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Teachers that have moved back to America
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No_hite_pls



Joined: 05 Mar 2007
Location: Don't hate me because I'm right

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zulethe wrote:

my cohorts have boring mundane lives that they've lived for the past 20 years.

I felt way more community in Korea than I do here.

I hate listening to politicians and the same rhetoric over and over again.

I honestly feel so sorry for all of the people I interact with who have never traveled much. Traveling for me is a passion and a lifestyle.

Americans are for the most part quite myopic. In a way we are brainwashed at a young age to think that the rest of the world is crap.

I love going to the ER at any time of day or night and pay 5,000W to see a doctor.

that's it for now.


These are some good points.
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luckylady



Joined: 30 Jan 2012
Location: u.s. of occupied territories

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

radcon wrote:

Have you ever been to NY, San Francisco, LA? Obviously not. You can get a variety of great food from many nations. I have been to Europe. Try getting decent Thai, Cuban, Salvadorean, Vietnamese food on the continent. Not gonna happen. You are just a naive American basher with no idea what you are talking about. Just because you envison that Mcdonalds is the only food in the US doesnt make it true.



not just the large cities - I've traveled extensively across rural areas of the U.S. and it is exceedingly rare that one cannot find a Chinese restaurant just about anywhere - large city or small - and increasingly other Asian restaurants, and of course *Mexican.*

rural areas in SE Asia you're lucky if you even find a restaurant. in Korea, as we all know, foreign restaurants are rare although they are growing in number - maybe a couple dozen now ? Wink
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Modernist



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Location: The 90s

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 8:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Man, I hate that real job crap. What is "real job"? I worked in an Engineering firm in the states. Was that a "real job"? I got the two weeks vacation and had to pay a crap load money for medical and dental. My savings rate was pathetic even though I got paid a higher wage than in Korea.

American average saving rate 11% of their income, South Koreans is over 30% and Chinese is over 50%. It seems to me that the "real jobs" are in Asia, maybe northern Europe and not in the US.

Hokie said it about as well as anyone. A real job is one where your main qualification is not your passport. A real job is one where you are applying technical knowledge and skills to solve problems and improve conditions. A real job carries with it the ability to make a concrete difference in the world, not be an ethnic placeholder or status object. Why are people so defensive about this? Hits a little close to home for you, does it?

Savings rates aren't really the point, are they? What kind of retirement plan are you going to get in Korea? And I would note, the huge savings rates of China and Korea are nothing to envy. Over-savings and under-consumption are stifling their growth rates. When everyone in your country is saving everything they're earning, who's powering the places that hire your people? Foreigners. And when THEY quit buying, too, then what? Welcome to China. Countries NEED internal consumption. It's the foundation of long-term growth. An all-export economy is also known by another name: banana republic.

There certainly are real jobs in Asia. I saw a lot of foreigners who had them in Shanghai, and even more in Singapore. But these people weren't ESL monkeys or clowns like most of us here are. They were traders, or brokers, or buyers, or editors, or designers, or technicians. Something legitimate. Something to be proud of. If you'd ever had a real job [based NOT on workplace but on responsibilities] you'd know what I mean.
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No_hite_pls



Joined: 05 Mar 2007
Location: Don't hate me because I'm right

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Savings rates aren't really the point, are they? What kind of retirement plan are you going to get in Korea? And I would note, the huge savings rates of China and Korea are nothing to envy. Over-savings and under-consumption are stifling their growth rates. When everyone in your country is saving everything they're earning, who's powering the places that hire your people? Foreigners. And when THEY quit buying, too, then what? Welcome to China. Countries NEED internal consumption.

There certainly are real jobs in Asia. They were traders, or brokers, or buyers, or editors, or designers, or technicians.


I would have to say I disagree with most of what you wrote. I think the lack of saving and drop in wages adjusted for inflation is the serious problem for America. But, I hope you are right that an economy can survive on credit.

And to the question; What kind of retirement am I going to get in Korea?
Unless you are are a socialist and work for the government in the US you do not get a pension. But, this should not matter if you save 30% of your income. IF you save 30% income for 30 years and you can put your savings into stocks/bonds that pay a 4 or 5% dividend. I am in my 30's and I already have a dividend income of 1,300 a month USD. My father has no retirement yet and has a dividend income of 4,800 a month.

I am sorry but i don't think that being a broker, buyer or trader is more important job than being a teacher. Rolling Eyes


Last edited by No_hite_pls on Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Who's Your Daddy?



Joined: 30 May 2010
Location: The joy's in the ride.

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe my job isn't real, but the money is, and so is everything else.

I had a real job in Canada, and was poor.
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DIsbell



Joined: 15 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The funny thing is, the average trader/buyer/broker doesn't follow that different of a career path than a career ESL teacher. Graduate with some sort-of related BA (communication, trade, economics, finance, accounting, business, even some other liberal arts or english degree). Work for a company and learn on the job. After a year or two, pursue some certification and/or professional development to try and move up a bit. Eventually, pursue an MBA or grad level Finance/IR/Trade degree. A career ESLer may start with a related degree, or an unrelated one. Work a year or two and get a TESL/TESOL cert. A year or two after that, more certs (maybe a DELTA) or get working on a MA TESL or MA AppLing.

Furthermore, although we tend to get quite jaded with our teaching situations in Korea, it's hard to claim we aren't making a difference, as a whole. The current generation of kids are gonna have pretty smokin' English compared to the rest of East Asia (outside of city-state trade hubs with a head start on English), and it sure as hell isn't from a few hours a week of Korean-language grammar lectures in PS. Not that we deserve all the credit, but certainly we're due some. How is that so incredibly less valuable than someone who imports widgets from China? Both obviously serve purposes in a functional, educated society.

-------------------------------------------------
Anyways, to the OP, I get the feeling I'm a bit younger than you, so my experience coming back a month ago is probably under a different set of constraints and goals than what you might be after. Anyway, so far it's been pretty good. I'm gonna be finishing up my MA TESL. I've got a TA position that starts soon (earning extra in the summer) which will give me full tuition, a livable stipend, and health insurance. My wife, who is Korean, will arrive soon and she has been admitted to the same program, where she got a partial tuition scholarship (she will be able to pay in-state rates). She'll have permanent residence too, so finding a bit of part-time work in her first year shouldn't be a big problem, on campus or off. I will probably (hopefully?) get picked up as a full time instructor after I graduate in the spring.

I'm enjoying the clean air, gorgeous scenery, and more laid-back atmosphere of my small city. And of course it's nice to see family and old friends. Groceries are nice and cheap. And being able to drive again is nice at times. A lot of consumer goods are much better priced... I haven't made many major purchases outside of a bed, but I'm shopping around for TVs now and the prices here just kill what you see in Korea. I'm kind of excited to be back in the country during an election year, too.

Anyway, there are some negatives. My local rental market is a bit spendy, though I suppose for a similar square footage in Seoul I'd pay almost the same for a 1 bdr. You might not be in the rental market (I'd consider buying if I was able to maintain my Korea income instead of a grad TA stipend), but with the mess most Americans' credit is in after the real estate crash and recession, even basic apartment rentals are requiring credit checks and 2 years of rental history... my landlord even wanted personal references! Gas is about $3.60 a gallon here; luckily I got an apartment in the city center right next to the university so I won't need to drive much. My little city has made some recent strides in public transportation, but I definitely feel a car is still a necessity, and that sucks, financially. Communication services are a way worse value than Korea. Korean internet is much faster and generally cheaper. Korean wireless plans are much cheaper and generally superior.

To answer your main question... I think it's too early to say whether or not I have regrets. But I'm pretty excited about what I (and my wife) will accomplish while we're here, and in our situation we're probably gonna end up back in Korea at some point for at least a few more years, so that's comforting in some ways. Looks like you own a home so you ought to be set if you can find a decent job. Wouldn't hurt to give it a go for a couple years; if you've got qualifications and experience you'll always be able to go back to a decent position in Korea if you miss it.
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tiger fancini



Joined: 21 Mar 2006
Location: Testicles for Eyes

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Modernist wrote:
A real job is one where you are applying technical knowledge and skills to solve problems and improve conditions. A real job carries with it the ability to make a concrete difference in the world, not be an ethnic placeholder or status object. Why are people so defensive about this? Hits a little close to home for you, does it?


You might not do this in your job, but please don't suppose that all of us are in the same situation. Some of us do apply technical knowledge and skills, and some of us do make a difference for people. Just because you don't, doesn't mean that nobody else does. Kind of like the Korean food issue that you love bringing up (bringing up, as in mentioning, not vomiting!). You don't like it, but please try to understand that other people do.

Modernist wrote:
But these people weren't ESL monkeys or clowns like most of us here are.


It's a shame that you have such a low opinion of yourself, but again, please don't tar all of us with the same brush. Some of us actually made the effort to do something meaningful here.
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DIsbell



Joined: 15 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:00 pm    Post subject: Re: hokie21 Reply with quote

toby99 wrote:
koala5 wrote:
What about those of us that actually went there for an experience and not to pay off our college debts?



To be fair, moving to Korea b/c one is unemployable in the homeland and moving to Korea for "an experience" are not mutually exclusive. The old tripe about ESL teachers being unemployable in their homelands, while certainly exaggerated, does have some truth. It's the ol "where there's smoke, there's fire" saying. I'm as unemployable back in the states as the next "Dr. Kim's ABC English Academy" clown.


These days things are a bit different. One weird thing about coming back is hearing about friends who graduated in the last year or two being unable to find full-time, related employment- and they graduate with STEM degrees. One friend with a Chem degree is laying pipe (and I don't mean that euphemistically; he's literally laying pipe in new subdivisions), and another with a Bio (and a Communications degree) is getting by on part-time while looking for something better (incidentally, he's started asking me about Korea). Other STEM friends are staying in school for advanced degrees- one really sharp guy with good research experience is jumping straight into a Bio PHd program at NYU, which is a good move regardless, but at the same time no one was courting him with lucrative job offers in his senior year like you'd expect for a guy like that 10 years ago.

And it's been conventional wisdom in the past few years that a STEM degree would save you from using your shiny new degree to serve frappucinos. Now not all my friends are in this situation- in fact the comp. sci guys are doing pretty well for themselves, and my brother has had a pretty good gig doing LIDAR mapping (though limited opportunities to move up and law school are luring him away soon). But the point is that the current economic climate should be expanding our perception about people who are "unemployable."
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No_hite_pls



Joined: 05 Mar 2007
Location: Don't hate me because I'm right

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Disbell great post!
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Ocalmy



Joined: 18 Oct 2011

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 10:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm one of the folks who fell for a Korean national and is now stuck here.

Fortunately, my wife agreed to come back to the U.S. for a year and a half while I get my MA. I've been living in Korea for 3 1/2 years and I can't wait to get home.

What I'm looking forward to:

1. Diversity. Different kinds of people, buildings, living spaces, foods, cars, attitudes, perspectives, landscapes, ideologies, etc.

2. Clean air

3. Walking down a pedestrian path without worrying about being clipped by a motorbike, toyed with by a group of adolescents, pushed by an ajjuma, scowled at by an ajjushi, or even spit upon incidentally, accidentally, or intentionally-doesn't much matter.

4. Sound ordinances---no more horrible music blaring from every store front at all hours... no more dueling megaphones at 7:00am.

5. Walking into a starbucks to pick up the printed New York Times. Reading said newspaper without being interrupted by random ajjushi who wants to ask me, "Where you from?" and persist after I've made it perfectly clear I'm not interested in indulging him.

6. Being able to visit somewhere nice without having to share the space with 10,000,000 other people.

7. Not having to book everything 8 months in advance.

8. Not being patronized on a daily basis by people who don't even know they're being patronizing.

9. Being able to simply understand what's going on around me and communicate.

10. Taking road trips.

11. Reconnecting with friends and family.

12. Access to world class museums, theater, lectures, libraries, cinema, etc.

13. Holding my wife's hand in public without having to worry about either of us being judged or confronted.

What will I miss about Korea?

--Saving $1,000 a month
--Korean food
--My expat friends
--Proximity to tropical South East Asian vacation spots.

That's about it... Rolling Eyes
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Modernist



Joined: 23 Mar 2011
Location: The 90s

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm one of the folks who fell for a Korean national and is now stuck here.

Yet more proof [at least one a week] that my assertions are correct, whether they make people uncomfortable or not. Ocalmy, you'd better have a plan now for making sure you don't get roped back here in the end. Get ready. Don't let your life sink down into a long slog of Korean BS and mediocrity just because your wife can't manage to live outside the Korean hive.
Quote:
I am sorry but i don't think that being a broker, buyer or trader is more important job than being a teacher.

If we were actually teachers, there'd be something to this. I don't actually have a low opinion of real, proper teaching as a career [although I've certainly learned it's not for me]. The flaw in your comment is the notion that those in ESL in Korea, particularly, and Asia more generally, are anything like formal teachers in the Western tradition. 90% and more here, especially anyone working at young-kid hagwons or public schools, are in no way any such thing. We may sometimes do some things that teachers also do, but we are not teachers. An architect and a librarian both use pencils, but they don't have the same job, do they?
Quote:
It's a shame that you have such a low opinion of yourself, but again, please don't tar all of us with the same brush. Some of us actually made the effort to do something meaningful here.

I don't have a low opinion of myself. I have a low opinion of ESL. My opinion is based on much observed behavior since I've been involved in it. It is an exceptionally dubious line of work. A huge proportion of people doing it are literally not qualified to do ANYTHING else outside of big-box retail, customer service or something involving a plastic tray. A huge number of people hiring them are outright frauds, criminals, sociopaths, pathological liars, control freaks, abusers, tightwads or mentally disabled. The amount of cons and screwups and general ramshackle 'barely held together' aspects that we read about EVERY DAY on this forum is so obvious that I can offer no more convincing argument.

If anything meaningful is accomplished on an average day in Korean ESL, it is due to little more than chance and fortune. You'd be wise not to delude yourself about the reality of our work here.
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tiger fancini



Joined: 21 Mar 2006
Location: Testicles for Eyes

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2012 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Modernist wrote:

Quote:
It's a shame that you have such a low opinion of yourself, but again, please don't tar all of us with the same brush. Some of us actually made the effort to do something meaningful here.

I don't have a low opinion of myself. I have a low opinion of ESL. My opinion is based on much observed behavior since I've been involved in it. It is an exceptionally dubious line of work. A huge proportion of people doing it are literally not qualified to do ANYTHING else outside of big-box retail, customer service or something involving a plastic tray. A huge number of people hiring them are outright frauds, criminals, sociopaths, pathological liars, control freaks, abusers, tightwads or mentally disabled. The amount of cons and screwups and general ramshackle 'barely held together' aspects that we read about EVERY DAY on this forum is so obvious that I can offer no more convincing argument.

If anything meaningful is accomplished on an average day in Korean ESL, it is due to little more than chance and fortune. You'd be wise not to delude yourself about the reality of our work here.


You're describing what you see yourself and what you hear about on Dave's. Firstly, Dave's is by no means representative of English Language Instructors in Korea. I'd say it's a pretty small sample made up mainly, but not exclusively, of negative people. If you take what you read here as gospel, then I'm afraid I have to question your understanding of what some people call, "The Bigger Picture."

It's a huge industry, and I know that in my 6 years here I have not seen enough of it to make such broad, sweeping generalisations. Sure, there are some dodgy elements. Any industry has that problem. But there is a balance to that, which I find unfortunately lacking on this forum. The unhappy teachers come here to whine, the contented teachers are too busy with their lives to come here and whine. I come here for a bit of light amusement, and to feed my voyeuristic tendencies. I'm also ashamed to say that I enjoy watching Big Brother. Maybe the two are related?
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Captain Corea



Joined: 28 Feb 2005
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 2:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sometimes I wish this forum had a karma or like button.

Tiger is countering Modernist's posts perfectly.

Modernist, I'm so glad I've never worked in the same circles as you have.
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slothrop



Joined: 03 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

edit

Last edited by slothrop on Tue Jun 26, 2012 6:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Fri Jun 22, 2012 3:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

.
Quote:
Europeans I've met pretend to think they're open minded but they seem to be just as racist and shallow as the Americans they bash from my observations.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Yeah, aren't Europeans the ones chucking bananas at black footballers? Welcome to the 1950s, boys.

And Europeans also have a really difficult time accepting anyone who doesn't have socially and economically liberal views. I happen to have those views, but I'll typically play devil's advocate around them because they are extremely closed-minded regarding such topics.



Can you colonials stop going about about Europeans as if they're from one country. I'm sure you're all intelligent enough to know Europe comprises vastly differing cultures, economies and views scattered over a huge area. In financial terms, you can go from from Moldova to Switzerland and in political extremes , you can go from flat out dictatorships to the most liberal systems in the world. Imagine if Euorpeans, as you call them, started talking about people from 'The Americas' and lumped in everyone from New York to Costa Rica.
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