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

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

sorry, i was having a crappy day.

dude... im getting so annoyed w/people telling me i should go work for a public school!!!
ie Jo-Anna from this blog who left me a comment:
When I was applying to jobs in Korea, I thought it was really sketch that CDI doesn't offer health insurance. If you are working full time, I don't see how it is possible for them not to offer it. I feel as if someone should be complaining to labor board about this. But then again, CDI seems to give a pretty raw deal anyway. Making your find your own apartment and working holidays and weekends and such. If I were you... I'd look for a job with health insurance and apartment provided so you don't have to worry about key money and dumb stuff like that that english teachers here shouldn't have to worry about.... or at least get paid enough to make worrying about it worthwhile. It sounds like you have been working here long enough that you could be working in a public school or at least somewhere that pays more so that you can afford your own health insurance. Good luck with the health insurance stuff.
*pish* noob. she been here like a month, yo, please...

Ok, it certainly isn't a common or typical deal with cdi, i dont know if i'd call it a "raw deal" that you dont get the other benefits that other jobs offer. i guess i dont personally mind b/c it's not a surprise, they didnt trick me: they dont hire you and then say, "Opps, no benefits for you! SUCKER!" yo, i knew all this before i got hired. But it's a trade off, there are other things about my job that I love: the class structure, the organization of the company, never being paid late, small class sizes, rarely working mornings, a 6 hour work day...

and it's not like cdi is the only school people say to "watch out" for. i feel like ALL korea jobs are going to have something "shady" about them, something you dont like, b/c everyone has a complaint about their job. To me, cdi is like any other hourly job i'd have back home: i get paid for the hours i work. If I want a day off, i have to ask my boss, and i dont get paid that day. My job didnt give me housing, i pay the rent, it's my own place.

And i think i've been very clear that i would never suggest someone come work for cdi. i answer questions about my own personal experience with the company, but i dont endorse cdi. and i always preface my opinion with letting people know that this has been my only korea job, so i cant give a well rounded opinion.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

health insurance

it's illegal for your employer to not provide health insurance. i dont know how my job doesnt provide it, something about b/c we're contract workers. anyways, i didnt want to fight them about it, so i went to global village to ask about getting health insurance on my own.

they called around and told me that i can register for korean national health insurance as "self employed" but that i'd have to pay retroactively from my first arrival in korea feb 2007.

they told me where the nhi office in anyang is (anyang is where i live), gave the phone number and office hours, and they checked to make sure english would be available.

if youre reading my blog researching working at cdi: try to get insurance as soon as you get here. i'll update when i make it to the nhi office as to how much and what my insurance will cover. but even if you dont get insurace via nhi, you can get your own... i think footprints gives info on traveler's insurance. also see jo-anna's blog for info on insurace.

Saturday, August 23, 2008


taking taxis is common here... well, it really feels common in comparison to daygo, back home you only see taxis in the gaslamp
area on weekend nights.

<--deluxe taxi South Korea has three types of taxis. ordinary, deluxe, and taxis for differently-abled.

the “ordinary” taxis are yellow or green or white, the cap on top will vary in color as well. i think a blue cap means that the cab is company owned, and the white cap taxis are privately owned. i havent noticed a difference in service/price in either. the meter starts at 1,900 won during day time, and 2,500 after midnight, i think.

if you live outside of seoul, you'll see some taxis that are "seoul taxis" which mean they go to seoul only, so dont flag one down if youre only going down the street, b/c then the driver will slow down, yell "Seoul!" at you, and then drive away making you feel stupid.

a “model/deluxe” taxi is black with a yellow cap and bigger and much more expensive, you'll find them en mass by airports and hotels, and these drivers usually speak pretty good english. they always start at 4 bucks or something, day or night, plus deluxe are more willing to help you load luggage and such. regular drivers will probably just watch you struggling while they sittin in the front, peeking at you from the rear view mirror.

there is a red light in the front window that says something in korean, anyway if the light is red, it means the cab is available. hold your hand out, most seem slightly stick out an arm w/hand pointing downward, indicating for the driver to stop there, to hail a taxi.

simpliest way to grab them is to stand at a major street or in front of whatever large facility is in the area. if you see a line of taxis, you must take the front taxi in line as they're waiting in order, unless you want to take a deluxe taxi. avoid bus stops/police stations, taxis are technically not allowed to stop in front of them.

try to stand on the side of the street of the direction youre going. of course the driver can do a u-turn, but some may not stop or ask you to get out of the cab, so it's best to avoid it and stand on the proper street side. when you get in the taxi, get in the back and enter/exit on the right side. the left driver side passenger door is usually locked as a safety precaution. the meter may "jump" when youre in traffic; this is b/c the meter has switched to "charge per min" mode. it's an additional 100 won or so (10 cents) every 50 sec.

there are "call/reserve" taxis, available 24 hours. they're the same taxis on the streets, but they're affiliated w/a call center. the fee is 1,000 won. you can also reserve them for long distance rides. ive never used them, b/c i cant speak korean.

internet taxi reservations accept credit cards, but you have to reserve 4 hrs in advance. you can use them at 'rent a car" type thing where you have the driver drop you somewhere, wait, and bring you back; they provide 4/8 hour srvs based on meter... ive never used them.

sometimes cabs wont stop for you. dont take it personal. it could be b/c they're on their way to a fare already, or maybe they're not going in that particular direction, maybe their shift is over and they're going bk to dispatch or home, maybe they're a seoul taxi or only serve a specific geographic area. or maybe b/c youre a foreigner... you'll never know, so dont sweat it.

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