South Korea

Quick Notes on Korea

August 27, 2010
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Health Insurance Just like the Japanese, Koreans enjoy two types of insurance and pension plans: the national plan, which covers all citizens by default, and the employee plan, which is only available for companies that employ five or more workers. As an employee of a small hagwon (학원), I only qualify for the national...
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Between Busan and Hakata

August 23, 2010
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Between Busan and Hakata

My plans to visit Japan over Chuseok holiday are underway. Best of all, thanks to my quick response to a ryokan owner in Nikko, I will be able to stay in the Japanese countryside with all expenses paid for two days. So what’s the plan? September 18th Leave Bugu by bus and head to...
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Climbing Near Deokgu

August 22, 2010
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Climbing Near Deokgu

So I’ve discovered another cross-cultural similarity between Koreans and Japanese: looking the part. So what if you’re physically incapable of climbing a mountain? So what if you have to stop and rest every thirty minutes? You’ve got your fancy gear, don’t you? Your shirt made of the special fabric that sweat only helps to...
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Around Town: Bugu-ri and Uljin-gun

August 21, 2010
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Around Town: Bugu-ri and Uljin-gun

It occurs to me that every last expat on the planet has it easy now compared to, say, thirty years ago. Using Facebook to keep in touch with friends back home. Using Skype to call family. Googling the definition of a foreign word we learn. If I had been confined to Bugu in the...
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Settling In

August 19, 2010
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Mainly a laundry list of things to do… I received my foreigner registration card today. Let the records show it took three days’ processing time and one day to send via courier (for an additional 4000-5000 Won). Not bad at all. Now all I need to do is apply for medical insurance, register with...
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For Your Soaking Pleasure: Deokgu Hot Springs

August 16, 2010
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For Your Soaking Pleasure: Deokgu Hot Springs

I am a water snob. Even with a Korean bathhouse less than 30 meters from my current living situation, I feel compelled to hop a bus and take a soak in mineral water. What can I say? I feel the difference, just as a wine connoisseur can distinguish your average house red from a...
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Foreigner Registration

August 15, 2010
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The same process repeats itself in country after country; there’s always going to be some kind of bureaucracy. How easy it is to work with the system (or pay it off, depending on the level of corruption). Anyone planning to stay in the Republic of Korea longer than 90 days must apply to a...
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Bento Boxes, Blogging, and Baseball

August 11, 2010
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Bento Boxes, Blogging, and Baseball

I still haven’t been through a full week of teaching yet, but already, Korea is feeling markedly different from my Japanese experience. In Japan, AEON spent a week training us, getting us oriented, prepping us for any cultural differences that might arise. In Korea, I landed, took the bus over to my town, and...
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Why Do Foreigners Bail On ESL Contracts?

August 10, 2010
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Why Do Foreigners Bail On ESL Contracts?

Korea is haven for English speakers looking to escape the borders of their homelands and try working in a foreign land. Why? For one, it is one of the only countries to pay for instructors’ tickets going in and out. Second, like Taiwan, the salary is absurdly high given the cost of living. Around...
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Another Day, But No Dollars Yet

August 8, 2010
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Another Day, But No Dollars Yet

Today was a day of practicalities in my little Korean world. I say “my world”, because that’s really how it is in my apartment; when I’m here, it’s like the rest of the country doesn’t exist. I have my CNN, my internet, my English reading material… those Korean products just somehow materialized, but I’m...
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