Sunday, January 30, 2000
sometimes strangers who find this website one way or another sometimes email me with questions and it occurred to me that maybe their questions/my responses may benefit others.
so, in january is the correspondence i've had with others in cyberworld. not in any order, sorry. but the dates on their emails are accurate.
not like i know it all. find black folks on facebook:
Wednesday, January 05, 2000
Date: Sun, 6 May 2007 14:41:43 +0000
I'm known as John from Daejeon. I've been teaching ESL here in Daejeon since last August, and I have to tell you that you have one of the best blogs on teaching in South Korea out there in the blogverse. (bold mine, hee hee!)
I was burnt once before, so I no longer blog, but I am happy to see that many of my experiences are mirrored in many other native speakers' lives.
I can't believe that you are able to blog so prolifically without your own computer and having to make use of those in PC Bangs/Rooms. Well, keep it up. I really do enjoy it. I wish I would have known about it sooner.
I destroyed my small refrigerator and was able to get a nearly full-size one at a second hand place for 180,000 won just down the street. Now, I can actually store my waffles from Costo and my half-gallons of ice cream. I also wanted to let you know that you can call home for free by using msn messenger if the other party also has msn messenger, or yahoo to yahoo, or skype to skype. I have msn and am able to use it as a phone as well to call the U.S. for 1.9 cents a minute. My students can't believe that I can survive without a "hand" phone. And, while I have satellite here in my apartment, I made sure that my laptop had slingbox (slingbox.com) installed so I can watch TV from back home thanks to my brother and Dish Network's dvrs.
If you need any info. or help, please drop me a line. John from Daejeon
Sent: Friday, May 11, 2007 8:29:15 AM
Subject: Re: i saw your blog
Hey girl, Thanks for getting back so fast....but the internet was down at my workplace today!!! And now i have 3 hours to prepare..I hope you dont mind but I have several more questions to ask you.
1) How on EARTH did you find that theresa that gave you all the stuff??? cuz I was thinking of signing hourly..but its gonna be a bitch for me to get furniture, supplies, etc when I dont speak a lick of Korean.
2) How many hours do you average a month at CDI? I;ve have like 1998837373849955 people telling me not to sign with CDI cuz they are shaddy blah blah and that there are good companies out there...well...CDI has a nice package...I dont think its all that bad. How long til after your phone interview did you get an offer? I didnt use a recruiter..I know you did...I applied directly at CDI's website.
Thanks!!! Oh I have an interview with Aeon too...but its like a 5 hour drive..so I dunno..still debating that korea vs japan thing.
girl, Thanks for getting back so fast....but the internet was down at my workplace today!!! And now i have 3 hours to prepare..I hope you dont mind but I have several more questions to ask you. hey, do me a favor, dont call me girl. its a personal issue ;)
1) How on EARTH did you find that theresa that gave you all the stuff??? teresa was just pure luck. im going to write more about how to furnish a place once someone gets here, i just havent had the time or any important enough info yet. i slept on a mat and had nothing but a blanket for the first month here. cdi, or rather XXX, who got me my apt, wasnt too much help, i just got vague answers to my very specific questions on how to do things. my coworkers got help from friends they had that were already in korea, and by asking the korean staff. i would suggest you bring enough toiletries to last you at least a month, and have patience. your coworkers will be super nice and you can ask them for help. nobody can speak any korean when they first get here, so you're not alone.
2) How many hours do you average a month at CDI? i work 5 days a week, teaching two classes a day, each class is 3 hours long. so... i get paid for 30 hours a week, tho i often come in 45 min early to prepare for class, and that is not paid. this is my one gripe, you only get paid for teaching hours. you dont get paid for prep time, for mandatory meetings either.
I;ve have like 1998837373849955 people telling me not to sign with CDI cuz they are shaddy blah blah and that there are good companies out there...well...CDI has a nice package...I dont think its all that bad. yes, ive heard a lot of negative about cdi too. i cant dispute all of it, this has been my only korea job and i have nothing to compare it to, but i dont regret signing with this school for one second, i love my job here. it is a JOB, tho, you do have papers to grade and lessons to prepare for, and surely other jobs are much easier. for me tho, i like my job here, i find it very rewarding.
How long til after your phone interview did you get an offer? I didnt use a recruiter..I know you did...I applied directly at CDI's website. i think i got an actual offer no more than 3 weeks later? i came to find that cdi decided to hire me straight away, but b/c i couldnt come to korea until 3 months from then, they didnt get back to me for a while. i thought i got another "no" but the recruiter emailed me and said he just had to wait until closer to me leaving before sending me a contract.
Thanks!!! Oh I have an interview with Aeon too...but its like a 5 hour drive..so I dunno..still debating that korea vs japan thing. i cant comment on japan, but i DO for sure plan to work there one day, maybe in couple of years. im really glad things turned out how they did for me and that im in korea now, tho. you can save much more money here. i remember that during the orientation with aeon, you had to do meetings with students and see if they needed to be moved up a level or something, but it made me uncomfortable b/c really it was trying to sell more lessons to the client. at least with cdi, i dont have to bother with that. there are enough students here that i dont have to sell anything. but again, just my opinion.
Subject: esl on seoul
My name is XXX, I'm from Toronto. I read your blog in my research on life in Korea, and I've got a few questions for you, if you have time. I'm coming to Seoul next month to teach esl, and I'm Canadian. My mother is Chinese and my father is from the Caribbean. I'm wondering what it's like for you, a black woman living in the homogenous Korea. I'm a bit concerned for how I will be percieved, although even here, most people can't tell my ethnicity and either ask me or assume anything from filipino to mexican. Anyways, I'd appreciate your help with my questions, and thank you.
Sent: Thursday, May 17, 2007 3:13:55 PM
Subject: Re: esl on seoul
what other websites have you been checking out on korea? i would recommend
keep in mind that a lot is written by white males, so i would ignore most of the negative. how are the people: same as anywhere. there are going to be people you love, and people you hate. same with situations, same with anything: some good, some bad. for me personally, nothing has been worse than what i experienced back home, nothing has been so bad that i regret coming here.
which school will you be working for? hit me up with questions anytime.
Subject: Hello teacher of English
I just received a contract to teach in downtown Seoul and I noticed your rofile. What are your experiences as a black woman and what can you say to a black male about the perceptions of Koreans towards blacks/Africans.I read so many negative things about teaching in Korea I want to hear thegood stuff. Sincerely, XXX
Sent: Tuesday, May 8, 2007 3:00:31 PM
Subject: Re: Hello teacher of English
hi XXX! ignore all the negative. i love it here. the kids are so smart and the people are friendly... for sure i have had some problems here and there, but nothing has been any worse than what i experienced back home.
i came to realize that all the negative i heard before i came was from the mouths of white males. of course they're having a hard time, for the first time in their lives, they're not a part of the priviledged majority and they have trouble adjusting. its my opinion that most conscious people of color would fare much better here, we do not let being black (other people's problems/discrimination/ignorace/racism) stop us from doing anything.
i guess i can honestly say that i dont know what to say to a black MAN wanting to teach/live here. certainly there could be obstacles for you to deal with that i wouldnt, and vice versa. but again, although your color and gender are things to keep in mind, they should not be the determining factor, come and see for yourself.
i met another brother online who teaches in china, and he said he'd never come to korea b/c of the shitty way they treat us back in the states. in fact he tried to talk me OUT of korea and going to japan instead. im glad i didnt listen. tho he is my brother and i appreciate his concern, i had to stop and think... this guy has never even been to korea. different people, different reactions, etc etc. ok, so... i still vote for you coming to korea! :)
when will you come? what school will you be working for? do email me with any questions, i'll try my best to help.
i started a group for black folks in seoul, the url is http://groups.myspace.com/seoulbrothasandsistas do consider joining :)
Subject: Re: i saw your blog
Do you think a job at a public school is better? I've been trying to get a job at a university instead but no luck. People are telling me public schools are better...I dunno. Do you know if the materials and curriculum are provided at public schools?? >.<>
i cant say if a public school job is better or not, since i've not worked at one. i have a couple of friends who do, they like it well enough. it's salary, so you get the full furnished apartment and you dont have to pay rent. and with public, people dont seem to have the same issues of not getting paid in full or on time as one might with a private school. however, class size is much different. im only guessing but i believe public school has classes of upwards of 30 students. and their comprehension level varies. my homegirl feels frustrated sometimes, b/c there are kids who obviously dont understand a word she says and it makes teaching feel a bit futile. but overall she still loves her job.
i think curriculum is provided. i think you work along side a korean teacher.
perhaps check eslcafe. try this link. i got it by going to google and searching "public school" and private, narrowing the search to eslcafe korea forums.
also for university, i believe they mostly hire those with a masters, or extensive experience already teaching in korea. im not sure, tho. check wikigalbijim and eslcafe.
Sent: Monday, May 07, 2007 9:46 AM
Subject: Hi Cousin!
My lovely, lovely cousin, i_teach,
I have to tell you how much I love to read your blog of your adventures in Korea. I admire and envy you. Even if I was single and childless I do not think I would have the guts to move to another country by myself. Especially not knowing the language or how to get around. And yet here you are venturing out, determined to make yourself at home in a foreign country.
I've been bragging about you lately to my friends. Too bad they "don't like to read" because I've been trying to get them to take a look at your blog. I'm positive they will be hooked once they see for themselves. But maybe it's just me... maybe it's just because you are my blood... maybe it's just because I am such a dreamer. =)
I regret not spending more time with you (any time with you) while you were here in the states. I want to expose myself to all your worldly knowledge. Please let me know when you are back home and I will make sure to set aside time.
I love you, cousin. Please make sure to take care of yourself there. If there is anything from home that you need sent to you, please do not hesitate to ask!!!!!
Send my regards to your family! =)
Date: Thu, 24 May 2007 03:12:20 +0000
I tried leaving a comment on your blog, but it wouldn't post. There may be a problem. You can try and leave a comment yourself and see if it is working. Keep up the work. I really enjoy your blog and experiences. I haven't tried Pepsi Max yet because the original Pepsi tastes rather vile over here in S. Korea. However, Dr. Pepper and Mountain Dew are tolerable, and I can get them at Costco at a fairly reasonable price.
Later, John from Daejeon
I'm torn between a public elementary school position and working for CDI in Naebang. Both are very friendly working environments. I'll go to the week long CDI training on Monday to experience the "CDI corporate culture." Maybe that will help me make my final decision.
Look forward to your next posting... who knows, maybe we could meet up eventually in this small expat community here! Sincerely, XXXX
Sent: Friday, May 4, 2007 3:55:40 PM
Subject: Re: Qs about teaching at CDI
no problem. any question, i am an open book.
i have heard that people like teaching public b/c you'll not have issues with not getting paid in full/on time. this is not an issue for cdi, you always get paid in full and on time. perhaps think about what the class size may be? for public, i think it's upwards of 20 kids? the biggest cdi class willl never be over 15. my biggest is 12, my smallest is 4.
also, the cdi classes are split into level of comprehension as well as age. i really like this b/c i know the students understand me. i have a friend teaching public who finds it frustrating sometimes b/c only a handful of kids understand her and sometimes it makes her feel a bit "useless." but still overall she loves her job.
another issue is how long each class is. cdi classes are 3 hours each, but i dont mind it, i really love only dealing with 2 sets of kids a day. i dont know how public school works here, like if you'll have one set of kids all day or several. perhaps check that out to help in your decision.
so are you in gangnam now? doing training next week? we can meet if you'd like, have lunch or something. ~i_teach
Subject: Re: insights for teaching at CDI?
Thanks for your quick response! Training seems straightforward enough. What are the other teaching-related resources that are available for teachers? What are the teaching materials like? (I know that Amity makes their own books and will sometimes supplement their own materials with books from outside sources.. and I am curious as to what CDI's materials are like..)
Do teachers generally do their prep at the school or at home?
Another question about housing.. what is the average apartment like? Since you used the CDI realtor, how close are the apartments/officetels from your school?
What's public transit like?
What's it like after work?
I guess this is sort of related, but did you bring a computer from home? I know that relatively inexpensive computer/internet access can be had at internet-cafe-type locations.. but i'm curious as to the amount of space in an apartment (for a desktop or laptop), electricity/power, and if it'd even be worth it.
And, since I saw your last post on meds.. one of the reasons that I'm hesitant to go to Japan is because the Japanese government greatly restricts the amount of medications (I'm mostly concerned with vitamins.. and OTC stuff like midol) that I could bring into the country or have sent to me. I was wondering if you were aware of any similar restrictions in Korea.
That's about it for now.. but I'll definitely let you know if I have any more questions! I love your blog (your first one.. i haven't yet had a chance to look at your other one about being in Korea) by the way. It's super useful in thinking about how to prepare for leaving Cali :) I look forward to living and teaching in abroad. I'm relatively new to traveling (only the US and Canada..) so I really appreciate all of your help.
Sent: Sunday, May 6, 2007 5:46:06 PM
Subject: Re: insights for teaching at CDI?
yes, the training is straightforward. i like it, i feel like my kids are really learning something. as for other teaching resources available... im not sure what you mean. you mean what else does cdi use besides their books? i cant remember if it was you or someone else, but with cdi, if you want to do something outside of the existing curriculium, you simply speak to your HI (head instructor) about it. the structure is supposed to be followed, but if one has other ideas, cdi has the reputation of listening to it, and incorporating it if it's successful. as for more details of what cdi curriculum is like, im not sure i can say. they're very protective of their material and i dont wnt to give any info im not supposed to. you'll see soon enough, tho.
it looks like teachers mostly prep AT school. it depends on how you teach/type of teacher you are as to how long it takes, but it's not so much that you take work home with you. at most, i come in two hours early to prep. it really only takes 20-30 min, but i sit on the computer the rest of the time (i dont have a computer, and use the local internet cafes). very occasionally i'll come in on my day off, only to xerox things, the work is not much.
for housing: it depends on where you live. my area is pricey, and i live in an officetel, which makes it pricier. my rent is 600USD a month. my place is very close to my school. it's one subway stop away,but it's an easy 15 min walk, so i do that.
public transit is fan-friggin-tastic. you dont need a car here, the subway can get you anywhere. taxis are everywhere as well, if you want to get somewhere in a hurry. this differs according to region i would bet, perhaps i can answer more clearly when you can tell me WHERE you'll be. if it's a cdi main branch, then you're fine, all of them are in seoul and the subway is the way to go.
life after work: coworkers hit up bars or restaurant or clubs. im a homebody myself, when i get off work i like to just go home and chill.
i did NOT bring a computer from home. i wish i couldve, it wouldve been nice to have all my music with me, or be able to play dvds, etc. you can check dave's and go to the technology forum, i am sure there's a post about it. as for space: it'll depend on how big your place is. but i tihnk anyone can make room for a laptop, or even a desktop, we all use it daily these days, no place is THAT small. well no i guess it depends on how you define small. i thought my place would be tiny, but it's pretty big and i love it.
restrictions on meds: i dont know. i would suggest you check daves or wiki-galbijim. if i find out any info, i will for sure email you and pass it on.
Saturday, January 01, 2000
Subject: Re: i saw your blog
Hey I just wanted to say that thanks for answering all my questions. You were really helpful I really appreciate it however it doesnt look like i will be signing with CDI. I just got off the phone with them and she offered me 26usd per hour and at a franchised location >.< I have no teaching experience.. should have gotten my hopes up! Well, I guess its back to searching for me:) Hope you continue to have a great experience in Korea!
a franchise? thats not necessarily bad. it all depends on who is running it, but it's still cdi. where is it? do you want to stay in korea? b/c maybe you could move "upward." what are the chances of you moving to a branch after a term or two? do you have any experience working with kids? are you wanting to come to korea immediately? cdi trains new teachers every three months, maybe you could take the time to volunteer at a school, maybe even with an esl program, to thicken your resume and get higher pay. just some ideas, if cdi is truly what you want. but if not, plenty of good jobs to be had, hit me up with questions
Sent: Friday, June 20, 2008 4:56:15 PM
Subject: April6 at CDI
Hey. Thanks to your response to April6 on the Korean job forum on Dave's ESL.
I'm April6. You've been my hero for a while now. (I read your essay about Colin Powell. It was amazing. And you're also my hero because you're a black American not in America. My best friend in the Peace Corps was, too. Most Americans in Central, SC are black so I was surprised to grow up and discover I and most of the US wasn't. And even more surprised to discover most English speakers outside the US were rich, selfish, and living it up like they were on a two year vacation. When there's so many amazing non-white leaders in the US, those statistics didn't make sense.)
I'm April, wife and the two of us are currently living with his parents in SC while working at a summer camp for the mentally challenged. It's very nice, but very temporary. We chickened out of next year's plans to teach here. We discovered the reason for our quick offers is that many teachers couldn't get paid on time last year and quit. The pay isn't that good, but to run the chance of not getting any is scary. So we're looking elsewhere. Like Korea.
I've researched CDI/Korean hagwons for hours, but feel very uncertain. You said to email you guys, and this is it.
You didn't negotiate your contract and you're happy? That's cool. I think I read that you are hourly, right? Is it better? We like the hourly contract because we would like to pick our home and work less hours if work is hard / more hours if it's fun.
Here's what I'm worrying about:
You said the subway can get you anywhere. But with 70 branches/franchises, could transportation be a problem? I am guessing the small towns up in mountains in the snow might not have reliable public transportation, but maybe a CDI franchise or two.
Are married couples rare? Do they work in the same branch usually?
What happens when an hourly worker gets too sick to work?
Are you obliged to do weird volunteer stuff, like Science fairs or Sunday trips to the zoo?
Do you know of people who were fired? Were the reasons legitimate?
Did you mail CDI your original diploma? Did CDI mail it back?
Korea doesn't have oatmeal? Are you kidding? I thought the whole world had oatmeal. Not even the slow cooking stuff? What a bummer.
Congratulations on your awesome blog and career. I'm sure you are the hero of many. You go girl! And thanks for reading my message.
----- Original Message ----
From: english teacher
Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 10:25:18 AM
Subject: Re: April6 at CDI
Hey. Thanks to your response to April6 on the Korean job forum on Dave's ESL.no problem.
I'm April6. You've been my hero for a while now. (I read your essay about Colin Powell. im sorry sweetheart,tht wasnt me. i didnt write anything about colin powell. can i be your secondary hero?
That's cool. I think I read that you are hourly, right? right.
Is it better? We like the hourly contract because we would like to pick our home and work less hours if work is hard / more hours if it's fun. worked for me too. but talk to the recruiter. with hourly you will not get health insurance, paid vacation, holidays, bonus, or severance, as you would with monthly or with salary at any other korea job.
Here's what I'm worrying about:
You said the subway can get you anywhere. But with 70 branches/franchises, could transportation be a problem? yes it could. i phrase things on the blog w/rose colored glasses.
I am guessing the small towns up in mountains in the snow might not have reliable public transportation, but maybe a CDI franchise or two. i dont know, b/ci work for a main branch. ask the recruiter about it. also be aware that franchises are not as good about sticking hard fast to cdi rules. their individually owned, so each franchise will be different.
Are married couples rare? Do they work in the same branch usually? no and i guess so, unless they wouldnt want to.
What happens when an hourly worker gets too sick to work? you call in, and someone has to cover your class.
Are you obliged to do weird volunteer stuff, like Science fairs or Sunday trips to the zoo? no. but there are mandatory meetings/workshops which are not compensated for. they're not too often, but you do have to go.
Do you know of people who were fired? Were the reasons legitimate? yes and i dont know. i stayed out of it.
Did you mail CDI your original diploma? Did CDI mail it back? they gave it back to me when i got here.
Korea doesn't have oatmeal? Are you kidding? I thought the whole world had oatmeal. Not even the slow cooking stuff? What a bummer. i honestly didnt try very hard to find it.
And thanks for reading my message. youre welcome. this will be your first korea job? watch lots of korean movies. try to learn the korean alphabet (i'll try to find a link... you can do a google search), and eat at korean restaraunts and try to learn how to pronounce the foods. try to email donselma on eslcafe, he's a real pro-cdi-er.
----- Original Message ----
To: english teacher
Sent: Friday, June 27, 2008 1:40:06 PM
Subject: Re: April6 at CDI
Thank you for writing back.
You're right. My hero is actually "The Seoul Train" instead http://theseoultrain.blogspot.com/2007/03/cdi.html
I got u 2 confused. Yes, you're my secondary hero. No doubt. Anyone who would work a whole year without taking days off has enough grit for me to pay homage.
I appreciate all your answers. The part about you getting your diploma back immediately was particularly comforting. And the info on sick time was very insightful, too.
We are hoping this will work out for us, but haven't decided to sign yet. Our CDI contact says he's trying hard to place us, but may not before we arrive in Korea. He just asked me today to send him a second picture of myself. I feel like I'm being considered for a date on eHarmony instead of a job. And never any reference requirements?! Ugh. Different world.
You may be relieved to know I have no more questions. A nice married couple handled another slew so now we have a pretty clear picture of what mud we're diving into.
(I can't send donselma a note until I post 23 more messages, but I'll look for those Korean movies. Korean restaurant, in SC? If only. Atlanta has Thai and Chapel Hill has Vietnamese. You lucky unsouthern girl. But we can go to the China Buffet and pretend.)
Wish us luck
----- Original Message ----
From: english teacher
Sent: Wednesday, July 2, 2008 3:04:39 PM
Subject: Re: April6 at CDI
Thank you for writing back. no problem.
you're my secondary hero. No doubt. Anyone who would work a whole year without taking days off has enough grit for me to pay homage.well to be fair, i dont really work very hard.
Our CDI contact says he's trying hard to place us, but may not before we arrive in Korea. He just asked me today to send him a second picture of myself. I feel like I'm being considered for a date on eHarmony instead of a job. And never any reference requirements?! Ugh. Different world. send a second photo? hmmm... that's interesting, i was under the impression that cdi wasnt so focused on looks. waht did the first photo look like? passport type photo? how weird. but yes, yorue right, different world.
You may be relieved to know I have no more questions. A nice married couple handled another slew so now we have a pretty clear picture of what mud we're diving into.coo, im glad it's working out.
(I can't send donselma a note until I post 23 more messages, ah, yeah. well, keep posting. it's still helpful, reading, learning things, etc.
Korean restaurant, in SC? If only. Atlanta has Thai and Chapel Hill has Vietnamese. You lucky unsouthern girl. But we can go to the China Buffet and pretend.)
Wish us luck good luck! keep me posted as to when you get here! :)
I'm glad you wrote back. I haven't sent CDI a second photo yet, but I assume they noticed either something is wrong with my eyes or it's a bad picture with my eyes not open all the way. My husband and I plan on sending a candid shot of us at home or at a park or something. is the photo you sent me the same photo you sent to cdi? i dont know what they use they use the photos for, theyre not on the cdi website or anything as far as i know. did they ask for a specific type of photo? i wouldnt send a candid shot unless they ask for it.
This was concerning because something is wrong with my eyelids - I have a version of ptosis, a genetic condition that runs in my family. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptosis_(eyelid) It has nothing to do with my brain, nose, speech, figure, etc., but I think sometimes people assume the worse. perhaps you should tell your recruiter, maybe it would help them to understand. i dont think it would affect your being hired. one of the guys i went through training with had really "off" eyes, they were very big and each eye stared in different directions. cdi was his 3rd korea job, he'd been here for several years, working at different schools.
I assume I will have to discuss this before I am offered a contract from a school. I have worked under Chinese and Taiwanese here in America who have treated me like one of their own and when working in Tonga with the Peace Corps I was treated like the other foreigners, even asked out a lot. But I here in Korea people are very picky and occasionally cruel with those that stick out. What do you think? this is what ive heard too, however, ive never experienced anything truly awful in my personal experience. im black and overweight (around 250 lbs).my girlfriends are all black, all with very different hair textures, different skin tones and have all (like me) been stared at, commented on (in korean, so dont know what was said), pointed at, even had people try to touch us. but it was all out of curiousity, therefore forgivable.
Subject: CDI South Korea blog
hey I've been reading your blog and I love it. It has so much practical info as well as personality!I've been going through the process with CDI- just got sent a contract. I was wondering a few things... hoping you could help me out a bit.
First of all, negotiating contracts. You didn't do that. Should you have? Is it effective? In what they just sent me it was for about 28/29 USD/hr. If you wanted to negotiate for more, what would you do?
My other question has to do with my situation- it sounds a bit like what yours was going into this. I just finished my B.S. in education and right now I'm completing a TESOL course in Boston. My student loans will be coming out of deferment soon and I have NO money in the bank. Like it would be a struggle getting over there... but I feel like I can do it. Would you take advantage of this key loan thing they offer? They put 5000 key loan in my contract. Is that safe? When do you get the money from it? Is it enough to get set up?
My last question (sorry if I'm overwhelming)- I have a rocking summer gig here: I direct a summer program at an art school. It's fun, great experience, I'm in charge, and I'm paid really well. I'd like to finish that before going to work for CDI. I've made that clear throughout the interviewing and what not, but they put July in the contract as when I should come. Is that like a now or never, do it or miss out type of thing? I don't want to blow this, but ideally I don't want to leave until the end of the summer. Don't know what to do.
Last question-really- how long did it take them to reimburse you for you flight over? They said they reimburse up to 1000 USD... which is about what I'm coming up with for one-way flights there. ???Love your blog! Keep writing it. I hope to hear back from you. A
negotiating contracts. You didn't do that. Should you have? Is it effective? In what they just sent me it was for about 28/29 USD/hr. If you wanted to negotiate for more, what would you do? i didnt negotiate. i dont know about how others did it, its personal policy of mine to not ask how much my colleagues make and how they got there. i do know of one guy who was offered 27 and asked for more and cdi wouldnt budge. i only know this b/c he and i were close and we were comparing b/c we were sure we were the lowest paid employees there. i make 28. this friend of mine, i dont know why he couldnt get more. his only teaching experience was as a swim instructor... maybe that's why, i have no idea.
i wasnt offered a raise when i resigned. i plan on asking for one in 6 months. no idea if i'll get it, but i plan to present a few things: im a popular teacher among the students so says the student surveys, i'll not have a single tardy in those 6 mo, ive never called in sick or missed a day of work, i scored among top 3 highest ranked teachers at our branch last term. im going to ask for 32 an hour and hope for 30. wish me luck. im'a be pissed if they dont give me anything. >:(
My student loans will be coming out of deferment soon and I have NO money in the bank. Like it would be a struggle getting over there... but I feel like I can do it. Would you take advantage of this key loan thing they offer? They put 5000 key loan in my contract. Is that safe? When do you get the money from it? Is it enough to get set up? when you move into a place, you have to put down this deposit, which here is called "key money." if you dont have at least 5 thousand USD to put down yourself, yes, take it from cdi.
you dont get to use any of this money to buy your furniture and misc housewares, it's just so you can move in, so come over with money of your own to live on for a while. i dont remember how much i came over here with, but i wish i had had more. with cdi, you dont get that first paycheck; they wait and pay you the month after that, so i had to make sure my money would stretch.
at the end of your one year contract, if you choose to stay w/cdi, you have to pay your own key money. if you dont have it, as i didnt, they pull it out of your paycheck. they're pulling 1thousand USD per month out of my check for the next 5 mo to cover my key money. i really really hate it, but oh the fuck well.
I direct a summer program at an art school. It's fun, great experience, I'm in charge, and I'm paid really well. I'd like to finish that before going to work for CDI. I've made that clear throughout the interviewing and what not, but they put July in the contract as when I should come. Is that like a now or never, do it or miss out type of thing? I don't want to blow this, but ideally I don't want to leave until the end of the summer. Don't know what to do. do your summer job, then come to korea. cdi has new terms every 3 months. if you cant make it in july, then make it clear that you want to start the following term. i dont think it's now or never... dont let them bully you into it.
how long did it take them to reimburse you for you flight over? They said they reimburse up to 1000 USD... which is about what I'm coming up with for one-way flights there. ??? they put my money in within a week of my opening a korean bank account. not sure if the website still works, but check here http://www.bt-store.com/ for flights. my ticket cost 500 USD.
Sent: Sunday, June 29, 2008 1:36:36 PM
Subject: Fan of Your Blog!
Hello! I ran across your blog while doing a little bit of research on teaching abroad. I LOVE your blog!! They are truly informative and are answering a lot of the questions that I have. I am a 28 year old African-American female that has just graduated from law school and I am feeling the urge to finally satisfy my desire to see more of the world. I’ve always wanted to teach abroad, but was afraid of what the experience would hold for me as an African-American woman in some foreign land! YIKES! Anyway, your blog is helping to ease my fears and I will be reading it more extensively in the coming days.
I do have a few questions for you, if you don’t mind…
(1) Does one have to start at any particular time, i.e., the beginning of the school year? If so, when does the school year start? I am REALLY giving this experience great consideration and would like to do it. However, I am currently studying for the bar exam and won’t be taking it until the end of July. I won’t be able to extensively research recruiters and consider offers until after that time. I just want to determine if there is a certain time during which they take applications, etc.
(2) How long did the process take for you (from time of looking for positions, getting your offer, getting all your paperwork in order, etc. to the time you arrived in Korea)? I would like to organize some sort of timeline for myself.
Thanks for your advice and thank you for sharing your experiences!
Hello! hi tracy.
your blog is helping to ease my fears ah, good im glad :)
(1) Does one have to start at any particular time, i.e., the beginning of the school year? If so, when does the school year start? for public school, yes. but i dont know when, i work for a hogwan (private school, academy) so there wasnt really a start time or stop time. my job starts new classes/new hires every three months.
I am currently studying for the bar exam and won’t be taking it until the end of July. I won’t be able to extensively research recruiters and consider offers until after that time. .then wait until after. korea isn't going anywhere, concentrate on your exam and focus on korea afterward.
(2) How long did the process take for you (from time of looking for positions, getting your offer, getting all your paperwork in order, etc. to the time you arrived in Korea)? im not familair with the new visa laws and how/if they've affected the timetable for getting a job. a year and a half ago, you would put out your resume and get a job offer within days, w/employers specifically asking "how soon can you get here?" it took me 6 months total, but actually getting hired and arranging when i would come was weeks. maybe days.
Subject: Re: south korea
Hey,Thanks for responding so quickly! You rock. So, you didn't get your 7 unpaid days off? I'm afraid to ask but how do sick days work there? How would I fare as a vegetarian there? This is probably my biggest concern, starving to death. I don't eat seafood either. Hope you have a great week!
Hey,Thanks for responding so quickly! You rock. no prob.
So, you didn't get your 7 unpaid days off? no, but i never requested to take them. other coworkers did, they are yours to take if you want.
I'm afraid to ask but how do sick days work there? i think this varies by branch. at pyeongchon, we're supposed to call as early as possible, and bring in a doctor's note on the day we return, tho i dont know if that's enforced, ive never called in sick.
i can tell you that personally, tho, i hate it when someone calls in sick b/c it means someone else has to cover the class. a couple weeks ago, some girl called in sick and i was called to cover, and i was pissy the whole morning. i was bitter and annoyed and wondered "how sick can she possibly be? it's only a 6 hour shift, and she lives down the street." but again, that's just me. i dont like giving up my days off. it's not like you get an extra day off for it.... ha, i just really like my free time.
How would I fare as a vegetarian there? This is probably my biggest concern, starving to death. I don't eat seafood either. i really dont know, im omnivore. check here: http://wiki.galbijim.com/Vegetarian
Subject: Hi I'm going to CDI
Hey there. My name's K. I happened to stumble across your site when I was looking for black people teaching and living in Korea. I actually just got offered a position at CDI that I will be taking advantage of and will be headed to Seoul mid-July. It's my first real experience being away from home, just out of college and being immersed in a language I barely know. I was just wondering, I read your blog and you gave some great advice I've jotted down about banking, flying and such and was just hoping to maybe start a bit of correspondence. I have two other friends in CDI now but as a black female I was hoping to get that perspective. Especially for my family's sake so they don't worry as much as they would.Sorry to ramble on, so if I don't sound like a total weirdo is it possible to get any more detailed insight on what your stay in Korea has been not just as a black woman but as an ESL teacher at CDI as well?Thanks for any in advance!===============
My name's K. hi k.
I actually just got offered a position at CDI that I will be taking advantage of and will be headed to Seoul mid-July. coo. i'll still be here, so we'll meet for lunch or sumfin.
It's my first real experience being away from home, just out of college and being immersed in a language I barely know. congratulations! stepping outside of one's own box helps you grow, otherwise we all become self centered, selfish a-holes.
I have two other friends in CDI now but as a black female I was hoping to get that perspective. ok, aside from reading my silly blog, do you have specific questions? i seem to get this type of question a lot, and im never sure how to answer...
Sent: Wednesday, July 2, 2008 9:38:34 AM
Subject: Coming to Korea
Hello I received your e-mail address from ExpatJane, whose name and blog I found doing a random google search for Blacks in Korea. My name is Nicole and I have signed a two year contract to teach pre-k at an international school in Bundang. I'd be interested in receiving information from you regarding the times that your ex-pat group convenes. I'll be arriving on the 21st of this month. Also, I was wondering could you suggest the name of reputable shipping company. Thanks a lot.Best Regards,Nicole
Hello hi nicole :)
i'd be interested in receiving information from you regarding the times that your ex-pat group convenes. we're not official, we're just a bunch of black folks who know each other and randomly hang out, so... no set meeting time i can give you :)
I'll be arriving on the 21st of this month. coo, call when you get here, maybe we can make it a dinner or something. but bundang is a bit far, i think... maybe we can arrange a dinner or something during your trip to seoul, maybe you'll come up on weekend?
Also, I was wondering could you suggest the name of reputable shipping company. to ship your things from home to korea? big boxes? hmm... i dont have specific suggestions; sometimes my parents send me things, they just use the post office. i believe DHL ships here as well, ups... im not sure how different they all are.
if you have facebook or myspace, i suggest browseing the blkkorea groups, maybe find people who live in bundang, they can tell you a bit of what it's like? and be free to email me with questions at any time :)
to find more of us in seoul:
Sent: Wednesday, July 2, 2008 10:52:17 AM
Subject: Hello, And A Question About CDI
So, not too long ago, I was trawling jobs on Monster.com and getting exceptionally frustrated with my luck getting a "Real Job" here in the states. So when I saw the ad for CDI, I applied largely as a lark, I thought they wouldn't get back to me, like almost every other place i'd applied.Then they did.
So far, i'm all the way along to the Essay part of the application process, but my research about CDI has left me wondering a great deal about working there. First and foremost, I'd be working for the CDI, but another group, Aclipse, were the ones who hired me specifically. I'm still questioning them as much as I can, but i'm wondering if you know any questions that I should ask of them before I get in over my head.
From the research i've done, I've heard a lot that is both here and there about CDI. Some people have reported positive experiences but the information i've found seems to be 2-3 years old. Some (like your blog) wouldn't recommend the experience at CDI to others. So i'm trying to find knowledgeable people I can talk to who can give me the best advice I can find.
Like I said, I know you already said in your blog that you wouldn't recommend the experience to others, and that you have plenty of gripes about your time at CDI. That I understand. As a 25-year old African American however, CDI does almost sound too good to be true. The hours seem eminently workable, it'd be a chance to experience something new, and it sure beats another 6-10 months making $8.75 at Starbucks. Plus, CDI is the only place that is actually taking me through the application process.
But, hearing that you work 365 days a year (essentially), that you get seven days to yourself all year, that the workload can be overwhelming (I have no trouble with it being structured) are a bit disheartening. I guess i'd like an opinion from someone who has been there already before I go ahead and take the plunge.
----- Original Message ----
From: english teacher email@example.com
Sent: Wednesday, July 2, 2008 2:01:29 PM
Subject: Re: Hello, And A Question About CDI
First and foremost, I'd be working for the CDI, but another group, Aclipse, were the ones who hired me specifically. I'm still questioning them as much as I can, but i'm wondering if you know any questions that I should ask of them it sounds like they are the middle man, the recruiters? i dont know if there's any specific you should ask them that you couldnt ask of cdi directly. maybe try to find out where you'll be in korea if you can. i dont know if this is something cdi tells you ahead of time. when i came, i had no requests for placement, i todl them to put me anywhere. if Aclipse are NOT the recruiters, then im not sure what situation this is.
From the research i've done, I've heard a lot that is both here and there about CDI. Some people have reported positive experiences but the information i've found seems to be 2-3 years old. Some (like your blog) wouldn't recommend the experience at CDI to others. hmmm... well when i say i dont recommend cdi, it means that i dont think cdi is the BEST job, b/c to be fair, ive not had other korea jobs to compare it to. my position on cdi is offically neutral, tho i am happy overall with my job.
So i'm trying to find knowledgeable people I can talk to who can give me the best advice I can find.
search here http://forums.eslcafe.com/korea/
and here http://expatkorea.com/bbs/
and use the search box, just type cdi.
if you type more than one word, the search function doesnt seem to work well. but when you read through, keep in mind that much of what you may read will be from young white people. they are spoiled, perhaps fresh out of college and never worked a real job, never been away from home, never had to be out of the majority.
As a 25-year old African American however, CDI does almost sound too good to be true. The hours seem eminently workable, it'd be a chance to experience something new, and it sure beats another 6-10 months making $8.75 at Starbucks. i thought so too, and all came to be true when i arrived, once i got adjusted. i work 6 hours a day and make plenty of money to pay the bills, which ive never been able to do before.
But, hearing that you work 365 days a year (essentially), we now get christmas day off (just the one day), one day for cheosok, and one day for sol na new year. but yes, cdi is open every other day and if youre scheduled to work, you work.
that you get seven days to yourself all year, yes, upaid. :)
that the workload can be overwhelming (I have no trouble with it being structured) then maybe cdi will suit you fine. the workload depends onthe type of classes you teach, and the type of teacher you are.
I guess i'd like an opinion from someone who has been there already before I go ahead and take the plunge. :) well again, im neutral, im not comfortable telling someone they should definitly choose cdi. but i do encourage coming to korea. going abroad is a wonderful experience that all who have the opporunity should take advantage of. but you can search the esl forums and the esl groups to find others who work for cdi who maybe can give you the "yes" or "no" youre looking for. but be sure you talk to people who actually work there. most who say "avoid cdi" have only heard of the company, or maybe just went through part of training, but never actually got in the classroom.
should you have any other questions, be free to email me anytime.
Subject: Re: CDI Questions for the Supa Dupa Seoul Fly Sista
Sent: Thursday, March 19, 2009 1:56:53 PM
Subject: Re: CDI Questions for the Supa Dupa Seoul Fly Sista
i really believe in the power of positive thinking and i only ever say good things about my life. i've noticed especially how often i do this lately when people ask me how my life is in korea. for the most part, i love it here. but i have moments, of course. i keep them to myself, or on paper, b/c i've seen how the negativity turns into a whine fest; others will join in and compare sad stories. sometimes it's good, cathartic, is that the word? i dont chance it tho b/c there's the risk of it NOT being good, of bringing you further down. im down enough as it is, i dont want any help.
Date: Thu, 27 Sep 2007 10:49:00 -0700
Subject: blogs and addresses
i know it has been awhile. i had some issues with my phone which is my main source of internet. i am still thinking about Korea. In fact, i think about it alot. the problem is I really like Oakland. I feel like going becomes a logical option when i amfeeling all depressed and crappy. (pardon the lack of spacing this keyboard is trippin.) but yeah, i am thinking about being there and being solitary and being away from all that is familiar (sp?) and i am really afraid or perhaps nervous is a better word. actually, that's a lie. when I spend a lot of time alone i get dangerously introspective.
but i didnt' come here to talk about that. I would like to reconnect to your blogs. the last time i checked you had a couple. and for some reason, I amnot getting the updates like i used to. so if you could forward your new blogs to me i would really appreciate it.;
I hope you are doing well.
Subject: RE: blogs and addresses
sistershainseoul.blogspot.com which is just the emails i send to my parents. theblackeslteacher.blogspot.com which is about how i got here, and how i do things (get a cell phone, etc). this one isnt updated too often.
im sorry you got the blues. are you still seeing a doctor/therapist? have you tried seeing a psychiatrist? or medication?
korea can be really lonely and awful; if i werent on meds, i think i'd have a very very hard time here. i love my job, but there's no one to talk to, there are no black people, there are no black events. there are some black people i see/know, but there's no unity here, i hardly see them, we dont get together regularly as i'd hoped. being here, everything is hard: buying groceries, going to the doctor, to the post office, b/c i cant speak korean.
overall, i AM happy, i love the kids, i love the money i make. but it's hard sometimes, for sure. but i just remember that i made a choice to be here, that i could leave if i really wanted to, that it's only a year, everything is temporary, etc.
update 02/08: having a circle of black friends is a personal preference. my coworkers have never been anything other than kind to me, and invite me out often, and NEVER made me feel bad when i would (often) decline. they are nice, but i was needing a different kind of connection. now that i have one, it has made living here infinitely better and life is wonderful. i dont go a day w/out speaking to one of my sistas online or on the phone, i see them every weekend, and they make me so fucking happy. it took a while until i found them... and so, those first several months living here was really lonely sometimes. i'd like to clarify, it's not just any black friend that would do it, i ve met more like-minded people now, and it's changed everything.
meet other brothas and sistas in korea:
Sent: Thursday, June 26, 2008 5:13:42 PM
Subject: [The Supa Dupa Fly Seoul Sista] New comment on what is cdi like?.
B has left a new comment on your post "what is cdi like?":
Hey Supa Dupa Fly Sista,
Don't know if you remember me emailing a while back...since you seem to get quite a few here. It's B... (ive taken out personal info to keep annonymity. ~supa fly).
I haven't been back to the blog in a while, but just read a bunch of posts -- mostly out of curiosity (after the first couple of posts) to see if you stayed at CDI and how things were going. Sounds like you've re-signed. Good for you. Also, kudos to you for being so relaxed and just easy going about the whole thing. I think they're lucky to have you.
Your advice on many different topics like eating when you first get here, negotiating, etc. are all very practical and balanced -- thanks for being so. Without your advice, I think a lot of people would of potentially not come. You are a credit not only to CDI, but also to teaching english in Korea -- many parents and kids should be thankful & more importantly, managers of the company.
Keep up the great blog and I hope to meet you at some point. Take care, B
Sent: Wednesday, May 28, 2008 12:47:58 PM
What does the word barbarian actually mean in terms of race? A few students wrote my name next to the word barbarian. I just want to be sure that it is a negative word. Have any black ESL teachers experience subtle or blatant racism from any of your students? What do they say about your hairstyles, etc? I told the students that what doesn't kill me makes me stronger? I will just keep getting stronger!!!!
Sent: Wednesday, May 28, 2008 1:13:22 PM
hi.you've written only to me, so i assume you'd like my opinion? how old are you students? b/c they're children, we have the opportunity and the right to bully in a bit and let them know when they're wrong. the kids have never said/done anything overtly racist towards me, (at least not in english for me to understand) tho i know of other teachers who've experienced such things.
when my kids step out of line, i tell them calmly yet firmly that i am their teacher and their elder and that there is a certain way they will NOT speak to me, that they must understand boundaries and respect. i tell them that anything they wouldnt say to their mother or father, they should not say to me either. if it's just one student, i pull them aside and get close to the face, and use a low voice, firmly saying the same thing. "close tot he face" makes them listen, also scares them a bit, realize the seriousness of the situation.
as for the kids writing your name next to "barbaric" maybe, MAYBE i would use it to open discussion with them? maybe. Again, i think b/c their kids, we have the right to tell them when their wrong. they're not entitled to their own opinion, not with something like this, not when their so young. i guess i would explain to them what calling someone "barbarian" would mean to someone from america. maybe remind them that since im their teacher, i do have intelligence and education, and how that doesnt fit with "barbarian." also maybe i would explain the importance of word choice, and how what we say, which words we use, and how we say it are all important. maybe i would explain that they're insulting their teacher by calling me "barbarian and make it clear that theyre never to use such language like that again, at least, not in my class room. that's another thing i would remind them, that they're in MY classroom. remind them that i am in charge, and that they dont get to test me.
the kids DO trip out about my hair. b/c it's so curly, im often asked if i have a perm. when i i pick it out into an afro, i get even more questions. i explain that black people have curly hair, we are born with it, just as most koreans are born with straight hair.
maybe consider posting your situation in one of the groups, im sure others have had similar experiences. or maybe send an email to the rest of the seoul family. anyway, i hope ive helped if only a little bit.
to find more of us in seoul:
Sent: Monday, June 4, 2007 9:48:55 AM
Hi! My name is xxx and I am a sista from NC living in VA for now, I will be in Korea in July Gwangmyung is where I will be!
I saw your blog site and I loved it! I still had some questions though. I wanted to know how you make get phone calls home? What to do about cellphone? Also what about paying US taxes?
I was thinking about shipping some personal goods like my rice cooker, toaster oven ,pots pans iron, boom box. Also hair stuff like dryer,(the hooded kind) and my favorite brand of hair care products etc. Will dvds from korea play on my laptop?
So what is the dating scene like? Any tips or suggestions for me?
Gwangmyung is where I will be! cool! i have no idea where that is in relation to anyang (where i am), but not far, im sure. is it in seoul? i'll come meet you for lunch.
I saw your blog site and I loved it! I still had some questions though. I wanted to know how you make get phone calls home? What to do about cellphone? thank ya! phone calls home: i use a phone card. if you have a computer, along with a headset/microphone thingy, you can make calls for free. ive not done it (i dont have my own computer) but a homegirl of mine from canada called home via her laptop using msn. all for free. for the cell phone, i wrote about it here, basically i bought a phone from a woman who'd just left korea. when i got here, i had it activated. i dont have a plan, i use phone cards for local minutes as well as long distance.
Also what about paying US taxes? no idea. if/when i find out, i'll get back to you. in the meanwhile, maybe check wikigalbijim or eslcafe.
I was thinking about shipping some personal goods like my rice cooker, toaster oven ,pots pans iron, boom box. i dont think i'd bother to bring electronic personal goods that cant run on batteries. the plugs are different here, and tho you can buy a converter if you have the time and money and patience; those first few weeks in korea were challenging enough without that, for me anyway. what school will you be working for? can they provide a rice cooker, toaster oven, etc for you? you really oughtn't bring your iron, pots, pans... your luggage will weigh a ton and you can only bring so much with you. check with the airline. i had a two suitcase limit, 70 lbs each.
boom box do you have an mp3 player? much smaller and holds all your music for you. if you really want to bring it, check that it can run on batteries.
Also hair stuff like dryer,(the hooded kind) and my favorite brand of hair care products etc. these things, yes DO bring. maybe pack a box for someone to send to you when you get here. there are some black hair salons around, but it seems as if every sister ive talked to misses their own stuff from back home.
Will dvds from korea play on my laptop? uhm, i think you can only reset a computer 3 or 4 times before it locks in to which region dvd it'll play. i believe here the dvds are region 1? check wikigalbi or eslcafe tech forum. i went to yongson electronic market and bought the cheapest region free dvd player i could find. 30USD, it'll play anything.
So what is the dating scene like? Any tips or suggestions for me? i have a preference for black men. not that i wouldn't date a korean or anyone non black, but ive made no efforts to do so here, and none have made efforts towards me... or if they did, i didnt know it. there is a sizable african population here and if you just want a lay, it can be had quite easily. this is tricky, however, b/c it seems as though all the africans know each other. if you dated Tom one week, Harry the next, and then start looking at Dick, you may come off as the slut from america. it's up to you. not that im any expert, but i really doubt one would find a soul mate here. bring your vibrator/butterfly/whathaveyou. batteries can be bought on every street corner.
----- Original Message ----
Sent: Monday, July 23, 2007 10:32:57 PM
Subject: Re: blog
thanks for the info I have been in Korea for a week now and its one interesting confusing place! I am very lucky though my co teacher and school are taking great care of me. I am working at a public elementry school in Hwasung, my biggest frustration is that I can't seem to find a atm to get money! I finally signed with KB bank for banking and they do wire transfers.
So what do you think of Daves esl, somethings good somethings bad. I understand that I have been here only a week, but so far Koreans have been great to me. I seem to be the only English teacher around which seems hard to accept, its not like I am in the country but then again maybe so, Thank goodness Suwon is close by!
From: english teacher firstname.lastname@example.org
date: Sun, 29 Jul 2007 21:54:29
hi glad to hear things are going ok. it only gets easier. are you still having problems with getting money? do let me know if you need anything at all. my number is 010-5804-4742
as for daves: meh. lots of negative people, but i try to keep in mind that they are all white people, leaving their space of priviledge for the first time, and taking things extra hard now that they are in a place where being white doesnt give them the superiority that they're used to.
i like my life here, but i always try to keep a positive attitude. :)
----- Original Message ----
From: >To: email@example.com
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2007 2:51:56 PM
Subject: Re: blog
Thanks for the offer! I am cool now I finally got my settlement money and partical pay on friday!
So I will have to make sure that it last until next month! Although I seem to be going through money like water latley. I totally agree with you about the daves thing! People have been great to me so far. After going to Seoul I am happy I did not choose to live and teach there... too much of everything for my taste kinda like being in NYC.
Things are looking good I am making Korean friends and I have made some friends with a few military guys. I already have friends who are married who live in Yongsan Seoul. A sista can't complain! I just wish I could find a pool, gym, massage and sauna!
My school is great so far, it would be nice to be home right now or doing something other than waiting for the clock to tick but its cool it could be worse and no stress!
Have a good week and here is my cell 010.....
We should try and go to dinner one weekend.
Sent: Wednesday, March 26, 2008 12:51:27 AM
Subject: [The Supa Dupa Fly Seoul Sista] New comment on merry xmas.
I LOVE yer blog! I'll be arriving in Pyeongchon in about a month and am ridiculously nervous, anxious and excited. Sometimes I feel like my friends and family have a million questions that I can't even begin to answer - how much training, who picks you up at the airport, do you get a buddy teacher (that's my mom!) to help you navigate? And so on...
And thanks for the food tips!
Also, my contract is with Poly Returnee Institute. Know anything helpful??
how much training: this will depend on your school.
ho picks you up at the airport: also depends on your school. for cdi, nobody did. but they gave me instructions on how to take the shuttle and then the bus to where i was supposed to go. ive heard that some recruiting agencies will arrange to pick you up and take you to your apt, and then show you around your neighborhood a bit. i dont know which agencies, tho... *blush*
do you get a buddy teacher (that's my mom!) to help you navigate? also depends on your school. not w/cdi.
Also, my contract is with Poly Returnee Institute. Know anything helpful?? no, ive not heard of it. but maybe try a search on daves or google?
Date:Thu Apr 10, 2008 10:13 am
1. Where do you work? I'm all over the place, looking at places like CDI, GnB, etc., recruiters and private schools directly.
2. How would you say friendships go? Is it a mix between Koreans and foreigners? I'm sure language plays a big part in it.
3. Do you get along well in Korea as a black person? Not that I can't handle it: racism doesn't really affect me to the point where I'd give up or leave, but I just want to be prepared.
i work for cdi. it has it's ups and downs.
i am friendly w/my coworkers, who are mostly white. in my private time, i pretty much only hang out w/black friends ive made here. not that others havent been friendly to me, but in my own social life, it's what i prefer.
do i get along well? yes, really i dont feel its much different from home, there are things you love and things you hate. i personally havent experienced anything worse than i already have back home.
Sent: Friday, May 16, 2008 6:50:36 PM
Subject: Hello Again!
----- Original Message ----
From: english teacher
Sent: Friday, June 27, 2008 1:12:06 PM
Subject: Re: Hello Again!
First, how can I ease the hearts of my family and friends? Some of them are taking it harder than others. this is a bit hard for me to answer. when i left everyone wished me well but that was it. i didnt really grow up very sensitive... i was moving, not dying. it's hard for me to comprehend why some people are so upset when we leave. this is south korea, often you'll live in or near seoul, and these are big cities, with cars and hot water and anything else you'd find everywhere else. maybe you should promise to start a blog so friends and family can see how youre doing. email home often. go to a korean restaurant with your friends and family and bond, you can all check out the new foods you'll be eating, together.
My housing will be provided, but typically how does it look? think small.
and how is it different from western style living? uhm...i dont know.
What would you suggest I pack? tampons, deoderant, a set of bedsheets.
How do you deal with being homesick. my first 6 months or so were very lonely. but you can start trying to find friends/like minded people now, if you konw what part of korea you'll be in. check the groups.
What will I be able to eat over there besides Korean dishes? this depends on where you live, but it seems there are western style places everywhere. i live within walking distance to a subway sandwiches, mcdonalds, kfc, burger king, pizza places, outback steakhouse. but try to go to korean restaurants before you come, you can get a handle on what the foods are, and how to pronounce them, find what you like.
And how long will you remain overseas? i dont konw. at least until feb 2009, that is when my contract is up.
Sent: Monday, May 5, 2008 12:47:34 AM
Subject: your blog is great!
From: Patient One
Sent: Saturday, May 3, 2008 11:31:22 PM
The Patient One
----- Original Message ----
From: english teacher
Sent: Wednesday, May 7, 2008 4:16:05 PM