Category Archives: Jobs

Hagwon Advice…

esl kidsI’ve been around the (Korean) block a few times…

More specifically, I’ve been in the English as a Foreign Language (and as CDI or Chungdahm Learning likes to call it their patented ESL programs) industry for more than five years in Korea.  I get questions constantly about how to enter the industry, who to choose for work and honestly what to do if interested in this field if you want work.

Well, I just got another question (or should I say set of questions) asked of me about work here in Korea as an English teacher.  Instead of just answering this gentleman directly and minimizing the impact, I thought I’d write it up here so a few more can read and hopefully benefit from my advice.  In addition to reading the following, you can also read my piece called “Advice for Teachers” (they titled it that way even though I didn’t) which should actually be named “Advice for ‘Prospective’ English Teachers (in Korea).”

The guy asks: Continue reading


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What a month it’s been (with the Suzuki Impulse)!

Bought the following motorcycle on the 12th of April. – RED 1994 Model. I’ve had a few problems, but all worth the education it’s taught me.

Right after buying it from this nice South African guy named Keren, I had starter problems. We thought it might be the extra flashing blue lights strung up the back of the bike — maybe sucking a bit of the battery before start up. So, I took those off.

This was after I bought a brand new battery from this guy named “Joon” that was instrumental in helping me get the bike. He thought it was in good shape and at the time, I had nobody who knew a lot about motorcycles except Dan (one of our Busanjin teachers) and fellow Kyopo. Dan introduced me to Joon who’s a buddy of Dan’s. Supposedly though the battery’s a cheap one according to a new bike shop I’ve been using. The new bike shop said the 40,000 won or so I paid to get this battery was on the cheap end and that I needed to buy a 60,000 won battery or so. I could believe him because he said I didn’t need to buy the better one yet since I should use this poor battery first.

All in all, in the month plus I’ve owned the bike (after purchasing it on 4/12), I’ve:

  • filled up the bike at least 12 times with gas (totaling about 175,000 won in gas)
  • bought a brand new “cheaper battery” for 40,000 won
  • pushed the 400 lb bike long distances because of the battery problem (3 kilometers & 5 kilometers up a hill – almost killed me)
  • replaced the clutch twice: once at 30,000 won (actually paid 50,000 won because I was so grateful), but then realized I could get a smaller bike shop guy to do it 10,000 won who also recharged the battery to top it off
  • got a VERY EXPENSIVE oil change (100,000 won!) around 5/8 with expensive french racing oil
  • replaced the 4 spark plugs (5/15) for 40,000 won – I guess this is cheap & again, he recharged the battery
  • dropped it 4 X’s (once because a taxi driver almost killed me)
  • probably set up myself for a hernia shortly given that I kept it from dropping a 5th time 
  • been pulled over or questioned by police 3X’s PLUS almost getting fined 1.5 million for not having a license and registration
  • rode to 기장, 해운대 (5X’s), 노포동, 서면 (7X’s) with the Suzuki
  • I guess we’ll have to see what happens for the rest of the year with this decision. I’ve started to look into “what the next bike” may be and some of the candidates are:

  • 1996 Honda NTV 650 (55 mpg)
  • 2007 Aprilla RSV 1000 FactoryR
  • 2009 Triumph Thruxton
  • **By the way, the purpose of this post is mostly to help me keep track of what I’ve done on it for maintenance and the costs involved (in case any of you are interested in the costs of motorbike upkeep)

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    Achieving a promotion in 6 months what normally takes 10+ years

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    Didn’t realize it at the time, but when I was promoted twice in a matter of 6 months from Instructor to Faculty Manager and to my current title of Director, I found out from reading some literature recently it can take a normal Korean 10+ years to obtain the title below me called “gwajang” — a mid-level management position.  If it takes regularly 10+ years for that position and I’m in a title even higher and obtained it in less than 6 months, I should definitely be proud of my accomplishment.  I guess my previous experience made it easier along with my age & supposed wisdom.  Some days I neglect to realize all that I’ve done actually while here…

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    The (Apostilled) Criminal Record Check for an E-2 Work Visa in South Korea – U.S. Citizens version

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    While I won’t go into much detail about the default documents that have always been a part of the process (Original diploma, Sealed transcripts, Passport photos, Copy of the front page of the active passport, Contract & Signed health statement), I will detail a bit below about how to obtain the Apostilled (a.k.a. Internationally Notarized) Criminal Record Check which seems to be the most complicated and time consuming document(s) required to obtain the E-2 Visa to Teach English in South Korea.  Also, I am focusing on how to do it for U.S. Citizens in this post.  If time permits, I’ll try to write one for Canadians, then the other countries who can also work in Korea legally as Native English Instructors.  Before continuing, I must also point out this is NOT an official set of recommendations or instructions, but simply what I’ve found to clarify the much to do about nothing confusion that’s been created since the start of this document as a requirement to work in KoreaContinue reading


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    Overlooked work opportunity?

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    Free flights, Free housing and Easy work conditions?


    Sounds like an advertisement from a con artist, doesnt it?  However, most of its true and tens of thousands of Americans, Canadians, Australians and other native English speaking citizens can give you living proof that its a fact.  Not only are many doing it every day, but many are also saving, paying off student loans and literally building more financial wealth than they could back home. Moreover, the friendships made, the contacts added to ones rolodex and the overall experience has given many justification in coming back (and in many cases making a career of it).  Continue reading


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    An Indian’s perspective on “Working in Korea”

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    Working in Korea – How different is it from India

    Are you planning to explore South Korea for work? If your answer is in the affirmative, you might want to spend sometime understanding the rising Korean economy and its unique, traditional culture, to make your life a tad easier. Continue reading


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    Foreigners Approach 2 Percent of the Korean Labor Population

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    By Bae Ji-sook
    Staff Reporter

    About two out of every 100 residents here are non-Koreans, with the majority living in and around Seoul, government data showed Tuesday.

    The number of legal foreign nationals here topped 891,341 in May, accounting for 1.8 percent of the 43.95 million registered population, according to the Ministry of Public Administration and Security. The figure is a 23 percent jump from a year earlier. Continue reading

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    Google should hire me…

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    Not that I care about their great food in their cafeteria and all the other great benefits, but rather, we think alike. On their blog, their most recent post is something I would argue wholeheartedly:

    Major in Learning!”

    Some of their main points are:

    “… analytical reasoning. Google is a data-driven, analytic company. When an issue arises or a decision needs to be made, we start with data. That means we can talk about what we know, instead of what we think we know. Continue reading

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    Online flogging (aka Email flogging)

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    Is there such a thing?  I’ve been posed and actually just recently accused by one of the two who I spoke “dearly” of in this post called:”Two tools on Facebook NOT to use!

    I did a quick search on both “online flogging” and “email flogging” and both searches don’t come up with much that is directly germane to the perceived definition of the terms.  More accurately, flogging is defined by Merriam Webster as “to beat with or as if with a rod or whip” or “to criticize harshly.”  So, this would basically mean that my post about the two guys who manipulated me into coming up to Seoul & persuade me to gather as much information for them for free (wasting my time & social equity in trying to acquire them contacts) along with “job speculation” or “employment lures” is “whipping them online” or “criticizing them harshly online.” Am I whipping them?  I agree I am criticizing them as much as I can.  When did criticizing become wrong?  Continue reading


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    No iPhone in Korea…

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    iphone image

    iphone image

    Not yet, that is…

    I was looking at the list of countries that the 2nd version of the iPhone will be released in on July 11th.

    What sparked the desire to jump over to Apple’s iPhone page was a post by CBBQTT (aka Chief BBQ Taste Tester or in the corporate world: wonderkid CEO) Matt Mullenweg of this (WordPress) blogging company fame posting on the corporate blog “iPhone Updates: Prologue and Mdot.”  Mullenweg was basically saying WordPress was updating the mobile interface in preparation for the larger release of iPhones to the world.  A smart move in my book even though some might say it’s jumping on the iPhone bandwagon. Continue reading


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    Just short of 600 views…

    Like I said “porcupines,” “Korean women” and many others like “how to say hello (or thank you) in Korean” are dominating the traffic on the blog these days.  For a snippet of the rest of the popular posts, check out the following WordPress stats for The Real “South” Korea: Continue reading


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    More proof why Google will continue to dominate…

    Competitions for Business Plans or other events like Science competitions that supposedly try to make it fun for people basically to compete & win something actually have some other intent behind these that the competitors sometimes don’t know about.  The VC’s and Angel Investors who want to find fresh business plans like to see what floats to the top.  Science focused or other Corporations who need the scientists will sponsor the science competitions in hopes of finding their future producers for their companies.  And Google is no exception — they really know how to play in this arena. Continue reading

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    Hagwon Look to Block Unqualified Foreign Teachers

    05-19-2008 17:55


    By Kang Shin-who
    Staff Reporter

    The association of foreign language institutes or hagwon said Monday that the government should block the inflow of unqualified native English teachers, making clear its opposition to a policy to increase the number of “questionable instructors.’’ Continue reading


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    Vegas, Seattle and Search

    On the move…

    In more ways than one.

    Later this week, I fly off to my buddy’s bachelor party in what better place except Sin City: Las Vegas.  After frolicking around with the boys for a few days, I’m flying up to Seattle to see family & remaining friends in the little time I have up that way.  I’ll probably neglect a few people due to the limited time there.  If any of you are reading this right now, I’m sorry…I have like 36 hours in Seattle.

    However, I may see you soon after this trip — you Seattleites.  I may have to change the blog to “” or people will have to start to understand I started the blog when in Korea and that the url has nothing to do with location — well, if it happens that way.  Yes, I’m considering the next chapter of my life.   Continue reading

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    Buy me! How much am I worth?

    Saw this recently despite the age of the article:

    Takinga gamble on human capital

    Firms invest in students’ potential

    By Roxana Popescu
    Published: SATURDAY, JUNE 18, 2005


    The pitch goes something like this: Imagine investing in business superstars when they are just starting out, the way people do with athletes or music celebrities. What if a scout had spotted Bill Gates when he was 18 and given him money for books and college tuition, in exchange for a cut of his later earnings? Continue reading

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