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Screwball EPIK
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Mosley



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 8:42 pm    Post subject: Screwball EPIK Reply with quote

Last Friday, I was asked by the school board I work for(via EPIK) to make a decision about renewing my contract...on the spot!!!! A decision about another year of your life, and 2 minutes to decide! What a difference from Japan's JET, where they give you weeks to decide. In fact, everything about EPIK is different(read: vastly inferior) from JET. Any EPIKs out there with similar tales of screwball EPIK?
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your schoolboard may well have received a document some while back to ask you about your intentions, but no one bothered to deal with it till the last minute. Welcome to Korea! I like in my office how everyone takes endless coffeebreaks & snoozes at their desk all week then suddenly a long-known deadline looms & everyones running around frantic & working overtime. Not so much just epik, but Korean bureaucracy in general.

Something may have got lost in the translation. They might not have actually required a commitment on the spot from you, just that it would have been helpful in responding to head office. Had you said you needed to think about it a few days, I bet they would have relented. So what did you decide?
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No H in Wales



Joined: 30 Apr 2003

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2003 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Very Happy

This is not so much about my experience with EPIK (as i dont have any yet)but more research on them. Are they good to work for (in general), apart from asking you to commit another year of your life on the spot like that, have you had good or bad experiences with them (i have an interview with them)

Cheers
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Mosley



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2003 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well first, yes, Korean bureaucracy is a wonder to behold, indeed. I refused to give them an answer "on the spot." This week, they've been(politely) browbeating me to give them a yea or nay- all because a pencil pusher screwed up & is getting heat from above. Incredible, really.They make it sound as if the decision is the same as what I'll have for lunch today. The sad fact is, they DID expect me to give an immediate answer last Fri.-I told them that that was unacceptable. On both sides, nothing was lost in translation.
For the other poster, looking forward to an EPIK interview, I can only say "do your homework."Start w/ the Job Information Journal on this website & go from there. I'm not saying "reject EPIK" but rather,"be careful...be very careful."
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Thomas



Joined: 25 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2003 9:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

(EPIK 1997-2001) Every year, a few months before contract expiration, EPIK would ask us if we were planning to stay or go. They never would give us information about salary, placement, benefits, or changes. In '99, 2000 and 2001, they didn't even provide English translations! If we thought we might stay, we would say "yes" and go to the renewal meeting for the free food. Then we would decide. The problem for EPIK (they never learned from this) is that the govt would base its plans on how many to recruit for the next year based on the "maybes". Every time the govt would make a plan for how many new EPIKs to recruit and begin accepting applicants. Of course, EPIK never reached its goal (I loved the 2000 EPIKs next year quote they used for years!!!!). Anyway, every year at the renewal meeting, some would say "no" and it would send the province into a tizzy!
It's neat to see that part of EPIK hasn't changed. Are they offering a higher salary this time?
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2003 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Conditions are improving a bit. Level ones get an extra 100,000/month come september, plus another 100,000 to anyone working outside Kyonggido & the 6 largest cities. New contracts will be for 52 weeks (finally) so one year's service will get severance now, & those continuing will get an extra 2 weeks paid vacation. The program still pays for an annual return ticket home between contracts, a perk unique to the industry as far as I know.

Of course its still somewhat of a crapshoot what you get. Rate of returnees in my province is about 60% this year. Of those leaving, some are moving on for personal reasons & some are legitimately disgruntled. Their main bones of contention -- housing & uncooperative coteachers.

Accommodation can range from really nice to abysmal. Expect midrange. If stuck with a hellhole, good luck. Calm negotiation might get you an upgrade, might not. Its a good point of inquiry when they divvy up the assignments at the orientation -- some supervisors will allow recruits some choice of destination. For this reason its also a good idea to have done some research on the geography of your provinces of choice. Some people really like the experience of an isolated small town, others need more amenities & western contacts. Do you prefer mountains, beaches, nightlife? Know your preferences & assert them. An attitude of 'whatever' will get you, well, whatever.

Coteachers are a mixed bunch. These folks are your liaison with the bureaucracy & the community. Some are eager & effective, some are reluctant & nervous. A good relationship at this level is key to a good working situation. I've seen insensitive coteachers drive great teachers to quit, but I've also seen weird westerners drive good coteachers to tears. Being pleasant & amenable will usually assure an acceptable working relationship.

Epik can be good. In my experience, the most successful epik teachers are easygoing selfstarters. You get a lot of independence in the workplace but youre expected to show some professionalism. But sometimes the program blunders, so you might want to ask yourself before applying -- can you roll with that, or are you an agitator? 2nd answer -- youre in for a frustrating ride.

I've worked in hagwon too. I had a decent experience & it was a good learning ground but in hindsight it was more frazzling & less rewarding than epik. Epik has had its ups & downs but I think its on a gradual improvement curve at the moment. They have a reasonable target of 200 new intakes this year & there are worse options on the Korean jobfront.
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Thomas



Joined: 25 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2003 4:48 am    Post subject: Save this one from Schwa Reply with quote

What a great answer... you really know your stuff. This is the type of post that belongs in the job information journal. It applies to everyone as well... not just EPIK.
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flutieflakes



Joined: 16 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2003 9:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dude, stay away from the hagwons as i have heard too many horror stories...horrible kids, directors, lack of vacation....epik takes care of you with ample vacation time, sick leave, exam days stc.......from all of the people that i stay in contact with from my orientation, all of them have not had any problems to speak of (me included).....truly, i feel sorry for the average hagwon worker
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Mosley



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2003 3:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see. It's "neat to see...EPIK hasn't changed." Great attitude. It sucked when you were a member so it's great that it still sucks. Wonderful. And Schwa thinks that anyone who complains about what a joke EPIK is is an "agitator". Last, but least, we have "flutieflakes"(good name) who is either from EPIK or such a butt-kisser that his lips are a tinge of brown....
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flutieflakes



Joined: 16 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2003 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

listen mosley, if you havent given any thought to whether you wanted to sign on again by now, obviously you have been hittin the soju a little too hard....sure its a bit much to sign on the spot but come on, you have no idea what you want to do???????? its simple, if you dont like it here, get the hell out....this isnt japan and it isnt JET....im tired of you people who have nothing better to do than bitch and moan about every little inconvenience that comes around......again, if you dont like it, LEAVE!
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Mosley



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2003 11:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great advice "flutieflakes": don't complain, just take the garbage as it is. The"hittin the soju "part was totally uncalled for-suppose the poster was a recovering alcoholic(I'm not, for the record).So it's an "inconvenience" to decide about a year of your life on the spot!!??? Uh, huh. You're right about one thing:EPIK isn't JET. JET gets 1000 newbies every year & has to reject about 5000 applicants! Last year EPIK wanted 200(!) & got...wait for it...77(!). Yeah, WHY? ! Let me guess about your situation: posted to a big city, 15 classes a week, oodles of vacation time. Yeah, EPIK's great for you, eh?The fact is, there's NO standardization, unlike JET!
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flutieflakes



Joined: 16 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 2:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

whatever mosley.......small town in the sticks, 22 hours a week but yes, oodles of vacation time for me........sure you are right on the standardization thing, there is no consistency.....i'm just tryin to say, instead of bitchin' so much about EPIK always comparing it to JET, do us all a favour and leave if its so bad...........
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adventureman



Joined: 18 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 1:16 pm    Post subject: Mr. Sunshine Reply with quote

Yeah Flutie, can you believe this guy's negativity? I think someone's been in Korea just a little to long now! Hey Mosely if Jet program is so "superior" according to you then why aren't you ever there right now? I'm not trying to instigate anything but c'mon....
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adventureman



Joined: 18 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 1:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry Mosley, I'll be sure to change "ever" to "over" so I don't get another 6th grade spelling lecture again Rolling Eyes
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flutieflakes



Joined: 16 Mar 2003

PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2003 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you adventureman..........
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