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A Doomed Future?
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Who's Your Daddy?



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

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think unless you insist on working as an English teacher, and you are willing to work hard, that after 5 years in your home country you'd be making more money than in Korea, and you'd still have the potential to make more.

If people were to move back maybe for the first two years they'd be worse off. I guess it is getting past that period.

And if you have a Korean wife, unless she's got a civil service job in Korea, or at one of the large conglomerates, she'd be doing better after 5 years too. [I think a Korean man might be worse off though.]
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misher



Joined: 14 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thing is, I'm not talkng about backpacker types. Jobs will always exist for those with just a BA in whatever. Pay might go down (like in Japan from the standard 250,000 yen per month to as low as 190,000) but in the end these types aren't bringing much to the table anyway and most are just looking to float anyway.

I'm talking about the serious "professional" and "qualified" types. You know, the types that network, publish, attend conferences, have related MAs and are working towards their doctorates. For the amount of work you have to put in to get all of that paper, you will see the greatest diminishing returns on all that education and sweat. I've already seen it and it sure isn't pretty. It's just not worth it unless you are just passionate about teaching esl/efl. Most I know aren't. They do it because of the low hours and vacation which affords travel opportunities. That is changing. More desk warming, publication reqs, less vacation etc is becoming the new norm.
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World Traveler



Joined: 29 May 2009

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 11:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZhnYNy5rmoA
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ha ha the guy's been travelling around for 10 years and finally realizes he's had enough when he ends up in a concrete shoebox in Korea. I can see where he's coming from.
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World Traveler



Joined: 29 May 2009

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nnj8GRkK07M
[1:00-2:30]
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There seem to be a lot of inconsistencies in his life. He goes up a mountain to, amongst other things 'escape technology', then makes a film about himself. He dislikes living in Korea but he's obsessed about learning the language. He says he's been traveling for 10 years but he's not yet thirty. He must have a degree to be teaching here mustn't he? He's a classic example of someone who came here for reasons other than his job, then gets himself in a situation he hates directly as a result of his job.
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World Traveler



Joined: 29 May 2009

PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 7:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"I’ve been living in Korea on a challenge to become fluent in the language"

"The amount of expats who have been living here in Korea literally for years and still don’t speak much or any Korean is frankly shameful.

If you live long-term in a host society – no matter where it is in the world – it’s a sign of respect to make some kind of effort to try to learn the language and try to take part in the local culture."


"As I said before, my aim is to demonstrate that fluency in a language like Korean is not the difficult Goliath people make it out to be (it’s placed in the most difficult category for English speakers by the FSI alongside Arabic)."

He seems like a cool guy to me. I guess Korean turned out to be a lot tougher than he expected which caused frustration. He certainly put in a lot of effort. He studied four to six hours a day every day for a year (before heading to a new location). That's dedication. (But Korean is a hard as hell language. Most people severely underestimate its difficulty. I have never met a person who said "Korean wasn't as hard as I thought it would be." It's always the opposite.)
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Thu Jan 02, 2014 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
"I’ve been living in Korea on a challenge to become fluent in the language"

"The amount of expats who have been living here in Korea literally for years and still don’t speak much or any Korean is frankly shameful.

If you live long-term in a host society – no matter where it is in the world – it’s a sign of respect to make some kind of effort to try to learn the language and try to take part in the local culture."

"As I said before, my aim is to demonstrate that fluency in a language like Korean is not the difficult Goliath people make it out to be (it’s placed in the most difficult category for English speakers by the FSI alongside Arabic)."



Well maybe if he'd spent more time on his career than his hobby he wouldn't still be working in a hagwan, living in a shoebox and moaning about going crazy/having no free time after ten years in the business. Just saying.
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PatrickGHBusan



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Location: Busan (1997-2008) Canada 2008 -

PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="edwardcatflap"]
Quote:
"I’ve been living in Korea on a challenge to become fluent in the language"

"The amount of expats who have been living here in Korea literally for years and still don’t speak much or any Korean is frankly shameful.

If you live long-term in a host society – no matter where it is in the world – it’s a sign of respect to make some kind of effort to try to learn the language and try to take part in the local culture."

"As I said before, my aim is to demonstrate that fluency in a language like Korean is not the difficult Goliath people make it out to be (it’s placed in the most difficult category for English speakers by the FSI alongside Arabic)."



Well maybe if he'd spent more time on his career than his hobby he wouldn't still be working in a hagwan, living in a shoebox and moaning about going crazy/having no free time after ten years in the business. Just saying.[/quote]

Fair but, then again maybe learning Korean is not a "hobby" for this person. Also, why can't someone advance their career AND learn the language at the same time?

Lets get real here, there is usually enough time for both if one is willing to put in the work...
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edwardcatflap



Joined: 22 Mar 2009

PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Fair but, then again maybe learning Korean is not a "hobby" for this person


It is. If you read the next part of his blog he just decided to go to Russia for 9 months to try and learn another language. Unpaid by the sound if it.

Quote:
Lets get real here, there is usually enough time for both if one is willing to put in the work...


Yes there is enough time for both and to have a decent quality of life, if you enjoy learning languages or have a cushy low contact hours job. That guy claims he has 'a passion' for languages but was still finding it difficult to find the time to study after his hagwan job. According to Misher on the other thread it's hard enough to make decent money here as it is without experiencing burnout, never mind with the added hassle of studying a foreign language. Personally I do all right and have a lot of free time but I prefer to spend it doing things I enjoy. That way I don't end up coming on here and moaning about my quality of life.
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misher



Joined: 14 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:

Quote:
Fair but, then again maybe learning Korean is not a "hobby" for this person


It is. If you read the next part of his blog he just decided to go to Russia for 9 months to try and learn another language. Unpaid by the sound if it.

Quote:
Lets get real here, there is usually enough time for both if one is willing to put in the work...


Yes there is enough time for both and to have a decent quality of life, if you enjoy learning languages or have a cushy low contact hours job. That guy claims he has 'a passion' for languages but was still finding it difficult to find the time to study after his hagwan job. According to Misher on the other thread it's hard enough to make decent money here as it is without experiencing burnout, never mind with the added hassle of studying a foreign language. Personally I do all right and have a lot of free time but I prefer to spend it doing things I enjoy. That way I don't end up coming on here and moaning about my quality of life.


I was this guy exactly. I floated around the world for ten years working contracts off and on and using the savings to attend language schools and learn languages. It was fun and I learned korean to TOPIK 4. However, eventually I realized eventually that these languages have to be put to use in some type of career. I also realized it would have been better to concentrate on just one language and mastering that instead of learning 3 to an intermediate level.

When I started teaching seriously to save money (ie make more than 2.2 million a month) then my Korean studies went bye bye. I just didn't have the energy and even if I managed to put in an hour or 2 per day, it wouldn't matter because my target language exposure was erased as I was speaking/teaching English all day.

"Having a passion for languages" for me means "i can't commit to anything career wise so I'll just float around, learn languages until the learning curve flattens and move onto the next."

That's fine if that is what you want to do but it WILL NOT get you a job back home. It will impress people initially but unless you're learning these languages to a gyopo level then it is just fluff on a resume.

If you're going to make EFL a career then this guy should stop wasting his coin on language schools and up his teaching experience, get qualifications and commit to a market. Continuing his vacation lifestyle will only leave him in his 30s with ntermediate language skills in a variety of languages that won't serve any purpose and no professional development and no savings.
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PatrickGHBusan



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Location: Busan (1997-2008) Canada 2008 -

PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

edwardcatflap wrote:
Quote:
Fair but, then again maybe learning Korean is not a "hobby" for this person


It is. If you read the next part of his blog he just decided to go to Russia for 9 months to try and learn another language. Unpaid by the sound if it.

Quote:
Lets get real here, there is usually enough time for both if one is willing to put in the work...


Yes there is enough time for both and to have a decent quality of life, if you enjoy learning languages or have a cushy low contact hours job. That guy claims he has 'a passion' for languages but was still finding it difficult to find the time to study after his hagwan job. According to Misher on the other thread it's hard enough to make decent money here as it is without experiencing burnout, never mind with the added hassle of studying a foreign language. Personally I do all right and have a lot of free time but I prefer to spend it doing things I enjoy. That way I don't end up coming on here and moaning about my quality of life.



Then if that person sees this as a hobby and thus does not put the time in, I guess lack of progress is to be expected and that this person should not then judge anyone on their progress or lack of fluency in Korean.


Learning a language needs to be based on core motivations or, as you aptly described, a person will burnout or lose interest because they feel they can do other things with their free time than learn Korean.
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PatrickGHBusan



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Location: Busan (1997-2008) Canada 2008 -

PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

misher,

While learning Korean can be for many a solely personal benefit and would not bring any significant professional benefits; this is not true for many others.

I can tell you that depending on how you view your career in and out of Korea, learning Korean CAN indeed be quite beneficial on a professional level.


Also, I personally do not think getting good teaching experience and upgrading your qualifications somehow prevents someone from learning Korean at a pretty high level.

Can knowing Korean well get you a job back home? By itself, probably not. Combined with other relevant experiences and qualifications it certainly can give you an edge in certain job areas.
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misher



Joined: 14 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
misher,

While learning Korean can be for many a solely personal benefit and would not bring any significant professional benefits; this is not true for many others.

I can tell you that depending on how you view your career in and out of Korea, learning Korean CAN indeed be quite beneficial on a professional level.


Also, I personally do not think getting good teaching experience and upgrading your qualifications somehow prevents someone from learning Korean at a pretty high level.

Can knowing Korean well get you a job back home? By itself, probably not. Combined with other relevant experiences and qualifications it certainly can give you an edge in certain job areas.


What do you mean by "learning korean well?" An intermediate level? 4-5 levels of a uni language program? In this case I agree and it can give you an edge. However you will reach a point of diminishing returns and it is then that it is perhaps preferable to put more focus into your career. It doesn't mean you should stop learning Korean but you're not going to make improvements in any significant way.

Most westerners that have never had exposure to the language can get to a high intermediate level but after that it gets ridiculously tough. If you want to be on gyopo level (understand everything you hear etc) then it's going to take a very long time and a lot of dedication. If you're teaching 30 plus hours a week your target language exposure drops as well as your energy and motivation.

Being able to speak Korean can look impressive back home. It even helped me secure a contract in the government. However jobs that would actually REQUIRE you to use Korean would expect a gyopo like level of proficiency. Canada certainly isn't lacking in this area. They've had decades of exposure in the home and are more culturally aware of the nuances. Competing with that is tough to near impossible so you have to weigh the cost benefit once you're language skill progression starts leveling off.
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daveweave2



Joined: 08 Dec 2008

PostPosted: Sun Jan 12, 2014 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Stan Rogers"]:roll: Another dooms day thread. These "end of the line for English" type threads have been appearing on this site for years. After all the dire predictions over the years, nothing has changed.[/quote]

Quite true these threads are always posted. I worked in Korea a few years ago not much has changed. Some Koreans have talked about getting rid of westerners for decades. It never seems to happen, if they could teach English effectively they would. I went to Saudi Arabia a few years ago. I work for a defense contractor and do very well. Korea is a good place to get experience.
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