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Old 10-10-2009, 01:07 PM
 
Location: Hollywood, CA
258 posts, read 1,411,200 times
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I am considering teaching English in South Korea and would like to get some advice from people who have lived or traveled in Korea. The main cities I am considering right now are Seoul, Incheon, and Busan. I'd love to hear about anyones experiences in any of these cities. The most important things I'm looking for in a city are: medium sized (not too big), clean air (no pollution, I realize this isn't possible in most big cities), scenic area with lots of natural beauty (mountains, rivers, lakes), cost of living is relatively low, and friendly people. If anyone has experience teaching ESL in South Korea I'd love to hear about it. As well as what the average salary for an ESL teacher in Korea is.


thanks
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Old 10-10-2009, 06:53 PM
 
Location: Brisbane
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I am a regular travleller to Korea, my thoughts are

1) Seoul is not a medium sizied city, its huge,. The metropolitin area consists of some 25 million people,making it the second largest metropolitin area by population in the world. Think new york with an extra 6-8 million people.
For a city of its size however polution is not as bad as i expected it to be, it certainly exists but nothing like on the scale you encounter in china. Of course as with any very big cities their are an large amount of things to keep you occupied. Once you get to know seoul its really quite cheap, providing you accomidation is provided of course, which is very expensive.

2) Incheon city (not to be confused with Icheon on the other side of the country) is about 70Km from Seoul and is almost close enough to be considered part of seoul, "Seouls" international airport is actually situitated in Incheon. The city itself is on the coast and and i beleive has some beaches. I have never actually spent some time in the city so cant really tell you.

3) Busan would be the best one for you by the sound of your criteria, (it would be my choice as well) Its no where near as big a seoul, and being on the othe side of the country escapes most of the polution. However the tap water is undrinkable (all houses have a special filter in them used to steralise the water). It has a metro system making it quite easy to get around, and i find the people to be a bit more curious than others. It also has a beach, which gets so incredibly packed during summer its sometimes hard to actually see any sand underneath all thoes people. Overall the cost of living in Busan will be slightly less than seoul, its not a remarkable difference however.

As for rivers lakes and natural beauty, Korea is a very small country full of moutains, you will encouter all these things within one hour train ride of all three cities. Keoran poeple for the most part are quiet and shy, most of youger generation will speak some english, however seem a bit to shy to speak it. Make an effort to learn some Korean and understand their customs and you will get to know the people much better.

Last edited by danielsa1775; 10-10-2009 at 08:18 PM..
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Old 10-10-2009, 07:32 PM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,159,509 times
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Incheon is to be avoided - for living. Many people think it might have beaches and might be a nice coastal city, it isn't. VERY industrial. I've never met anyone who ever ended up living out there.

You'll get a wealth of information on teaching in Korea on here:
Korean Job Discussion Forums :: Index
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Old 10-10-2009, 08:26 PM
 
Location: Brisbane
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Also Beware that Koreans are the world hardest workers, you may get very little free time to enjoy the place.
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Old 10-10-2009, 08:45 PM
 
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Did two tours in South Korea ('76-'77 at Kwang Ju & '79-'80 at Kunsan) with the USAF so I'm not sure much of what I can tell you will be current. Also, living on a U.S. military facility is a whole different world than living IN the country. Some good info above; Koreans are definitley hard-working people. And, yes, you'll find that the younger koreans speak some English, many are afraid to speak lest they make mistakes. But, I enjoyed Korea immensely. Best of luck to you!
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Old 10-11-2009, 02:01 AM
 
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If this is the first time you will be living in East Asia, I suggest browsing at some Korean dramas (with English subtitles) to acquaint yourself with cultural shock vicariously. The story theme is not exactly 'Little house on the prairie', but usually centers around the family.

url address: mysoju.com/browse/
url address: crunchyroll.com/drama
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Old 10-11-2009, 02:23 AM
 
Location: Macao
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Actually for your criteria, Busan is sandwiched between the mountains and ocean - with a beach - and a medium-sized city. (Well, population it is very large, but life within the expat community, it'll feel small).
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Old 11-19-2009, 08:32 AM
 
54 posts, read 171,299 times
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I was stationed at Osan AB from 1995-97. Watch some old M*A*S*H episodes. The scenes where they are freezing in the winter and sweating in the Summer is close to reality.

There is also a certain smell that permeates the country (and inside taxi cabs). Hard to describe it unless you've spent some time there.

South Korea is known as the Land of the Morning Calm. We called it Land of the not quite right.
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Old 11-19-2009, 07:59 PM
 
871 posts, read 1,449,000 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pavejon View Post
I was stationed at Osan AB from 1995-97. Watch some old M*A*S*H episodes. The scenes where they are freezing in the winter and sweating in the Summer is close to reality.

There is also a certain smell that permeates the country (and inside taxi cabs). Hard to describe it unless you've spent some time there.

South Korea is known as the Land of the Morning Calm. We called it Land of the not quite right.
Your advice is not quite right. mash episodes will not be helpful at all. i don't know how old you are but most people don't live in army tents surrounded by army personnel.

the advice of watching korean dramas is more helpful info.
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Old 11-19-2009, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Brisbane
3,517 posts, read 5,458,888 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pavejon View Post
I was stationed at Osan AB from 1995-97. Watch some old M*A*S*H episodes. The scenes where they are freezing in the winter and sweating in the Summer is close to reality.

There is also a certain smell that permeates the country (and inside taxi cabs). Hard to describe it unless you've spent some time there.

South Korea is known as the Land of the Morning Calm. We called it Land of the not quite right.
But it is totally correct that Korea does indeed have scorching summer heat and freezing winters.
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