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Picking a location
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pebecher



Joined: 13 Nov 2012

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 2:41 pm    Post subject: Picking a location Reply with quote

Hi all -

How discriminating should I be in picking a location? All the recruiters I've talked with really emphasize that I need to be as flexible with location preference as possible. This makes sense to me because I have no prior teaching experience and no teaching certificate, so being location-flexible is an easy way to increase my chances of landing a job. However, a lot of what I've read online makes it seem like Seoul is where I want to be if I'm going to enjoy Korea at all. If I end up in a city like Gwangju or Daejeon is my time in Korea going to really be that bad? I have a hard time believing that any city of a million plus people can really be that awful for a young person to live in.
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JustinC



Joined: 10 Mar 2012
Location: We Are The World!

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 3:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know lots of teachers outside of Seoul and they are often happier than teachers in Seoul.

Some people will grouch and moan where ever they land. Others will make the best of what they have.
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Mrsk



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO, any city is going to have its ups and downs. What you should really be asking is what do you want to do while in Korea. Are you a partier? Would you be bored if you didn't have a lot of nightclubs and such to go to? I lived in Daegu for a couple of years, and while I'm not one to party, it did have a nightlife that most expats enjoyed. I then lived in Bundang which is more about being close to Seoul but not living in "complete" concrete.

Now I'm hoping to return to Korea and enjoy a smaller town lifestyle and get away from the big cities. Remember, you are young, if you spend one year in a city and don't love it, just pick a different city next year.

Anyway, that's my 2 cents on the matter. Figure out what you want and see if a city fits.
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thebektionary



Joined: 11 May 2011

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A city of a million in Korea is different than a city of a million in another country, especially America. A city of a million is huge in America, but not that huge in Korea. I've never lived in Daegu but I've heard from many friends who have lived or do live there that it is boring compared to Seoul and they come to Seoul often on the weekends.

The reason why living in Seoul is so great is because there are constantly things to do. I'm not a partier and I still wouldn't move out of Seoul because of all the cultural events and networking opportunities here. Yeah, there are clubs and bars in Hongdae, but there are also great cafes, art shows, etc. I like seeing events constantly going on and never having to think about what I'm doing over the weekends because there's ALWAYS something to do - it's just a matter of picking what I want to go to.

Even if you don't live IN Seoul, you can live close. Look at places like Bucheon, Incheon, Suwon, Bupyeong, Gwangmyeong, Guri, etc. Some of these places are on the border of Seoul and there's really no difference between them and Seoul besides an invisible border.

If you are young and interested in making a variety of friends and experiencing Korea's modern culture, I recommend Seoul or a surrounding city. Don't listen to what recruiters say. There are thousands and thousands of jobs here... I just got a girl from my university a job here. Recruiters don't like people who single out Seoul and Gyeonggi, but who cares. That's their job. Don't take a job in a place you don't want just because a recruiter doesn't want to work hard for you. Many, many people get jobs in Seoul and Gyeonggi-do (urban) without experience or qualifications. When I was looking for a job for this girl, she got many offers in Suwon which is good and close enough, but I ended up getting her a job in Seoul proper and she also has no experience or qualifications. So just be persistent.
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Mrsk



Joined: 22 Aug 2012
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thebektionary wrote:
I've never lived in Daegu but I've heard from many friends who have lived or do live there that it is boring compared to Seoul and they come to Seoul often on the weekends.


I've never lived in Seoul but visited several times. I would have to take your word for it on this one. I think any place in Korea would be boring compared to Seoul just because of the size difference.

I'm not one who wants something to do ALL the time. I quite like relaxing and strolling along a river for a Saturday evening. So pebecher take what I say with that grain of salt.

But thebektionary's one point is true, figure out what you want and then go for it. I keep getting offers for satellite cities of Seoul but I will wait for my small coastal city to come along.
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thebektionary



Joined: 11 May 2011

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are also a lot of relaxing things to do in Seoul, like walking along Cheonggyicheon. Anyway, it's just what the individual person wants.
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Tyshine



Joined: 04 Apr 2011

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I live in Daegu and I like it. I would prefer Seoul, but to say you can't have fun outside of Seoul says more about the person than the place. Korea is small and easy to travel around. Worry about getting a good job, and if you want to stay a second year then worry about the perfect location.
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andrewchon



Joined: 16 Nov 2008
Location: In my goshiwon cubicle. Seeking moksha.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to walk along cheonggyicheon when it was a sewer. Ah, that was long time ago.
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pebecher



Joined: 13 Nov 2012

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks all for responses.
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Skippy



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: Daejeon

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

For a first timer, one of the bigger cities is key. Once you have a year in a city under your belt, you may try for smaller city or town for a job. Most of the bigger cites have enough facilitates to keep foreigners comfortable and sane.

Seoul
Busan
Daejeon
Incheon
Daegu
Gwangju

Would be ideals places

Chonan
Suwon
Mokpo

Would be adequate and liveable.

Kumi
Gongju
Jochiwon

Avoid in your first year.

Good Luck
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You'd be far better focusing on the job and less on the location.

IF you have a crap job in Seoul you will have a miserable year (or you will be drunk the whole time so it won't bother you).

If you have a great job elsewhere you will have a decent year, make some friends, have a good Korean experience, get some job experience under your belt and have the time, connections and ability to move closer to the bright lights of the big city in year 2.

Personally, I prefer the satellite cities (like Suwon and Seongnam).
All the advantages and proximity of the big city when I want it and far less of the crap (pollution, traffic, etc) for the rest of the time.

.
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Something I've observed talking to many teachers who wound up landing all over Korea is that they tend to feel an attachment to where they first get their feet wet & learn their way around, be it big, small, or in between. [A few will pipe in disagreeing, but generally...]

Contrary to what many say, a first experience outside Seoul or environs can afford a nice simple first taste of Korea & you will almost undoubtedly find enough conveniences & some likable companions there. Then, when you do visit Seoul, you can discern more accurately what you need & want there & figure your way around.

A lot of the serial gripers on this forum arrived to jobs in Seoul & have seldom seriously ventured beyond the concrete & where the subways go.
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ajuma



Joined: 18 Feb 2003
Location: Anywere but Seoul!!

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a lot of it depends on what kind of internal resources you have. If you have a need for companionship, lots of things to do, new people to meet and a high-energy atmosphere, then Seoul or Busan would probably be a better fit.

If you're a bit of a loner, enjoy doing things on your own and enjoy the company of a couple of friends versus a lot of different people, then a smaller city would work for you.

I've never lived in Seoul...nor would I want to. It's too frantic for me, but I understand why others might like it. I much prefer country living.
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young_clinton



Joined: 09 Sep 2009

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Korea has an excellent bus system. Even if you're outside of Seoul you should be able to find a job somewhere that provides relatively fast access to Seoul on the weekends. Just ask your recruiter how easy it is to get to Seoul from the loction they are offering you.
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cheezsteakwit



Joined: 12 Oct 2011
Location: There & back again.

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm in the country, but Daejeon is only half hour away by train & Seoul is 90 minutes by KTX , but 2 1/2 by Mugunghwa. (I've been to Seoul, maybe 8,9 times since March.)

It's really nice having Daejeon so close, but one negative is this - LAST train home leaves at 1 AM, so if I miss that, I'm in for the long haul at the clubs until the 6 AM FIRST train. ... unless my friends & I shell out $40, flat rate for a taxi ride home (which we've done a few times)

I'll agree with what Schwa said up above. I've become attached to my small town and I'm re-upping for another contract in March. Then, maybe I'll try to chase a Uni job or check out a diff. country.

Skippy gave good advice up above as well.. If you're NOT IN one of those cities, make sure you are within a short train ride/ bus ride/ taxi from them, to keep your sanity on the weekends , once or twice a month when you may need it.

Good luck, Gotta go ride my bike out to the lake on this beautiful sunny day.
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