links i find vital

where it all started for me! (btw it starts off with like a min of music)
a seoul radio station interview about bssk
a bunch of interviews with black expats in soko
find family on facebook: Brothas&Sistas of South Korea

Friday, December 29, 2006

Subject: Contract
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 11:26:53 +0900

I just wanted to check that you received my email with the contract! If you have already faxed it you will need to do so again as I haven't received it yet. I hope you are doing well.
Kindest Regards,Jason Nieuwoudt
Subject: RE: Contract
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 03:50:05 +0000
Hi Jason. Yes, I received it. I'll fax that tonight after work, about 3 hours from now. Thank you. :)
Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 9:16 AM
Subject: RE: Contract

Hi Jason. I faxed the contract this afternoon. Did you receive it?
Subject: RE: Contract
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 10:08:49 +0900

Oops...Shannon, when did you say you would be able to send off your documents for the E2 visa? I forgot!
Regards, Jason
Sent: Friday, December 29, 2006 4:06 AM
To: Jason Nieuwoudt
Subject: RE: Contract

Hi Jason. The only thing I do not have yet is my passport; I sent it off to be renewed and it should be coming in the mail any day now. Everything else on the list I have. If you'd like me to mail the other things, do let me know and I'll do that today or tommorrow.
  • Original University Degree
  • 2 Official University Transcripts (signed/sealed on the back cover flap)
  • 4 passport size photos
  • A copy of your passport (the photo and signature page only)


Sent:Fri 12/29/06 1:06 AM
Hi S,

How are you? It’s absolutely freezing here in Seoul. Anyway, if the passport is in the mail, let’s wait for that first and then send the whole lot. If I don’t speak to you before New Years, have a great one and take care.


Tuesday, December 26, 2006

i GOT a job!

happy holidays! i got a job with cdi!
im super hype, y'all. i've been offered a job in one of the 7 seoul/kyunggi cdi main branches which is exactly what i wanted. i start in february. i've opted for being paid hourly. with hourly, you'll get a minimum of 96 hours a month. i've opted for hourly b/c i want to enjoy my first year. i may not work as many hours as others in a month, but so what, money will come. i can use that time to explore korea. ah man, remember when i was working to find a job in japan and was turned down? twice? im so glad for that now. so, im awaiting my passport, and awaiting my diploma from my university. i already have my transcripts. i signed and faxed the cdi contract the other day. i bought my ticket to seoul a couple days ago. my last day at my job is feb 3rd. i leave for seoul on feb 16th. dance, banana, dance!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 12:07:56 +090
Dear S,

I hope this email finds you well. I also wanted to find out if you would be able to arrive in Korea in the middle of February. The reason why I ask is that the new term begins on the 27th February and I would be able to offer you a position at that time. Your original request for early March means that you would be coming in after the beginning of the new term which makes it difficult to find a position. Please let me know if coming in a little earlier is a possibility so we can begin placing you.
Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 2:35 PM
To: Jason Nieuwoudt
Subject: RE: CDI

Yes, I can come in February. Just give me a date. Thanks! :)
Subject: RE: CDI
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 15:08:33 +0900
Dear S,

That is wonderful news indeed. I am so glad you will be joining us.

I have attached the official application form with consent form (we do a degree check on all our instructors) and MOU for you to sign and fax back to me as soon as possible. I will need you to come on the 16, 17 or 18th February so you can begin training on the 19th. In this regard I need you to send me your confirmed flight itinerary as soon as possible so your position will be secured. Your first day of teaching will be February 27th with the new term so you can be assured a full schedule and will be able to make some very good money.

please also send me your docs (use FedEx or DHL that’s registered) for your E2 visa process. For this I need the following:
  • Original University Degree
  • 2 Official University Transcripts (signed/sealed on the back cover flap)
  • 4 passport size photos
  • A copy of your passport (the photo and signature page only)

I am certain that you will be very happy at one of our very own branches and wanted you to know that this is the best start for someone who is looking for other opportunities within the company.

Kindest Regards,Jason

Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 3:48 PM
To: Jason Nieuwoudt
Subject: RE: CDI

Hi Jason. I am still awaiting my passport (i sent it off to be renewed a couple of weeks ago), and I am still awaiting a copy of my degree. It may be another 5 weeks before I receive the degree, my school has an ungodly long wait period. Will that be OK? I do have official transcripts and passport photos. I will work on getting a flight and fax it to you as soon as I can. Tomorrow afternoon, I will fax these forms you've emailed me, and I can FedEx the transcripts and photos if that's OK without the passport and degree. I do have a photocopy of my old passport, but it's listed to expire in July and it's a very ugly photo.
Subject: RE: CDI
Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 16:04:20 +0900
Hi S,

Don’t worry, I am sure things will work out as long as we are able to get all your docs by the end of January. This gives us about a week to process your visa and gives you a few days to get the visa from the embassy (call them and check how long this will take). I think its best to FedEx all the docs together.

The MOU and application form you can fax to me tomorrow as you said. The main thing is to get the flight itinerary so I can secure your position. Without this I cannot guarantee that the position will be available to you. You don’t need to fax the confirmed itinerary but can email it to me (some people just forward the confirmation email they get from the travel agent or online site.)

I also suggest getting on the case of the people at home affairs about your passport, and the university about your degree, as soon as possible.

PS. I don’t see how any photo you have can be ugly.

Regards, Jason
Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006 3:15 AM
To: Jason Nieuwoudt
Subject: RE: CDI

Hello Jason. I'll be faxing the MOU and application form to you this afternoon, and once I book a flight, I'll forward you the email. I feel silly asking, but, I should be booking a flight to Seoul, right?
Sent: Friday, December 22, 2006
Hi S,

In answer to your question, Yes! You should be buying a flight to Seoul. All I need now is your MOU and application form. Remember we do degree checks on all our teachers and also when you arrive you will take a mandatory health examination and drugs test.

I will be in touch with lots more information to make sure your transition over is smooth. Also remember to get out your docs to me by FedEx or DHL as soon as possible.

I am looking forward to your arrival.

Regards, Jason

Friday, December 22, 2006

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 22:46:59 +0900
Subject: CDI has emailed you

Dear S
Hope you have been doing well. Jason who is a manager at CDI has emailed you regarding a teaching position at CDI. He has found it for you. I was glad to hear that. Please let me know your decision. Have a happy holiday...

Thanks and kind regards,
On 12/22/06
Hello Cindy. Yes, I received the email with the contract. I've signed it and will fax it to Jason this afternoon. Thank you so very much for all your assistance. :)
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 01:21:08 +0900
Subject: Re: CDI has emailed you

Dear S
I am glad that you've signed it.
I will check if Jason recieved it.
Have a good day.
Thanks and kind regards,
Hi Cindy. Jason has received my faxed application and MOU, yesterday i bought my ticket to Seoul, and I've just received the CDI contract from Jason via email this morning. Thank you again so much for setting this up and for all your help.
Dear S

Sounds great. I believe you will be an excellent teacher in Korea^^
Please recommend me your friends who may be interested in teaching in Korea.
Let's meet someday after March :)
Have a great holiday and a happy new year!!

Thanks and kind regards,

Friday, December 15, 2006

On 11/21/06
Hi Cindy! I just finished my interview with CDI, I think it went well! I'm very excited, they seem to be as professional and thorough as their reputation exudes. I hope they will find me a worth while candidate. Thank you so much for setting up this interview, I think this is exactly the right opportunity for me and I'm eager to see how this develops. Thanks again!
I was glad to hear that the interview was successful.
The manager will send you the essay questionnaires to complete.
The better essay is the more money you can make, as it has direct baring on the salary scale.
I hope it works well.

Thanks and kind regards,
Date: Tue, 5 Dec 2006 23:31:06 +0900
Subject: Re: Interview at 11:30pm Korean time on Tuesday(your Monday evening)

Hope everything is going well with you.
I believe you will work for the CDI next year.
Thanks and kind regards,

On 12/6/06
Hi Cindy! I've not heard from CDI, are you sure I am to have a job there next year? If so, that is fantastic news! I'm ready to sign a contract! :)
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2006 01:46:47 +0900
Subject: Re: Interview at 11:30pm Korean time on Tuesday(your Monday evening )

Hope all is well with you.
Please let me know how it is going with the CDI position.
I hope to hear from you.
Thanks and kind regards,

from Good English
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 2006 10:08:12 +0900
Dear S
How are you? I heard from Cindy that you were concerned as you hadn't heard from me, please don't be. As you are only available in March your application will only be able to get a firm confirm on the location closer to the time. I very much enjoyed our conversation and am certain we will find a location for you. I am excited to have you on board the CDI team. I will be able to have a better idea of the location and position after Christmas I hope. If you would like me to call you by phone and speak regarding this please let me know a time when I may call.

Sent: Wednesday, December 06, 2006 10:23 AM
To: Jason Nieuwoudt
Subject: RE: CDI Holdings

Hello Jason. Thank you so much for emailing. You don't need to call, this email is good enough for me, I AM SO EXCITED!!! Thank you so much, I'll be waiting to hear from you as it gets closer to March. Thanks again!
Sent:Fri 12/15/06 8:34 PM
To: CindyPark (

Hello Cindy! Thank you for your email, and THANK YOU for confirming CDI for me. Jason, the person I did the phone interview with, promptly emailed me and let me know that a contract should be ready sometime after Christmas. The delay was because I am not coming to Korea until March, so placement for me would have to wait a bit. As soon as I get further information, I will email you. Thanks again! :)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


i've read a lot on eslcafe about overall lack of privacy in korea. im only familiar with this from my trips to west africa. you could go to the market in the morning, and by lunch, the waiter who you've met maybe once says to you, "Oh, i heard you've visited our market this morning!" it's not malicious, but rather it's small town stuff and foreigners are so easy to spot and track. so, some tips on privacy. this will of course be updated as i experience things myself.
  • if the school gave you living quarters, they probably have an extra set of keys. not much you can do i suppose, but if you have a keypad type lock, change the code and keep it to yourself. keep your door locked when youre at home. it's korean habit to just enter a home without bothering to knock, or knock after entering.
  • consider having an additional bank account. the school opens an account for you and you'll be paid via direct deposit. keep this account for this and local bill paying only. use a second account at a different bank to store your savings or wiring money. i've read accounts of visiting the bank in the morning, and in the afternoon, you'll see an email or your boss will ask you why you sent so much money home that day. again, not for malicious reason, but just wanting to know.
  • if you teach private esl lessons on the side, keep that cash at home. unless you have an F2, F4, or F5 visa, it is illegal to work outside of your school. ive heard that this is how immigration will see youre doing this, by seeing all that extra money in your bank account that came out of nowhere.
  • careful of the web pages you may browse at work. dont look at porn or the like whilst on the clock. maybe dont check your email or eslcafe or any page where you register; if you forget to log out, the next Joe Schmo may hop on and browse through all your business. do your web surfing at home, or at the local pc bang.
  • always be nice. you may not know that person smiling or waving at you, and it does get tiresome being this american celebrity, but that doesnt mean it's ok to be an ass. make a little conversation, be friendly, and apologize profusely for having to jet off so soon.

Monday, December 11, 2006

i think i gots a job

hello blog world! the school emailed me with, "rest assured. as you are only availble in march, your application will only be able to get a firm confirm on the location closer to that time.... i am excited to have you on the team." yeah, me! i've not told anyone yet, no friends, no family. i dont want to say much more until i get the contract which will be sometime after christmas. so i dont have much else to post about. i've been off the forums for quite some time, so i've nothing to pass on right now. happy holidays, everyone, i'll be back laters.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

other abroad blogs

here are other blogs i read of folks abroad.

other korea blogs

not like i know everything.
do check out these other korea blogs.
this is the logo i made for my blog.
i couldnt figure out how to post this
in place of the blog title header.
ah, well, it's still pretty.

  • some canadian guy i randomly found on a google search. i like his blog, tho.
  • this one belongs to a korean woman, talking about her own american culture shock. pretty cool.
  • i dont know this girl, she just commented on my blog one day. i thought she was really nice.
  • this is kirk. looks like we'll be starting jobs in korea about the same time. well, he'll be there first.
  • here are other korea esl teachers talking about the field of ESL, how to survive your one year contract, etc.
  • and here is one about life in korea, not necessarily esl.
  • here is an index solely of blogs about being in korea.
  •, also has a forum.

Blogs of black folks abroad

it's a different experience being abroad if you're a person of color.
these are some blogs of my brothas and sistas elsewhere in the world.
have a blog yourself? shoot, let a sista know! i like these different flags.


im not so good at posting my actual "life," like what i do for fun and such. my friends are, tho. so if the blogs above have a little **, it means that it's a person i actually know in real life, and they've probably done a better job of writing actual life experience of life here in seoul.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

blogger beta.

i switched to blogger beta.
i lost a lot of my cool little customizations.
i dont like it. >:(

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

i dont have a job just yet

hello world. i think i will have an offer from cdi, the recruiter emailed me and said "i think you will have a job in cdi next year" but does that mean i DO have the job & her english is just a little off, or that might have a job and she's still awaiting an answer? during all this waiting, i thought a bit about my excitement & disappointment when i'd interviewed with both nova and aeon... and maybe bad news comes in threes, blah blah blah. if i dont get this one, i will get another one. the esl market in korea is huge. someone will hire me. positivity.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Tips for those on the job hunt.

here is a list of my more informative posts if you are on the esl job hunt yourself. let me know about broken links, or if you have a specific question or want to add to what i gots, do email me

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

send mail to korea cheap

thankyou to "two roads" of "The U.S. post office has flat rate envelopes you can use to ship overseas. I think they're called "global priority flat rate envelopes" or something like that. They cost $6.50 for the smaller envelopes and $9.50 for the larger evelopes, and only take 4-6 days from the U.S. to Korea. You can put as much stuff in as will fit, no weight limit. The larger size envelopes are quite roomy, and it's surprising how much stuff you can cram in there. Except for a couple fragile items, I've had everything that I've had sent to me (including toiletries) sent by these envelopes, and it's always worked out great."
another update: ive been in korea for 10 months now. every couple of weeks, my pops sends me magazines and such in the mail, using the envelope pictured above, at $11 a pop.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

report all spelling errors to the instructor.

if you see typos in my blog, please tell me. i dont capitalize or punctuate as i should, but if i straight misspell or misuse a word, let a sista know. i just saw that i used "their" when i meant "they're." *blush* geez, what kind of esl teacher am i...

Monday, November 27, 2006

my cdi essay

5. Should an introduction to art, music, and drama be a part of every college student's education? Explain why or why not.

An introduction to art, music, and drama need to remain a requirement for every college student’s education. The arts are the component of a well-rounded education that helps to develop critical thinking, intelligent analysis, and cognitive skills. In school, your basic education will teach you how to read; the artistic component of your education will help you to comprehend what you read. These students will grow to become our next generation of not just writers, musicians, and visual artists, but our next architects, inventors, computer web designers, and technicians because the arts helped develop their creative and independent thinking as well as logistical and mathematical skills. With this ability of comprehension, the Arts will help a student excel in school and therefore develop the competencies needed to succeed in whatever path they choose in life.

A student who understands the curriculum will exceed academically. One can help a student to understand the curriculum by using the arts to supplement traditional academic lectures. Take for example a study of the American Civil Rights Movement. It is one thing to read the history textbook memorizing names and dates. But think of how much more this student would understand and truly come to comprehend and empathize when s/he reads the struggles of being young and Black in Richard Wrights Black Boy or watch the racial injustice in director Robert Mulligan’s To Kill a Mockingbird. A student will become more invested in the curriculum and course work when s/he understands what they’re studying. The student will not just memorize that 1965 is the year of the Voting Rights Act; this student will remember the poetry, literature, film, and arts, that showed s/he what America was like at the time the Voting Rights Act was enacted.

Knowledge of the arts opens up a student’s creativity. It makes him/her think outside of the box. All great discoveries and inventions started with “what if” or “what will happen,” and these ideas and questions rooted in science come from minds with some arts sensibility. Had Christopher Columbus not questioned the widely accepted belief that the world was flat, perhaps Europe wouldn’t have known what we know now as America even existed.

Every field, be it professional, corporate, medical, or technical, use both art and science and invaluable results come from this collaboration. Leonardo Da Vinci, for example: this artist is famous for his painterly skills on the Mona Lisa, but Da Vinci was also an inventor and scientist. He had a fascination with the human body evident in his many drawings of perfectly proportioned human bodies. He studied cadavers in the name of art to help him develop in figurative painting and as a result, some of our early knowledge of human anatomy can be attributed to his artwork. Da Vinci’s original and creative mind also lent itself to many inventions. He had a fascination with flight and tried many times to invent a flying machine. He was successful in inventing a hang glider that, when tested years after his death, did work. This is proof that art is beneficial everywhere. Every mind flourishes with exposure to the arts and can help students develop into successful adults.

Having a college education infused with artistic elements benefit the student in so many ways. It’s an artistic sensibility that helps a student to understand every other school subject and therefore helps him or her to excel in every class. A student who understand the curriculum is a student that is going to develop in terms of creative thinking, problem solving, independent thinking, decision making and communications skills, leadership skills; the life skills necessary to become a successful adult.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

the cdi essay topics

These are generic topics for a stand 5 paragraph essay, so i feel ok about posting them here, i dont think i'm giving away any secrets or something. One complaint about cdi that i'd read on an esl forum was having to write this essay. I think it's fair, tho, you'll be teaching english and this is a school that wants to hire people who are capable of that. The only requirement to teach in korea, aside from being a citizen of a specific country, is having a 4 year degree. And certainly not every single person with a college degree is “capable.” I could tell you some stories about some of the people i'd tutored...

Essay Topics for CDI Instructor Candidates

Directions: select one of the topics below and write a coherent essay in the Standard TOEFL format (introduction, body, and conclusion). Please save a Microsoft Word document to the DESKTOP under your FIRST and LAST name. Also, please write the ENTIRE question you choose to answer at the top. Length: 400 – 500 words (4-5 paragraphs, 1.5 - 2 pages) Time: 60 minutes


1. Do you suppose you would be happier if you lived more simply, eliminating the effort it takes to acquire an abundance of luxuries? Why or why not?


2. "Self-discipline is the most important ingredient for success." Attack or defend.


3. We often hear education attacked or defended on the basis of its utility. Define and explain what you mean by "useful" or "useless" when you apply those terms to education.


4. If you could live in some other historical period, which would you choose, and why?

Art and Culture

5. Should an introduction to art, music, and drama be a part of every college student's education? Explain why or why not.

Saturday, November 25, 2006


im here at work clearing things out of the hard drive. i know i dont leave for months yet, but im always thinking of little things i can do to clear up, finish up, get rid of, reduce, etc. Makes me feel in motion. i had this quote on a document in my hard drive, i dont remember where i read this, but i really love it. i remember in high school students would complain about all the "extra work" and why cant teachers just teach us what we NEED to know (like for the upcoming test). i dont know why, but i never agreed with that. then i read this, and it pretty much sums it up: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically... Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.”

Friday, November 24, 2006

hogwan or not, take every application process seriously.

Part of the CDI application process is that you write an essay in standard 5 paragraph format. They're simple "attack or defend" debate questions, no need to research or anything, and I spent three stinkin' days on it! *sigh* i just emailed it to the school an hour ago. im so nervous!!! i really was over-thinking it, i re-wrote it a bunch of times, and of course i wasnt happy with what i finished with. OK, but i still feel overall confident, tho. i feel really positive about the phone interview, i have teaching experience, i minored in english, im a substitute teacher... that's not a lot here, really, but i think it's valuable in the korean esl market... loyal readers, remember that Aeon fiasco that happened a few months ago? sure thought i had that one in the bag! :) man, i ate so much food today, my back hurts. happy thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 23, 2006

my brother is aiight sometimes.

this morning i called my brother to explain to me the difference between an iPod and an mp3 player. "An iPod is and mp3 player," he explained, "Just like Kleenex is tissue." im so old and lame... anyways, i asked him b/c im always thinking about how to reduce all my possessions for when i leave for korea. i know that ipods are these small things that hold a lot of music. he explained to me that you turn your music into i-tunes and then you can put them on an ipod, or something? hey, i said already that im lame, OK?! i have a lot of cds, and i was wondering if i should invest in an mp3 player to store my music. later i went to my parents house for thanksgiving dinner, and when my brother got there, he gave me an mp3 player. one he'd had for a while, actually, bought it for a friend who got one on his own before my brother could give it to him. but anyway, thanks again, brother. just wanted to give you props where everyone can see it. :) edit: how to fix an ipod

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

cheap flights to korea

wow, pretty cheap flights on this website: thanks, random user on eslcafe! ah well, actually, it is standard that the employers in korea are to pay for your ticket over, but i've heard often that you just get reimbursed. so, good to have this website on hand just in case i have to buy my own ticket at first. but hopefully not. we'll find out in march.
march 2007, i'll be in korea.
update: i got a job to start in february. i bought my ticket to seoul in late december 2006 via this bt website. cost me a little over $500 USD one way.

update: found this on eslcafe, people use it for thier vacations.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

CDI (Chung Dahm Institute)

a recruiter called me the other night asking if i'd like to interview with CDI (Chung Dahm Institute). i know i'd made up my mind before to just stick with jobbusan, but this woman was so nice over the phone. if you do a google image search for "cdi" you dont get anything related to the school, so instead here's a cute poster for some korean movie called "Please Teach Me English."

What I learned about CDI on

 the students are grouped by english ability/comprehension as well as by age. Issues at private hogwans- mom insisting her child be put in level x, not getting paid on time, not getting paid in full, having your schedule changed unannounced- are not commonplace there as they are at most other hogwons. complaints that i have tried to read like positives:

  • a full week of training, but with no pay (well, that happens sometimes here in the states. at least you'll get training instead of a book and instructions of "go teach" as happens in many other schools. and it's not a surprise, they tell you youre not getting paid for it).

  • Solid scheduled of 4pm-10pm, sometimes not M-F, likely working a weekend day (again, at least it's not a surprise. they tell you you'll might have to work weekends. and schedules change every 3 months, at least, so if one term sucks, hope for good for the following term).

  • you dont get all national holidays off, and only 7 non paid vacation days off a year (well, yeah. others insist, and deserve, the usual full 2-8 weeks korean vacation time).

  • airfare is not paid for you upfront, you get half when you arrive, and the other half upon completion of the contract (i think that's fair, tho other jobs are easily had where your ticket is paid ahead for you).

  • you have to write an essay when you apply (many complain about this, and understandably so b/c many jobs are to be had without this requirement, but it's only a standard 5 paragraph and no big chore).

  • classes are three hours long (but you get a breakdown of how to use those three hours. many complain there's no freedom to teach what you want, but for some, this translates into "this is too much actual work/teaching.")
seems like everything is straightforward. yes, you'll work weekends. yes, sometimes you'll have to go to meetings. but they tell you about it, it's not tricky. i do understand that there is a difference between the cdi branch and the cdi franchise, also, some differences between opting to be paid hourly or flat monthly salary. but my word is not bond. please check out other forums and do a search for cdi.
Subject: Good position
Date: Fri, 6 Oct 2006 11:43:30 +0900

This is Cindy from Good English in Korea. I have good teaching positions in Seoul, Bundang, Ilsan, Incheon, Kangneung and Busan. If you are interested , please send me your resume, photo and a copy of bachelor's degree and passport. I will definitely find a great teaching position for you. Please let me know your available time to start to work and convenient time for an interview. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks and kind regards,
82 11 311 8242
Thank you for your email. I have attached my resume and cover letter.
On 11/18/06, CindyPark < > wrote:
Dear S
I wonder if you are available.
I'd like to recommend a good position of CDI.
I've attached the information of CDI.
There are over 50 branches and franchises.
lease let me know if you are interested.
And then I will recommend you to the company.
I look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks and kind regards,
Subject: Interview at 11:30pm Korean time on Tuesday(your Monday evening )
Date: Mon, 20 Nov 2006 22:43:45 +0900
It was nice talking to you on the phone.
You seemed very nice.
As I told you, I set up an interview at 11:30am Korean time on Tuesday(your Monday evening).
The manager will call you.
I hope the itnerview will be successful.

Thanks and kind regards,
On 11/21/06:
Hi Cindy! Thank you so much for your call last night. I have been reading about CDI and I am VERY excited to interview with them tonight; they seem to be very professional with a good reputation, and I hope they will find me to be a good asset to their staff.

I do have some questions for you: what is the age range of the students? If CDI decides to offer me a position, I do have a couple of concerns if you are able to shed some light on these: I've read that CDI generally does not pay for airfare upfront. Is this negotiable? Could CDI pay for my ticket to Korea, and then deduct it from the first paycheck? Also, I've read that CDI generally doesn't provide housing, is this correct? If they do not, would they provide housing search assistance and key money? This will be my first time to Korea and understandably I'd like to make sure I would have a place to live arranged before I arrive.

Please forgive my multitude of questions. I'd like to bring up again my overall flexibility: I understand that CDI is open 365 days a year, and I'd like to reiterate that I have no problems working weekends, holidays, or split shifts. Attending occasional meetings or other work related events before or after the regular schedule is not an issue for me as well. When I graduated from college with two BA's, I concurrently earned a minor in English. I am certified to substitute teach here and I do have a good deal of experience working with full classes as well as one on one tutoring. I really hope that CDI finds me to be a worthwhile candidate. I'm very excited for the call tonight, thank you again for arranging it! :)

Thank you again, Cindy, I look forward to hearing from you.
The CDI will reimburse the airfare when you come to Korea.
There are 2 types of payment.
Monthly payment with a single housing or High hourly payment without housing(the school will provide a key money and help you to find a housing.

The manager will answer very kindly and specifically to you questions.

I hope the interview will be successful, as well.

Thanks and kind regards,

Monday, November 20, 2006

paperwork prep

updated "paperwork prep" post from august 2010 here:
thank you to eslcafe user ttompatz for this lesson learned: get these things in order before you leave for Korea. or actually, start once you decide to teach abroad because you will need them for your employer wherever you end up. seriously, get started, b/c these can take a long time to get:

  • sealed official transcripts
  • passport
  • xerox copies of the photo page of the passport
    extra passport sized photos
  • your degree, or a copy of it certified by the Korean Embassy
  • a criminal background check
  • get a medical exam w/tests for stds.
Sealed official transcripts can be obtained from your college, i ordered mine online and got like 10 sent to me from my school for $15. i got them near a month later, all in their own individual envelope.

Make sure you have a recent passport; they are valid for 10 years i think? make sure it will not expire while you are abroad. It takes about 6 weeks if you renew by mail, but you can pay extra for expedited service. Either way, you can go online and check the status of the renewal here. it cost me $60 to renew my passport and i did it by mail.

You can send your original degree to your employer, but a certified copy of it is just as good, so long as it is certified by the Korean Embassy. so get another degree issued by your school, or copy yours and get it certified. i opted for a reissue from my school, it cost me $12.00 & took 8 weeks to come in the mail.
contact your nearest consulate for specifics on how to get your degree certified. Specifics vary from consulate/country to consulate/country - ie: the process in the UK is different from the US is different from Canada. find your nearest korean embassy by clicking here or here.

you also need a criminal record check.
bring plenty of extra id-sized or passport sized photos. get one set from an actual shop, and then take it to rite aid or somewhere and use their machine to copy it. you'll need two for your passport, two for your arc card, two for your medical exam, and jeez who know what else. bring lots, it'll save you the hassle of trying to figure out the photo machines in korea, which are of course all written in korean... do i press the green button? red button? didnt have to deal with it, lucky prepared me.

do bring extra copies of everything for yourself. if you dont want to stay at your school, you can try to get a letter of release to free you up to find a new job, but help yourself and be prepared to dip out by having all the above paperwork ready for the new school. it's a new job, so they will need everything fresh: your transcript, your degree, etc. Don't count on the old school being nice and giving everything back to you; it's best to just be over-prepared and have copies of your own. the new school will help you with the technicalities and will pay for the visa run, and hooray you'll have a different (hopefully better) job. many new teachers just leave korea after a few days/weeks/months like this guy. a shame. maybe if he'd had copies of all his stuff, he'd have looked into finding a different job instead of pulling a runner.

lastly, bring CASH (and a Visa +/ Mastercard for back up if you've got them, no where takes Discover). are you sure as to what your first payday will be when youre here, and how much it will be? have lots of money on hand, just in case. as for amount, i've read various suggestions from 600-3,000 USD. (update: i brought $1200USD and went through it like water, esp b/c of cdi, and having to buy everything in my home fresh. seriously, bring as much as you can. and bring CASH. ive yet to meet a person who had no problems w/using their credit cards/atm cards when they first got here.) if you dont have money, borrow from friends or family (dont be a jerk and not pay back, of course), or consider taking a cash advance on a credit card, if you have one, and then just pay it off right away with your first one or two paychecks.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

you're. not your.

18 November, 2006 Anonymous has left a new comment on your post:

so your black. who cares. your not even in Korea despite the expats blurb, i cant believe im wasting my time commenting

hey, thanks, anonymous! this is really insightful and creative! i really appreciate your sensitivity and willingness to look outside your circle to open up to new perspectives, thanks for stopping by my blog!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

housing security deposit & overtime pay

a major reason some choose korea over japan is the free housing. you really never know what you'll get. ive read of some where their housing turned out to be an empty spare classroom, some where they lived with the boss for the first month, and poor mike was given this atrocity to live in. and of course some turn out great.

you usually dont have to put down any
key money, the school does so for you. you may be asked to put down a security deposit. this is not really a requirement. some insist that it's downright illegal, but if it is in your contract that you sign, it's perfectly legal. i guess it's up to you if you agree on that condition or not. many do not trust their employers to return any deposit money when they leave the job. davester frankly speaking had this to say:

Many contracts that I have received over the years have stated
that they want a housing security deposit but it usually only
100-200,000 Won. I just sent it back and said that it is not a good way
to start a relationship. It should begin by trust. I tell them that since
monthly bills rarely add up to 80,000 won a month, why should I
deposit 200,000. I tell them that I would be willing to deduct
100,000 out of my last month's salary to pay for the final month's bills.
I have never been denied by those companies. The other thing I keep
seeing on many contracts is overtime salary of 15,000 or 18,000 won
a month. It should never be less than 20,000 and even that is low.
If you calculate your base salary, it is around 17,000 won a month.
Overtime should be paid at 1.5. roughly 25,000 won an hour
is what is legal."

me writing: this is arguable, some say 20,000 is perfectly acceptable. davester MRD posted:
Originally the school wanted me to pay a 200,000W monthly deposit
for 3 months. Much like the previous poster who wanted to establish
trust at the beginning of the work relationship, I respectfully requested
this to be removed, and in lieu, on the first day of the last month I
would supply the school with reciepts of my bills to prove they are all
paid, in addition to paying the school the AVERAGE cost of the monthly
bills. The final wording in the contract ended up like this:

The cost of monthly service, utility, and telephone charges for the
accommodation provided will be paid by the teachers. The teacher
should provide the school with the average cost of monthly utilities
and phone charges at the beginning of the last contract month.
The teacher should also provide the school with copies of the bills at that
time showing that there are no outstanding payments to be made.

me again: well i shall write more on this once i get to korea and am going through this myself. but seems across the board that you'll get your own place, and only get shared housing, pay security deposit, etc, if you decide you're ok with it. i heard the cost of the utility bill can be outrageous depending on how cold the weather is. being from southern cali, i bet it'll be half my check, yo.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

빈집 (Bin-jip) means Empty Houses

best korean movie ive ever seen.
watch it

seoul sista

i change this website title often b/c i cant find something that "looks" nice. black in asia, teaching esl, or the black esl teacher, or being black in asia, they dont "look" good in the title box. today i changed the website name to include the term "seoul sista" b/c i think that's hella cute. There's a dj who uses the name seoul sista, no idea who she is, but since she got use of the name first, here's her website these cute little pink boxes i found on google image search, of course.

meet harvey!

above my new friend harvey of he is the handsome brotha in center to the right. i dont have much to say right now. jobbusan said they'll have a contract for me in december, so i'm just waiting.

i thought about looking for other contracts, but the more i look, the more i question which one is "best;" should i insist on seoul, should i teach adults only, should i ask for more money, etc. I've decided that im just going to take this jobbusan job if the contract looks ok, and then just go. it's only a year. next year i can switch cities if i want. or students. or heck, even countries! so im chillin right now.

the whole esl field in korea moves very fast once youre ready to leave, as i understand. if youre ready to leave in a week, you can get a job and be gone. since im not leaving for a while, i'm using this time to learn about the korean esl field, and korean culture. i read a few blogs here and there. im looking for where i can take korean language classes here. havent found any yet. but i've been watching lots of korean movies from netflix.

i highly recommend The Way Home (i hope im that tough when im an elder), attack the gas station (the guy in the green suit is friggin hot), and joint security area (i dont have a taste for war films, but this turned out to be about unity and brotherhood. i cried, it was beautiful).

Monday, November 13, 2006

esl interview tips.

for prosperity: i learned a lot when i went on my interview with nova. i was not offered a job, but it was my fault, i was arrogant and so sure that that i would get a job offer that i was messy in a few places. First, I showed up to the interview/group orientation about 20 minutes late, no good reason, I was just late. Strike two: I wore a blouse with ¾ sleeves that exposed a tattoo on my forearm. Though the interviewer was very nice and told me that in Japan I would have to be sure to keep it covered, I suspect that my not being mindful of it in the first place left a poor impression. Third: I have locks, and carelessly left them down and casual. I should have twisted and pulled them back for neatness. Turns out that NOVA doesn’t allow locks at all, but I should’ve at least made them neater and more conservative in appearance. Despite my having two bachelor degrees, a minor in English, prior teaching experience, and being certified to substitute teach, I was not offered a position with NOVA. I strongly suspect my aforementioned blunders left a very poor impression. So in the end, instead of the call with a job offer that I was sooooo sure I would get, I instead received a polite letter in the mail letting me know I would not be offered a position. So when you interview, be sure to:

  • Be in the lobby and awaiting your appointment at least 15 minutes early, I cannot stress this enough. In Japan, being on time means being 15 minutes early. Our group for aeon interview was scheduled to start at 1. At 1:01, we were asked to move to the other room and the guy locked the main door behind us to prevent any latecomers from coming in. If for any reason you are late, call and let someone know.

  • Cover all tattoos. Don’t mention you even have any. In Japan, tattoos are still associated with yakuza to this day are not at all casual as they are here in the states.

  • Take out all piercings. Don’t mention you have any of these either.

  • wear business attire. in the workplace, men must wear a long sleeve shirt, suit and a tie. Women’s attire is a little broader, but best to err on the side of conservative, you can’t go wrong with a blue or black skirt or pant suit.

  • During your demo lesson, speak clearly and slowly, make eye contact and smile. Stop often and say, “do you understand?” or “any questions?” something to show you’re keeping the student’s comprehension in mind.

  • For the lesson plan, less is more. Try to do something that has the students talking the most and the teacher the least. The Aeon goal is 20% teacher talk and 80% student talk.

  • Type out your lesson plan in full detail of how you would use 30 minutes, but the demo will only be for 5. Pick the 5 minutes that you think will show you in the best light as teacher.
    Try to come up with some sort of visual aid: objects, toys, or a colorful poster. If you’re writing something out on a poster be sure to use a ruler to make sure your lines are straight. Write it in pencil first, and then over that with a pen or marker.

  • If you’ve ever taken a foreign language class yourself, bring this up at your one on one interview. Talk about what the experience was like for you as a student and how you would be as a teacher.

  • You will be asked, “Why Japan?” Read up on Japanese culture and be ready to answer.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

this friggin font

hey, the font went back to before! yeah! i was really annoyed yesterday. i felt like this- >:( i knew very little of html when i started blogger, and worked meticulously to change codes so things would look exactly as i wanted them, so to see it yesterday all funky was disheartening. i worked so very hard... *tear drop.* anyway, on friday i told my boss that i was leaving. she said she was always happy to hear people follow their dreams, etc etc, i sent an email to the staff saying im leaving mid january, i got a bunch of emails back saying "congratulations." i still havent bought a scale, but i did make an appointment with jenny craig. laugh if you will, but them kirstie alley commercials are just too inspiring! i dont know her from eve, but when i see her on tv i feel so proud. walked to work yesterday. took me two hours. making little changes. proud of me, too.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

thank you, anonymous.

look at what some wonderful anonymous person wrote to me!!! *teardrop* man, so perfect too. i woke up this morning, thinking about how much i dont want to go to work today, that no one is going to take as good of care of my cats as me when i leave for korea, that i have to buy a new scale b/c im not watching my nutrition at all, that im not saving up enough money, etc... and then i open my email and read this wonderful message:
Hi! I've been reading about your trials and tribulations, and I can totally empathize and identify with your situation since I also want to go to Japan and had been rejected by Nova over a year ago. I'm attempting to join Aeon so we will see how that goes.I know you kinda have your heart set on South Korea now, but if you want to give Japan one more try (maybe even as just practice for future oversea esl interviews) my friend who used to teach at Nova and then changed his job to teaching public jr high school recommended this company. got his public school job through them and highly recommends this ALT route over Nova and Aeon. I believe they recruit overseas. I hope that you would consider this cuz after reading some of your entries I think you would have a lot to offer your students and to the people of Japan. Anyways good luck whichever path you decide, and now that I'll keep on reading to see how everything turns out.PS I'm planning on looking into this also as my alternative/backup to Aeon since I know their application process is really competitive.
oh my gosh, what if this isnt even a real email? what if it's some undercover spammer who works for inerac? ah who cares, right now i feel great!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

update: i didnt want to leave until after march 3rd, so that i could be here for black history month in february, and for the ghana independence day celebration (on march 3). BUT with negotiations going the way they are, i have agreed to bend some and leave earlier. i am eager to leave this job, and start anew elsewhere.

Monday, November 06, 2006

calling card

so i took that last image (google image search for "teacher") and made a new calling card. im a genius.

i have the best blog ever.

i read random blogs of others in korea; i got to say really that none of them are as cool as mine. no really tho, it really disturbs me the kind of things i read: teachers who show up to work hung over or still drunk, that never get home before day light, all these nasty men talking about how hot and eager to please all the "k-girls" are. guh. i need to find some blogs by women! i want to read what the students are like, what the classes are like. im excited at a new job and possible entire career change. im excited to learn korean, im going to make all efforts to become as fluent as can. i found this neat website "Let's Learn Korean" a lot of the consonants and vowels sound the same to me. i've not developed an ear for it yet. working on it.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

the recruiters i'm working with

i'll update later as to whether or not i get my job via this company, but here is their contact info for now. the website is in korean, but i did a google search for "jobbusan" and was able to click "translate this page," thanks, Google! the website looks like a temp agency. i couldnt get the logo, but check out this neat little banner:
JobBusan Inc.
Busan, Ulsan, Gyungnam
No1 site
Tel : +82-51-462-1515
Fax : +82-51-462-4004
jobbusan is working on getting me a public school job in changwon. a davesesl-er cautioned i ask about the job being on one campus, or multiple campuses (commute might be wack), also that with public school i may be the only foreigner (fluent english speaker) there and thus have no one to talk to. we'll see what happens. I've said this elsewhere i think, but if you are on the job hunt, open up a new email solely for your job search; something like initial_lastname@ you get a LOT of emails once your resume is out, as well as a lot of nigerian scams and "verify your credit card" and sexxy assians, etc. Many people advise sending your resume to as many recruiters as possible as well as posting it as many places as possible; i do not recommend this, it's way more emails than i wanted to handle. plus, you run the risk of multiple recruiters showing you to the same school, i think that would make one look unstable. try just a couple at a time, take it slow, search through the offers for something you like.
update: i ended up not using jubbusan. i had no problems with them at all; i just happened to get a job offer elsewhere through GoodEnglish1st. i dont know how, i never registered with them. i think a recruiter saw my resume posted somewhere; i got an email and then a phone call out the blue asking if i'd be interested in interviewing with cdi.

maybe a job at a public school in Changwon

so im working on finding the right job/contract. Right now i am working with a recruiting company called JobBusan, they found my resume on davesesl. for prosperity, here is my correspondence with them thus far:

10-10-06 Dear xxx , This is James from Job Busan Inc in South Korea. I have seen your ad from Davs cafe web site and i am interested in your starting date. Because i have many public school position which will be starts 1st of March in Changwon, Masan, Busan and so on. If you are interested in any city(Public school position), please let me know. And please send me your full resume, passport copy and recent photo to my email address. I look forward hearing from you soon. Sincerely, James
Hi James, thank you for your email. Ideally, I would like to be in Korea after March 3rd. I have attached my cover letter and resume with photo. Thank you.
10-12-06 Dear xxx, Is it possible to changed your mind to come to Korea before 3rd of March? Because the school starting time is 2nd of March but they wanna some orientation for foreign teachers 1 week before to start. Please make a easy way and public school system is best time and best condition for foreign teacher in Korea. -James
Hi, thank you very much for your email, however, I am unable to come to Korea before March 3rd. If you have anything available that would start then, or afterwards (April, May, etc), I hope you keep me in mind. Thanks again.
10-18-06 Dear xxx. I have a Changwon Public school position. All Public school start from 1st of March. But several schools in Changwon need teachers from April. So, If you can come by April 2007, I want to recommend that position. content is all same with Masan public school. If you are interested this city position, Iet me know. and could you send me your copy of passport?
Regards, Mary
11-05-06, Hi Mary, thank you so much for your email. Yes, a job in Changwon in April sounds really good. My passport is expired, but my photo is attached to my resume. I will work on renewing my passport and will send you a copy as soon as I can. Can you please let me know a little more about the position? What is the age range of the students? How many students per class? Is there a set curriculum I would follow?Thank you.
11-06-05 Dear XXX Thanks for emailing. I will keep in touch with you til you make a good position in Changwon. Anyway there is 40 students in a class and teaching level is Elementary to Middle school students. Also there is some special curriculum with Co teacher. Maybe you and co teacher work together. Anything else? If you have some question, please let me know.
11-06-05 : Hi Mary. This sounds great. I"ll work on renewing my passport and sending you a copy; do let me know if/when a contract is available for me to look at. Thank you again for all your hard work!
11-06-05 Dear XXX The contract coming this Dec. I will send you asap when we make it. I wanna check again. You wanna work in Changwon public school from next April. Is it correct? -Mary
11-08-06 Hi Mary. I was wondering, if this job is teaching middle school and elementary students, would I be on one campus, or going to different campuses? Thank you again for all your help. Again, this job sounds good, but I am open to look at any job that is open after March 11.
11-9-06 Dear XXX, If you accept Changwon public school position, you will be work there with two type working condition. one is one school for you a week. and another is 2 schools for you a week. It is depend on Changwon Education office. Anyway i wll keep in touch with you all time so please send me if you have some question. Mary

Saturday, November 04, 2006

more cleaning house

i forgot about it, but not long after i gave away my instruments, i donated a bunch of art supplies to Morse High School in the neighborhood i grew up in. Mostly stretcher bars, some canvas, brushes, paper, pencils and erasers, a drafting table, an old opaque projector...

i have so much left: all my brushes, my mediums, my oil and acrylic paints, cavas, frames, etc. i'd like to do another art exhibition here before i leave, hopefully sell some things, make it a big goodbye party for me. not sure what i'll do with my supplies when i leave, schools can't accept oil mediums. maybe i'll craigslist it. or put it out at the art department at the college.

some have asked "won't you paint while in korea?" i dont know how i'd get all my stuff over. and i dont know where i'll be, how much room i'll have, etc. If i settle down and LIVE in korea, have a place with a spare room i can make my studio, then yesh for sure. until then, these really ought to go to someone who can use them. i'll have enough money to buy supplies again, i'm sure. think positive. it's gonna be great.

my first esl students

last wednesday i did the IRC program with the moms (it's called 1st Things 1st, they take their children to preschool whilst taking esl classes), and man i had a WONDERFUL time! there were 28 women in class from all over: sudan, uganda, somalia, a handful who are mexican. beginning english was their common language and they made all efforts to communicate with each other. im so excited for next wednesday, b/c i'll get to have my own group to work with. when i substitute teach, i usually leave feeling so drained, but i was popping with energy leaving class on wednesday :) In a couple of fridays, i'll start doing the after school tutoring program at Crawford- it's open to all, but mainly esl students come. i'm eager to see what the teenagers will be like.