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Teaching In South Korea...your thoughts please!

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Joined: 12 Jun 2007
Posts: 2
Location: San Salvador, El Salvador

PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 8:58 pm    Post subject: Teaching In South Korea...your thoughts please! Reply with quote

Hi, I am teaching in Central America right now but have received the offer of a contract with a school near Seoul, South Korea. The salary is very impressive but I have a few concerns about how life is in the country and would be very grateful if anyone could give their thoughts or advice.

1. Security - What is the relationship with North Korea at the moment? Is there any danger of an outbreak of war or is this old news?

2. Living in the country - What is safety like? Is there a gang culture or sporadic violence in the cities? Are Westerners relatively safe there or is there hostility towards people from Europe or the States?

3. I've read on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office web site that many teachers have encountered problems with employment while living in the country. How easy is it to solve these problems? Is there any difficulty for Latin Americans to gain a visa for the country?

Any help or suggestions would be appreciated..............thanks!
"And everything under the Sun, must be for everyone. Everyone living under a gun, must be someone" - Leatherface, Pandora´s Box
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Joined: 15 Oct 2007
Posts: 0

PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:42 am    Post subject: Don't know if you're still looking for a reply... Reply with quote

First off, you cannot get an E2 visa (for teachers) to South Korea if you are born in Latin America. You have to have been a citizen of one of the 6 English FL countries for 10 years or more (Australia, USA, Ireland, England, Canada, somewhere else slipping my mind atm). Second, South Korea has low crime levels, and I was recently told by a girl from a small town in Wisconsin living in Seoul that she felt safer walking down the streets of Seoul at night (and that wasn't against her home town). Third, its no issue being a Westerner over there, except as my brother told me you might get a lot of people staring (Korea has one of the lowest percentages of foreigners to nationals in the world, its like 4%). I don't know how easy it is to resolve differences over there, but I would assume its the same as any other first world country. The problems with North Korea, I don't know, but I think its safe enough.
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Joined: 30 Jul 2005
Posts: 8
Location: USA

PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2007 8:21 pm    Post subject: What??? Reply with quote

Can you say paranoid? Dude, get a grip! War with North Carolina? Yeah, maybe like 40 years ago. That country is a dead desert starving its citizens that probably doesn't have a real working weapon left. Crime? Get a grip. The previous poster just answered that one for you. I supposed I would get kidnapped everytime i set foot in a cab in South America, too. Where do you get your info and don't go spreading terrible info about this great country we live in
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Joined: 19 Feb 2006
Posts: 81
Location: Southeast Asia

PostPosted: Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

South Korea does not seem to be very welcoming to foreigners who want to teach there. Also, the reason they have to offer such high salaries is that it's a difficult place to live.

As far the situation with North Korea:

NKorean leader orders navy to boost combat capability
Posted: 09 April 2008 1633 hrs

SEOUL - North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has ordered one of his naval units to increase its combat capability, state media said Wednesday, amid heightened tensions with South Korea.

Kim gave the instruction during a morale-boosting visit to a naval command, according to the Korean Central News Agency which did not disclose the date or location of the inspection.

"He set forth tasks to be fulfilled by the unit to increase its combat capability in every way, satisfied to learn that the servicepersons of the unit are carrying out their guard duties in a responsible manner," the North's official agency said.

Kim reportedly praised the North's navy as "invincible" thanks to Kim Il-Sung, his late father and founding leader of the communist state.

It was his fourth military inspection to be reported in the past four days.

The report came as South Koreans voted for a new parliament, with President Lee Myung-Bak's Grand National Party widely expected to win a majority.

Lee has promised a firmer line on cross-border relations, linking aid to nuclear disarmament in a move which has sparked angry rhetoric and threats from Pyongyang.

A commentary Wednesday by the communist party newspaper Rodong Sinmun warned against US attempts to include South Korea in its missile defence system.

"They only escalate the military tension and further increase the danger of war on the Korean Peninsula," Rodong said.

The latest flare-up began March 27, when the North kicked out South Korean officials from a joint industrial complex. The next day, it test-fired missiles and accused Seoul of breaching the sea border.

Pyongyang also reacted furiously to remarks by Seoul's chief military general which it said hinted at a pre-emptive strike on its nuclear sites. On March 30 it threatened to leave South Korea in "ashes" in response.

South Korea has rejected Pyongyang's demand for an apology for the remarks and the North announced last week it would suspend dialogue.
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Joined: 06 May 2008
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2008 1:12 pm    Post subject: Living in South Korea Reply with quote


1) I haven't been following the news recently so can't comment on this one- I got caught up with wedding plans. But I can say that on a day to day basis I don't feel any kind of threat from N.Korea. However South Korea does still have a conscripted army.

2) Not really much of a gang culture on the streets. Gangs here don't usually have random victims. In terms of being mugged, stabbed or shot I feel safer here than in the UK. However in terms of my sexual safety I feel very uncomfortable here and safer in the UK. Here I have been almost raped in my own hotel room (the lock, as it turned out, was broken), my bum grabbed, asked for sex by older men (how much do you cost etc) upon several occassions on the subway train or on the street in a busy area, despite wearing jeans and a sweater, followed, and my body looked up and down in a perverse manner even while my husband was standing next to me. Staring is a natural thing in a country which is not used to foreigners, but staring up and down for extended periods of time, especially at my boobs and bum is perverse.

From talking to other foreign women here, if you are not overweight, you will suffer. The problem is so bad that my Korean husband is considering contacting the newspapers.

However if you are (a white) male, you will be fine.

3) Yes, unfortunately most employers treat their teachers badly here. I suggest you visit to find out your rights, and to find out which are the nastiest schools. You can also visit and browse the teaching in Korea forum so that you get an idea of the kind of problems that crop up.

Also in Korea recruiters are obligated by law to take care of the teacher during their first 3 months, but they rarely do. Moreover, it is difficult to resolve problems when they occur. On a postive note, there has been a foreign teacher's union recently formed and recognised, but how much clout they have here I do not know.

I hope this has been helpful.
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Joined: 01 Sep 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Wed Sep 02, 2009 12:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IF YOU REALLY REALLY HAVE TO save money, DO YOUR research, find out about the schools, or based on ADVICE, go to Korea... I did my research before I went there, my friend was working for a much better school than I, (it was a chain), and it 's one of the only chain schools that DO NOT treat their teachers unfairly..( so I heard..all the teachers who had worked there left Korea, somewhat happy..)

My experience is a mix bag...It totally depends on the school.....and the location...Seoul is a nice city, with lots of cultural varieties, and lots of foreigners, but it can be OVER CROWDED on major holidays, and the pollution may annoy you...The transportation, using the subway is awesome, you can get to anywhere in the city, for about $2 ! If you are friendly, and have cultural sensitivity, you can make lots of Korean friends, and they can TRY TO help you to get you out of a mess....Give you advice on where to go, or who to call, or translate for your boss etc....

My manager last year, was trying to trick me out of my PENSION, and I found out about what the school was doing, so she HATED ME!! She was soo scared that I'd rant them all out, but I didnt care, cuz my husband and I were leaving the country in two months....But I do post about them, on another site, and tell people not to work for that school....

In short, you can save money, if you dont care much about their mentality, have a laid back attitude, then go.... If you take things seriously, worry about your individual rights, expecting them TO RESPECT you and treat you as in the West, you wont survive, and you WONT change their mind either!!! They are saying, " you live here, you work here, so you OBEY what we do ! " Even if you are right, they 'll make you look stupid, and treat you like piece of crap....and you wont be liked....for the rest of your contract time..... It's either the Korean way, (unless you have very good skills to persuade them to change their mind..), or no way !

Good luck!

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Joined: 07 Nov 2009
Posts: 12

PostPosted: Mon Nov 16, 2009 12:22 pm    Post subject: Teaching English Abroad - South Korea Reply with quote

What made me interested in these Teaching English positions at South Korea are the benefits provided with these positions. Following are some of the key benefits that attracted me:

1.) Round Trip Airfare Paid
2.) Single Housing Provided
3.) 50% of Medical Insurance Paid
4.) Paid Vacation
5.) Pay Packages falls in the range of $26,000 - $35,000 (USD), and its negotiable based on job seeker's capabilities
6.) Yearly Renewable contracts
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