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  #1 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 3rd, 2007, 05:14 pm
Suzanne
 
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Question Seeking advice, stories about Korea, etc.

Hi everybody,

I'm new to this game, and I'm not even in Korea yet. I'd love to hear from ESL teachers in Korea. What should I bring, not bring? What gifts should I bring to directors, students, other teachers? What ugly american behavior must I curb, so I don't offend?
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  #2 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 3rd, 2007, 07:55 pm
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Default Re: Seeking advice, stories about Korea, etc.

Hi and welcome to korea... eventually!

You can get almost everything you need for your life and for teaching here in korea. there are a few things that are hard to come by, though. deodorant is really hard to find. any other toiletries that you are attached to you should bring as well.

depending on your hobbies, you may want to consider bringing your hobby paraphanelia. it depends on what you are into, though.

also, a set of books that you would be willing to trade with other teachers after you read them.

gifts for directors: bottle of wine, some kind of gourmet/specialty food, etc..
gifts for students: stickers, fun pens/pencils, trading cards
gifts for teachers: cheese, books, good beer...

if you are already deciding on what gifts to bring people and doing research, i think you got the ugly american syndrome curbed already. just bring an open mind and you'll be fine.

if you have any specific questions as to what to bring, post them.

eric
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  #3 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 3rd, 2007, 09:18 pm
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Default Re: Seeking advice, stories about Korea, etc.

Hi and welcome. One thing that I always say to people coming to Korea is have an open mind and don't let anybody push you around. A lot of people have postive experiences in their first year but some don't and have a hard time as they didn't do enough research before coming here. If you are going to some country school then it will be a lot harder to get used to Korea than some big city, naturally. Korea is a totally different culture than you can even imagine so be prepared for it and study on the net about it. That's your homework!!!!

I'm sure that you will be fine. When and where are you going to in Korea?
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  #4 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 3rd, 2007, 09:42 pm
Suzanne
 
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Default Re: Seeking advice, stories about Korea, etc.

Thank you, Eric and the Ninja!

I appreciate the encouragement. I've just sent my contract, transcripts, etc. to KNC Language Institute in Gunsan. One of the teachers there has been talking w/ me and she has said it's the best thing she's ever done. My "expedited" passport renewal has still not arrived, however. I suppose there is a glut of applications due to the new requirements for entry into Canada and Mexico. I'm not really sure how long the process takes, from this point. I still have to give notice at my job, and rent a storage unit, sell my car and my plants. I have an 8 foot ficus lyrata that I grew from a scrawny Wal-mart reject.

I've heard about deodorant, sheets, towels, and larger sized clothes and shoes being scarce. I'm really curious as to what you wished you'd brought, or wish you'd left behind, once you got there? Also, doesn't anyone eat brown rice? How 'bout organic foods? Just curious. I'll eat anything. Maybe even dog (why does this grinning icon say becky?)
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  #5 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 4th, 2007, 09:11 pm
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Default Re: Seeking advice, stories about Korea, etc.

Quote:
Quote sp6416
I've heard about deodorant, sheets, towels, and larger sized clothes and shoes being scarce. I'm really curious as to what you wished you'd brought, or wish you'd left behind, once you got there? Also, doesn't anyone eat brown rice? How 'bout organic foods? Just curious. I'll eat anything. Maybe even dog (why does this grinning icon say becky?)
I wish I had left my 150 CDs at home. iTunes and an iPod is sufficient. Bring clothes for all purposes. Clothes for attending weddings and funerals (you'll probably be invited to both) so you don't have to rush out and buy those are worse, not be able to find a style/size that works for you.

Haven't seen brown rice yet...

Vegetaian & Organic foods


I don't want to get all political but here's a note about eating dog that I only learned after living here for a few years. Dogs that are eaten are strung up by their necks and beaten with a stick until they die. This is thought to fill their muscles with adrenaline giving a man more stamina....
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  #6 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 5th, 2007, 09:07 am
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Default Re: Seeking advice, stories about Korea, etc.

Quote:
Quote Eric
...I don't want to get all political but here's a note about eating dog that I only learned after living here for a few years. Dogs that are eaten are strung up by their necks and beaten with a stick until they die. This is thought to fill their muscles with adrenaline giving a man more stamina....
Following on from that it will also depend on where you will be living in Korea. I lived in the countryside (very small town) in my first year here and I could hear the poor dogs getting beaten every week during the same (they have offical dog eating days here in Korea). It was awful since I am a big dog lover and always had a dog around the house but it depends on your preference. I have known a few teachers who enjoy eating it but I'll never be going down that road!

It's interesting that this country is so conservative but cares only about "stamina." What do you say about that Eric?
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  #7 (permalink)  
Unread Mar 6th, 2007, 12:07 am
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Default Re: Seeking advice, stories about Korea, etc.

Quote:
Quote livinginkorea
It's interesting that this country is so conservative but cares only about "stamina." What do you say about that Eric?
The contradictions in life here are amazing and confusing! It's been fascinating to me since the day I arrived and i have come no closer to making any sense of any of it. i just chalk it all up to living overseas.

Why is sex so taboo yet adult pc rooms, adult stores, "coffee girls", adult karaokees and the like exist every?

Education is so important yet why do many schools hire teachers based on appearance instead of qualifications?

When family is so important in korea, how can families send their pre-teens abroad for years at a time to study in a foreign country?

There are so many other contradictions yet i can't think of most of them now. i always come across them day to day. maybe i'll post more as i remember...

anyway, these things make life very interesting in korea. I guess our own countries also have these contradictions though they are harder to see with our eyes.

sorry to hijack the thread...
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Unread Apr 4th, 2007, 05:47 pm
Suzanne
 
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Default Re: Seeking advice, stories about Korea, etc.

Hey Y'all,

Got lost in space for a while there... sex is taboo? As in? Not that I'm too concerned, I don't do it either...

Anyway, I appreciate you guys talking with me. Any more news, stories, hints, or advice? I'm not there yet, and am starting to wonder if my school in Gunsan has given up on me. First it took three weeks for my passport to arrive, and now I have business matters that will keep me here another 3 weeks. My contact (Assistant Director?) hasn't sent my visa issuance # yet, and I haven't heard from her. Nor has the recruiter from ESL Planet. She made the offer back in February. I get the feeling my case is inordinately slow in getting "sorted", as they say in England. I sent the signed contract and my diploma about three weeks ago. Is this something I should worry about?

Thanks, Suzanne
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Unread Apr 6th, 2007, 02:12 pm
Suzanne
 
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Default Re: Seeking advice, stories about Korea, etc.

Just found out that everything is fine. I get the feeling this was one of those "Koreans are different" times. So, even though we were completely out of touch, it was all still business as usual. I have to admit, I'm really afraid of getting my buttons pushed (upset)and then going off on someone (yelling). Has this happened to you? How did it go? I really am a kind, thoughtful and courteous person, but I also remember throwing boiled eggs on the floor of a hotel in Greece. The owner told me, "look at me when I'm talking to you", and I was suddenly livid. No thinking, no counting to ten, no "finding my neutrality". Okay, it was only one boiled egg, and at least I didn't throw it AT him.
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  #10 (permalink)  
Unread Apr 6th, 2007, 09:30 pm
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Default Re: Seeking advice, stories about Korea, etc.

Haha you will be fine in Korea. Give as good as you get, that's always my motto. If some guy is acting like a b**tard to you then do likewise or else he will start pushing you around. In the beginning when I started teaching I was such an easy to push person. I would end up doing extra classes without a moments notice, teaching private classes for very little money and generally get used again and again because I was TOO easy.

Then finally I had enough of getting pushed around, quit that job and moved on. Haven't looked back since and no director uses me now because they know I will cause a huge fuss if they do.

Oh, by the way Koreans feel really nervous if you shout at them in public, especially if it's an older person because of losing face is a big thing here. Also don't worry about not looking at them in the eye because most of them don't do it either 'cas they consider than rude.

There's no doubt it, Koreans are definitely different but you will totally enjoy it. It helped me grow as a person and change my views on life and I'm sure that it will do the same for you as well.

Any more questions then feel free to ask,

-livinginkorea (but not from there )
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  #11 (permalink)  
Unread Jun 1st, 2007, 01:12 am
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Default Re: Seeking advice, stories about Korea, etc.

You'll need plenty of formal clothes. Koreans don't like scruffy people. If you plan to teach small kids you can get away with wearing casual clothes. However for meeting Principles or Directors for the first time I strongly urge you to dress neat and tidy. Don't bother trying to clean your formal clothes yourself. You might ruin them. Their are plenty of cheap dry cleaners around.

If you have any tattoos try to cover them up when you first go to your new school. The longer you stay the more they will accept you.

Investing in your own personal lap top computer is a good idea. This allows you to do P.P.T. and download pop songs for your classes.

In Korea there is very little separation between public life and professional life. This means that if you create a scandal on your own time it can come and haunt you at work.

When meeting someone older or an authority figure you are expected to make a light bow and say Anh yaseyo.

Keep your apartment clean. You never know when someone important might drop in. If your place is messy they will jump to all kinds of conclusions about you and it will take a long time to redeem yourself. Since your school provides the apartment they have to deal with any problems that develope such as unpaid bills or leaving it a complete pig sty.

There are lots of opportunities to drink in Korea. When invited out should accept this will be a good opportunity to bond with your co-workers. When you first start going out with people they may appear to be very generous. Its important to not take advantage of Korean hospitality. When it comes time to pay Koreans often fight for the bill. Your co workers will be pleasently surprised if you pay.

As a foreigner you will find lots of opportunities for dating. Keep in mind that cross cultural dating is new to most Koreans.
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Unread Oct 25th, 2008, 01:49 pm
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Sarah
 
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Default Re: Seeking advice, stories about Korea, etc.

Hi I'm Sarah,I haven't been to Korea for a while...so can you help me?My daughter is doing a project on Korean food,got any good recipes she could use?
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