I'm ready to answer pretty much anything you'd like to know about teaching English here be it life, visa processes, etc.

This is my ARC (immigration card) that shows my E2 visa status! http://imgur.com/vzKi3Jq

EDIT:Hey everyone thanks for the great questions and discussions! I'll try to answer more tomorrow but it's 2am here and I have to get up for work in the morning, thanks again this was a lot of fun!

2nd EDIT: Remember traveling and living in a country is different for everyone. Some people may love it, some may hate it, and to some it might not be anything special at all. You have to make your own decisions and come up with your own opinions. No two experiences are alike!

Comments: 448 • Responses: 111  • Date: 

ernie0947 karma

Shouldn't it be "IamAN English teacher"? You must not be a very good one ;-)

Its4234 karma

You're right! -5 points :'(

Aelendis44 karma

What's your league in SC2?

Its429 karma

I don't play.

SIRmackenzie36 karma

How proficient were you at speaking Korean when you began? I taught English in Guatemala and don't think I could have done it without intermediate Spanish skills.

Its4228 karma

I only knew how to say hello and thank you, turns out I was actually saying that wrong too. It's really unnecessary to learn Korean here. Some folks I know who have been here a number of years are around the same level I am (suuuuper low).

SIRmackenzie7 karma

Are you teaching through a U.S. exchange agency or did you just contact the school directly to apply?

Its427 karma

At first I answered a post online from a Korean recruiting agency, my second school here I just went to the Seoul craigslist and applied for an ASAP opening.

iWearThePantsHere3 karma

"hello" in a common sense would be pronounced "anyeounghaseo", or "hi" would be "anyeoung"

source: half Korean

Its423 karma

I was pronouncing the G way too hard in the formal hello. My casual hello was pretty on point thanks to Arrested Development.

nastyned196526 karma

What is the most difficult sylabel for Koreans to pronounce? el?

Its4228 karma

The one I have the hardest time teaching is the 'Z' sound. It's not in the Korean phonetic system and when you think of it it's really a weird sound to make with your tongue.

-KhmerBear-19 karma

FYI, it's identical in the mouth to making an "S". Z is just an S while vibrating your vocal cords.

Its425 karma

Ah, thanks. It makes my tongue feel funny if I do it for a long time so I always figured it was doing most of the work.

jpark51422 karma

Hi, I'm a Korean student who used to go to an international school just outside of Seoul. Just wanted to say that I appreciate the hard work you do. I also wanted to ask if there is a noticeable xenophobic tendency in Korean society from a foreigner's point of view. Although I spend a lot of my time in the US now, I have noticed from my time in Korea during vacation that the current young generation of Koreans seems to be a lot more open minded than some older people. Is this true?

Its4220 karma

Young people are usually very open and friendly to foreigners. Normally the xenophobia starts around the generation who's 30 right now and the older you get the more there are. It's also not the same xenophobia or racism that I have experienced when I was in Arab countries. It's not hatred, it's being looked down on as less than good because you aren't Korean.

daltsteve14 karma

All you have said is that you are doing it for the money. Also, it doesn't seem like you necessarily enjoy it. With that being said, do you find any part teaching English in Korea rewarding? Do you have any stories you could share?

Its4211 karma

Not really. The most enjoyable part I have found is the people I have met, and there are a few fun things to do here such as hiking and general urban exploration. I wont regret my time here but I won't miss it. As I said, this is a great place if it's your first time living abroad for a period of time, but most people I know who have traveled and lived abroad in multiple places say that Korea isn't all that great.

daltsteve11 karma

Do you feel like the low expectations impacted your impression of Korea? I've had many friends live in Korea for study abroad programs, and I've had a friend teach there also; they absolutely loved their time there. They told great stories about meeting kids and their families and talked about how the food is glorious.

What's your favorite part of the hiking? Where do you go? Do you frequent any spots? Any pictures you can post?

Its429 karma

Nah, I love traveling and am pretty accepting of places. Korea just reminds me in a lot of ways of America. I think if maybe I was studying here instead of teaching I would enjoy my time much much more.

My favorite part is when you finally get away from the city and the people and the noise and find the quiet. I was raised in the country so every now and then I just need a place that's in nature where I can be alone. My favorite place that's around where I live is Bukansan Mountain right outside of Seoul. No pictures at the moment, they're all on my phone and I'm on the lazy side tonight (my phone is aaall the way on the other side of my room) sorry! I do actually feel bad, but not that bad...

albinocyndaquil10 karma

What's the best and worst part about teaching English to people who don't know it?

Its4226 karma

Best- The "Ooooooooooooooooooooh I get it!!!!!!" moment. You can see it in their eyes when they finally understand something.

Worst- The "What the fuck are you saying? Why am I here? I hate learning English" look. You can also see it in their eyes as they solidify a hatred of your language because they just, for whatever reason, just don't get it.

wyrdJ5 karma

Wait, no hatred for crazy moms or hagwon bosses who shit all over you because you are a foreigner? Those were the worst for me.

Its429 karma

Ha all of those are horrible too. I just listed the ones off the top of my head. I guess I'm just used to those at this point and have don't notice it anymore. I did have a very flustered mom come in today because her child got a 'Good' and not a 'Very good'. Chill lady, it's a lie anyway, your child doesn't speak a word and my boss said that 'good' was a low as I could go.

jacicconi10 karma

Which Thursday Party location is your favorite?

Its424 karma

I'm not really much of a club person. I like the playground in hongdae since it's outside and more relaxed. I've also found a group that holds frequent house parties which is more my style. Thursday party is quite popular though.

-KhmerBear-7 karma

How's your social life there?

Its4217 karma

Pretty nice. I have a good group of friends and a lot of people I am acquaintances with that I've met at parties and through friends. The expat community is very interlinked and it's not odd to have a huge network of friends through other friends who know all your other friends. Korean friends are a bit harder to make because of the language barrier but I've made a good few and I really value their friendship. Sometimes you have to be wary though of Koreans who 'collect' foreigners as friends, in some circles it's seen as a status symbol to be around foreign people all the time. The biggest expats groups are English speakers who are here as teachers (mostly Americans, Brits, and Canadians), exchange students of which a surprising number are from France and Brazil, and American soldiers. The last group often times sticks to themselves and have a bad reputation in some areas of town, there are even a few bars in the popular Hongdae area that don't allow them in because of the fights and ruckus they start.

idratherbflying7 karma

You said up-post that you were in it for the money. What do jobs like this typically pay?

Its4213 karma

Base is usually around 1.9-2.2 million won a month which equals about $1700-2000 a month (the won has fallen hard lately T-T ). If you're willing to work 10+ hours a day you can maybe snag a job in the 2.5-2.8 range. If you have a masters you can find jobs for 3 million and up and usually more relaxed hours. Schools will normally take a housing fee out of your salary and place you in a studio apartment they own as well as taking out various taxes and health insurance fees. Currently I make 2.2 mil a month, after taxes and fees I bring in about 2 mil.

idratherbflying15 karma

You're a millionaire! How awesome is THAT? In your face, Donald Trump.

Its4244 karma

I promise I won't start hating Mexicans.

JeF4y10 karma

$24k/yr USD is not really making bank.

Its4228 karma

For a 24 year old with a very useless degree from a not very well known school in the South of the US it's pretty good considering various perks that it gives you. Since the school pays for a lot and I have no expenses other than my bills, if I'm frugal I can by the end of the year put maybe 19k away towards my loans. Also, I am much happier abroad than I am living back in the states so that's worth quite a bit to me.

carl2k16 karma

People dont realize how monthly expenses can eat up on your earnings. I "only" earn around 1800 a month too but my food, rent, internet, tv, utilities are paid for by my employer. You can save alot of money because of the free stuff.

Its425 karma

I have no TV, a pay as you go phone, no car, my rent is low and already taken out of my paycheck. I make pretty ok money. I sure as hell have made a lot less and done a lot more work for it.

Innitinnuitinnit0 karma

I worked there for 5 years and NEVER heard of a school taking out a housing allowance. You're getting duped.

Its421 karma

Nah, it's pretty common now. My last job did it, this job did it, and a lot of my friends have it taken out as well. Pretty standard in contracts (I looked through quite a few when I was job hunting a few months ago).

carl2k15 karma

Are you male or female?

Its422 karma


potentmoraltoxin5 karma

What do you want your next step in life to be and what is your dream job? Do you think this experience is helping you reach your goals?

Its423 karma

After this I'm going to head to the Middle East for a year where they pay reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeally well to finish paying off my loans, after that I'll go back to Europe for grad school. After grad school I'm not really sure what I'll do, I've been having a bit of a crisis in my mind as my old goals don't have the same shine to them as they used to and now I'm trying to find out what will really make me happy in life. Teaching here helps me pay my bills, that's about it. I never wanted to be a teacher but it's the quickest way for me to pay off my loans. I'll enjoy the contacts I make but I won't miss or (probably) feel that I've grown from it at all.

potentmoraltoxin3 karma

That's fair. I hope you find something your passionate about! Maybe you'll meet some people who will eventually help you to go where your new-improved dreams want to take you! If you don't mind one more question; have any of the children you've taught made a lasting impression on you or have you connected with any of them enough to want to keep up with them and see how their future unfolds?

Its426 karma

I'm sure I will!

The only impression that they've made is that I feel very sorry for Korean children. They often only sleep 4 or 5 hours a night because every waking hour is spent in schools, academies, or with extra curriculars. You ask them what they do in their spare time and they say they don't have any, you ask them what their favorite hobby is and they tell you sleeping. Some of them look so dead and tired that it eats at your heart since they're so young and unhappy. A fun fact that I've heard from more than one source; Korean suicide statistics start at the age of nine.

potentmoraltoxin4 karma

That is terrible and disheartening. Sorry to take up your time but now I'm overflowing with questions! Do they seem enthusiastic about learning still or is it all business and a class full of dead eyes? What was their reaction to you? Did they have a lot of questions about what life was like for you overseas? Do you feel like your helping at all to bring a little fun into their lives or is it all very regulated?

Its424 karma

No worries. Nope, it's just business usually. There are one or two students in the class who maybe really like learning English, but since there are other students in the class who have to be 'taught' as well you can't focus just on the ones who actually want to learn.

The students who are able to actually form conversations in English are usually not that curious about foreigners, most Koreans think that what they see on TV is what America is like so don't bother asking too much. I felt bad one day when they did ask me what going to school in the states is like and I told them how much free time I had to do whatever I wanted. You could see them break a bit on the inside because they thought that it was like how school is for them everywhere in the world.

I really try to. I like being goofy and funny to get them laughing because they're all so stressed out. In return they get very attached to me because I might be the only person all day long who isn't insanely serious with them. I've had a kid or two cry because they didn't understand why they had to do so much work when they just wanted to have free time. Mostly though the school really regulates everything and you have to teach from bell to bell and send kids home with papers or some sort of work so the parents think that their kid is actually learning something. A couple of kids though actually hate the fun classes because they think that it's not what they should be doing and is 'a waste'. Most like it though.

Whiskey_McSwiggens1 karma

I don't think you're going to find as many good jobs in the middle east as there used to be. Even ksa salaries are at about 3500/month now. And on top of that, it's the middle east. Not worth it in my opinion.

Its422 karma

3500 is fine by me, after I'm done here I'll only have about 10k left to pay on my loans and then everything else will be saved for gradschool. It's not exactly what I want to be doing with my life, but if I sacrifice a year then I can be done with my loans forever.

ElMangosto2 karma

Do you ever feel guilty? I feel like people deserve a teacher who wants to be teaching.

Its421 karma

Nope, not at all. I tried really hard to be a good teacher because I don't hate teaching and at times it can be fun, it's just not something I wanted to do. That gets beaten out of you though by students who don't care, parents who say you're not doing your job right because clearly their child is a genius, and bosses who never show up except to say that you're doing the job they've never watched you do, wrong.

IamDekDomino5 karma

What was the hardest thing to get adjusted to?

What have you tried to introduce to your students cultural wise from America?

Its428 karma

For me it's everyone around me being stressed out all the time for more often than not no reason at all, but culturally you need to look stressed out all the time or you're not working hard enough.

Ideas about plurality and diversity mostly. They're a pretty closed society, there are Koreans and everyone else (to Koreans) so I try to break down that wall a little bit to get them to see that there is a whole big awesome world out there aside from their own country.

IamDekDomino2 karma

Thanks for replying, first time using IAmA, this is really cool

Its421 karma

Glad you like it!

Funkyman2474 karma

First of all thanks for doing this awesome Iama ! i would like to know, what have you done before teaching English in Korea ? (Talking studies,other jobs,etc...) I am actually a French student who wants to teach French in foreign countries too, is it simple to access South Korea and live there ?

Its425 karma

No problem! I have taught in a few countries, nothing very heavy though, just tutoring and summer camps. I have a BA in international studies but what you studied isn't usually important to the school, you just have to have a degree. It's pretty simple, easier than getting an EU visa (but as a French national you've never had to go through that). Living here is easy, but it's kinda pricey since everything has to be made/grown in country or come in on a ship. Koreans a usually pretty nice, but there is subtle racism, not KKK style racism, but just an idea in the back of their head that whispers "You're better than the waygookin, above them because you're Korean". As a white person it isn't that bad but at times they're vocally racist against blacks, arabs, and indians. Ive been with friends of color and had Korean mothers move their kids to the other side of the sidewalk or storekeeps following us around. But that's rather rare.

SlammingChickens4 karma

If you were to choose between only using English or Korean, which language would you choose, and why?

openchan11 karma

I bet op can only ask for coffee in Korean

Its425 karma

Coffee and soju thank you very much.

Its42-5 karma

English. Linguistically it's much more expressive and wordplay is easier. Also I don't think Korean sounds that pretty with the exception of when it's being yelled, then it's pretty interestingly brutal.

mama-cass4 karma

Hi there, I apologize if this has been addressed -- kinda skimmed the comments. I recently got a CELTA, and possibly would like to find my second job in Korea, so I could bombard you w questions but i'll try not to:

1) What's your opinion on EPIK? (Or what have you heard positive/negative?)

2) I would imagine you know a few people who have also taught in Japan. Do you have any sense for what the difference would be between the two countries in terms of life as a foreign ESL teacher? If you were to choose again, would you go with SK or Japan?

3) Any advice regarding recruitment agencies, etc?

4) Do you know any teachers who weren't required to remove piercings? All I have is cartilage, nothing crazy, but that part of the EPIK app is a small bummer.

5) I don't know much of anything about Korea, so if you have any favorite cities or locations I'd love to hear about them!

Sorry that was a lot -- thanks a ton for any you can answer, I really appreciate it!

Its422 karma

  1. EPiK is a good program, public school jobs are the ones everyone wants here. I don't think I've heard anyone speak ill of it.

  2. I know people who have done both and they say they like Japan better, the exact reasons why escape me at the moment.

  3. Shop around, don't take the first job that gets handed to you and do lots of research on the school. Some of the big chain schools are well known for treating their teachers like slaves.

  4. Ear piercings are usually ok as long as it's not gauged. Facial piercings aren't too well looked upon though for teachers.

  5. I really like the Korean countryside and the areas right outside of Seoul. I also recently took a trip to the south (not Busan but a much smaller city to visit a friends family) and it was the most beautiful place i've seen here, everywhere looked like a postcard.

mistakent3 karma

Do you have to make your own lesson plans? Do you feel is it rewarding to teach?

Its420 karma

Yep, it gets pretty easy once you have a few things in the pipeline. It is sometimes when you have students who actually want to be there.

philosopher_b3 karma

How's your academnics been throughout, and are you satisfied with your job right now?

Its426 karma

Meh, I've worked at a horrible hagwon and now I work at a pretty laid back school. I'm not at all satisfied, but the money is good and is helping me pay off my loans quickly so I can go to gradschool. The problem is that Korean children are so poorly behaved and unless it's a public school, they're not punished because parents will take their kids out and put them into another school. They're businesses first and schools second. They also have a policy of 'nobody fails, everyone advances, everyone is a genius' so parents keep their kids in the school and pay that sweet sweet tuition.

milkman_jimmy3 karma

I have the same exact issue in Taiwanese schools. I'm just going to quit, it's an awful job which isn't worth the money.

Its423 karma

I don't understand how some people have been here for years and years. I met a guy the other day who had been in Korea since 07. Most of those people though who reeeeeally like Korea aren't that fun to hang out with in my opinion.

Drenkn2 karma

That sounds like the current for profit US college system. Do you ever get annoyed at students who complain, or do you have to pacify everyone?

Its424 karma

I'm annoyed all the time with how much I have to walk on eggshells. Everyone has to be 100% happy and 100% of all problems are never their fault. I had a kid who bit a teacher and somehow they blamed it on the teacher. They're just such damn ill behaved children.

valknov3 karma

What's the pay like for a job like this?

Its423 karma

I make about 2000 USD a month but the korean currency is getting weaker every day

bluementat3 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! I have two questions I hope you can answer.

  1. I heard that the plum jobs are the English teaching jobs at universities where you teach English or subjects in English. Is there a way for a person to directly get one of those jobs or do you need to start teaching high school in Korea or something like that before moving up?

  2. I heard stories that there is a premium for English instructors if they are obviously foreign (ie. not East Asian). Do you know if this is the case and how much of a difference in pay or treatment East Asian instructors get versus non East Asians?

Its422 karma

  1. Usually those are reserved for people who have a masters degree or PhD. If you have one then you can usually just hop right into a uni job if you already have a bit of teaching experience.

  2. If you're very foreign looking (blonde hair and blue eyes) then you can usually snag a job at the more prestigious schools and get higher pay. The darker you are though and even worse if you're asian, you're usually just stuck with hagwon jobs which aren't too fun a lot of the times.

Geo853 karma

What kind of qualifications are generally looked for when people apply to be an English teacher?

I'm Canadian and I taught a few years ago because I was lucky enough to have known someone who got me a job teaching. I don't have a bachelors degree - but I do have a 3 year DEC (something specific to Quebec, Canada that is between a trade school and University in American terms).

I've heard that nowadays they ask for anything from simply a bachelor's degree to only a TESOL/TOEFL.

So yeah - what's the criteria that most people get in on? Can you become a teacher with less?

Its422 karma

You need a bachelors and a TEFL/TOFEL/TESOL with at least 100 hours of in class exp. for a Korean visa.

accountabilibuddha2 karma

Unless they changed something within the last year, no you don't. I got my E-2 with only a bachelors degree.

Its424 karma

I do think that it was a very recent change, I'm almost certain that I did have to submit my TEFL when I got my visa.

theasianhulk2 karma

Is that the Korea with Kim or is that the one without Kim?

Its421 karma

Kim is actually one of the most popular names in Korean culture so they both have Kim.

BarelyLegalZ2 karma

Kinda unrelated but since you're in South Korea, how prominent are esports? Do they really overshadow physical sports there?

Its421 karma

Meh I think physical sports are still more popular but esports are a bit louder and more hip.

BarelyLegalZ1 karma

So if u went for a walk downtown, would u more likely see a soccer/baseball/etc game on tv or some starcraft/lol? Also news/newspaper coverage?

Its421 karma

Baseball is by far the most popular sport here electronic or otherwise.

MoreCowbellllll2 karma

How do you like the food? Any favorites?

Its422 karma

The food might be my favorite part. A lot of Korean foods are very spicy and there's nothing like that numb tongue feeling. My favorite food though is probably jajangmyeon (which i've been told numerous times is originally Chinese but Korea was the first place I've had it so it'll always be Korean in my heart).

gayd3n2 karma

Do your students ever talk about League of Legends?

Its423 karma

Yep, a lot of of them play mobile games too. Clash of Clans is big.

thewhiskeyrepublic2 karma

Fellow ESL teacher chiming in here, curious about your job situation! Do you ever have several weeks of "intensive" classes that push you into mandatory overtime? My school does that and I'm wondering if it's common. Also, do you get red days off?

Its421 karma

Nope, my school has banking hours (it's just a kindergarten, not a hagwon). I get off all national holidays and two weeks a year. I'm not too sure what red days you mean. I did get a whole week off for MERS :)

tempForHelpSearch2 karma

Oh man. I am/was a college student in Korea. Graduated a few weeks ago. I feel for you guys (ESL teachers). Work culture is toxic, and most teachers are treated like dirt, especially in hagwons.

On the other hand, Korean guys and girls looove foreigners (especially if they are white). How's you sex life been?

Its421 karma

Fairly good, I can't say I'm left lonely very often unless it's by choice.

Agnt-Orange2 karma

I have a friend who was stationed in Korea for a year and would tell us stories about racism. Have you experienced any?

Its422 karma

Not racism akin to say blacks in the US south, it's more being looked down on as socially inferior. I'll probably never be beat up but you'll never be truly accepted by a lot of people.

MehPsh2 karma

Recently there's been a lot of english words on shirts that the wearer doesn't know what it actually means. Have you had very many of these?

Its428 karma

I saw a tiny old man the other day wearing a jacket that said "fuck the world I'm me" walking down the street.

countvoncastro2 karma

Do you go to Domi bars, and live a south east asia lifestyle?

Its420 karma

Not really. A lot of Seoul (where I live) looks and lives exactly like a big city in America except you can't read the street signs.

TheMetaphysics2 karma

I heard they are fairly strict on drug and marijuana use over there. Is this true? I've always wanted to teach english in another country, but i don't want my hands cut off for enjoying a smoke..

Its422 karma

Veeeeeeeeeeeeeeery true. They don't cut your hands off, just kick you out of the country or throw you in jail.

sisterbliss2 karma

Hey! Thanks of doing this AMA.

I visited Korea with my bf a couple of years ago, was surprised by the size of the expat community...it's pretty large! It was also really interesting that the overwhelming majority of them were male teachers (80%ish). Why do you think this is so? Teaching is one of the industries that is more female than male.

Its421 karma

I couldn't tell you. Most of my coworkers have been women but come to think of it many of the teachers that I know outside of work are men. I really don't know. Maybe more women try to go to other countries? Just a guess.

deadfermata2 karma

I once wanted to teach abroad but was told that these programs preferred Anglo-teachers as oppose to an Asian one (which I am), because it lends more 'credibility' to the whole experience.

Do you feel this is true? And how do you personally feel about this?

Its421 karma

It's very true unfortunately. Schools and more importantly parents want to see a white person at the front of the class, even if they're less qualified because they think it's more genuine (and they're kinda racist).

HelloMyNameIsEllen2 karma

Do you have coke? Can I have coke? Please give me coke.

Please watch this: http://youtu.be/e6-B2TJN8UQ

Its423 karma

I've never seen that before. I love it.

takingbacksunday2 karma

Shouldn't it be IamAn English Teacher?

Its423 karma

Yes T-T

ClearMint1 karma

Yes! I was waiting for this IAmA. I want to become a teacher in Korea too! I'm 18, from the states and have a few questions. How hard is it to get a job similar to yours in Korea? Do I have to have a degree or just a teaching certificate? Do I get to choose what grade level I teach?

Its421 karma

You need both. Public school jobs are very hard to get, and if you do get one you will just be teaching English. Most likely right out of the gate you'd work at a hagwon (language academy)

HarvHR1 karma

Hey this is awesome, me and my friend are learning Korean at the moment! For me it is more of a hobby but my friend wants to do the exact thing you do!

So I have a few questions: What qualifications did you need to get? How did you become a teacher? And how did you find your first few months in Korea? Thank you!

Its425 karma

Here is a checklist:

  1. Be a native speaker from a native English speaking country (some countries such as Jamaica and African states with the exception of SA don't count as native speaking countries, I've been told that it's because of the accent but the truth is that Koreans are mighty racist and have an idea of a native speaker being Aryan-ish looking).

  2. Have at least a BA or BS in any subject.

  3. Pass a drug and background check.

  4. Have a valid passport that will last the length of your stay.

That's the bare minimum for a job and visa (from what I can remember). Some jobs require more education or want people from specific countries. I found my first job here on Daveseslcafe.com like a lot of other people, my second one I actually found on the Seoul craigslist page. My first few months were fairly awful, I had a job at a hagwon (language academy) that was working me about 11 hours a day and had horrible management. I bailed and found a kindergarten job that is pretty easy, they just wanted a white guy at the front of the class so that the parents can say that their kid is 'learning' from a native speaker. Honestly most of the jobs here are a joke if you want to be a capital 'T' teacher, you're usually just a babysitter. Outside of work Korea is an OK place. I've lived and taught in nicer places and I've lived in worse places too. Usually the only ones who are in love with the country are 1. People who this is their first time abroad 2. People who love Korean culture/language. Everyone else is just here for the money.

despitethefire2 karma

Do you know if they accept people with a university-level ESL education from other countries? I'm currently studying to become a teacher in English as a second language in Sweden I'm wondering wether that is sufficient or is it an absolute requirement to be a native English speaker?

Its423 karma

Unfortunately I think for the E-2 visa a native English birthplace is a requirement. There are a lot of countries though around the world that don't have such staunch policies, keep looking!

despitethefire3 karma

Alright, thank you for your answer and a very interesting AMA. (:

Its422 karma

No problem, I'm really enjoying it :)

YJSubs1 karma

Sorry,..can't think of better question.
Do you watch Korean Variety TV Show ? What's your favourite show ?
Do you know who this guy is ?
I'm just curious on the last question, whether he's known among non korean.

Its422 karma

I don't own a TV so the only shows I watch are ones that happen to be on in places I eat or if I'm at a Korean friend's place. I don't know really what any of them are called but there is one that is kinda like SNL that is funny.

I think i've seen him before on advertisements? But I dont know-know who he is.

YJSubs2 karma

Thanks for answering.
The dude is very famous in S Korea (#1 TV Host).
You can tested it yourself, ask your student whether they know a guy name Yoo Jae-Suk.

Yeah you probably seen him on advertisement, although you might seen him before, but didn't know it. He's the yellow suit guy in Psy - Gangnam Style.

Another question if you don't mind.
I always heard about Naengmyeon, i'm fascinated the noodles were served cold (with ice?)
Have you tried it ? Is it good or weird ?

Its422 karma

Im not a fan of the cold noodles but theyre quite popular, especially in the Summer. They make me feel a little queezy because my brain expects one taste and tempeture but it's the exact opposite.

RobotKitten1 karma

i know a couple people who taught english in south korea... they claim their employers were extremely strict. is this the case for you as well?

Its422 karma

My new boss is fairly relaxed, but my school before this was horribly strict and oppressive. I don't miss her.


Do you ever think of teaching in China since the pay is much better, and you have many more travel options during free time, espeacially with their high-speed trains?

Its422 karma

China hasn't really interested me, and I came to Korea not only for the money, but because I need a bit more on my CV before I head towards the middle east. I have a friend who went to china to teach last year and she loves it there.

zeslinguer1 karma

How much Korean did you need to learn for your job, and how long did acquiring it take you?

Its422 karma

Absolutely none. I speak very little, just enough to buy something and let people know I don't speak Korean. A lot of younger people here have a decent grasp of English and even the older folks have a few words in their pockets. Learning the language has never interested me (I'll only be here a year before moving on to a new country and I'm learning two other languages that do interest me). If you're interested in learning Korean it's a bit of a trip. They have different word order, honorifics, different grammatical quirks, and a lot of irregular verbs. I have a lot of friends though who have been here a year or two who can hold a decent conversation, it's just something you have to actively do.

Jobcv3145 karma

Isn't it difficult to teach your students though if you can't explain to them in their native language?

Also have you or any expat friends had any bad experiences being a foreigner in the country? Is there any anti-American, anti-British incidents among you or expats that you know? (A friend of mine years ago stayed in S. Korea for a few months. During that time met a girl and dated a few times, he said he had a couple negative experiences as a result. Mostly random jealous guys I guess. Which I know can happen anywhere). Just curious.

Its425 karma

At times very very difficult, especially if they're low level. Sometimes you just throw your hands up and say "well, I guess we're not learning that today."

I have a black friend who has been refused jobs before due to his race. I myself have been followed before by a few drunk people who werent too happy to have a foreigner in their country. Day to day though it's usually just eye rolls and guys getting angry at you because you're 'stealing their women'.

Beakersful1 karma

Are you 'stealing their women' though? What's the dating scene like? Can you differentiate for different age groups? (ie. 22-25, 26-29, 30-35, 36-39, 40-45, etc) is it dating, with a view to exploring the 'exotic', to brag, or for marriage? Do the locals want to stay in SK or leave with their new husband/wife?

Its422 karma

Nah, some just like white guys better, some are going through a phase, and some just want somebody. The dating scene is really just like anywhere else with the exception being that some Korean girls assume that 2 dates mean you're an item which causes a lot of drama (I don't date many koreans anymore). I can only speak for the 20-35 group and they've all been as i've described. Some are looking for someone to take them out of the country, yes, but there are a good number of people who find a korean wife and stay here forever.

Beakersful1 karma

If two dates means you're an item, how hard is getting those first two dates? Do they culturally go by looks, employment or personality? Where does first contact come? Work, bars (local or expat), out and about, online?

I've never conversed with Koreans personally. Have no idea outside of watching tv/movies about their culture. Only got experience with living/working/dating in other areas of the world.

Its422 karma

Not that hard. It's a mix of all three just like everywhere else. First contact comes from tinder, bars, and social affairs. I haven't been in a Korean only working environment so idk how workplace romances play out.

CantBeMyself1 karma

How is korean pussy compared to American?

Its421 karma

It's the same for the most part, many Koreans are a bit more reserved than in other places in the world.

Grizzly_Berry1 karma

Are you my cousin?

Key phrases: Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Fuji, FedEx

edit: checked your posts, you're not my cousin. Crazy though, he is an American teaching English in South Korea with a degree from a relatively unknown school and is also 24.

Its422 karma

Lol we might know each other then. This place is so big yet some how a lot of people are linked all the way from back home.

wlingram1 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA! I'm set to teach ESL in Korea next May after I graduate. Gonna look for a job in Busan.

My question:

Most contracts with schools have a clause about not having any other forms of employment. And threaten to revoke your visa if you're caught working elsewhere.

I've read that tutoring english on the side can bring in a lot of money. Up to $50/hour.. That being said, I'm curious if it's worth the risk of losing your visa? Is that provision of the contract really as serious as they make it sound?

Have you met people who tutor on the side? Have you heard of an ESL teacher being deported for being caught?

That was a lot of questions I know but I am very curious on this subject.

Thanks so much for your time!

Its421 karma

Everyone does it and you only get in trouble if you're tutoring the schools kids on the side. I've never heard of anyone getting fired because of it. Just make sure that you do it away from your school and with students who you don't teach in your 9-5

wlingram1 karma

So essentially if you tutor individuals in another neighboring city and keep it on the down low you're safe?

Also, does it seem like most of the managers of these schools are aware that their employees are doing this? If so, does this make them angry (Hey! I want some of that money, too!) or are they more just indifferent?

Also, what do you hear about Busan? I read you saying you've never been, but from what I hear and have read before its a fantastic place.

Do you think a lot of your negative experiences have to do with your environment? Being in Seoul seems pretty miserable.

Its421 karma

Doesn't have to be a neighboring city, just don't leave work at 5 and at 5:01 go tutor in the cafe on the first floor of the building. Idk if they're aware or if they just dont care. I've heard good things about Busan, people there tend to like it a lot. I think my views come from me traveling a lot and really liking the countries I lived in before. I don't hate Seoul, or Korea I just don't love it. It's a job, that's all.

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Its421 karma

No need to be wary of my proof users, it's a snapshot of my immigration card.

dimplejuice1 karma

Ever read Brother One Cell, about a 20 something American who was imprisoned in S.Korea for drug smuggling? http://www.amazon.com/Brother-One-Cell-Cullen-Thomas/dp/0143113119

Its422 karma

Can't say I ever have. Drugs are a big no-no here, foreigners are jailed or permabanned. It's funny though because pot leafs are on everything here, drugs have been out of their culture and repressed so much that people have no idea what it really is. To give you an idea, it wouldn't be too far off to guess that some Koreans would take 'Reefer Madness' as a documentary.

Pessiveexist1 karma

There's a stereotype that people who teach English abroad are usually social rejects or pedos (no, I'm not trying to neg you). Has the issue ever been brought up in your experience?

Its423 karma

Ha im not either of those but you do see teachers who are indeed outcasts in their home countries and come to reinvent themselves or use their exotic-ness as a leg up. I've never come into contact with pedos.

CodyisLucky1 karma

I'm looking to go teach English in Japan when I graduate, what advice could you give me on when I first try teaching the language to someone who knows very little or no English, where do I start?

Its422 karma

Start with colors, numbers, very very common objects and then you start to build a language tower. It's very daunting at first, but once you get a good system going that works for you you'll find teaching not easy, but manageable.

Peter_Venkman_11 karma

How is that proof?

Its426 karma

They don't give them to just anyone. English teachers receive an E-2 visa in Korea.

Peter_Venkman_12 karma

Ok, thanks.

Its422 karma

no problem!

BangkokAnimal0 karma


I pulled a Korean Air Hostess in Hongdae (Cocoon) last year and went back and visited her a few months later. I had her back in the hotel room and she said I could do anything I wanted to her except "kiss her lips". This seemed like a kind of big deal. Afterwards she alluded to the fact I could only kiss her lips if I was a boyfriend. What is the deal with this?

Its421 karma

I'm not sure, I've kissed a fair number of Koreans on the lips who I wasn't dating. They're quite weird about some parts of sexuality though. Repressed in some areas and liberal in others.

goddamnretard-6 karma

Yes, how do you feel about the fact that I've downvoted nearly every stupid thing you've said in this thread? You sound like one of the thousands of jackasses who have been here for exactly fuck all time but seem perfectly able to sum up Korea to a tee. Kindly collect your money and your hipster friends from that park in Hongdae and move along.

Its421 karma

Seeing as their fake internet points I could really care less. Based off of your rather explosive comment you sound like one of those people who staunchly defend everything about Korea regardless if it's unnecessary or unwarranted. This place isn't for everyone and I'm just giving my point of view. You're more than welcome to go start your own AMA and give your side.