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  #21 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 16th, 2006, 06:57 pm
livinginkorea's Avatar
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Default Re: When to say 'no'.

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It's amazing and since I work at both (public school and private) I can see the waste. The sad part is that the Japanese school system has become reliant upon the after school (private) system to sustain the level of education, IMO.

I may be part of the problem.
Very true. The public schools have so much money that they seriously don't know what to do with it! A school nearby where I used to teach has about 8 computers and they are not even connected to a power source or Internet! They are just there for show. The problem is here (with everything in this government) is that if they don't spend all the money that they get every year then they will get less next year. In that case no forward planning is taken into account. If you come to Korea now you'll see lots of roadworks, most for no reason except to use up the money the government gave them before the year is out.
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  #22 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 17th, 2006, 12:07 am
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Default Re: When to say 'no'.

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Also the housing system here is different. If you have some money then you can put the "key" money down on a house, let's say 20 million won (16,600 Euro). The landlord then takes that money and invests it and you don't have to pay any rent. After a year you can take the money back or stay there. Either way you are literally getting a house for free!
Got to agree with you LiK. The housing system in Korea is really really good. I like the fact that if you work hard and save some cash up you can become more independent and live in your own pad. I like it that I don't pay Council Tax which was about one to two thousand pounds per year (2 million to 4 million Won per year) for local Government to spend on a lousy service.

I also like the fact that to buy your own apartment is relatively cheap in Korea and that it is cheaper than the UK. The same goes for gas, electricity etc.

All in all my happiness in life is greater here than in the UK. My wife was my greatest source of encouragement to travel to Korea and experience something which I would be unlikely to experience again.

However, local Government in Korea is a double bladed sword. They are very good at getting things done but there is the stories of corruption. I hope that Korea becomes more acceptable towards foreigners to emigrate to Korea and offer more support for opening new businesses etc. But all in all, a great experience to be had in Korea.
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  #23 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 17th, 2006, 04:40 am
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Clive Hawkins
 
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Default Re: When to say 'no'.

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The sad part is that the Japanese school system has become reliant upon the after school (private) system to sustain the level of education, IMO.
It's not just where you are - don't worry. Here in Sardinia the number of kids who take private English courses on top of the stuff they do at school is astounding. Astounding in the sense that it's actually necessary - I've seen the stuff the state school teachers are doing with the kids. They, the teachers, seem unaware of the level or what the kids are capable of. Upper intermediate level readings for kids that struggle to put a present simple question together.

I had one boy who came to me with the lesson he had just done on the verb HAVE. In an hour they did have and have got as well as have as the auxilliary for the present and past perfect. On top of that was also have to for obligation. I mean, what's that all about? Poor kid didn't have a clue.

But it seems acceptable for some strange reason. Private schools offering 'catch-up' school and university courses are springing up like mushrooms. Clearly there's a demand.
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  #24 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 17th, 2006, 04:48 am
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Default Re: When to say 'no'.

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Right now I am working part time about 23 hours a week teaching kids and adults in 3 different places. I am making just under 2.8 million (2,330 Euro) and have Tuesday and Thursday afternoons/evenings off. It's fits me perfectly as if I want to work harder I have the time and if I want to cut back then that is possible too.

Korea is definitely not for everybody. Koreans can be very direct. Some of my friends were a little big and Korean would tell them to their face! You have to be thick skinned that's for sure but it's very enjoyable for us and we will stay here for another 2 years at least enjoying the good life
Nice. That's certainly more than most teachers here would get.

It's interesting to hear what yourself, whistleblower and mesmark have to say. I guess it's right that Korea (or Japan) isn't initially the most attractive of destinations for the reasons you've stated, hence the juicy carrot. But you seem happy enough there.
I'm settled here now - school, house, wife and baby daughter so I don't imagine I'll be heading over to the far east. Pity though, it seems really interesting, at leat for a year or two.
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  #25 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 17th, 2006, 07:26 am
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Default Re: When to say 'no'.

Come on over Clive and I'm sure that you will never leave!

I like Korea a lot but will never live here forever. I want a more stable enviroment for my kids especially one where they can be accepted (half-Korean/American and half Irish) more than what Korean kids are doing now. It just takes time for society here to accept them more. Also students are hit in class by teachers. I have seen it many times. Not going to bring up my kids in that. Also there is the possibility that they will start to learn Korean more than English and I won't be able to communication with them much!

Of course there are international schools but they are very expensive and I have heard of some parents even home schooling their kids but if I can get a good teaching job somewhere in Europe then things will be a lot better. Of course I have to get the masters first before I even think about a decent job and have kids first before I even think about schools!
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  #26 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 17th, 2006, 08:19 am
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Default Re: When to say 'no'.

I understand your feelings LiK about potential kids you may have learning Korean rather than English. That is why I am working ever so hard to learn the Korean language. I spend almost everyday for about two hours studying and spend the rest of the day thinking about Korea and how to construct sentences. It is more habit now than what it used to be.

Anyhow, my son, who is both Korean and English, has had no trouble being excepted in society. He has started Kindgarten and is the most popular kid in school. Any strangers that see my son are naturally curious as well. Ofcourse, there are those members of society that just are racist in Korea and I do sense that when I am with my son.

Personally, I would rather stay in Korea about ten to fifteen years till I feel bilingual in Korean and English. Perhaps return to the UK for short periods and work as a translator or a business consultant for the far east. But this is just an idea.
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  #27 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 17th, 2006, 05:46 pm
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Default Re: When to say 'no'.

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Anyhow, my son, who is both Korean and English, has had no trouble being excepted in society. He has started Kindgarten and is the most popular kid in school. Any strangers that see my son are naturally curious as well.
I live out further into the 'country' where foreigners are present but Japanese-America kids are still few in number. My children are all pretty popular and I'm sure they face racism troubles but it's how they deal with it that counts. I think it's more in their favor that they are unique.

I worry that my kids won't speak English enough (to the point that I might be an English Nazi) but they'll be fine. They speak English, just fine for now. If nec. I'll send them to America for a few months in summer or something and let them spend time with their family there. - - It will all work out in the end.

There are a lot of cultural difficulties to face and a foreign school system is hard to understand. I struggle with my kids starting in ti all the time. However, if you look at Korean adults or Japanese adults they are wonderful people. The schools system for all it's perceived flaws isn't doing that bad of a job
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  #28 (permalink)  
Unread Nov 18th, 2006, 03:34 am
Sue
 
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Default Re: When to say 'no'.

I'm in Italy and have a 13 year old son, and when he was small I shared your worries about his English. I've always spoken English to him when we're alone, but the family language is Italian and he went to Italian nursery school. He was a late talker anyway (didn't really start till he was 3) and at 5 was speaking only Italian, though he understood me with no problems. So we did decide to send him to an International School. You're right, they're hideously expensive, and it's meant sacrificing other things (and there's no way we could have done it with more than one child) but from the language point of view it's worked and he's now bilingual. He moves to High School this year, and has decided he wants to move into the Italian system, but has agreed to do a bit of home-schooling with me in addition, just to keep his academic English up to the level where he'll have the choice between Italy and Britain (or wherever) for University. It's worked out well.

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I live out further into the 'country' where foreigners are present
An aside - I once spent some time in a very small Japanese village in the country where not only was I the only foreigner, but I was also the first "live" foreigner the kids had ever come across. Every time I went for a walk they'd follow me - at a slight distance - and after ten minutes I'd have this line of Japanese kids trailing behind me. I felt like the Pied Piper ...
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