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Is Korea worth it?
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kabrams



Joined: 15 Mar 2008
Location: your Dad's house

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:26 am    Post subject: Is Korea worth it? Reply with quote

For those who have left and later returned to Korea is it worth it? I was here from 2009-2010 and left to return to school. Now that I'm nearing completion of my M.Ed TESOL + EdTech endorsement, I wonder if I would be wasting my time returning to Korea. It's not a money thing -- it's a quality of life issue.

What have your experiences been like?

ETA: I'm interested in perceptions at work, not general, personal life stuff. For example, what is the respect level like for foreigners? Has it gotten better/worse? Is it still difficult for non-white people to achieve high level positions? Do you think there are any promising/disappointing trends?
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DosEquisXX



Joined: 04 Nov 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was planning to go back after my stay in 2009-10, but was driven away by the new policies and poor contracts. That was in late 2010.

About four years later, the contracts are still getting worse. The paperwork process is becoming more frustrating and the market is flooded with clueless, inexperienced 20-somethings willing to sign any piece of paper thrown at them. Most of the contracts I've read are insulting to any intelligent person. They are poorly written and are designed so that they can fire you for no reason without any financial loss for them. It wasn't until I recently got back into the loop that academies were demanding that people who leave early have to pay the recruiting fee to the academy as well as their flight and lose out on their salary.
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DosEquisXX wrote:
I was planning to go back after my stay in 2009-10, but was driven away by the new policies and poor contracts. That was in late 2010.

About four years later, the contracts are still getting worse. The paperwork process is becoming more frustrating and the market is flooded with clueless, inexperienced 20-somethings willing to sign any piece of paper thrown at them. Most of the contracts I've read are insulting to any intelligent person. They are poorly written and are designed so that they can fire you for no reason without any financial loss for them. It wasn't until I recently got back into the loop that academies were demanding that people who leave early have to pay the recruiting fee to the academy as well as their flight and lose out on their salary.


Academies have always tried to pull those tricks. Just refuse, go home, and move on. It's not your job to pay the recruiter fee, never was. If you had to leave cause the boss was a d bag, that's his problem, not yours.
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Is Korea worth it? Reply with quote

kabrams wrote:
For those who have left and later returned to Korea is it worth it? I was here from 2009-2010 and left to return to school. Now that I'm nearing completion of my M.Ed TESOL + EdTech endorsement, I wonder if I would be wasting my time returning to Korea. It's not a money thing -- it's a quality of life issue.

What have your experiences been like?

ETA: I'm interested in perceptions at work, not general, personal life stuff. For example, what is the respect level like for foreigners? Has it gotten better/worse? Is it still difficult for non-white people to achieve high level positions? Do you think there are any promising/disappointing trends?


You'll get more personal respect from Koreans on the street compared to before where folks were just obnoxious, arrogant, and condescnding because you were a foriegner. Much of that nonsense has disappeared. Folks seem more friendly, now, especially if you're white. But professional respect from a high status job? Seems you're stuck in the past on that one where English teachers were looked down on and the only waygooks respected or viewed as real foriegners were bankers, lawyers, and high level PHD's. Think they did that as an excuse to tell themselves they weren't really racist or something when in fact they were.

Anyways, a lot of that has changed. Nowadays, any normal foriegner will get decent enough respect here compared to before. A lot of that old xenophobia seems to have moderated itself compared to back then. But professionally, the top jobs demanding a PHD are few and far between. Some Unis are asking for Masters now, but paying garbage in return.

Honestly, if you have all that education because you hoped to come back and have resepct you didn't have before, you'll be sorely disappointed. If you hoped to come back and rake in the cash here, you'll be sorely disappointed. Use your qualifications and go to the Middle East.
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modernseoul



Joined: 11 Sep 2011
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

2010 to 2014.

In 4 years everything job wise is the same if not worse. Salaries are the same, benefits the same or worse (i.e. lack of return flights) and working hours at hagwons are longer and public schools basically the same.

In Korea in general the cost of living has increased (to be expected in 4 years) however the level and quality of English hasn't.

If you can find a solid uni or international school role here, maybe it's worth coming back but otherwise there are better options back home or in the middle east.
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GENO123



Joined: 28 Jan 2010

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Teaching in Korea is broken. Universities (just check out the pay) are no exception and an M.A. won't protect anyone anymore either.

Last edited by GENO123 on Wed Jun 11, 2014 12:43 am; edited 3 times in total
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yokofoxes



Joined: 04 Oct 2010

PostPosted: Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A 'real' international/foreign school requires a teaching certificate and a minimum of 2 years experience teaching in a school in your home country. A TESOL MA is unlikely to cut it. There are some schools that tout themselves as foreign/international schools but seem to be more like glorified hagwons that demand you are a born again Christian.

As a qualified History teacher who is looking for an international school I can assure you positions in Korea are not that abundant
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ippy



Joined: 25 Aug 2009

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 4:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know you foxes you jerk! Im coming back. In Octoberish! Dunno where, dunno how... but i know im giving it longer than 20 days on my CRC to get a job this time! Smile
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kabrams



Joined: 15 Mar 2008
Location: your Dad's house

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2014 6:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't have a TESOL MA, I will have M.Ed TESOL, teaching certification + endorsements in two areas outside of ESL, teaching experience (classroom and administration) and an MSS. I don't want to work at an international school in Korea. I enjoyed my time working in a regular public school.

I'm also not looking to rake in the cash. It's not about money. I just really enjoyed my experience in Korea the first time, but I'm a bit older and want to know, professionally, if it's worth the time and energy to go back.

Also, I would never live in the Middle East as a teacher, ever due to: gender segregation, compounds, stringent dress codes, not being able to relax and have a drink by myself in public, not being able to drive or bike in some instances, religion, etc.

It does not seem like an inviting area, although I am certain there are women who have worked there who can tell me good things about their experiences.

Thank you for your responses. It seems like Korea may just be fine for vacationing.
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Milwaukiedave



Joined: 02 Oct 2004
Location: Bucheon

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 4:04 am    Post subject: Re: Is Korea worth it? Reply with quote

Weigookin74 wrote:
Anyways, a lot of that has changed. Nowadays, any normal foriegner will get decent enough respect here compared to before. A lot of that old xenophobia seems to have moderated itself compared to back then. But professionally, the top jobs demanding a PHD are few and far between. Some Unis are asking for Masters now, but paying garbage in return.


If you are talking about PhD's in the ESL field, I agree. The competition in ESL is only going to get worse. Outside of ESL I've heard that universities are looking for foreigners to teach specific subjects in English. I had a discussion with a professor and he said they have interviewed people for a position next year teaching within a department which has nothing to do with ESL. One of the problems is that most of the candidates do not have experience teaching students who's second language is English.
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isitts



Joined: 25 Dec 2008
Location: Korea

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 5:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kabrams wrote:
For those who have left and later returned to Korea is it worth it?


For me? Definitely worth it.

For you? I would do something more in line with your credentials and endorsements. If you can do that in Korea, then fine.


kabrams wrote:
I will have M.Ed TESOL, teaching certification + endorsements in two areas outside of ESL, teaching experience (classroom and administration) and an MSS. I don't want to work at an international school in Korea. I enjoyed my time working in a regular public school.


Ok, but..why did you get (or why are you getting) your MEd in TESOL and endorsements in EdTech? Not to work for G/EPIK, I wouldn't think. Sounds like nostalgia is causing you to backpedal a little bit. Unless you really don't have the options you thought you'd have with the MEd... I personally, would not voluntarily work for a regular public school here if I'd bothered to put the time and money into those credentials.

You don't have to work in the ME. I wouldn't (and don't ever want to) go there, either. But why rule out international schools (in any country, not just here)? Or jobs where you could utilize the administration endorsement? Even if those jobs require more from you than the good old PS (or is it BS?...P and B sound so similar here) jobs, if you survived the schooling for the credentials, the jobs requiring them are usually not as difficult. Case in point, TEFL courses tend to be harder than the jobs requiring them.

Just my thoughts.
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Henry.Flix



Joined: 02 Jun 2014

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How long been involved in teaching and Learning and ed technology?

I’ve been working in education for more than 10 years, mainly as a language teacher, but I became fascinated with the potentials of Ed Tech and wanted to get out of classroom teaching, so I got a Masters in Ed Tech with TESOL from the University of Manchester, England, and later worked as a freelance instructional designer and web strategist until I got my current position at UBC.
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natsume



Joined: 08 Jun 2014
Location: San Diego, California

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am having the same "is K. worth it?" thought recently. I will start an MA TESOL next year, and earn it in 2017. Who knows what will happen in the interim, but one consideration is a post-MA "gap year" in a Korean public school before I move on to university work and eventually the middle east.

I did 5 years on JET, and have, and will have more, experience teaching ESL to adults here in the states. My thinking is that I can apply and get a position for a year in an "Epik-like" scenario before I have actually landed my MA, and basically take off as soon as I finish it.

It would be "back-pedaling", but it would also be a good way to get re-acclimated to living abroad before I seek out the greener pastures my MA should afford me later.

It is a long way off, but it is one (of a few) likely scenarios I am mulling over.
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Chaparrastique



Joined: 01 Jan 2014

PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2014 7:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its no longer worth it financially.


Salaries have not risen in a decade but the cost of basic items increases year on year.


Newbies should be getting stuck into china. Earning potential there must surely be better by now. Maybe not in your first year but certainly once you've made contacts, learned a bit of the lingo and found extra work.
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sojusucks



Joined: 31 May 2008

PostPosted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Is Korea worth it? Reply with quote

kabrams wrote:
For those who have left and later returned to Korea is it worth it? I was here from 2009-2010 and left to return to school. Now that I'm nearing completion of my M.Ed TESOL + EdTech endorsement, I wonder if I would be wasting my time returning to Korea. It's not a money thing -- it's a quality of life issue.


If you have the degree and teaching experience, then why return to South Korea? Asia is the beginning place although some experienced people stay here for their career. Many gain initial experience in Asia and move on to other countries with (possibly) higher pay and less stress.
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