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how much will i need to live in South Korea for 1 year?

 
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hazel03



Joined: 15 May 2003

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 3:16 am    Post subject: how much will i need to live in South Korea for 1 year? Reply with quote

hi all,

i'm new to this forum. nice to meet you!

i am an international student studying in England. recently, i received an offer to volunteer in South Korea for 1 year, so i am considering a gap year now. i have to confirm my decision very quickly...

to go for this 1-year volunteering project / cultural exchange programme, a participation fee of 3250 British pounds is required. this fee is said to cover the following:
- pre-departure training seminar / sessions
- return flight tickets (England to Korea, Korea to England)
- pocket money to be given to the participant by month (to support the minimum transportation cost during the exchange year in South Korea)
- arrangement and administration cost for the care of the participant in their South Korea office
- arrangement cost for food and accommodation (most likely the participant will live with a host family)
- sickness, accident and third party liability insurance
- Visa cost

according to the visa that the organisation will get for the participant, no paid work during the exchange year is allowed. therefore, i would very much like to seek advice about the living cost in South Korea (most likely Seoul, but may consider Jeju) for one year... is 3250 pounds really enough?
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waterbaby



Joined: 01 Feb 2003
Location: Baking Gord a Cheescake pie

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Before I start questioning why you would like to volunteer in Sth Korea... can I first ask what kind of work you will be doing and for whom?

Also, I just did a currency conversion and 3,250 pounds is presently 6,298,578.19 won which would mean that you would have just over 500,000 won per month to live off. Certainly do-able, but it means doing without a lot - trips to other areas of Korea, satiating western cravings.

Most (am I fair to say this?) earn at least 2 million a month with no rent to pay. Personally, I couldn't do it, but I like drinking, travelling, eating out, buying clothes and "things".
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Anda



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 4:13 am    Post subject: Um Reply with quote

Why on earth would you want to work here for free? There are jobs everywhere but you need a degree. China is linked to some universities in the States for instance that give you a English teaching degree for free teaching stuff. Israel has the similar type of thing going but you pay.
Renting a small flat will cost you about 300,000 to 400,000 won a month in cities away from Seoul. You can get by on another 300,000 won for food etc a month but you aren't going to be living it up.
So if you are going to try to make it on what you are talking about then you will need to share accommodation and that isn't always fun.
Get your degree first and then come and get paid.
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kimcheeking
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 4:24 am    Post subject: Re: Um Reply with quote

Anda wrote:
Renting a small flat will cost you about 300,000 to 400,000 won a month in cities away from Seoul. You can get by on another 300,000 won for food etc a month but you aren't going to be living it up.


Anda I think you missed the part where the program finds housing in a homestay for him.

Quote:
arrangement cost for food and accommodation (most likely the participant will live with a host family)


It appears to be cultural exchange volunteer project... the primary objective for him would be cultural exchange not money. He has already stated that he pays up front for this experience. That being said... perhaps we can find answers for hazel.

Like Anda and Waterbaby said, you won't be able to live it up. But presumabely this being a cultural exchange the organization will take you places and show you around the country.

Don't rely on your savings to get you through the whole year, bring a credit card for emergency expenses. If you like a particular food or personal hygeine product ask others from the UK if it is easy to find in Korea otherwise bring a years supply.
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dutchman



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Location: My backyard

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 4:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you going to be teaching English, beware! Not to sound too cynical but if they want you to teach they are likely taking advantage of your altruism to make a whack of cash.
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hazel03



Joined: 15 May 2003

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 10:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks all for your opinions and suggestions.
Smile

yeah, the volunteering project is also like a cultural exchange programme. the organisation's South Korea office is under YMCA and one of the charities that i would possibly work with is Korea National Commission for UNESCO.

i might not be asked to do English teaching in the exchange year because i am not a native speaker of English. my mother tongue is Cantonese Chinese, second language English and third language Mandarin Chinese.

right, my main purpose is to experience a different culture, learn a more language and if possible, i'd also collect information for my final year project (self-selected topics).

according to the information that i was given, food and accommodation will be provided and arranged by the charity that the participant will work for. pocket money will be paid monthly to cover the minimum transportation cost. as it costs more for foreigners than locals to live in a country, i am interested in knowing more about the living costs.

as for living and eating habits, i am okay with / without western products. as an international student, i've always tried my best to spend the least as far as possible because the tuition fee that UK universities charge are really high. therefore, i'm not picky about what i eat and what the lifestyle may be.

i just hope that the experience will help my future career prospect...
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Anda



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 3:04 pm    Post subject: Um Reply with quote

A bit off topic but Korea is now doing as much trade with China as it does with the U.S. So you might find yourself teaching Chinese as well as English.
To give you a guide on costs a cheap eat out meal costs about 4,000 won. Public transport is cheap in Korea, a 1,000 won will get you 30 to 45 minutes of bus travel. Secondhand reading material in English is expensive here so bring plenty of material with you if you like reading.
Prices are going up here at present on imported things as the won is droping. A japanese beer I drink went up 25% at a place I drink at. A meat dish that users imported meat just went up 25% at a place where I eat. Korea is likely to see further falls in their won exchange rates soon due to export markets and a reduction on easy credit for Koreans by their banks etc.
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Gord



Joined: 25 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 5:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Um Reply with quote

Anda wrote:
Prices are going up here at present on imported things as the won is droping. A japanese beer I drink went up 25% at a place I drink at. A meat dish that users imported meat just went up 25% at a place where I eat. Korea is likely to see further falls in their won exchange rates soon due to export markets and a reduction on easy credit for Koreans by their banks etc.


By "further falling", you mean "further strengthening" as the Won is trading higher now than six months ago.

Further, a lowering of consumer spending will bring pressure on stores to lower their prices, not increase them.

Plus "import products" are generally luxury items and priced higher during times of prosperity as generally they are a display of status. During times of economic decline, such items are sold with much lower profit margins thus are considerably cheaper.

Your continual posts with your opinion on all things economic do not relfect market realities It may be wise to invest some time in studying how market economics work.
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richinkorea



Joined: 22 Jan 2003
Location: Gawd Darn Hot and Sunny Arizona !

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hazel, I'm kind of slow (it's the booze).

Is this right ?
You are going to give them 3250 lbs and they will pay an unkown amount of money on air and lodging, and then whatever else is left the org will give back to you in monthly installments ? Do you have any idea of how much will be left per month ?

If you are living with a host family and they are feeding you, paying the bills, and showing you "the way" I think you could get by pretty cheap. After food and accomodations most guys (being a girl it might be different for you Smile ) next biggest expense is partying.

Using warterbabys math of roughly 500,000 a month to spend, I think it would be doable. No bills back home ?

Depending on the family you might even make out Smile


Now my question, why ? Are you sure they don't plan on "making you" work ? Sitting around coffee and practising english is one thing, going into a classroom is another, it takes $$$ to get most people into a classrom.

I don't doubt your motives, it sounds great, but if you are looking to make a difference and have a cultural experience there are lots of places that need more help than the ROK.

I've looked into some volunteer stuff in Asia. Most of these groups want money, on top of living expenses. Basically the people who are using these orgs are paying them to book your flight and arrange the visa.

Head to Tibet or Nepal, or the border between Myanmar and Thailand and work in a refugee camp. You can just show up. People do it all the time. Well, that's what I would do, of course I'm a freak.

Enjoy Korea !


Last edited by richinkorea on Sun May 18, 2003 10:51 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Anda



Joined: 16 Jan 2003
Location: South Korea

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 6:16 pm    Post subject: Um Reply with quote

Gord, I talking in general to other currencies. The won is droping along side the dollar to most other currencies.
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hazel03



Joined: 15 May 2003

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2003 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again for all the information above!

Good questions... From my understanding, they'll charge me 3250 pounds and then help me organise the entire programme (including flight tickets, transportation cost in England and South Korea for the training sessions, etc. etc.). I have no idea how much will be left per month. I will have to check... But the organiser mentioned that part of the participation fee will be used to support volunteers from poorer countries to gain experience in Europe.

The organisation's South Korea office is one of the YMCA projects. Some of the volunteering projects take place in different YMCA-Korea offices and there is one that i'm particularly interested in because it is an information centre for the youth wishing to gain international experiences and it is connected with United Nations Educational, Scentific and Cultural Organization. That's why I have an impression that this might not be a profit making thing... But I could be wrong though.

[quote="richinkorea"]Hazel, I'm kind of slow (it's the booze).

Is this right ?
You are going to give them 3250 lbs and they will pay an unkown amount of money on air and lodging, and then whatever else is left the org will give back to you in monthly installments ? Do you have any idea of how much will be left per month ?

Now my question, why ? Are you sure they don't plan on "making you" work ? Sitting around coffee and practising english is one thing, going into a classroom is another, it takes $$$ to get most people into a classrom.

I don't doubt your motives, it sounds great, but if you are looking to make a difference and have a cultural experience there are lots of places that need more help than the ROK.

I've looked into some volunteer stuff in Asia. Most of these groups want money, on top of living expenses. Basically the people who are using these orgs are paying them to book your flight and arrange the visa. [/quote]
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hazel03



Joined: 15 May 2003

PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2003 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

richinkorea:

your questions were good. my parents are interested in knowing the details too. the answers i got from the UK office are:

Do you mean how much money would you need per month. If this is your question then in theory you will not need any money as you get pocket money. The money is limited so I would recommend to take approximately 500 for the year. most people return with the majority of the money, and only really use their funds for travelling. The amount you will need will ultimately depend on how much you travel.

You will also need to pay for vaccination, but as a someone who lives in the same region it is unlikely that you will need many if any at all.

Your fee is split into:

Approximately 1000.00 is spent on
Flight
Visa
Insurance
UK and International Admin

The remainder is spent on Hosting: The majority of the money is to host an individual from S.Korea, to pay for their pocket money, board and lodging etc.
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William Beckerson
Guest




PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2003 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hazel, I'll tell you what I tell anyone thinking of coming here:

Make sure you have enough money to get to hell out of here once you discover they're boning you somehow.
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HardyandTiny



Joined: 03 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2003 2:47 am    Post subject: Re: Um Reply with quote

Anda wrote:
Why on earth would you want to work here for free? There are jobs everywhere but you need a degree. China is linked to some universities in the States for instance that give you a English teaching degree for free teaching stuff. Israel has the similar type of thing going but you pay.
Renting a small flat will cost you about 300,000 to 400,000 won a month in cities away from Seoul. You can get by on another 300,000 won for food etc a month but you aren't going to be living it up.
So if you are going to try to make it on what you are talking about then you will need to share accommodation and that isn't always fun.
Get your degree first and then come and get paid.


But wouldn't you agree that the entire world economy is going to fail at some point it would be best to invest in a tent and stake-out at the han river? I mean what's the point in accumulating things when in the end they will all become worthless anyway? An apartment will just breed more unnecessary components.
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