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stressed about korea-

 
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supaness



Joined: 08 Jul 2003
Location: knee deep in kindergartens

PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2003 6:34 am    Post subject: stressed about korea- Reply with quote

I know this has probably been covered hundreds of times, but I need advice.I've been here for about 4 months, I have a fairly open mind, I've traveled in Asia before, but I've had some bad luck since I've been here, the type where people keep saying to me " it's ok if you go home, I would have long ago if I were you."
my first hogwon went out of business, and in panic and not knowing any better, I signed with Wonderland, which is not a bad school but not great either. My dog died here, and then a drunk korean jerk tried to break into my house at 4am and had been watching me sleep through my open window. Being a woman in a new country, it was pretty traumatic for me, of course.
I'm pretty homesick, but I'm not a quitter, and I don't want to give up. I came here to pay off loans, and for the experience, but sometimes I get the feeling that there's some cosmic energy working against me. I'm pretty unhappy at Wonderland only because the korean teachers are so petty and malicious. just down right nasty. the kids are great. 2 of the other foreign teachers are leaving in a month when there contract ends, and I have 10 months to go ( i had to start my year again with the new contract) and they are advising me to look somewhere else, because things are getting worse at Wonderland by the day. I like korea, most of the time, and I like teaching, but I am extremely stressed about what to do. I'm trying to be positive, have hobbies, joined a gym etc. but still can't seem to feel at ease with things. any help or suggestions would be much appreciated. thanks. How do I get out of my contract and go to another school if I want to?
Vanessa
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captain kirk



Joined: 29 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2003 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hang in there, like katherine hepburn on the african queen, the rapids will pass when you get out of that 'bad roll' of the dice. you sometimes think there's some cosmic energy working against you but the sound of your resilience and confidence there's something better ahead is also 'energetic'. the comment from others, 'it's ok if you go home. i would if i were you' doesn't sit well with you i think. in your first year there is so much to take in and it's exciting, putting you on your toes to balance 'the good from the bad'. it's all just a blast called experiencing an almost entirely different way of looking at things than the west, like rapids, so you're hanging in. great! wonderland is reputed to be a gross caricature of a cram school, complete with theme rooms, no wonder you feel a little odd! i guess you've read the blog about wonderland.
waterbaby or someone will be along to advise you on the specifics, but i think a letter of release these days only works after ten months, even if the school gives money as the reason for early release.
you might want to consider a small school, visiting first, maybe the only foreign teacher. less bother and more familiar, less 'politics'. or a large school with lots of foreign teachers for sidekicks. personally i prefer the former.
good attitude. enjoy
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JackSarang



Joined: 28 Jan 2003

PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2003 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Look for all the threads and any online resources on Culture Shock. 4 month mark? Sounds like you're right in there.

Unless your school is breaking their contract some how, don't quit, not over something like "The koreans are mean to me". You won't find the solutions to your problems in another school. Presuming you're getting paid on time, your apartment is tolerable, your schedule doesn't magically get changed around, then you have it better than alot of teachers.

Also, where do you live? You need get really active in something outside of work, so you have something truly to look forward to in the evenings/weekends.
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peppermint



Joined: 13 May 2003
Location: traversing the minefields of caddishness.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2003 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Girl, I hear you, I've been there. Didn't have a school go broke but had an absentee director, and a pschotic despot for a manager, who claimed he didn't read certain clauses in my contract( although it was in Koreanand English), and yup, I had a break in last year too.

My advice, try to stick it out for another little while. When I was at the four month mark I was counting the days till I could get out legally, but things got a lot better all of a sudden, and I decided to come back for year number 2. Definitely keep busy, try to travel, make some Korean friends, and just try to make the best of it.

If the school gets really bad maybe you can get a letter of release from the school, and just sign a six month contract somewhere else. There's always schools in need of a teacher last minute and someone who's already in the country can have a little negotiating power.

I hope things work out for you. If not, then at least you learned something. Keep your head up!
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supaness



Joined: 08 Jul 2003
Location: knee deep in kindergartens

PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2003 7:03 pm    Post subject: thank you Reply with quote

Thanks for the advice, it does make a huge difference when you know others are behind you and have gone through what your dealing with. I have made some good friends, a network of both foreign and korean, which also makes a difference. I'm actually going to Seoul tonight to visit some people. are there any foreigner type resource centres in Seoul?

I'm in a smaller city- Changwon. which is beautiful, but I am beginning to see how easy it is to get into a rut of staying in Changwon, and drinking all the time which I absolutely don't want to fall into, it seems to be the hobby of choice for many of the foreigners here. is it the same in most towns? I guess it's really just a matter of finding a group of people that you connect with and that motivate you to get off your butt. is that about right? I've also joined an Art Hogwon as a student, to keep up my creative skills. ( I'm a jewellery designer in Canada) Can anyone suggest other hobbies that have found worked for them?
Thanks again for all the advice, it did lift my spirits and give me hope. I'll keep you posted, Vanessa
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waterbaby



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

PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2003 9:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey there - know EXACTLY what you're going through. I hit the 4 month blues mark (2nd contract!) and was feeling all those very powerful and negative feelings of culture shock... all over again!

I'm not sure how it happened, but whatever it was, it lifted... just as it did the first year I was here. I wanted to leave but I stuck out a not so hot job because I found some great friends, enjoyed doing Taekwondo every day (a great hobby and good for fitness) and set small things to look forward to every month - a trip to a neighbouring city, a visit to a temple, shopping...

This time, I've taken out a gym membership, enrolled in Korean Language classes and thankfully this summer my hakwon and kindergarten have reduced my hours - for about 6 weeks I'll be teaching 90mins less per day Very Happy ... which is a nice reward for the hard work of the previous few months.

Anyway, here are some threads from my FAQ sticky about homesickness and culture shock. You're not alone and it will pass...

cheers,
wb

Homesickness & Culture Shock

1. How Do You Deal With The "I hate Korea" Days?
2. Homesick in Korea? Strange...
3. Graduation Blues
4. Why I Want To Go Home
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crazylemongirl



Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Location: almost there...

PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2003 11:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

supaness

That break in sounds horrible. I had some drunk guy beating down my door at 3am in the morning when I first got here. It made me feel very isolated not knowing what to do since I couldn't speak the lingo. So on that front you should have some 24hr person. Ie if your in big trouble at any time of day you can give them a buzz.

1) Get of Changwon every once in a while (which I've seen you've done). In general I find seoul a vary intimidating place (I come from Auckland which has only a fraction of the population) but if you want a good night on the town, grab some english books etc. it's good. There's a group called focus, which deals with expats having problems in Seoul. I'll see if I can find a link about them

2) Use the language barrier to your advantage. If you've got problems with korean teachers just learn to zone out when they're talking to/about you. One of the problems with parionia is that it makes you parionid, just ignore it. If I hear my name being mentioned I just figure that they're saying I'm wonderful even if they are saying clg is lazy/fat/bad teacher.

3) find your happy place. ie. if your having a bad day something cheap and relatively easy to come by to make you feel better. For me I like dancing around my apartment to trashy 80s music or watching bad romantic comedies. But to each their own.

I hope things get better.

CLG
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Imbroglio



Joined: 23 Jan 2003
Location: Behind the wheel of a large automobile

PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2003 11:38 pm    Post subject: Re: stressed about korea- Reply with quote

xx

Last edited by Imbroglio on Fri Apr 11, 2008 4:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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supaness



Joined: 08 Jul 2003
Location: knee deep in kindergartens

PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2003 5:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Imbroglio:
My dog was a mix, part chiuawa (?) and part pug. I actually bought her when i first got here. she suposedly had her shots, but when I took her to the vet, a different vet, one that speaks english, he told me she had Parvo virus, and she died 5 days later. Crying or Very sad
thanks for the poem, it was really nice. and again, thanks for the help, it is much appreciated.
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Creeface



Joined: 08 Jun 2008

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 8:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i am thinking about applying to wonderland in Seoul, bad idea?
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ttompatz



Joined: 05 Sep 2005
Location: Kwangju, South Korea

PostPosted: Mon Jun 16, 2008 9:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Creeface wrote:
i am thinking about applying to wonderland in Seoul, bad idea?


yes.... do a search for "wonderland".
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