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Ethnic Koreans not as desirable?
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CanKorea



Joined: 23 Jun 2003
Location: Pyeongchon

PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 8:31 am    Post subject: Ethnic Koreans not as desirable? Reply with quote

Hey again. I got an email from a prospective employer (not sure if it is now) telling me my being Korean (English is my only language though, born and raised in Canada) is going to be a major drawback.

Are there any other Korean native English speakers teaching out there? I want to know about your experiences! Is my ethnicity going to be a big problem? I realized there would be more obstacles for me but no one likes to actually hear it. Confused

Any help is appreciated!
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sakamuras



Joined: 21 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i think it will be a barrier at times. however, i've heard that some places prefer kyopos.

besides, if you're a good looking kyopo, you've got it made with the chikadees.
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humanuspneumos



Joined: 08 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 1:46 pm    Post subject: I'm not Ethnic Korean Reply with quote

I'm not Ethnic Korean- however- I did work with some who were from the USA and the what happened- because they were of the male gender- is that they became the middle-man.

On a large scale they were expected to embrace the cultural standards of a Korean in Korea as a Korean Canadian/American/... They were expected to shed their Western influences to a large degree and move full on in all the cultural nuances of Korea.

So- yes- there are jobs. Yes- all the teachers I saw were paid less. Yes- even though they had perfect accents- they were viewed as less than perfect. Yes- you may find yourself as a middle-man if you speak Korean.

In Thailand- where the Chinese run the show- a North American Chinese girl was treated as a third-class teacher just because of her appearance. Heck- her accent/pronunciation/clarity was a few notches better than mine. Still- it's that appearance thing that doesn't sell.

When I studied marketing a large percentage of sales were generaged just from the wrapping/colors- the product in a clear baggy had no appeal. Perhaps that's what's happening here.
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hellofaniceguy



Joined: 10 Jan 2003
Location: On your computer screen!

PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2003 11:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's a shame but koreans sure seem to be racists in korea. Even against foreign born koreans. But why would a korean Canadian/American/Ausie, etc., accept less pay at a hokwon just because....
You have koreans who have never been out of korea teaching English when they should not be teaching. Part of teaching a language also involved teaching culture, customs, etc. How in the heck can anyone who has never lived in an English speaking country teach English properly!? They don't know the slang, terms, idioms and innuendos. Foreign born koreans from English speaking countries sure as hell should be paid the same as non asian faces. But it won't happen. But if all would not sign contracts these schools would be hurting and up the pay!
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CanKorea



Joined: 23 Jun 2003
Location: Pyeongchon

PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 8:08 am    Post subject: This is what I thought Reply with quote

I've had some people interested in me, surprisingly from the feedback I'm hearing here. I guess this is a good thing? I haven't heard much in the way of salary and such but will hold out until I have something that I think I'm worth.

I'm female, though I don't know if that will make much of a difference from being male. Maybe, maybe not. I wish people did realize we foreign born speak English with the same proficiency as non-Asians!

Wish me luck in my job search.
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Hank Scorpio



Joined: 18 Jan 2003
Location: Ann Arbor, MI

PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 10:15 am    Post subject: Re: This is what I thought Reply with quote

CanKorea wrote:
I wish people did realize we foreign born speak English with the same proficiency as non-Asians!


That's impossible, unless you've had the flap of skin under your tongue cut. Wink
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Soju erner



Joined: 04 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 10:21 am    Post subject: I'm Korean-American Reply with quote

CanKorea-

I have been in Pusan for three weeks and am just starting to get some part time job offers. If you do decide to move to Korea, I would suggest moving to Seoul as there are a lot more opportunities there than in Pusan. For personal reasons, I am sticking it out here, though Seoul would be easier to find employment.

The reason being, and I'm sure you've figured this out by now, is that though we are native english speakers, when it comes down to it, hagwons are run by the parents who pay for their kids to go to the schools. When they see a Korean, they assume that they don't speak english as well as a white person, and thus complain (causing the gyopo to get fired, or they withdraw their student which ultimately results in the same way). In fact, I recently had an offer of working at a hogwan for 160+ hours a month for 1.8 million, which is crap. The typical job is 120 hrs for 2 million, and we shouldn't accept anything less. This is typical of new hagwons, and if you find a school that has been well established, then you will not run into as much trouble. The thing you gotta worry about is that they will try and treat you like a native korean, meaning they will make you work the same hours as a native korean with the same pay. I have had numerous, countless interviews and phone conversations with hagwon recruiters and recruiters who say the same thing "i'm sorry this is the way it is, but hagwons aren't looking for gyopos" in general at Pusan. Seoul seems to have more opportunities but most of the gyopos I know in Korea are working privates as their main source of income, even in Seoul. I'm just trying to give you a heads up here.

If you were born in Korea, you can get an F-4 visa, which will allow you to work without the sponsorship of a hogwan. This is a plus in that you can work part time at various hogwans, dictate your own work schedule and also work privates, which is where the real money is, legally. It is good for 2 years. You can PM me if you want more info. The down side is that you would have to arrange your own housing, and insurance, but with the money you would make, it really isn't a problem.

I sincerely wish you the best of luck in finding a job here, as it has been a real experience for me. You really have to develop a thick skin here as the discrimination is so real. I don't mean to be discouraging. The people here are really great when you are just hanging out, but when you're looking for a job, you have to remember this country has an entire different set of rules as far as equal opportunity goes. I've had many occasions where people who get to know me help me out immensely with connections and sincerely trying to help me here. In many ways, Koreans are very generous with their time and effort. I'm glad you've already had some offers and I hope they are sincere. Again, if you were born here or even are a child of parents who are citizens(I think this also applies), i would strongly urge you to consider the F-4 visa. Take care,

SE

I'm editing because I wanted to add that I know native Koreans who do teach privates. They aren't near native english speakers, but still manage to get private customers. The reason is because of connections. When you get here, network, network, network. Connections are the key to being prosperous here and if you can develop a network, you'll be fine. Remember, connections are key to survival here.
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sakamuras



Joined: 21 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

i hear the f-4 visa is in jeopardy...something about it being unconstitutional. if you're gonna get it, get it fast!
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jurassic5



Joined: 02 Apr 2003
Location: PA

PostPosted: Sat Jul 05, 2003 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sakamuras wrote:
i hear the f-4 visa is in jeopardy...something about it being unconstitutional. if you're gonna get it, get it fast!

yeah?? glad i just got mine....
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Howard Roark



Joined: 02 Feb 2003
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2003 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not Korean Canadian, but my coworker is. She was born in Canada and lived there all her life. When she first came we weren't sure how she would be received by the students, who are mostly adult males at a company. We were afraid they might be disappointed that their teacher didn't look western. To many people in the ESL business, that's a very important factor.

Anyway, once the students and company workers talked to her and got to know her, they could see how western she really was and they could hear that she was in fact a native speaker. Her students love her and she's a good teacher. Of course, she usually speaks English but if she's stuck she can explain something in Korean. The students really like that. Being Korean/speaking Korean can often be a huge bonus, not a drawback.She makes a lot of money, the same as me and the other foreign teachers.

I'm really happy that my boss was so open minded about hiring her. It really was a bit of a risk for her hagwan. She could have gone with the token pure blooded westerner. In fact, my boss is totally interested in hiring more Korean native speakers. As long as they are native speakers, that's the most important thing of course.

So there are good jobs out there for Korean Americans, Canadians, etc.. There are lots of open minded schools and people. Keep looking and don't accept a lower paying job because of your Korean heritage.
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Butterfly



Joined: 02 Mar 2003
Location: Kuwait

PostPosted: Sun Jul 06, 2003 8:26 pm    Post subject: Re: This is what I thought Reply with quote

CanKorea wrote:
I've had some people interested in me, surprisingly from the feedback I'm hearing here. I guess this is a good thing? I haven't heard much in the way of salary and such but will hold out until I have something that I think I'm worth.

I'm female, though I don't know if that will make much of a difference from being male. Maybe, maybe not. I wish people did realize we foreign born speak English with the same proficiency as non-Asians!

Wish me luck in my job search.


I do wish you luck. Do remember that you are eligable for an F4 visa which is a huge advantage, and may be also why some schools dont want to hire you, because your visa wouldn't be tied to your job thus you can leave whenever you want. With the F4 you are to all intents and purposes a Korean citizen, you can teach where you want, without it being illegal so you can pick up lots of hours in different places. Privates too, you are free as a bird.

I dont think the 'Koreans being racist to people of the same ethnicity' argument is valid, I think, and have met, several Korean-Americans who have found themselves on these shores and thought, "I think I'll stay here a while, but what will I do? Oh, hell, I'll just teach English." Whereas people with no ethnic or cultural links to Korea, are more likely to have chosen Korea as a good place to continue their teaching careers. With Korean Americans, sure, there are lots of good teachers, qualified and all, but I've met a fair few who 'teach' because they want to stay in Korea and its all they can do here because their Korean language skills aren't good enough to take a job doing anything else.

One more thing is that I think childrens' parents want their children's cultural experience to be one where there is a very visual difference between the children and the teacher; they want their children to 'see' what a foreigner is and understand that concept, that Koreans are not the only people in the world. It's not just the language.

In adult hakwons I think students want to share their culture with someone who doesn't know anything about it, Even with me, after being here four years I've heard my students say they sometimes feel frustated because I understand most Korean concepts that they speak about, so they dont have the chance to 'educate' me. It's something that Korean people really enjoy.

So, lady, come to Korea without secuing a job first. You'll find plenty of work teaching adults and kids and establish a network of customers. You'll also get part time work in adult hakwons and stuff. You'll be okay, for sure.
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l'il kim



Joined: 14 Jan 2003
Location: T-dot

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am an ethnic Korean born and raised in Canada, so maybe I can add a few cents to the discussion.

I had a really hard time finding work on the internet, while applying from Canada. Something like sending 50 ish resumes and only getting 2 offers. I even send my specs to recruiters, who people say will accept anyone with a pulse, only to be rebuffed. However, in the end - and in the nick of time - I finally got a job offer from a relatively progressive hagwon owner and came over here.

I worked at the said place for three months and had a decent deal: low hours (about 20-22 a week), but low-ish salary (1.9 million). My Korean is really rudimentary, and in any case the director wanted me to speak in English only, though occasionally I used Korean to explain vocabulary or if I got "stuck."

However, Iam no longer employed at that school and am now working part-time and teaching a few privates. Many people do indeed do them, and thanks to the proliferation of ESL sites here, it isn't difficult to get such work. What is most important is to befriend a mother who lives in one of those big apartment blocks, because then you're set for referrals.

Also, it is worth keeping in mind that you are in a MUCH better position to find work when you are in the country than if you're thousands of miles away in your home country. This is especially true for kyopos. I couldn't even get recruiters to answer my emails when I was in Toronto, but here, after a single job wanted ad in English Spectrum, I received numerous calls from prospective employers. Of course, it isn't necessarily feasible for everyone to come here first, but if it is possible, that is definitely the better option.

Oh, and about the F4 - the constitutional court ruled that that visa was indeed unconstitutional, as it discriminates against those Koreans from China and Russia, who are currently ineligible. The government can either extend the same F4 visa to our brethren in China and Russia, or simply let the F4 lapse.
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Soju erner



Joined: 04 Jun 2003

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2003 9:35 pm    Post subject: Butterfly are you korean? Reply with quote

I wonder how you gained your expertise on whether or not Koreans discriminate against foreign koreans.. From a few people you know??? I am a Korean-American and have faced countless acts of discrimination in finding a job at a hogwan. But as I stated before, I'm in Pusan, and the circumstances can certainly be different in other regions of this country. I am just cautioning you on making broad generalizations on a topic that you may not even be qualified to support. Arg.. there's more I'd like to lecture you on, but I'll leave that for PM as it doesn't really help CanKorea.

CanKorea, i forgot to ask in my previous post, can you speak Korean?

keep searching, good luck.

SE
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CanKorea



Joined: 23 Jun 2003
Location: Pyeongchon

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 2:35 pm    Post subject: Can barely speak Korean Reply with quote

In response to your question Soju erner, I definitely would not consider myself a Korean speaker. I can't hold a conversation! I can understand about 80% of what is spoken to me but answering is another matter.

English is my first, and only language. I wanted to go to Korea to try and fix that.

Does this make a big difference? And have you had any more luck finding a position? I can't remember if you were teaching now or doing something else instead. Sorry, bad memory. Embarassed
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Mosley



Joined: 15 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2003 5:03 pm    Post subject: EPIK Reply with quote

CanKorea: There's a government program called English Programme in Korea(EPIK). It sure has its problems, but it seems to almost PREFER ethnic Koreans. This year's deadline might've already passed. Go to their website.
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