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from Thailand to Korealand. Any experience?

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Joined: 11 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 7:38 pm    Post subject: from Thailand to Korealand. Any experience? Reply with quote

Has anyone had any direct experience of culture-jumping, either from Thailand to Korea or the other way round? Is it possible? What was your experience like?
I have been teaching in Thailand, it was my first post (as this is), and generally a good experience. Teaching here in Bangkok is a great way for the inexperienced teacher to learn the ropes in an environment which I am guessing is a little less pressured and starched than Korea. Overall I would say that the personality of Thais is easy going, kind and well behaved in the class. Bangkok is also an easy town to live in, transport is very cheap and avaliable at all hours and it is a very safe city. Thais do respect you here, even if maybe they think you are all here for the gogo bar girl scene, which is true for a great many number of teachers, though not as many as I first assumed. It is also easy to get away to a lovely beach or river resort on your days off.
The down side is that the money is not great, on average 750 USD a month, which for a western person does not go far. Also, as is their culture, Thais do not think that well for themselves and very rarly will they have an opinion on anything, ever. Pullution in Bangkok is also very bad.

Regards, Greg
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Joined: 01 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Wed Jun 11, 2003 8:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Greg,

I've had the pleasure of moving in both directions, though really in a circle from Korea to Taiwan to Saudi to Thailand to Korea again over the last thirteen years or so.

The culture differences are great - it is hard to beat Thais for their love of fun and relaxed attitudes. As students they are less serious - and I found anything you turned into a game made them maniacs! What fun people!

You might be surprised to find (just IMHO) that you are probably more closely monitored/supervised and expected to give a more structured and professional lesson in Thailand than in Korea. Doesn't mean you should go slack here, but the absence (to a large extent) of certified/trained EFL teachers here, means many people are working blind. Though, conversely, almost all people here have degrees and tend to approach their work, and perhaps even life, a little more professionally. The teacher crowd is quite different. We certainly have our share of hard-drinking, hard-partying teachers, but nothing like the burnout scene in Thailand. I like the teachers more here - the students more there.

BUT! The students here (at least at the uni level) are not bad and can be fun to teach. I enjoy them almost as much as Thais. You will read on this board though a lot of trashing of students, but I find it somewhat the same everywhere. There is a small group that really cares and the rest are just along for the ride.

I would prefer BKK to Seoul, but Seoul is not quite as polluted, but traffic is just as bad. Things seem a bit more spread out in Seoul, but others may not feel that way. It is a giant city (not that BKK is small!) and seems to take forever to get anywhere. Things will seem expensive here at first when compared to prices for eating out etc in Thailand.

You should be able to easily double your income, but really you should be able to save about as much as you are currently earning. Housing here will be free, as should be your airplane ticket and at least half your health care plan. - things you have to pay for yourself in Thailand.

You will find the respect for teachers comparable, but I don't know for sure about this issue at the hogwan level - only at the uni level.

The hardest part of the transition? The cold bleak colorless winters and the frown that most people wear most of the time. I came here from Phuket and went from incredible beauty to stark snowing black and white - from the "land of smiles" to the land of frowns.

Oh well, I came because I needed a better income. But, don't get me wrong, I like it here and I like the people - it is just quite different.
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Patong Dong

Joined: 06 May 2003
Location: On Nut

PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2003 2:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


I am in Phuket now but will likely be headed to Seoul near the end of this month. I have been living in Phuket for close to two years but I am not teaching, been working in the tourist industry, and the last few months have been extremely lean, so I have to make the jump to Korea for the money.
Although I am sad to leave I lived and taught in Korea about 5 years ago and I am looking forward to getting back. I think Seoul is a good time and after working 6 days a week for months I almost never make it to the beach. The culture is different but despite the outward attitude of the Thais I have found once they know you are a regular it all changes. There is a lot of resentment down here of falangs also. In fact I would say I had more tru Korean friends than I have Thais in Phuket.
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