're lucky you may get to sit in on a day of classes then you're told the secrets why all the other teachers aren't good. Feels good but those other teachers may be your friends and dirnking buddies for the year. Their only plan is trying to get you to work 40 hours a week regardless of your contract. The secret critiques of the other teachers are strictly proportionate to how many hours they work without complaining.
Warning Will Robinson
Posted By: Been There
Date: Thursday, 11 October 2001, at 6:36 p.m.
In Response To: OSS English School- insight? (Kibbles)
The head office school is definitely one to avoid.
They told at least 4 teachers from Canada that they would receive $3000 a month for 25 to 30 hours a week. Most likely 25. All of us discovered the lie mere days before flying. We found this board. They forged the names of at least 5 teachers onto contracts that said we agreed to work up to 35 hours a week. Some had to fight for their paycheques. They didn't give vacations to their teachers. They didn't pay back the deposit to a teacher. They 'lost' $600 worth of a teachers property that they insisted on caring for. They didn't give health care. They didn't pay full airfare to a teacher. They could've been a great place to work but stealing money is a no-no. So now they're just another place on the list with a bad track record. Go there at your own risk. Be prepared for your hours to climb and climb until you take a stand. Be prepared to count your pay. Be prepared to fight for vacations and health care and Dr's visits. Be prepared to lose your deposit. You can't very well fight for that after you've gone home.
Oh Sung Sik=OSS Club
Posted By: Head office is in Ulsan
Date: Saturday, 13 October 2001, at 2:09 a.m.
In Response To: Re: Warning Will Robinson (Kibbles)
The head office is in Ulsan. Sam San dong. The owner there travelled to Seoul to set up the other schools. Since he got away with these things it's possible that the chains will also expect to.
Be careful.
Re: Oh Sung Sik=OSS Club+ Advice!!
Posted By: Kibbles
Date: Saturday, 13 October 2001, at 4:36 p.m.
In Response To: Oh Sung Sik=OSS Club (Head office is in Ulsan)
THEIR THE SAME!! Oh no! When I first started talking to them, They just called it The English Club. Then I got the contract a few weeks ago and posted it here to see if anyone heard of it and no one responded. So I did this posting a few days ago just to double check.
I checked all the black lists and I didn't see this school on it! I had numerous conversations with them and they were very helpful. I sent in my contract on Friday because I wanted to leave by the end of the month.
What should I do? Should I take the chance and see if it works out? Should I cancel the contract.
I spent a lot of time checking out the schools and I found most of the school had a bad reputation.
Re: You tripped at the gate
Posted By: Very true
Date: Wednesday, 31 October 2001, at 6:27 p.m.
In Response To: Re: You tripped at the gate (hahahaha)
5 teachers at the OSS head office school last year discovered that their names were forged to different contracts with alterations about minimum hrs and OT. 30 changed 35 min hours and OT pay starts at 35. This was down with a pen. they just scratched out the number on the original wrote in the new number forged the signature and took it to immigration.
A BAD job experience at Oh Sung Sik
Posted By: Matthew
Date: Thursday, 27 December 2001, at 8:04 p.m.
Hi my name is Matthew and I would like to send a warning out too anybody thinking about teaching in Korea. My wife and I came to teach english in Korea after the bombing of the W.T.C.. We both work at different schools but they are the same franchise. The school my wife use to work at, Oh Sung Sik English Club in HOMEASIL-DONG, Suwon, decide to send my wife to another school without telling her that she was leaving. During the time that she has been there they have had no complaints about her teaching skills. The school had also hired two teachers to replace her before they sent her to the other school. To finish everything off they are with holding her pay because they do not trust her to pay the bills. Anybody comming to Korea, especially to teach at the school mentioned above, don't trust what any Korean tells you. Remember you are a foreigner here and foreigners aren't even second class citizens.
Be careful!
Posted By: ?
Date: Tuesday, 8 January 2002, at 2:06 a.m.
Dear English Instructors
I worked at OSS institution. Don't work there! The boss is sooooooooooooo stupid and they can't speak english at all.
They don't have a head teacher and teachers have to take care of everything. (They didn't explain about this before). Of course, they don't give you enough money for that. We have to work morning to night(not evening...night!!!!!!) Sometimes, they observe your class even though they don't understand at all.(they just want to watch you..)
Often, they shout at students and hit them... you know..this is not the American style...I think they abuse them... I hate Korea because of them..
Don't believe their contract. This institution's contract is useless.
The boss of OSS ....they don't have experience at all about this kind of business.
Teachers of OSS have to make all visual aids(for class) . When I worked there at first time, they didn't prepare teacher's guide book and they didn't have any visual aids for class. Also, they wanted teachers to make everything which were evaluation papers, attendence sheet, test, flash cards, weekly plans,,,monthly plans,,,etc....(oh my gosh...I think they want to hire head teachers not just teachers or superman/wonderwoman)
Do you guys really wanna work at this place? I don't think so...I have never regretted being a teacher before but..not now. You'd better be careful now so that you won't have to be sorry later.
*ps: they had only 3 teachers. (They all ran away from there)
Info on OSS english club, Ulsan
Posted By: Fan
Date: Monday, 14 January 2002, at 9:20 p.m.
Has anybody heard of, or has worked for OSS English club in Ulsan? I'm just a bit concerned about the contract because it says teachers may be required to do some work outside the hagwon. Any info would be great thanks.
Re: Info on OSS english club, Ulsan
Posted By: teach
Date: Tuesday, 15 January 2002, at 12:52 p.m.
In Response To: Info on OSS english club, Ulsan (Fan)
I am about to go over to Korea to work for OSS, but not in that city. The contract that I signed reads:
These duties shall include ESL instruction in all phases of the program, administrative duties related to the Employee, classroom duties, administrative at scheduled staff meetings, workshops, and school sponsored outings, and any other duties as may be assigned by the Academic Director.
I have seen a lot of postings here that talk of schools going outside the lines of a contract at times. Only to tell the teacher whatever they were asking was part of their teaching responsibilities. I didn't have any objection to the wording, vague as it was. And I wasn't sure that fighting to have it changed or specified more would have made any difference. If they are going to burden me somehow I don't think that the contract will be any kind of leverage for me anyway. So as long as it is not something specifically questionable (like an odd 'deposit' or no overtime pay) then I felt that I would just let it pass.
OSS is a chain of schools in several cities. They checked out ok when I consulted the blacklists. I even had a contact of mine in the US Gov. check them out. He said that they looked fine. Good luck.
Re: Info on OSS english club, Ulsan
Posted By: oss teacher
Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002, at 5:56 a.m.
In Response To: Re: Info on OSS english club, Ulsan (teach)
I have worked for OSS. They cheat on holidays. They say they give you a monthly salary that they pay you no matter how much vacation time you get that month. They have since then lied and not allowed me my promised vacation time. Yes, expect to work on your "paid vacations". OSS doesn't give you paid vacations. They use the "monthly salary approach" to escape paying overtime wages and not to give paid vacations. I highly suggest working for anyone else. Oh yeah, they also lied about living arrangements and visa. They promised a visa and didn't deliver. Sometimes they withold pay as a bargaining tool over you.
Been there. Stay away.
Posted By: 1 of 5
Date: Thursday, 17 January 2002, at 10:17 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Info on OSS english club, Ulsan (teach)
They didn`t return my 500,000 damage deposit.
They shorted me 170,000 on my airfare.
They lost or stole 500,000 worth of my property that they insisted on looking after.
They didn`t give vacations to any teachers.
They ignored requests to visit the doctor reguardless of the symptoms until work was refused.
No paid health care.
They consistantly presented utility bills to teachers and asked for the money yet the bills had been paid a month prior. Utilities were cut off because they did not forward the teachers payments to the utility.
They start with low hours (under 30) and increased the hours constantly until the teacher fought back. 35 to 40 is their goal. Constant preassure is applied every term to increase your hours.
Pay cheques were short due to errors and illegal deductions. Threatening to quit was the only way to get your money even though they admitted the mistake.
Working illegally at other locations. You can be deported for this.
Teacher`s names were forged to contracts that were altered from the original contract the teacher signed. The forged copies are filed with immigration. Hours of work and overtime clauses may be altered.
There recruiter in Ottawa promises $3000 CAD salary and `most likely` 25 hours a week. Not true.
Avoid the head office in Ulsan and the Incheon schools.
The Tay wha dong school in Ulsan run by Mr. Kim and a school near Ulsan Univ. run by Young may be great places to work.
This is the short list.
Synopsis: OSS clubs will run up your hours, have you teach the owners and staff for free and constantly try to beat you for money. If you stand up to them they will beat you at the end of the contract. The wife of the franchise founder, she runs the Ulsan head office, is impossible to get along with. She drives away staff of all nationalities.
I`ve listed 2 branches that are exceptions. I believe they may be exceptions with respect to most hogwons in Korea.
Where in Ulsan?
Posted By: working there already
Date: Wednesday, 16 January 2002, at 2:43 a.m.
In Response To: Info on OSS english club, Ulsan (Fan)
I'm working part time in an OSS in Ilsan (Ulsan) right now. They offered me a contract today; I laughed so hard I nearly fell out of my chair - it reads like a 'what kind of contract not to sign' tutorial.
Ask 'em what's the name of the nearest subway station and I can tell you whether it's mine or not.
Don`t sign it
Posted By: Hmmmm.
Date: Saturday, 19 January 2002, at 4:10 p.m.
In Response To: Info on OSS english club, Ulsan (Fan)
Working at another location is illegal. You can be deported if you are caught.
No.18 : oh sung sik - ilsan behind grand department store
Name: lasso
Date: 2002-03-16 21:44:17
Blacklisted school in Ilsan - Oh SungSik English Club
The director there is a basket case, she doesn't even knoww what she's doing. The list of duties include teaching from 9am - 7 pm, creating weekly lesson plans and then going home after a long day and phone teaching these brats. Oh what a waste of time, for what a measly 1.8 million. Stay away from this school there are lots of other schools that are better than this, slave labour.
Aoid oh sung sik english club
Posted By: in Sa Gu, Incheon
Date: Wednesday, 27 March 2002, at 6:15 p.m.
In Response To: oh sung sik english club (will)
Avoid OSS in Incheon. They disliked their first teacher the day they met him at the airport. Recently they hooked a replacement teacher. A police officer showed up at the school the friday before the new teacher was to arrive and told the old one he had to leave Korea by Tuesday because he didn't have a visa.
The guy had been asking for his visa since he arrived!! He worked there for three months.
It turns out the cop thing was a ruse to get rid of him efficiently.
Now he has a new job and visa. It took him 2 days. Many of the parents at this OSS school are cops. Their schedule was 7 hours a day thanks to the addition of an unpaid hour of teaching the teachers and owner.
By the way they refused to pay his final months salary and his airfare to get out by tuesday. I believe he found out through his embassy that cops can't order deportations. He wasn't charged with anything, just told to leave. The school told him after class that the cops were coming and physically restrained him from leaving the building.
They never complained about his teaching. They just didn't like his face.
Nice people.
Re: Oh Sung Sik F.L.I.-Seoul
Posted By: DoJoFo
Date: Tuesday, 2 April 2002, at 10:21 p.m.
In Response To: Re: Oh Sung Sik F.L.I.-Seoul (Kiss It (__X__))
Stay away from "Oh Suk Sik" at all possible costs!
I suffered 4 months of rip-offs & ridicule in Incheon through continuous construction. They refused me an E2 visa, 1/2 months' salary ,and 4 months apartment deposit. They shorted me on my monthly wage. When they decided to get out of the contract, the police showed up at the hogwan; I was detained & informed I was being deported!
Re: Oh Sung Sik F.L.I.-Seoul
Posted By: Beat until raw
Date: Tuesday, 2 April 2002, at 8:12 p.m.
In Response To: Oh Sung Sik F.L.I.-Seoul (Marv)
The one in Kwang Myung City is a glorified daycare centre with small children running around doing what they want. Great if you're into babysitting monsters that kick you in the balls.
Re: oh sung sik english club
Posted By: DoJoFo
Date: Tuesday, 9 April 2002, at 10:45 p.m.
In Response To: Re: oh sung sik english club (Peter)
Go to OSS Incheon only if you:
1) don't mind getting shorted on pay
2) don't mind being paid late
3) enjoy ridicule and abuse
4) accept blame shamelessly
5) are willing to wear a tie
6) sacrifice personal life & privacy
7) accept Jesus Christ as your savior
Cool like getting constantly dong-shimmed both literally and figuritively by both students and staff alike
9) prefer an industrial gangster-ridden environment
10) will work without a visa
11) want to be deported
Fired before notice finished
Posted By: alan
Date: Friday, 26 April 2002, at 6:06 p.m.
I've been working at oss club in taebaek(kangwando) for the past 5 mths. I gave my notice(didn't like pre-school which I was never told about) which was due to end on the 9th May. On thursday 25th April i was told I'd be finishing on 26th April instead as a new teacher would arrive on the 3rd May. I therefore lose out on the wages I would have earned for nearly two weeks. The director is also forcing me to buy the unused portion of my original ticket by taking the money out of my pay. He will not give a release letter either. I have dependants back home and i'm get home with around $250 in my pocket. I don't suppose there is anything i can do? I guess I am another sucker who thought koreans could be trusted.(hogwan owners anyway)
Cheated out of air fare home and bonus!
Posted By: Barry
Date: Thursday, 2 May 2002, at 8:25 p.m.
I would like to inform everybody about a school in The 'Chomdan' area of Kwangju called 'Oh Sung Sik' which has tried to cheat me out of a month and a half of pay and a plane ticket home. The moment the new teacher arrived their attitude changed towards me and now they tell me that I lied to them in the past and my performance was bad. This was never mentioned to me before and last night, they tried to fire me.
Bear in mind that the week before they had told me that everything was fine and they were going to pay me everything owed. The new teacher was coming early so I was supposed to finish today (the third) and they try to fire me the day before. Sounds insane doesn't it? Anyway, the British Embassy (I come from Scotland) could only give me advice and now I'm not sure which course of action to take. I'll be homeless soon and I could sure use some advice.
Thanks for reading,
Oh Sung Sik English Club
Posted By: Will
Date: Thursday, 9 May 2002, at 5:01 p.m.
Don't touch these schools with a barge pole! I am having trouble and as I'm still there I can't say which one (trying to break contract peacefully!)but if anyone is thinking of working at a OSS school ask to teach to the foreign teacher and if its me I'll certainly give you the run down. They are very pleasant to start with and then it goes rapidly down hill,no vacation,overloading classes and not honouring the contract. Just a warning!
Oh Sung Sik English Club, Chomdan, Kwangju, SK.
Name: Harvey
Date: 2002-05-03 17:00:37
The boss there is an utter muppet and him and his 'bible bashing' family have just denied me my air fare and two million eight hundred thousand won owed to me. If they don't pay up then I'm going to make it my lifes' work to ruin that bastard.
I'm not going home without some kind of satisfaction...
Beware friends.
Re: O Sung Sik in Ulsan
Posted By: Teacher oz
Date: Tuesday, 14 May 2002, at 3:40 a.m.
In Response To: O Sung Sik in Ulsan (bill gates)
I got offered a job there a few months ago.
I didn't take it. The reasons are:
The only info they had of me was my resume over the net and nothing else. This kind of behaviour always makes me suspicious.
The contract stated that I may be required to travel a lot. In another words, they probably wanted me to do extra shifts and lend me out to other schools or companies.
Ulsan is supposed to have a lot of factories. There are a lot of big companies, so if you're looking to do privates, it might not be a bad place. Still, I wanted more culture in the city I would choose to live in.
As for OSS, I've heard both good things and bad things about it. Your accommodation will be new and I think you get a pay rise after 6 months if the boss likes you. I got the impression they work you quite hard though.
Hope this helps.
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Joined: 07 Apr 2003
Location: America

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 4:25 am    Post subject: Detered from OSS Reply with quote

Wow! It seems that OSS is a very skeptical place to work. I really want to find a position in Incheon. Where can I find the most reliable and trustworthy schools with contracts and classes that are also trustworthy?
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

those kind of places, the good ones, usually don't advertise often. It will be much easier for you to fly here and find a job. You will have an easier time sifting the chaff from the wheat as it were.

If you can't afford airfare, but are set on Korea - take your chances on a place that feels best to you, after talking to the other foriegn staff already emlpoyed there.

If you get screwed you can always change jobs at the end of your contract and have the benefit of one years experience under your belt as well as being in country. second jobs are almost always better than first jobs.

good luck.
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Captain Obvious 2.0

Joined: 09 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 4:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Great Wall of Whiner wrote:
No no no no no!

"re-imbursement upon arrival?"

This means "let them check you out. If they don't like you, take a hike".

It's also becoming the rule. Korea was the only place the paid for airfare up front, and now more and more schools are paying only after the person is back.

In contrast, many places in Japan (for example) only pay return airfare, and getting there is your own cost.
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Joined: 07 Apr 2003
Location: America

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2003 4:55 am    Post subject: Thank you Reply with quote

Yes, thank you for all the tips. I have looked into Japan (since I've studied much Japanese) and found this true. I know that JET pays for roundtrip airfare but other than that, I'm sure you're stuck paying your own apt. and travel.

I'm going to try to land a position via the Internet (being that I'm in the US, graduating with little money), bite the bullet and go for what seems to be a reliable position. As was posted earlier, once your in Korea it is easier to discern the good positions from the not-so-good.
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