Recruiter In Korea

The Honest Truth About Recruiting in Korea

Archive for October 2010

Using a Non-Korean Mobile Phone in Korea and Banking Info

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Elijah H. wrote:

Thank you for your information! I am living in the united states an im moving to korea very soon! I would like to know what cellphone companies they have there.. and if sprint pcs or verizon, or at&t phones will work there…! please get back with me, it would be a big help! Thanks in advance,
ELijah H.

This is a question based on this post and that I get asked a lot.  Basically, if you’re going to live in Korea for an extended period of time, you will need to buy a cell phone in Korea using a Korean network.  You cannot use your American or Canadian cell phone here unless you are okay with paying ridiculous roaming rates.  I have heard of people registering their Blackberry or iPhone that they brought from home and using them in Korea, but there’s a hefty charge; I believe it’s in the 300,000 KRW range.

There’s 2 ways to get a cell phone:  pay-as-you-go or a contract phone.  The latter is a little tricky since some companies require a large deposit or a Korean co-signer.  Prepaid phone services in Korea are much better than back west since calls you receive are still free so even if you run out of minutes, you can still receive calls.  If you are able to get a phone under a regular contract, you don’t have to pay for the phone out front; you can spread the payments over a number of months, typically 24.

Another question that comes up a lot is if people can use their Canadian or American bank accounts in Korea.  When you get to your school or hagwon, they would most likely want you to use the same bank that they use so it’s easier for them to transfer money into your account every month.  There are banks that have offices in Korea and overseas (KEB, Citibank, Shinhan, etc), but as they are still separate entities so you would still need to open up a Korean bank account regardless, which is a fairly painless process.  If you need to send money back to make payments on loans, cars, homes, etc., just bring all your banking information with you to set up a system where you can transfer money from your Korean bank account to your home bank account every so often.


Written by recruiterinkorea

October 14, 2010 at 3:17 pm

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Sound Advice If You’re Thinking About Teaching in Korea

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Thanks to Akfusion for his comment on my post on Drop Out Rates:

I also think it’s a person’s responsibility to find out as much information about the country before coming there themselves. I would not want to undergo intense packing and hit a 15+ hour plane ride to a foreign country without knowing what I am getting into, especially if I didn’t like the food, know the language, and know the culture some. There are so many facets to take into consideration as you said. I would say those that want to work and the Korean government both could do their parts better. But I agree with you mostly!

It echoes one of the traits of the typical runner that I had mentioned before:

Didn’t do ANY or very little research before coming to Korea.  Korea is not Canada, the U.S. or pretty much like anywhere else in the world.  It’s very…shall we say…unique in a not necessarily good or bad way.  There’s a lot of negativity on Dave’s but I don’t think some of it’s unwarranted.  Make sure you have a good idea of what to expect (not all of it will be bad though).  Keep in mind that small towns are a lot more conservative than big cities like Seoul or Busan.

Korea is definitely not for everyone whether you’re a fresh college grad or have a teaching license.  It all comes down to personality.  From general research, you’ll at least know if you may or may not be able to handle life here which is very different (in good and bad ways) than life back home.


Written by recruiterinkorea

October 6, 2010 at 12:18 pm

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Language, visa rules and big school fees deter foreign talent

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Interesting article from the Joongang Daily about the difficulties foreigners face when in Korea.  The article seems to focus more on professionals working for companies rather than the ubiquitous English instructors:

According to the Korea Immigration Service, the number of foreigners living in Korea has reached 1.22 million this year. Although more than 550,000 of them are employed, only about 44,000 are classified as professionals, a mere 4 percent of all foreigners residing in Korea.

But the struggles are still the same:

Foreigners complain that they have difficulties overcoming the language barrier in coping with daily tasks, such as using appliances at home or communicating with work colleagues.

“Living in Korea as a foreigner is an absolute headache. When I first arrived here, I didn’t know how to throw out the garbage or install internet service, and no one was there to guide me,” said an American teacher in his 30s.

I think English instructors are better off in these respects because they usually work with a group of foreigners at their particular job.  This seems to contradict the posts I made here and here and here awhile back.

Written by recruiterinkorea

October 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm

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This is why I hate public transportation in Korea

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HT to Gusts of Popular Feeling for this informative post on a recent incident that’s riling up the netizens.  Apparently the granny is a notorious figure who provokes these fights on the subway.  It’s fair to mention that one man tried to break it up but I think she’s under the impression that no one will try to do anything since she’s a) old and b) a woman.  Absolutely disgusting.  I hope she slips and falls.

Written by recruiterinkorea

October 4, 2010 at 5:12 pm

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Drop Out Rates

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Thanks to Whilsen for the following post.  I saw this issue in a couple of papers but didn’t have time to post on the issue.

Don’t know if you’d read this article yet. You made a post a while ago about NSET drop out rates. If the figures are right on this, it’s much higher than your estimates. Personally I’m not too surprised, depending on the school hagwons are generally easier to work for than ps where you deal with co-worker issues.

It’s definitely higher than my previous estimates but keep in mind that my estimates are for the schools that I work with.  We have a very stringent recruiting process to avoid bringing over people that are likely not to finish their contract either by their own will or by being terminated.  Also, we do our best to work with schools that place their instructors in the best situation possible workwise.

That said, our candidates are humans and our clients are also humans.  Someone is bound to screw up in one way or another at some point.

It’s also implied from the articles that the stats are from public schools only:

More than a third of the native-speaking English teachers in South Korea quit after six months or so on the job, challenging the effectiveness of language immersion programs installed nationwide, a report said Wednesday.

That’s what I think at least.  If they included hagwons, I’m pretty sure the rate would be much, much higher.

This comment is just plain ignorant:

“Many Koreans have to get through very hard training if they want to be a teacher. It is a kind of privilege for native English speakers to be invited here as teachers. So I earnestly ask them to be more responsible in their jobs,” said Oh Seok-hwan, a director at the ministry.

Really?  So the environment that a foreigner is placed in is moot?  It’s true that an empl0yee must be responsible and try to finish what he/she started but it’s unreasonable to place all the blame on the instructor when there are so many other variables such as the workplace, students, co-workers and other factors that one cannot control such as sickness, death in the family, better job (hey you can’t blame them for finding something better).

Ignorance once again:

Another problem raised by the lawmaker was that the majority of native English teachers lack teaching certificates. Less than 30 percent of them have teaching licenses from their home countries in some regions including Ulsan and North Gyeongsang Province.

What the hell does a teaching license have anything to do with not completing a contract?  I’ve seen plenty of instructors with licenses that have quit well before a year.

Written by recruiterinkorea

October 1, 2010 at 4:31 pm

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