November 24, 2017, 03:30:23 PM

Author Topic: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]  (Read 131903 times)

Offline weigookin74

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #560 on: July 16, 2017, 10:16:57 PM »
If you are going to adjust Korean ESL salaries today versus yesteryear using inflation, just look at the price inflation back home (not to mention job market).

I live comfortably in a free apartment, don't work mornings or weekends (under 30 hours at work each week, at a job I enjoy) and often find a thousand dollars kicking around at the end of the month to save or figure out how to spend. That's how things were in 2002 and in 2017 for me. (Of course, now I have a jeep, a couple of 4-year-old Persian cats and plenty of memories of trips to Japan, China, Thailand, Guam and New Zealand and around South Korea.)

So, I certainly don't see how I'm worse off now than I was in 2002.

This is an important point to consider. If you're happy with living and working in Korea, that's fine. In strictly numerical terms, your money buys you less than it did when you first got here, but you obviously have had a good life here and I see no point begrudging you that. On the other hand, I think people who are younger or newer to Korea should be aware that jobs are harder to get and that they could easily be making not much more than 30m KRW a year even if they stay until 2030.

Yipes, these wages in 2030 will prob be horrible.  It'll be like Japan on steroids.  Don't get me wrong, Japan might be ok to do for a year if you have a few grand in savings and just want to experience the country and not make make any money out of it.  But, no way you're getting out of debt or saving money up there to start a school.  Korea, 10 years from now, I don't even want to think about. 

Offline weigookin74

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #561 on: July 16, 2017, 10:18:26 PM »
Kind of dangerous because money is not being paid into one's retirement account when teaching English abroad. One thing to consider anyways.

Unless you've worked here for over 10 years or 120 months and haven't cashed out your pension here.  Korea will give me some money when I'm old and so will Canada. 

Offline VanIslander

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #562 on: July 16, 2017, 11:51:35 PM »
If you are going to adjust Korean ESL salaries today versus yesteryear using inflation, just look at the price inflation back home (not to mention job market).

I live comfortably in a free apartment, don't work mornings or weekends (under 30 hours at work each week, at a job I enjoy) and often find a thousand dollars kicking around at the end of the month to save or figure out how to spend. That's how things were in 2002 and in 2017 for me. (Of course, now I have a jeep, a couple of 4-year-old Persian cats and plenty of memories of trips to Japan, China, Thailand, Guam and New Zealand and around South Korea.)

So, I certainly don't see how I'm worse off now than I was in 2002.

This is an important point to consider. If you're happy with living and working in Korea, that's fine. In strictly numerical terms, your money buys you less than it did when you first got here, but you obviously have had a good life here and I see no point begrudging you that. On the other hand, I think people who are younger or newer to Korea should be aware that jobs are harder to get and that they could easily be making not much more than 30m KRW a year even if they stay until 2030.
Emphasis added. My main point was that if you're gonna play the price inflation and job market comparison game, don't just look at Korea vs. Korea a decade ago, but look at the RELATIVE difference between here and home, then and now. Consider the counterfactual conditions: what if you were back home instead of here, back then AND look at NOW.

I think I'm equal or better off teaching in South Korea NOW then I was in 2002. The inflation of prices of food, transportation and housing back home as well as the huge reduction in quality job opportunities back home makes my job and wage choices here look better now than the decision I made when I first came here fifteen years ago!

Offline kobayashi

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #563 on: July 17, 2017, 09:14:08 AM »
VanIslander - i'm not sure where you are from, but just to put things in perspective, the median salary for most major cities in the US is easily double what it is in korea.

Things have become more expensive in the West - inflation etc. - but think about the type of life you could be living in the US earning 60-70,000 dollars per year. Much bigger house, nicer car, more food options etc.

There's a reason so many people are choosing to leave korea these days.

Offline weigookin74

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #564 on: July 17, 2017, 10:53:14 AM »
VanIslander - i'm not sure where you are from, but just to put things in perspective, the median salary for most major cities in the US is easily double what it is in korea.

Things have become more expensive in the West - inflation etc. - but think about the type of life you could be living in the US earning 60-70,000 dollars per year. Much bigger house, nicer car, more food options etc.

There's a reason so many people are choosing to leave korea these days.

Only if you're able to live in one of these cities and earn one of these salaries.  There's lots of folks living in these cities earning half that month and getting raped by high rents and much higher taxes.  Middle class jobs seem to be less frequent and the high cost of living - ie entry - is off putting to moving to these cities if you're not from these places already and can't live with your folks till you get set up.  Toronto, Vancouver, you need minimum 70 to 80 k as a single person if you're going to have any quality of life and prob in the 150 k to 200 k range combined total income if you have a family due to sky high housing costs, even if you live outside the city a ways.  Seems only the elites have the good paying jobs there nowadays.  (Not everyone works in IT or some other specialized field.) 

Offline kobayashi

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #565 on: July 17, 2017, 10:59:32 AM »
And there are also lots of folks living in those cities who ARE earning that amount, or more. That's why that is the median salary.

In smaller cities salary is lower but cost of living is cheaper.

If someone doesn't have the qualifications and skills to get a job around the median salary then that's on them. They could have used their deskwarming time here in korea more wisely.

People love to sit in their mold-infested, employer-provided shoeboxes raving about how they're saving so much money cus they don't have to pay $1,000 in rent, while completely forgetting that if you want a decent apartment in korea you DO have to pay 1,000 per month rent, with a 15,00-20,000 deposit on top of that.

Offline cheolsu

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #566 on: July 17, 2017, 11:34:43 AM »
I think VanIslander is operating on the assumption, for better or for worse, that he wouldn't be making the median income in Canada (Vancouver Island?) because of "the huge reduction in quality job opportunities". I can't speak for his background or qualifications, nor can I argue with him if he's satisfied with living in Korea at a job that meets his expectations, but it's also not true life back home is that bad. If you're satisfied living in an apartment that's small by Korean standards, working a job that pays so-so by Korean standards, I'm sure you'll be able to find something equally appealing back home. Pretty much everyone I know who has moved back to North America in the last 5 years, even those without home country work experience, has found a professional line of work, which is to say that this illusory choice between working retail back home and staying at a Korean hagwon just isn't true.

Online MayorHaggar

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #567 on: July 17, 2017, 11:37:31 AM »
VanIslander - i'm not sure where you are from, but just to put things in perspective, the median salary for most major cities in the US is easily double what it is in korea.

Things have become more expensive in the West - inflation etc. - but think about the type of life you could be living in the US earning 60-70,000 dollars per year. Much bigger house, nicer car, more food options etc.

There's a reason so many people are choosing to leave korea these days.

Lol unless you're over 40 or have an engineering degree or comp sci degree in something specific, snd some connections, you're supposed to feel lucky to make more than $30,000 a year, at a time when housing prices are going through the roof. And this isn't just in the US, young Koreans in South Korea are facing this too, but only in the last few years whereas Americans have faced this since about 2000.

There's a reason so many Westerners continue to work in Korea for 2.1m and free housing, when the alternative is working in the US in retail, waiting tables, working at McDonalds or schlepping it in a call center for close to minimum wage and paying half your earnings in rent.

Offline msmisha

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #568 on: July 17, 2017, 11:52:05 AM »
Also, depending on where you live in the US, 60/70 a year still isn't even a viable living salary. Try making that and living in San Francisco. I honestly don't even know if you'd be able to make it month to month without several roommates.

Offline CJ

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #569 on: July 17, 2017, 11:53:15 AM »
I'm pretty sure people have been talking about this for a few years now, and people will continue to talk about it in the months...years...decades? to come. When it happens, it happens; don't fret too much.

However, it's not good to get too comfortable as you might have the carpet pulled out from under you; best to have a plan B up the sleeve. The EFL industry seems to be slowly squeezing more and more from teachers, which is a trend around the world.

My question is, is it really worth having foreign teachers in high schools to do speaking classes when hardly any of the students give a toss as it's not on the final test? I see my students once a week for 50 minutes; it will be hard to see much improvement.

As a side note, I have discovered that this thread has been running for 7 years. Will we have another 7 in the future?

Well, there has been a constant drip, drip, drip since then.  Slight cuts, then more, then some more.  But even for a year or two before this, the market got so flooded that lots of people got non renewed.  So, for the past eight years at least, you've had to look over your shoulder, as you just became easy to replace.  Prior to that, you could have the most racist crazy school hate on you and you'd still get renewed.  (Though for the record, most have been pretty good to me.)  Either way, I'm guessing the drip of cuts will only continue, maybe accelerate under the next government.  Also, if North Korea collapses and the countries have the chance to re unite in the next few years, you can guess where the money will be spent.  It won't be on us!!

Are you in an English program? Have you seen numbers reduced? I guess we have to look at the number of visas being issued.

The last time I was here was in 2010. I was with EPIK earning 2.7 plus nearly 1.0 extra with afterschool lessons. This time around I'm on 2.5 with many years of post-CELTA experience in a range of teaching contexts. Even though this is pretty much an entry-level gig, I would have expected salaries to have increased just a little due to inflation.
 
I've been around the traps, and I think Korea is still a very good deal when compared to other Asian countries like Vietnam, Cambodia or Indonesia. For how long this will continue; who really knows?!

Online Thomas Mc

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #570 on: July 17, 2017, 12:04:51 PM »
No matter how much you complain about the Korean efl scene, it's still a way, way better deal than the neighbouring countries in the region.

That is why the complainers stay Year after year and boat loads of newbies continue to show up at the start of every term.

Online SteveBruce

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #571 on: July 17, 2017, 12:04:51 PM »
Whether or not the "end of nets" happens is beside the point. If you're happy and content with your life in Korea, more power to you, I envy you as being happy and content. This is the most important thing a person can strive for ultimately. Additionally, I am not some sort of demon who wants anyone to lose their jobs, but I can't help but think that the end of nets would be a blessing in disguise.

Kobayashi may disagree with me, but to follow up on the truth in which he was speaking I think many nets simply lack the ambition to find anything better. It's hard out there this is no secret, it's why many were drawn to Korea in the first place, but all it takes is to walk around Itaewon to see the jaded expats in their 40s. I can't fathom how any could stay here for 20 years and still do this job, a glorified foreign clown who speaks English. Point being in summary, many seem to lack the ambition necessary to move on from here.

Online bigfishlittlefish

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #572 on: July 17, 2017, 12:16:56 PM »
So Steve Bruce is that you I keep seeing head in hands crying in Seoul Pub?  :cry: :cry:

Online eggieguffer

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #573 on: July 17, 2017, 12:44:14 PM »
Quote
Kobayashi may disagree with me, but to follow up on the truth in which he was speaking I think many nets simply lack the ambition to find anything better.

True, hence you get posts like the one above saying there's nothing better in neighbouring countries. What he means is nothing better in other countries for people applying for entry level jobs with no extra skills or qualifications. In fact there are much higher paid jobs in Hong Kong for the right kind of people, in China, full time IELTS examiners are on over 4 million a month at a lower cost of living, British universities over there pay very well too, I know a couple in Cambodia making the same as what you'd make here at a vastly lower cost of living. there's a guy on Dave's cafe who says he's making the equivalent of 4 mil a month in Thailand. I talked to a guy working here who told me he was better off in Vietnam. None of them are doing jobs that only require a BA and an online TEFL though.

Online MayorHaggar

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #574 on: July 17, 2017, 01:01:34 PM »
- "why don't they go back to their home countries and find something better to do"
- also lives and works in South Korea



The hollowing out of the global middle class economy is really quite a big deal and a lot of people just stick their head in the sand and ignore it. Japan got hit with it first in the 1990's, then the US in the 2000's, the UK and other European countries after 2008, and now South Korea and even places like Australia. Economies look good on paper because real estate is (too) expensive and stocks are high, but younger people scrounge for good jobs and reasonable housing, and older people suffer too if they lose their jobs.

Offline wanderingskald

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #575 on: July 17, 2017, 01:05:56 PM »
If you want to make it a career to be an ESL teacher, you need proper qualifications.  A Bachelor's + TEFL is not going to cut it in the long run.  The market is getting saturated everywhere, not just in Korea.  I would argue just getting the MA TESOL isn't good enough anymore to get the best jobs.  I'd look into getting a grad degree and a license with it, whether it's an IELTS examiner or a K-12 ESL teaching license.  There are lots of gatekeepers in place because good ESL jobs pay VERY well and give you lots of benefits (long vacations, retirement plans, tenure, unions).

Offline weigookin74

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #576 on: July 17, 2017, 01:12:30 PM »
Whether or not the "end of nets" happens is beside the point. If you're happy and content with your life in Korea, more power to you, I envy you as being happy and content. This is the most important thing a person can strive for ultimately. Additionally, I am not some sort of demon who wants anyone to lose their jobs, but I can't help but think that the end of nets would be a blessing in disguise.

Kobayashi may disagree with me, but to follow up on the truth in which he was speaking I think many nets simply lack the ambition to find anything better. It's hard out there this is no secret, it's why many were drawn to Korea in the first place, but all it takes is to walk around Itaewon to see the jaded expats in their 40s. I can't fathom how any could stay here for 20 years and still do this job, a glorified foreign clown who speaks English. Point being in summary, many seem to lack the ambition necessary to move on from here.

Well, you come in your late 20's or even early 30's and stay for 10 to 15 years to get your debts paid off and money saved up to do something new (retrain, cost of moving to a bog city, etc).  Maybe you worked for 2 or 3 years back home and realized it was crap.  Nowadays, companies will treat you like crap unless you're specialized in something.  In my case, the companies were all outsourced and the head offices were somewhere's else.  Promotional opportunities were limited.  Rents were cheaper in smaller towns, but wages were horrible.  Retail, call centers, warehouses, and a handful of company or government jobs that required you to speak a couple of languages or were so competitive that it din't matter how smart you were or how good your marks were.  It only mattered if you knew someone or could pass a rigged French language exam demanding 110% language fluency.  Total BS. 

Anyways, you come over, pay off short term debts, then start tackling students loans, then start tackling credit cards.  In the midst of this, the Great Recession happens making home unappealing for about 5 years post 2009 anyhow.  The Cdn dollar goes high before and after this time during a several year period crippling what  you can send home meaning far far less.  Honestly, the exchange rate has been so improved over the last 3 years that I was finally able to start making real headway on those debts where it seemed I was paying a pittance before. 

Now, there is the need to save a lot of cash to finance the move to a big city (expensive to relocate to and rent, especially if you're not from there and can't 'live with the folks') and to also retrain.  Get home by my early 40's and prob, depending on the time spent re training for something - be ready to hit a job market by mid to late 40's?  Sucks @$$.  We weren't all born with a silver spoon in our mouths.  Guess all I can do is try to look as young as I can and hope the economy and some well trained posting makes employers desperate enough not to age discriminate.  (Will definitely be dying my hair then and trying to keep in shape.)

Guess the only thing that might suck is being 20 years older than some other new hires by then?  But, they will be in debt to their @$$ and just beginning to build their credit.  I won't have those problems I guess.  Who knows?

Online SteveBruce

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #577 on: July 17, 2017, 01:13:45 PM »
- "why don't they go back to their home countries and find something better to do"
- also lives and works in South Korea



The hollowing out of the global middle class economy is really quite a big deal and a lot of people just stick their head in the sand and ignore it. Japan got hit with it first in the 1990's, then the US in the 2000's, the UK and other European countries after 2008, and now South Korea and even places like Australia. Economies look good on paper because real estate is (too) expensive and stocks are high, but younger people scrounge for good jobs and reasonable housing, and older people suffer too if they lose their jobs.

I knew I would get an asinine response like this one. I tried to make my point as clear as possible yet despite this, I still ruffled someones feathers. Either you didn't understand what I was trying to say or you fit the description of the sort of NET I was referring to, I'll let you choose which one that is.

At no point did I mention anything about going home. I was saying people lack the ambition to transcend the role of foreign English speaking clown. Meaning, working for a public school/hagwon masquerading as a teacher. If you bag a uni gig where you're being paid double, or open your own hagwon or something and stay in Korea that's awesome. Likewise with if you land a gig anywhere else in the world where you're doing better than what you're doing here (foreign English speaking clown).


Online eggieguffer

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #578 on: July 17, 2017, 02:18:39 PM »
Quote

At no point did I mention anything about going home. I was saying people lack the ambition to transcend the role of foreign English speaking clown. Meaning, working for a public school/hagwon masquerading as a teacher. If you bag a uni gig where you're being paid double, or open your own hagwon or something and stay in Korea that's awesome. Likewise with if you land a gig anywhere else in the world where you're doing better than what you're doing here (foreign English speaking clown).

I don't really see why you're an English speaking clown at a hagwan or public school but suddenly you're awesome doing exactly the same thing at a uni to slightly older kids. Or do you only qualify for the awesome  tag if you're on twice the wage? - not many unis pay that by the way and a lot pay the same as hagwans




Offline CJ

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Re: The End of Native Teachers/EPIK/NETs in Korea [Mega Thread]
« Reply #579 on: July 17, 2017, 03:22:23 PM »
Either way, by the next decade, there will be a decline.

Korea just isn't that good of a deal anymore if you're an E2. There's the apostille hassle and expense, the mediocre money and stressful workplace, and the inflexible visa conditions.

Vietnam is virtually on wage parity with Korea now and China is closing in. Anyone who values cultural experience as much as money will probably be opting for there.

How much comparison is there really, between "struggling to make friends in chingchongbuk-do" vs "rocking it in Saigon?"

Quote
I think in the 2020's, the gravy train will be over, even if we have a temporary reprieve.  There will still be native speakers, but will it end up more like Japan where you're poor?

I think we're already halfway there. The elementary jobs are shrinking, E2's are lessening and most jobs are being made into p/t or temp and filled by F-visas.

You'll be lucky earning $1400 USD in Vietnam minus tax without free flights, pension, good holidays, and a large bonus. You'll be forking out for your own apartment which aren't that cheap unless you're keen on living in a hovel. Saigon gets old real fast as does Hanoi. Great places to visit, but horrible to live in IMHO.  Go check it out for yourself.

As for Cambodia, the only decent gig in town is a place called ACE. While they pay a decent hourly rate, which depends on what type of classes you teach, when you add up the tonne of UNPAID holidays which amounts to about 10 weeks; you're saving diddly squat!

In relation to those saying get higher quals, I agree, but make sure they are proper quals like an Education degree or equivalent. Go check out salaries in Asia for most jobs where your Masters TEFOL/ Linguistics can be used, and then calculate how long it will take to pay off the fees. Is it really worth it?

Ride out the Korean gravy train people. Just learn how to budget and enjoy the outdoors and everything will be fine.
« Last Edit: July 17, 2017, 04:50:05 PM by CJ »