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Sunday, 11 February 2007

Your teaching in Korea questions--answered!

I have received some responses to my question that I posted earlier: what do you want to know about teaching in Korea? I'll try my best to answer what you want to know. I'll post the questions and answers in no particular order...here they are:

Anyway, I'm hoping to work for YBM and I'm wondering if you know anything about the job turnover rate for the company?
Gdog: I had one coworker that worked one year at YBM. He never mentioned anything about the turnover rate for the company though. One thing to keep in mind is that with all large corporations, there is always the possibility of a high turnover rate. You either love it or hate it. It depends on the individual and how flexible you are in dealing with management.

Also, how realistic would it be for me to ask about getting housing that would accomodate my boyfriend, as well as myself?
Gdog: This is a really good question. When we were offered a job through our English academy, they offered housing for couples and singles. Housing for couples were supposedly 25% larger than accommodation for singles. Regardless, I would try to negotiate housing for couples as there are lots of couples teaching together in Korea. We even were able to negotiate a QUEEN SIZED BED! I am approximately 6ft 1" and Devante likes to sprawl out when she sleeps--so a queen sized bed was a must for us. We got lucky. But remember, there is no harm in asking!

I'm also curious if you negotiated your contract at all?
Gdog: We received a copy of our contract via email. We read through it and it seemed pretty clear to us. You can try negotiating your salary and other details, but with large companies they have a pretty set standard on how to determine your salary base given your experience and education.

What area of Seoul is your favorite part, or where do you wish you could live in Seoul?
Gdog: Right now we live in the western part of Seoul, Mokdong. This area is a very nice place to live because it's relatively quiet and a more well off part of Seoul. Everything is convenient and within an arm's reach. If we want to venture to the downtown core, it's only about 30 minutes away by subway. I guess it really depends on your personal preferences. Do you want to live where the nightlife is? If so, you might want to consider Gangnam or the Hongdae area.

In general, what are the best things to keep in mind when you arrive in Korea?
Gdog: The first thing I would tell anyone visiting Korea on vacation or for work, is to keep an open mind. This is whole new world, a part of Asia that is quite different from home. Remember that things will be different here--food, culture, music, customs, etc. So do not be offended if someone bumps you out of the way when you are walking or if they budge in front of you.

Read up on Korea's history and their culture. Learn some of the language--that will help you immensely. Also, don't be jaded if you run into other teachers who are negative about life in Korea and its culture. They have been here too long and need to jump on a plane to head home and move on with their lives. Oh, and bring bedsheets, sheets, and deodorant. Those items are hard to find here. ;)

Are you able to list a few companies that either you have experienced to be a reputable company, or others have told you positive things about them?
Gdog: Well, part of the experience in moving to a new country is the research. So far, I've heard that YES Youngdo is a reputable company, along with YBM and CDI. Those are huge organizations so you must be ready to be flexible and do what your employer asks. If you want to go the smaller route, there are jobs out there where you can work 20 hours a week, with accommodation and make more money than what the big companies pay.

However, with that adds the possibility of your small company shutting down and not getting paid on time. Or, the lack of a structured curriculum. I have had teachers tell me where some small places just hand you the books and say "teach"...it's what you would be comfortable with. I would recommend searching Dave's ESL Cafe, Work N Play, and English Spectrum for job postings.

Phew...I hope these answers are sufficient and if you have more, keep them coming.


Anonymous said...

Hi Gdog,

Awesome topic by the way. The following website helped me a lot. http://www.eslteachersboard.com/
I used a recruiting company: http://www.englishwork.com/english/index.html with Ms. Rory Lee.
and found employment in Daejeon. A city of 2 million--not too big and not too small. I made sure there was a Costco close by(pillows, sheets, food, etc.) just in case. I also made sure there was a Wal-mart--look how that turned out.

I work for a GnB licensed hagwon. There are 44 GnBs in this city alone. My boss and his family are great and the job is like any other. It is what you make of it.

Keep up the good work.

John from Daejeon

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