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Case Study: Help Me Get Over to South Korea in 4 Weeks
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rapier



Joined: 16 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I see. So lets all do a "throwaway job" for a "throwaway year" before we return to our superior lives as masters of the universe.
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Son Deureo!



Joined: 30 Apr 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voyeur wrote:
Thank you Son Deureo!!

That being said, why does ones inclination to do Privates have any relation to how long one wants to stay?

Could you explain this airfare reimbursement issue? Are you saying that I can press for and get my round trip ticket pre-paid as opposed to just a one-way? If so I'm all over that.


As for what I said about privates, people who have set down roots in Korea (career-level job they don't ever want to leave, family, etc.) have a lot more to lose by getting deported have a lot more to lose by getting deported than a schmuck with a hogwon job that would be just as happy to go home or to another country if they get busted. It's a question of what you have invested aside from money in your Korean venture. In your case, this is nothing, and it doesn't sound like you intend to.

Yes, I'd say that you probably could press for a round-trip ticket if you wanted to. This would actually save your director a little bit of money since a round-trip is generally cheaper than two one-ways. Hogwon directors like to save a little bit of money, so this is how I'd frame it during negotiations if I were you. If you have absolutely no interest in travelling after your year is up, this would be the way to go. Seems like a bit of a waste of travel opportunities to me, but it sounds like that's not an important consideration to you.

BTW, it looks like Kyle and I disagree wildly on the amount of money that you need to come over without a job. My estimate was $3000USD, his was $1250. I'm figuring the cost of staying in a yogwan/goshiwon for at least a month, spending time in PC bangs, subway and taxi fare, money to eat and get set up in your new apartment (kitchen gear, maybe some small appliances, possibly bedding), and enough to eat for about a month (during your job search), and another month while you're waiting for a job. A newbie will also usually end up paying a bit more for just about everything because they don't know how to get the best prices yet. On top of that, I'd suggest having enough to go home in case things go horribly, horribly wrong. My estimate is probably a bit high because I'd rather have all my bases covered. I think I'm a bit more risk-averse than you.

I also don't think that counting on your boss-to-be for a salary advance is a good idea for several reasons. You might not get it, it leaves you in a weaker negotiating position, and some bosses will use any favor as an excuse to mistreat you later. If you don't have the cash now, I'd suggest bringing a few extra credit cards. The interest would probably be cheaper than the favors you may be expected to perform later.

I'll also be the first to admit that I never actually tried coming over blind. I found my first job over the net (with less than ideal results), and took over a friend's job at the end of my first year. Can anyone give this man an estimate based on life experience?


Last edited by Son Deureo! on Mon Jun 23, 2003 7:38 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Voyeur



Joined: 19 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry if I have offended you Rapier. I will try to choose my language more carefully. By throwaway year I meant that the job doesn't have to build towards any career since I will be going to Law School when I get back. After I graduate I will only want to do legal and securities work because in my situation they would build on each other and add up to a career. But here I have a year where I can do whatever I want without having to worry about it being in my chosen field - that is all I meant by throwaway.
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Voyeur



Joined: 19 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Son Deureo!,

Thanks again. Kyle's suggested amount for coming over seemed a bit low to me as well. And as for credit, well let us just say that I was always much better with my client's money (well not ALWAYS) than I was with my own. When I say credit is tapped I mean the well is bone dry - no credit cards or loans or cash beyond that which I have in my hand of any kind. Let us just say that while I do not fancy myself a Master of the Universe there was a time where I certainly thought I was on the fast-track to such status. The money was flying and all of us little uber-capitalists blew cash even faster than we made it no matter how much we made. Credit lines were plentiful and who cared about tomorrow since we were all just going to make more and more - then the great reckoning came Smile


And after reading the don't come to Korea posts I'm starting to wonder if maybe signing a contract from over here is suicide but so is coming down with so little cash. I picked Korea since it seemed the most amendable to mey sdesires to have a turn-key solution where I just walk over and start up the car and away we go. Maybe that image is a little deceiving. But I can't come down on the $1250 US I have now since that would have to cover airfare too. Maybe I need to just be more patient here. I don't mind some risk but I'm generally not a sucker. But I guess it is best to be having these thoughts now rather than later.
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rapier



Joined: 16 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry for my reaction...I'm sure you'll do very well with your TESOL certificate and experience. Incidentally teaching here could probably be quite useful to a career in Law, all those classroom skills you learn are invaluable. You might also have to sue your hogwon director. (not trying to be funny,..well, ok, maybe a little!)
Good luck with it, Rapier
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Voyeur



Joined: 19 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rapier wrote:
Sorry for my reaction...I'm sure you'll do very well with your TESOL certificate and experience. Incidentally teaching here could probably be quite useful to a career in Law, all those classroom skills you learn are invaluable. You might also have to sue your hogwon director. (not trying to be funny,..well, ok, maybe a little!)
Good luck with it, Rapier


No problem. With such a short time frame (though I may now extend it) I felt I had to be more blunt and direct about things than normal but I still probably could have been more sensitive in my approach. And I actually agree. I think that classroom skills and experience, to a point, may well provide invaluable skills for later life. I am already getting a sense of that. Hopefully I will never have to sue a director Smile But one thing I do know is that there will be no incrementalist slimey crap with me. I can have a fairly imposing presence if required. Nothing can stop them from screwing me - I know that. But what I can stop is them trying to do it bit by bit and under the radar screen. The first time anything funny happens they will know that I know Smile
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kylehawkins2000



Joined: 08 Apr 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 8:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My estimate might seem low but please be aware that it was an absolute rock bottom quote. Believe me, it is possible to live for a month in Korea on this amount.

Stay in a guest house for 300 000won. You have no bills to pay. pay for food.....100 000won a week is lots.....

So what else is absolutley necessary? Some travel expenses.....bus tickets and subway....it doesn't add up to much. I'm sticking by my numbers. Of course if you are planning to buy furniture and stuff it will cost much more.

I came with a grand and got by for a month without a problem.
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canuckistan
Mod Team
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Joined: 17 Jun 2003
Location: Training future GS competitors.....

PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2003 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Voyeur, I was about where you are right now 17 months ago. I had stuffed all my money into real estate. After Sept 11th, my 8-year business just stopped. I got here in January 2002 with every LOC and card pretty much maxed out. I just showed up, parked my butt in a yagwon (cheap motel) and 5 days later had a job teaching adults and a brand new apt in one of the best areas of Seoul for 1.9 miilion won a month. Got a few cash advances from work to make it through the first few weeks before I got paid. Finished that contract, and have started another for 2.4. I've been living really cheap since I got here to pay back the 60 grand worth of crap and muck I have to pay. So far 17 months later, I've sent home 35,000$. BUT I don't drink much, don't waste my money, and cook for myself. I live off of 400-500,000 won a month! I am a total save mouse. People on this board will tell you that's nuts, but you can do it. Stop worrying so much, Korea has been a godsend for me.
p.s. with a little time you can nab some serious won with your business experience teaching at companies.
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waterbaby



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

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 1:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a quick look at those links... that person taught 1996~1998!!! That was five years ago...

Voyeur, you sounds like an intelligent person, you're doing your homework and you've discovered this board along the way. There are helpful organisations out there (such as EFL-Law) if you do run into any trouble with your school/hagwon. You're not alone.

Good luck and I hope everything works out for you.
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schwa



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: sokcho

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There is nothing unreasonable in what you hope to accomplish in Korea & you sound smart & resourceful enough, but something feels off in the manner of your self-presentation.

Maybe its the odd mix of selfassurance & being such a worrywart. Caution is commendable but you seem bent on a guaranteed smooth work situation. Your compulsion to talk to a 'ridiculous' number of current & former workers is, well, ridiculous. If you get reasonable input from 2 or 3, then the situation should be workable. No job is perfect & it comes down to your ability to make accommodations & get along.

Maybe its your urgency. You say you dont want to come across 'reeking of desperation,' but you do. Lots of people arrive here in direr straits than yours but dont feel a need to publicize it so. They get jobs & make some money & move on, no big deal. Why do we need to know so much about your personal situation? Does having been on the fast track to wealth once make you more important somehow?

An urgent agenda bodes other problems in Korea. Things will not go according to your well-laid plans. There will be surprises, frustrations, & confounding illogic at times. Goes with adapting to a very different culture -- how much have you looked into that? Its not all bad, fun much of the time, but it can drive someone with tunnelvision berserk.

Which leads to my final concern about your postings. You seem fixated on money. Making money is a primary concern of many here, no blame, but if you wear it on your sleeve too blatantly youre not going to win many friends or favors here. A relaxed person who does their job will accrue $10K in a year no sweat, but people antsy or pushy about it will create real obstacles for themselves.

Youve been looking into this a little while now -- 4 weeks is ample time to land a reasonable job. Youre only coming for a year -- months of handwringing would be silly. Just do it, or not.
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TheUrbanMyth



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Location: It's not a superiority complex when you really are superior

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 5:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voyeur wrote:
Thank you Son Deureo!!

If you get busted you get fined, your Korean earnings seized (hence send them home constantly), deported and black marked for a few years. ). I figure I need to be in a place where getting busted, no matter how remote, won't destroy me.
Kind of like how in the stock market I'd never let clients invest money they couldn't afford to lose.

.


If you are caught and fined, and you can't pay the money, you will stay in a Korean cell until you do. Sending your money home if you are doing privates may not be the smartest thing to do if you are not sure of getting it back from overseas.
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TheUrbanMyth



Joined: 28 Jan 2003
Location: It's not a superiority complex when you really are superior

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Voyeur wrote:
Kyle,

I If anyone has read thse has any comments I'd appreciate it. I'm getting a little worried now that signing ANYTHING in Korea without either having seen it all myself or having RIDICULOUS amounts of second-hand testiomonials and references is just insane. .



You will likely NOT get ridiculous amounts of references. Maybe 1 or 2 at the most. If 2 people say the same thing, it likely is a go. Just make sure the hakwon director isn't breathing down their neck telling them what to write.
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canuckistan
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Joined: 17 Jun 2003
Location: Training future GS competitors.....

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 6:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Schwa made a good point. If you think things are going to run smoothly in the same way as you're used to back in Outaouais, well you're in for a big frickin' shock amigo! You will never get a straight answer, very little will go down as they say it will, and you can expect everything to change at the very last minute, no warning. Disorganization is the rule here. It took me 1 year to get used to this. Gotta stay real loose here or you'll find yourself on Prozac in no time.
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Voyeur



Joined: 19 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice all of you. I am very new to message boards in general. I just got here and am working under my own self-imposed deadline. Thinking I had no time to learn the message board culture first, I simply jumped right in and tried to semi-manipulate the process in order to expedite things. I offered all possible details upfront rather than letting people ask for the ones they thought they needed to provide an answer. I purposely took extreme positions and played my own devil's advocate to try to elicit all sides of the argument and get everyone's bottom line. None of this really represents how I actually come across normally.

But here is the funny little moral of this fable for me. None of this worked. Instead of speeding up the process it slowed things down. I thought offering all details upfront would allow people to instantly choose the ones they thought were germaine without having to ask - saving us one step. Instead we added several steps of people discussing how inappropriate, arogant, pompous, etc... I was. By focusing so much on money I thought I'd get that question settled right off of the bat and we could move on. Instead the process got bogged down as people lectured and warned me about over-focusing on cash - before they ever really fully answered. So once again the process was slower. Basically, I presumed message board culture was far more differnt than real conversation than it actually is. I went in and presumed that knowing nothing of this culture I could still manipulate it to my advantage and speed up the process using my own experiences as a basis. But the opposite was true. If I had come in more softly and just offered up the general problem and then waited to let the people of this "culture" respond to it in their own way and at their own pace and to let them ask me for what details they needed things actually would have gone faster even though "in theory" the process was more cumbersome.

Sorry for the psych 101. But I guess I learned what to me may be an important lesson to take to Korea. I am going to have to play the game on their terms and start off accepting my position as a know-nothing rookie at first until I actually learn the game. Trying to make big plays when you know nothing about the game or the rules or the other players is not usually gonna work out for someone.

Thanks to all. I am coming to Korea for sure. I am only fixated on money here because that is my bottom line - though hopefully not the day-to-day focus of my experience. But I have to make sure that this happens - or at east that it is very possible for it to happen. I now feel that it is possible but POSSIBLE is all the gurantee I get down there. I have to be willing to risk - apparently things can go off-track no matter how carefully you lay your plans. Welcome to Korea! And as has quite rightly been pointed out, if I only want to come over here when I am 100% sure that I won't lose all the money I come over with, several months, and then have to be bailed out by friends and come home penniless then I am coming to the wrong place. It would seem that EVERYBODY takes this risk in Korea to some degree and trying to eliminate it altogether is mission impossible. So I guess all I can say is Geronimo!!

The only question remains how key it is to come without signing. Schwa you seem to be pretty much in the "if at all possible, sign down here and not overseas" camp am I correct? That is the only handwringing I have left.
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The Man known as The Man



Joined: 29 Mar 2003
Location: 3 cheers for Ted Haggard oh yeah!

PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2003 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rapier wrote:
I see. So lets all do a "throwaway job" for a "throwaway year" before we return to our superior lives as masters of the universe.


If its an econmoic need that can be met, sure.

Its a somehwat free market economy.

Try some sever economic hardship and then hold your head that high.
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