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living in Korea with a child
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sunnyjazz



Joined: 16 Dec 2013
Location: United States

PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 7:40 pm    Post subject: living in Korea with a child Reply with quote

I lived in Korea for three years in the early 1990's and am thinking of returning this year. Now I have an 8 year old daughter and I'm wondering if this would be a good thing for her or not. We would not be living in Seoul or Busan. I'm also not sure if I'll be earning enough for us to live on; the base salary is 28,200 won. Advice? Thanks-
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Who's Your Daddy?



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

PostPosted: Thu Jan 16, 2014 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Is your spouse Korean? Can your child speak Korean?

If the answer to both is "yes" then it's possible, otherwise I wouldn't come.
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 12:44 am    Post subject: Re: living in Korea with a child Reply with quote

sunnyjazz wrote:
I lived in Korea for three years in the early 1990's and am thinking of returning this year. Now I have an 8 year old daughter and I'm wondering if this would be a good thing for her or not. We would not be living in Seoul or Busan. I'm also not sure if I'll be earning enough for us to live on; the base salary is 28,200 won. Advice? Thanks-


28,200 won (about US$25) per hour, week, month?

CDI per chance?

Can it be done = yes.
Should YOU do it = unknown. No where near enough information to give you an informed answer or even provide information for you to formulate better questions.

.
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Died By Bear



Joined: 13 Jul 2010
Location: On the big lake they call Gitche Gumee

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What could possibly go wrong?
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Daniel1981



Joined: 30 Dec 2009

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Even without being a citizen I believe that you are also entitled to some social programs. Education and/or day care support is one of them, as well as other support for living depending on income, as well as where you live (as some programs are supported locally, some nationally)

I don't have any details myself but this is one thing I remember from the social integration course. I would check it out. If I were a parent, the million dollar question would be where my child would be and what he/she would be doing while I am at work. So if sponsored daycare is available, it's worth a look.
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sunnyjazz



Joined: 16 Dec 2013
Location: United States

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for all of the replies, I still need more information from the school but this looks like it might be too much of a stretch for us. I'm a single parent with my adopted daughter, she is Guatemalan by birth, my ethnicity is "white" (European-American by way of England a few generations ago). I don't know what kind of reception we'd get with our unusual family make-up. My mom lives with us and helps out tremendously with household concerns and childcare. I'm not sure how difficult the visa situation would be for her. Homeschooling is an option for my daughter but I'd rather have her in school.
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Ballerina2012



Joined: 17 Jan 2012

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I live here with my 12 year old daughter. She likes it here. I teach at an international school, so she gets school free and with me. If you can get your daughter in a school, I say go for it.. we travel..... Japan, China, Taiwan, so far, and I love it. Life is short!
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Yaya



Joined: 25 Feb 2003
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:00 am    Post subject: Re: living in Korea with a child Reply with quote

sunnyjazz wrote:
I lived in Korea for three years in the early 1990's and am thinking of returning this year. Now I have an 8 year old daughter and I'm wondering if this would be a good thing for her or not. We would not be living in Seoul or Busan. I'm also not sure if I'll be earning enough for us to live on; the base salary is 28,200 won. Advice? Thanks-


Your daughter would feel isolated if she isn't around children her age who can speak English, and this will be the case if you don't go to Seoul or Busan.

My advice? Don't come.
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Ginormousaurus



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Location: 700 Ft. Pulpit

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ballerina2012 wrote:
I live here with my 12 year old daughter. She likes it here. I teach at an international school, so she gets school free and with me. If you can get your daughter in a school, I say go for it.. we travel..... Japan, China, Taiwan, so far, and I love it. Life is short!


Working at an international school and having your child attend the same school sounds like a wonderful situation to be in.

However, things might not be so rosey for this family if the mom works for a hagwon and her daughter attends public school. She will already be singled out for being a foreigner. Add to that her darker skin and inability to speak Korean and she could potentially be facing a lot of bullying. I'm not saying this is inevitable, but it is worth serious consideration. On an English teacher's salary it would be almost impossible to send her to an international school.
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sunnyjazz



Joined: 16 Dec 2013
Location: United States

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is no way I can afford to send my daughter to an international school; I'd love to have her come to school with me but since the position is at a university that's not going to work. I talked to the professor who is recruiting at the university about my idea to hire a translator to go to school with my daughter for awhile, maybe a college student, and she seemed to think that was a good idea. Of course I don't know how much that would cost. I was wondering about the bullying aspect. My past experience with Koreans has been so positive that I figured she should be in good shape with the kids; I actually thought she might be better off in a more social society than where we live in the States. She's a very outgoing girl who enjoys school--she thought she'd like to be in a Korean classroom with children who behave as opposed to the classroom she is in now (which is in an excellent school). Then I was reading about Korean school children being the unhappiest in the world and I wondered about her liking school there. We're adventurous and want to travel, but I don't want to move and feel financially pressed or have my daughter mistreated.

Thanks again for all of the advice, especially from Ballerina2012 since you are living in Korea with your daughter.
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Ginormousaurus



Joined: 27 Jul 2006
Location: 700 Ft. Pulpit

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sunnyjazz wrote:

Thanks again for all of the advice, especially from Ballerina2012 since you are living in Korea with your daughter.


Just my 2 cents: The only similarity between Ballerina's and your situation is the gender of your children. Ballerina's daughter is (I assume) surrounded by expat children in an English speaking environment where she fits right in, not to mention that fact that her mom is there with her. Your daughter will (most likely) be the only foreigner.

Make no mistake, Korean kids are not the well-behaved, model students you might think they are. They misbehave and try to get away with as much as they can. Bullying IS a major problem. It could be devastating if your daughter ended up being "wangta" (sorry, I can't type in Korean on my work computer, so the spelling is probably weird). A wangta is basically a person whom everyone will abuse and treat as an outcast. The ULTIMATE outcast. I remember reading an article years back about a special school for kids who had be labeled wangta by their classmates. The school was created because life was so unbearable for these students at their original schools.

On the other hand, it would be a wonderful opportunity for your daughter to learn Korean. She's young enough that she could probably pick it up with much less effort than it would take yourself. Also, the experience of living abroad will only broaden her outlook on the world. I'm probably not saying anything here you haven't already thought of. Maybe being in early elementary, her classmates might not be as likely to exclude or bully her. I think it would be much tougher if she were in middle school.

Anyway, there are pros and cons. I don't mean to try and discourage you from coming. I don't have kids myself, so take what I say with the appropriate amount of salt. Posters with mixed kids living in the countryside would probably be able to give better insight.
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Janny



Joined: 02 Jul 2008
Location: all over the place

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you MUST send her to a public school, make sure there are at least a couple other foreign, English-speakers there for her to bond with.

The bullying IS inevitable. Kids are not kind, and Korean children will not be either. The 'wangta' label exists even in the West...the one kid nobody wants to play with....and it's way worse here because Korean students are NOT taught anything about tolerance, fairness and treating outsiders (non-Koreans) with respect.

Your daughter will have a rough go of it; I predict many afternoons / evenings in tears. And walking around / being in classrooms with an adult translator by her side?? I'm sorry, but that might make it worse. An outsider with a school babysitter to boot. No.

I truly hope you find another option in another country. Or by some miracle, find a way to get your child into an international school so you can work in Korea. That would work out fine. But please don't take the job and send her to public school with no language ability and childish rose-colored glasses. She will get hurt (emotionally).

In case you're wondering, I'm a certified elementary school teacher who worked in Korea for 8 years. I know what I'm talking about. Specific cases (such as ballerina's) of happy endings on this topic are rare. Your daughter may have the guts and confidence to make it through....but scars will be forged that don't disappear.
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dongjak



Joined: 30 Oct 2010

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you are on Facebook join:
Expat parents Korea
Awesome families in Korea

These groups have families who are dealing firsthand with raising kids in Korea and can give you advice.

There is also a secret group for single moms. If you join one of these a member can add you to the single mom group if you are interested.
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actionjackson



Joined: 30 Dec 2007
Location: Any place I'm at

PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2014 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what it's worth, I have a few Korean students who are slightly darker than the rest of the class and every so often I hear them getting picked on and bullied because of the color of their skin. And one of them is even popular enough to have been voted class president.
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PatrickGHBusan



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

PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Janny wrote:
If you MUST send her to a public school, make sure there are at least a couple other foreign, English-speakers there for her to bond with.

The bullying IS inevitable. Kids are not kind, and Korean children will not be either. The 'wangta' label exists even in the West...the one kid nobody wants to play with....and it's way worse here because Korean students are NOT taught anything about tolerance, fairness and treating outsiders (non-Koreans) with respect.

Your daughter will have a rough go of it; I predict many afternoons / evenings in tears. And walking around / being in classrooms with an adult translator by her side?? I'm sorry, but that might make it worse. An outsider with a school babysitter to boot. No.

I truly hope you find another option in another country. Or by some miracle, find a way to get your child into an international school so you can work in Korea. That would work out fine. But please don't take the job and send her to public school with no language ability and childish rose-colored glasses. She will get hurt (emotionally).

In case you're wondering, I'm a certified elementary school teacher who worked in Korea for 8 years. I know what I'm talking about. Specific cases (such as ballerina's) of happy endings on this topic are rare. Your daughter may have the guts and confidence to make it through....but scars will be forged that don't disappear.



This is full of good points and valid concerns and also sadly grossly over exagerated towards the end!

Seriously OP, it can be done and I do agree you would need to choose your PS wisely. One with some mixed kids will help.

International Schools are a better general option but those can be rather costly (over 20 million Won per year in many cases). If you WORK at an IS then usually your kids can attend for free or at a vastly reduced cost.

The language barrier can be daunting at first but kids pick up languages pretty quick when in full immersion mode (adult as well). It will not be easy and parental support will be key there.

The point about tolerance and acceptance is somewhat valid since Korea remains largely homogenous. However, Korean kids today are NOT Korean kids 15 years ago and Korea is far more integrated to the world now than it was before. A foreign kid in a school would not struggle as much as back when I first arrived. Still, this is a big decision to make and one point I will make:

Do NOT confuse your time in Korea before as a single childless teacher with what you can expect now in Korea as a parent! doing so will lead you straight into the brick wall at full speed. Life as a parent means much of what it does where you are now: work, caring for your child, homework help, cooking, laundry, family activities. The days of bars and going everywhere will be long gone as will a lot of that disposable income but I suspect the OP is well aware of this!


I do agree you should join a few expat online groups focused on family before you come over. Those can be a treasure trove of resources, information and support!

Good luck OP!
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