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Finding it difficult
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Voyager2



Joined: 24 Apr 2013

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 1:35 am    Post subject: Finding it difficult Reply with quote

I've been in Korea for the last 4 weeks, and having gathered all the help I could from this forum over the last year, I'm finding it difficult with no replies beyond initial requests for my CV and photo.

I'm using all the recruiters I can, one of them whose door I knocked on in the capital three weeks ago. Despite all my docs being ready for Immigration, despite sourcing all leads including a contact in Busan, Craigslist and DESLC, there just seems to be a trend of silence.

Ive a smiling, professional photo, an online portfolio with referees both academic and from my last 12 month contract in SEAsia, and am expressing my preference for hagwowns in small towns and cities outside Seoul, using my BA:ECE major. Still, just nothing.

I'm doing my best and my intention here isn't to ask for help, just to reflect and share - on what I've read - that despite getting here on the ground, the market does seem saturated. (I'm a pretty young looking mature-age grad - born 1964 -trying to find a contract and a place to live). I just wonder, whether I'm doing something obviously wrong. The agency mentioned that they've placed 60 year olds. Anyway thanks and regards


Last edited by Voyager2 on Mon Oct 13, 2014 1:44 am; edited 2 times in total
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Cave Dweller



Joined: 17 Aug 2014
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

1964 born or 1964 graduated?

53 is starting to get tough to get into the market. Most jobs are teaching kids and they like younger people.
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Voyager2



Joined: 24 Apr 2013

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks CD, born 64.
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watergirl



Joined: 01 Jul 2008
Location: Ansan, south korea

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi..
NO it is harder now I think. One thing, are you female or male? And ECE is early childhood education right? Cause they have a bias against women.
alos, age.. you said you look young.. the recruiters have too many resumes and will just wield out people based on anything, so, honestly, to the recruiter, I would just either ignore the age question or lie.
then, if you go for the interview, if yu look young, they prob. won't ask your age but they might.
Public schools are a bit more professional about age, and it is easier to get in there I've heard.
Also, older students and adults r easier if you're older I think.
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Chaparrastique



Joined: 01 Jan 2014

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have almost no chance via a recruiter.

They weed out anyone over the age of 30.


But if you are absolutely set on korea then get dressed up smart and hit the street with your resume. Be prepared for a long wait (months) and most probably a low-base job in the rural areas (if you're lucky).
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Voyager2



Joined: 24 Apr 2013

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watergirl thanks for that. Male, and yes EC is my degree major, I've taken your thoughts onboard I appreciate it. Chap, thanks too, the picture you paint is bleaker. I can't afford months all things considered (visa, and the need to find work and a place to live again), so I'll have to draw the line at some stage. I'm grateful to you both thanks.
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ippy



Joined: 25 Aug 2009

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am so gutted for you. And of course, so gutted for me, since i assumed turning up in person would make it alright. Good luck dude! Wish i wasnt about to go through the same crap-fiesta! Razz
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Voyager2



Joined: 24 Apr 2013

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ippy hello mate. Like you, I thought feet on the ground would count for something, together with having all docs ready. I hope it'll be different for you. So I made an informed decision to come - and it's my decision alone of course - based on everything you read, both good and not so good. Anyway I'll keep plugging away for another 4 weeks perhaps (thatll be two months) but the silence in response to my apps is becoming deafening.
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basic69isokay



Joined: 28 Sep 2014
Location: korea

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry but even people at 33,35,38 face age discrimination here. In your 50s? Wow , I'd say your only shot is teaching adults in a small town or something. ESL in korea has so many 20 somethings here for a year of drinking...i mean, theyll work more hours for less pay and it looks nice for the parents. Especially young females. Of course, actually learning English is barely considered, if at all. Head back to your home country, or try China.
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ippy



Joined: 25 Aug 2009

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dude, seriously, if you dont have a particular reason to stick in korea, just hit up China. Youll find a job pretty much immediately.

Actually let me tell you about it though just in case:

----------------------------------------------------------------------
1. Money:

If you have skill and experience you will fall into a 10,000 or more job fairly easily. Demand for applicants MASSIVELY outstrips supply. This is not just in the boonies, but also in Shanghai and Beijing. There is no seoul/busan effect right now. Pay and conditions dont plummet the closer you are to the big cities, in fact if anything, due to the cost of living, they seem to be higher paid.

Ive been offered 14,000 already plus house. I dont want to live in a big city though. Im already in Tianjin and comfortable as it is, i just prefer nature and the boonies.

My salary has a 6% tax deduction. Its about 600yuan.
So my take home is around 9400.

Of this, i spend around 3000 or so per month on stuffs. Im not really travelling. So you could easy knock it up a couple more G if you like to travel a bit.

This means im saving somewhere around 6000/month.

In real terms thats around $1000 US.

This is pretty effortless savings. You can live on cheaper. I had to in my first few months. (i was paying off a huge credit card debt). I was fine on around 2000 at a push. I wouldnt recommend it mind you unless youre really happy with street food and chinese food in general. Sadly im not. It disagrees with my tummy all too often.

You can score jobs in ANY part of the country. With ANY grade of students. In ANY type of business. For ANY pay grade you want. Age is not a barrier in china AT ALL. In fact, public schools seem to prefer slightly older folks by the looks of things. Since youre solo teaching for the most part, and since theyre pretty gung ho about the textbook, they want people who can handle the material AND have the authority to control a class. Sure they want the genki-clown (me), but they also want you to TEACH the subject far more than they want you to entertain the students.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
2. Visa Process.

Speaking of the Visa. Takes about 4 weeks. One annoying step in the process that can be circumnavigated via an agent/courier. Theyll charge you around a couple of hundred for that Z-visa stage, but Chinese immigration can be ridiculous so its worth avoiding the headache and having someone else turn up for a week in your stead every day to see if theyll finally bother to process it).

Anyways, get the job (easy peasy), get the medical check done. Fill in the relevant docs - school will send you - mail them back to China, school will apply in china. About a week or two later youll get the letter of invitation and a few other odds and sods (get some stamped blank sheets in case immigration in your end get difficult - i had to produce a SECOND informal (but nevertheless signed and stamped) invitation letter explaining my movements in China). Then send it all off to your agent back in your home country.

Wait for them to pester the chinese embassy a few days and bish bosh! you have your Z visa!
Come to china, get that entry stamp to activate the Z-visa, then sign your contract on your house and take it to the police dept with the landlords red book and get a medical done (again) in china (bring xrays, bloodwork etc from your medical outside the country to speed it all up) and whoosh! now you can go do the final step and get your residency permit. You pop to the main immigration for an interview (they basically tell you to not mess about and be good!) then once they give you the all clear, head to the department likely next door, and BLAM! youre now legal to work in china. All in, takes about a month at a push. Could realistically be done in three weeks if youre lucky.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
3. The Job.

Hours vary, you can easily be teaching 7 classes on the bounce 4 days a week. You could be commuting MILES. Literally MILES AND MILES. You could be doing half your classes in one school in the morning, then getting on a train for an hour and then a taxi for another half hour to your next school for 2 classes in the afternoon. It can be punishing. And no one has sympathy for you. Youre there to work in china. Theres none of this special snowflake nonsense Smile Whatever Chinese people have to do, youre going to have to do as well. If they have to teach 8 hours a day, no ones going to remotely care that youve just taught 7 classes for the last two days, did a two hour commute to this school at 5.40 in the morning to get there on time for the 8 classes you have that day. And time to plan lessons! HA!!! you do this in your free time mate! You suck it up!

Or you do your research beforehand and not pick the first offer that sounds alright.

Loads of different jobs for everyone out there. If you want some free time, take a PT gig on 22 hours (yes, PT KOREA!!!), for 8000 rather than the 30 CONTACT hours plus commute plus no lesson planning and prep time for 10,000.

Its definitely the number one thing to watch out for. I like my company. Genuinely. I learned a hell of a lot more in this one year in China than i did in the previous 8 in korea and japan. The workload is brutal, the expectations can be incredibly demanding, and you can be micro managed like you wont believe. But it made me raise my game a bit... and you get used to it. And once you come out of it, youre a better teacher at the end. Thats how i chose to look at it Smile

I wouldnt do it again though Razz I like them a lot. But id rather enjoy my life a bit more.

Anyways. Research research research. One of my mates, 54, went back to the UK recently. Got several offers and ended up exactly in the city he wants to work in for the pay he wants to work for with the students he wants to work with. Just be patient. Youll have offers pretty much every day. You can be selective.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------
4. The students

I love my students. I genuinely love Korean students. They were so damn cheerful. But then again, i was teaching at an all girls middle school, so kinda lucked out in my time there. Maybe co-ed is a little more... tricky.

In china though the students are freaking amazing. The level is very high. They dont mess about. But somehow theyre also really enthusiastic. I mean, bounce off the walls enthusiasm. I really think that China has hit on something amazing. Either culturally or just the desire for status, those students are cheerful, enthusiastic, interested, engaged and will work their ass off to improve their English. Again, it might be the fact i live in Tianjin and teach in a nice big city, but even the 'low level' school i teach at has far more positive and freindly students than apathetic and disruptive students. Chinese students are genuinely one of the best things about life in China. Its why, despite point 3 above and my 28 public school classes per week schedule and two hour commute on wednesday and thursday 60km across the damn city, i still had a blast teaching here.

Yeah, research innit.

But students are great.

Teachers... not so much Smile Your teachers will (HAVE TO) sit in your class. Theyll do marking. I used to try and engage them and bring them into the activities, but they really dont want to. This is your job, not theirs. Their job is marking, doing nothing at all about any ill-discipline, scowling at you, and all round being fucking useless IN YOUR CLASS. IM sure theyre brilliant in their own, but in my class i have a teacher who brings her ipad, sits at the front of the class by the door watching her drama programs and occasionally QQing her mates. I asked her last week for the FIRST TIME EVER if she would like to be a part of the game, she looked at me probably like id look at someone who asked me to do their job for them, and excused herself by saying she er... had to put numbers into a phone.

Pretty universal as well to be honest. Im not really sure why theyre even in the class. They literally do nothing that would help your class. They might as well be ghosts. So students: amazing; teachers: youre on your own.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
5. China.

Kinda like Korea to be honest. Not quite as clean or safe as Japan, but has a distinct Korean vibe to it. Ridiculous mix of INSANE wealth and common poverty. Houses are GRIM AS *beep* on the outside, but awesome on the inside. Smells can be ATROCIOUS at times. Pollution on that Eastern seaboard is unbelievable. The culture is pretty vibrant and fun. Lots of clubs and parties going off as youd expect. All your mod cons if you live in a city over a million (not hard to find). Pretty easy. The driving is horrendous though mind you. Every day im gobsmacked at the lack of spatial awareness for others around them. Someone does something that has my jaw on the floor. Definitely easy enough to find what you need, be it a club, a bar, some KTV, a museum, a concert or whatevers. Youll be pretty well taken care of.

So thats the case for China. Its really a nice place. Assuming i dont bottle it in the next week while i can still just transfer my visa, and head to korea, ill still have china as a back up from around mid November. Its so easy to get a job there, and if you have experience, a BA, and a teaching certificate, youll be a shoe-in. Definitely worth looking into if you want to keep riding the ESL gravy train and are struggling in Korea. Culturally, big city life is no different to big city life in Korea. Medium city life is probably equally comparable (or likely better since, you know, medium city is usually well over a million people - the scale is VAST). Rural versus korea is going to suck balls though Smile

So pick your poison. Smile Hope this helps inspire you a little to have a punt on it.
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creeper1



Joined: 30 Jan 2007

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The OP will get a job in Korea.

No need for him/her to endanger his/her health by going to China and working for a lower salary.

Demand for teachers in Korea is massive and outstrips supply. Simply being foreign will be enough to get you a job.

Keep at it OP. You WILL get a job.
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basic69isokay



Joined: 28 Sep 2014
Location: korea

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A job? Yes.
A good job? No, supply is much higher than demand.
Any public job or uni/aftershool program has dozens of interviwees, hundreds of applicants. No joke.
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Voyager2



Joined: 24 Apr 2013

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basic69, thanks for your thoughts. I know, I see the demographic of the few western faces I see in passing, staying here in the suburbs of Seoul with a friend. Twenty something American folk mainly. Doing this BA a bit later in life has me bucking a few trends, I know, trying for work in Kr (just having left my 40s a few months ago) is just another example. I won't work in Australia again, although thanks for your thoughts to return. But as you and Ippy both suggest, China might be worth some parallel thinking.

Ippy, I can't recall a time when someone has been so generous with their time. Thanks very much for your insights, which must have seen you staying up all night to write;) I owe you a coffee mate.

C1, your optimism has given me what it takes to make another coffee this morning and to continue applying for the rest of the month I think, thank you too. C1, can I ask, are you here working here on the peninsula?
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Voyager2



Joined: 24 Apr 2013

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basic69 noted your last post with thanks
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Voyager2



Joined: 24 Apr 2013

PostPosted: Mon Oct 13, 2014 4:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

B69 I hear clearly what you say. But to be honest, I don't have the luxury or real desire for a 'good' job. After teaching 35-40 hours a week in Indonesia for $700 a month, I'd be happy for 'a' job and place to live. One in which I could deliver a set curriculum with warmth and a bit of shared humanity in a smaller, quiet town and bring home 2.1 a month. This would do me for the first year or so. My needs are few. Cheers
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