Saturday, January 3, 2009

Is Korea worth it?

With the Korean-Cad/USA $$$ exchange rate going to crap as of late, there is a lot of talk among my friends and on places like Eslcafe on whether it's worth it to come to Korea anymore. Add to that the new visa rules requiring interviews in home country consulates (enforced sporadically it seems), criminal record checks that are expensive and almost impossible to get for certain people, like Canadians and a health check, it doesn't really make that much sense to come here. And to further the chaos, all of these rules about visa stuff seem to be applied on a case by case basis, depending on who you get at the immigration window on any given day. a newbie add to the fact that if you end up at some crappy ABC Hagwon, your chances of getting screwed over on $$$ and the Korean government being powerless/ too lazy to help you is extremely high.

So my advice? To newbies, it is: stay away! I just don't think it's worth it here anymore. The rewards, (high (ish) ) salaries, airfare and free accomodation just don't really make up for it anymore. There are other places in the world to go, that have a more organized ESL industry (Japan), more interesting culture (Vietnam), a chance to learn a language that could actually be useful to you (China/Hong Kong/Taiwan), have an enjoyable life drinking good beer and eating sausages (Eastern Europe), traveling around to other interesting countries (central America), lounging on a beach drinking a margarita (Thailand), or making exhorbant amounts of money (the Middle East). And the money isn't so bad at all in a few cases in these countries.

But to those who are here, it's not a bad place to stay for now it seems. It remains to be seen what will be the result in terms of salaries for everyone when the doors open to Indians and Filipinos. Most of us who have been here for more than a year or two are past the hagwon thing so actually have some vacation, and a bit of job security. Or at least the experience and knowledge to procur a decent job in a jiffy if need be. And are not working for the basic 2.2 or 2.3 million, either through higher salary at the regular job, or overtime opportunities.

1 comment:


Is it possible to find accommodations in Korea (or any place else in the world you are aware of) that will provide housing for teachers with a family? I have a husband and a young child. I prefer to teach at a university as I am studying higher ed systems around the world.