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When I was there back in '04-'05
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mgafunnell



Joined: 11 Apr 2007

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 7:52 am    Post subject: When I was there back in '04-'05 Reply with quote

Ten years ago I first got into the ESL game with a gig in Onam-ni, Gyeonggi-do. Since then I have also taught in Tarnow, Poland and Shanghai since 2007. When I started out in Korea, salary was 1.8-1.9 to start; soju was 1000 Won per bottle and soju tents still existed. Cigarettes were 2000 Won per packet (I think); a pint of OB was 2000 Won and the plate of fried chicken was 10000. DVD Bahngs were everywhere and street snack cost 500 Won; the hagwon market was over-saturated and the average age of a foreign teacher was about 28. Everybody went to Itaewon and drank at Gecko's, 3-Alley Pub and Seoul Pub.

So, I ask, what has changed in the past ten years concerning the social/work situation in your opinion?
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Cave Dweller



Joined: 17 Aug 2014
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wages are 2.1 or 2.2, still moldy basement apartments.

DVD and PC rooms have been reduced by 50 and 90% respectively. I see less soju tents and food carts but they are still there.

Itaewon has cleaned up a lot and become more Korean friendly.

Soju is 1200-1300 or so at E-Mart. 3000-4000 at a barbecue place.

Fried chicken ranges from 8500-15000 a bird.

Market is still over saturated but teachers seem a little older.

A pint is 2500-3000 for domestic and cigarettes are 2700 but about to go up to 4500 or so.
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cdninkorea



Joined: 27 Jan 2006
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started in '05 myself. My wage was 1.8 million per month (2.0 was standard, but there were other aspects of that job that made me take it). I don't know about entry-level hagwon jobs today, but my situation is certainly better: 3.3 million, 12 teaching hours per week, 5 months vacation a year, a lot of autonomy over what I teach, great students, and a low-stress work environment. Cool Again though, I don't know what my job in 2005 is like today.

What was teaching in Poland like? I'd be very interested to read as much as you feel like typing!
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basic69isokay



Joined: 28 Sep 2014
Location: korea

PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2014 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Basically everything you said is the same.
Cigs and alcohol went up.
How was Shanghai? U still there?
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creeper1



Joined: 30 Jan 2007

PostPosted: Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cdninkorea wrote:
but my situation is certainly better: 3.3 million, 12 teaching hours per week, 5 months vacation a year, a lot of autonomy over what I teach, great students, and a low-stress work environment. Cool Again though, I don't know what my job in 2005 is like today.
!


The above job described by cdninkorea is why the op should be planning a return to Korea. And yes they are common. I hear many stories about people having jobs such as this.

Wages like that paid for such a cushy, easy job are only available in Korea. The reason being Koreans are incredibly motivated to learn English and pay massive sums to do so.

Return to Korea OP and I am sure after a year or two you too will have a job similar in quality to cdninkorea.
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LPKSA



Joined: 24 Feb 2014
Location: Saudi Arabia

PostPosted: Fri Oct 31, 2014 9:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I started in 05, stayed for four years. I am now in the Middle East. I will not go back to teaching in Korea after being here for almost one year. This place puts teaching in Korea to shame.

I was back in Seoul this summer for a visit, and noticed an extraordinary amount of people with tattoos, some in some really strange places on their body, such as on their chins and necks. I always thought tattoos were taboo in Korea? Seems like they are more open minded now.
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World Traveler



Joined: 29 May 2009

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

creeper1 wrote:
The above job described by cdninkorea is why the op should be planning a return to Korea. And yes they are common.

Maybe not...
cdninkorea wrote:
My university has a hiring freeze for all faculty, Korean and foreign. Even when people leave they aren't replaced. This is to keep tuition down so the students don't protest again.
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Died By Bear



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

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 5:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first gig in Korea (95-96) paid 2.0 but it was not in Seoul. Maybe I got lucky.
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World Traveler



Joined: 29 May 2009

PostPosted: Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Given the good exchange rate then and adjusted for inflation, that's the equivalent of $4,000 a month.

Newbs now make about half of that.
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Jarome_Turner



Joined: 10 Sep 2004

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good thread on the topic... a few years old now, but discussion on the same era:

http://forums.eslcafe.com/korea/viewtopic.php?p=2774340&highlight=#2774340
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hogwonguy1979



Joined: 22 Dec 2003
Location: the racoon den

PostPosted: Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I could (and will) write a ton about what it was like in 05, we were there from 96-2013 with a couple of short breaks along the way, i've just started to write a memoir about our time there. it will cover all the good and bad stuff etc. (just finished a longish section about religion in Korea, most of it focused on the Mannam/SCJ stuff from 2012) not sure how or if or when it will be published.

I recall from 05 we were living over in Gwangjin-gu part of Seoul and in terms of nightlife etc it was still pretty quiet, you could tell though the area near Konkuk Univ was about to get noticed as the high rises at Kondae Station were being built. The bars were already there, You still had to go to Itaewon for many foreign goods etc. Itaewon was starting to change, 3 Alley had been around a few years, Nashville Steak House was still doing OK but that had started to decline. Costs were going up but univ salaries were really good, we made around 2.5 then so we were OK.

enough for now
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Jarome_Turner



Joined: 10 Sep 2004

PostPosted: Mon Mar 02, 2015 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Korea certainly changes at a breakneck pace. As detailed in my posts in the above linked thread, we noticed HUGE differences when returning in 2010 and again in 2013. We're going back again this summer, and will no doubt see more drastic changes.
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Weigookin74



Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cave Dweller wrote:
Wages are 2.1 or 2.2, still moldy basement apartments.

DVD and PC rooms have been reduced by 50 and 90% respectively. I see less soju tents and food carts but they are still there.

Itaewon has cleaned up a lot and become more Korean friendly.

Soju is 1200-1300 or so at E-Mart. 3000-4000 at a barbecue place.

Fried chicken ranges from 8500-15000 a bird.

Market is still over saturated but teachers seem a little older.

A pint is 2500-3000 for domestic and cigarettes are 2700 but about to go up to 4500 or so.


On the plus side, they do sell dehumidifiers here now. Smile
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420bro



Joined: 15 Dec 2006

PostPosted: Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I came here in 2004. Trust me you wouldn't recognize Itaewon now. It used to be dodgy, seedy, and way more fun. It was mostly filled with soldiers, drunk teachers and a few brave Koreans hitting the same bars you mentioned. Now its a hipster's wet dream. Packed with Koreans wearing sunglasses at night, lining up for churros and fruit juices, and douchebags all lining up to eat at the same three trendy restaurants. 16000 mojitios? *beep* off.

I miss the old itaewon.
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T-J



Joined: 10 Oct 2008
Location: Seoul EunpyungGu Yonshinnae

PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2015 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


If you think it was still good in 2004 then the early 90s would have blown your mind.

Itaewon's demise started in 1993 when they first tore down the old bars and put that hotel up on the right side of the hill.

I just realized that was 22 years ago. There will soon be teachers here that are younger than that hotel. Where has the time gone?

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