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Author Topic: Why is Korea so stressful?  (Read 15942 times)

Offline jaygee

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #100 on: January 09, 2018, 10:46:06 AM »
Just some background about me: I currently work in a public school (GEPIK), worked in a Korean hagwon-like private school for a few months, and worked as a public school teacher in the U.S.

I will say that there are stresses to each of these situations. I was stressed enough as an American school teacher that I developed anxiety and insomnia. The private Korean school epitomized the fast-paced nature of Korean society with so many last minute things. And since it was private, the school catered to the whims of the parents paying the high tuition. (Something I wondered aloud to my coworkers there was why even have professionals if they are just going to tell them what to do; the teachers there were credentialed, so they knew what they were doing, whereas I doubt the parents have backgrounds in education aside from going through it.) Working in a GEPIK school has been the least stressful of the three (though there are some things that are more frustrating about it than the others). Having said that, I have also decided that I would go back to teaching public school in the U.S.

I think that sometimes you have to consider the types of stresses you have to deal with. There was a great quote I came across somewhat recently: "Which version of sh*t sandwich are you willing to eat?" (*Don't remember the policy about curse words here) A more elaborate explanation of that quote, if anyone is interested (https://medium.com/@michellemonet/which-version-of-shit-sandwich-are-you-willing-to-eat-13247ded32a9) I think for many people the stresses in Korea are unfamiliar (and therefore they may have yet to find an effective way of coping with the stress) or they are just not the type of sh*t sandwich they are willing to deal with.

Let me use myself as an example. Maybe you're wondering why I would leave the relatively stress-free GEPIK position for the (once) anxiety-inducing public school job in the U.S. Well, I think the stresses of my GEPIK job are generally more out of my control, whereas I have more power to deal with and change the stresses of an American school teacher. Even though working as a teacher in America I had some students with serious behavioral issues, I was able to get support (from other teachers and behavioral specialists in my district). I also feel that I do now have more experience and am better equipped to deal with a lot of the challenges. As a GEPIK teacher, I have a controlling ct that only sticks to the curriculum (and focusing only on repeating and copying text), wouldn't let me implement any kind of classroom management, and did some really petty things. This is not a huge deal, but the school won't do anything about it. She drove away my last 2 predecessors. The NET I replaced told me she talked to the principal about it, but was told they know the ct isn't a good teacher, but there's nothing they'll do about it. Actually, I don't feel any support from the school for any of the problems I have/may have (though I know this depends on each school, so others may have some wonderfully supportive schools in GEPIK). The other thing is that I don't feel that we are effectively teaching the students English, so even though it was tougher teaching in the U.S., it was also more rewarding because I felt like I was effectively teaching. The main thing was even though there was struggle, progress was made and I felt like I could grow as a teacher. Even though things are admittedly easier (just a lighter workload overall, even though I feel I waste time on needless tasks) as a GEPIK teacher, the stresses I deal with feel a little stifling and unchangeable.

Another thing that frustrates me (and I'm sure others as well), that could also be a source of stress is the pervasive superficiality in the culture here in Korea, and how so much of it feels like Korea shooting itself in the foot. It's not just *emphasizing* looking good (nice clothes, make-up, high status job), but how the appearance of things is *ALL* that matters. It's kinda cargo cultish (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult). I feel I'm pretty goal-oriented, so I do things because I want a specific outcome (such as getting students to learn English), so this frustrates me to no end in education when it only matters that students appear to be learning while not actually learning (by only memorizing things over producing authentic language). You also see at higher levels of education too with professors plagiarizing papers to fill a quota. I get that this was their reason for making the paper quota from professors, but this is like following the law to the letter but not the spirit. I assume that the reason they want a high output of papers is to encourage scientific progress and put Korea at the forefront of research. But things don't work that way; scientific progress isn't achieved by a certain number of papers. It is just really frustrating when people choose superficiality over happiness (while at the same time hoping that the superficial thing will bring happiness), like choosing majors and jobs they hate because that's what society tells them they should do. Or "working hard" by staying late but not doing anything productive. I think the overemphasis on appearance/image is part of the self-induced stress of society.

Anyway, I think I've rambled on for long enough. I've enjoyed reading the responses from other commenters.
« Last Edit: January 09, 2018, 01:42:36 PM by jaygee »

Offline gogators!

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #101 on: January 09, 2018, 01:26:34 PM »
If people could just look at the statistics(2012), you'll find that elderly males make up for a large % of the suicides. This is due to poverty, feeling that they are a burden on their kids, and as a result of Koreans turning their backs on their parents despite being given everything by them.

Telling Koreans to stop being so dramatic illustrates the sociopathic nature of some posters on here who really need to get out of here and experience life outside of the Internet.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_in_South_Korea#/media/File:Suicide_rate_in_South_Korea_2012.svg
It was mostly farmers drinking the pesticide. They removed the poisons and as a result those suicides have decreased.

Offline Jacksoncolumbo

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #102 on: January 09, 2018, 01:40:37 PM »
Martino-derails-steelrails/whatever-you-call-yourself.
Please stop so dreadfully carving in stone your reputation.

This thread is about stress in South Korea.

My article, had you bothered to read it, is about South Korea.

https://www.economist.com/news/asia/21591211-loneliness-and-poverty-are-killers-poor-spirits 

Your response to my humble submission was 'Guns and Suicide in the United States.'  http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp0805923
(There is not one reference to South Korea in it.)

You do not refute another's argument by posting irrelevant material.

So, let me draw your attention back;
My point was that elderly suicide is high in South Korea and that given the way South Korean healthcare does not cover self-harm, suicide does not tend to be marked by 'cry-for-helps.'
And to be clear again, we are not discussing whether ownership of guns leads to greater or less impulsiveness with regard to suicide in the United States.
We are discussing the rather tragic prevalence of suicide in South Korea.
Attempting to crowbar the evidence of another country (without making that very clear) into this discussion risks entrenching the parody of 'derailing' doesn't it?

Discussion is about contributing to the greater worth of it by making points which are relevant.

And in any discussion, it is perfectly legitimate to concede points. Not rely only on the calorific content of one's posts.

Offline CJ

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #103 on: January 09, 2018, 01:49:06 PM »
If people could just look at the statistics(2012), you'll find that elderly males make up for a large % of the suicides. This is due to poverty, feeling that they are a burden on their kids, and as a result of Koreans turning their backs on their parents despite being given everything by them.

Telling Koreans to stop being so dramatic illustrates the sociopathic nature of some posters on here who really need to get out of here and experience life outside of the Internet.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_in_South_Korea#/media/File:Suicide_rate_in_South_Korea_2012.svg
It was mostly farmers drinking the pesticide. They removed the poisons and as a result those suicides have decreased.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-korea-suicide/pesticide-ban-cuts-south-koreas-high-suicide-rate-a-bit-idUSBRE98T05R20130930

No mention of Koreans being "too dramatic" or "whiny" and in need of hardening up in this article. Maybe, surprise surprise, the suicide rate is linked to Korea's inability to reduce the social stigma of people battling and needing help.

Online VanIslander

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #104 on: January 09, 2018, 02:36:30 PM »
I worked in Korea for 7 years under GEPIK and EPIK, and I have read and heard horrifying stories of what NET's have gone through teaching in hagwons.
LOL.

I've been here since 2002 and public school teachers whine ten times as much as fellow hagwon teachers, and in fact stay in terrible conditions much longer for some reason.

I dunno where all these terrible hagwon teaching jobs are, as anyone who has had a bad one has bailed asap, as I recall, whereas public school teachers seem to stick around and complain about their deskwarming boredom from 9am onward day in and day out until the end of their contract.

I know seven guys (all men) who have been here as long as I have and all prefer hagwons over public school conditions. I haven't known a public school teacher to make it past year eight. They may exist, somewhere, or it could be pixy dust.

Offline CJ

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #105 on: January 09, 2018, 03:02:35 PM »
I worked in Korea for 7 years under GEPIK and EPIK, and I have read and heard horrifying stories of what NET's have gone through teaching in hagwons.
LOL.

I've been here since 2002 and public school teachers whine ten times as much as fellow hagwon teachers, and in fact stay in terrible conditions much longer for some reason.

I dunno where all these terrible hagwon teaching jobs are, as anyone who has had a bad one has bailed asap, as I recall, whereas public school teachers seem to stick around and complain about their deskwarming boredom from 9am onward day in and day out until the end of their contract.

I know seven guys (all men) who have been here as long as I have and all prefer hagwons over public school conditions. I haven't known a public school teacher to make it past year eight. They may exist, somewhere, or it could be pixy dust.

How much $$ are you on, dude? You always put a positive spin on hagwon teaching. Is it the 2.3 salary and 10 days off a year that floats your boat? Or is it the Family and Friends or Lets Go! textbooks that stimulate you intellectually? Isn't working in a hagwon for absolute TEFL newbies? No experience required! Trip of a lifetime and all of that jazz that recruiters use to sell the job?

I have a mate who stayed 9 years in the same elem school, but that isn't normal at all.

I'll agree with you over the boredom thing in PS; I guess I should be using my time more effectively, but the death-like-silence of the staffroom doesn't lend itself to doing anything productive.

Offline gogators!

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #106 on: January 09, 2018, 03:17:42 PM »
If people could just look at the statistics(2012), you'll find that elderly males make up for a large % of the suicides. This is due to poverty, feeling that they are a burden on their kids, and as a result of Koreans turning their backs on their parents despite being given everything by them.

Telling Koreans to stop being so dramatic illustrates the sociopathic nature of some posters on here who really need to get out of here and experience life outside of the Internet.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_in_South_Korea#/media/File:Suicide_rate_in_South_Korea_2012.svg
It was mostly farmers drinking the pesticide. They removed the poisons and as a result those suicides have decreased.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-korea-suicide/pesticide-ban-cuts-south-koreas-high-suicide-rate-a-bit-idUSBRE98T05R20130930

No mention of Koreans being "too dramatic" or "whiny" and in need of hardening up in this article. Maybe, surprise surprise, the suicide rate is linked to Korea's inability to reduce the social stigma of people battling and needing help.
No doubt. That the government went so far as to ban certain pesticides shows exactly how serious the problem is.

Offline fdny

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #107 on: January 09, 2018, 03:54:03 PM »
I think they drink herbicide because it tastes better than soju.

Offline Cyanea

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #108 on: January 09, 2018, 11:24:47 PM »
I have a mate who stayed 9 years in the same elem school, but that isn't normal at all.

Thats nothing, I know people who have stayed in the same job in the US for 20+ years. In the same town.
Catch my drift?

Online Mr C

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #109 on: January 10, 2018, 07:36:30 AM »
I haven't known a public school teacher to make it past year eight. They may exist, somewhere, or it could be pixy dust.
<cough cough>

Offline CJ

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #110 on: January 10, 2018, 07:41:08 AM »
I have a mate who stayed 9 years in the same elem school, but that isn't normal at all.

Thats nothing, I know people who have stayed in the same job in the US for 20+ years. In the same town.

Yeah, but how about Korea?

Online Mister Tim

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #111 on: January 10, 2018, 08:13:07 AM »

Before Christmas, I was watching Home Alone 2 on tv.  Towards the end, they cut out the part where Kevin throws the bricks from the roof and hits Marv on the head.  All very funny.  When I talked with my students about why they cut that bit out, they said there was some incidence last year where some guy was throwing stuff off his roof and injuring people.   :undecided:  That would be a reason why they cut it out?  If you're going to stop any possible copycat actions, then there'll be nothing on tv.

It wasn't some guy, it was a couple of elementary school kids, and they killed a woman. They didn't really get in trouble for it, though, as far as I remember. There was a thread here about it, if someone wants to dig it up.

Online Chinguetti

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #112 on: January 10, 2018, 08:23:28 AM »

Before Christmas, I was watching Home Alone 2 on tv.  Towards the end, they cut out the part where Kevin throws the bricks from the roof and hits Marv on the head.  All very funny.  When I talked with my students about why they cut that bit out, they said there was some incidence last year where some guy was throwing stuff off his roof and injuring people.   :undecided:  That would be a reason why they cut it out?  If you're going to stop any possible copycat actions, then there'll be nothing on tv.

It wasn't some guy, it was a couple of elementary school kids, and they killed a woman. They didn't really get in trouble for it, though, as far as I remember. There was a thread here about it, if someone wants to dig it up.

That'll be it then.  It is violent that part and I could see why, but it is just where you stop with the editing and censoring for anything remotely influential.   

On Monday they were showing Deadpool on the OCN channel, and they censored all of the strippers' crotches... but not their breasts.

I still can't figure out the censoring logic in this country. I've seen breasts censored before, but not at other times, and it can't be an oversight in this instance because they took the time to censor crotches in the same damn scene.

Online Mister Tim

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #113 on: January 10, 2018, 08:24:58 AM »

I still can't figure out the censoring logic in this country. I've seen breasts censored before, but not at other times, and it can't be an oversight in this instance because they took the time to censor crotches in the same damn scene.

The best is when someone is holding a cigarette, then it magically turns into a blur as soon as it touches their lips.

Online Chinguetti

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #114 on: January 10, 2018, 08:28:42 AM »

I still can't figure out the censoring logic in this country. I've seen breasts censored before, but not at other times, and it can't be an oversight in this instance because they took the time to censor crotches in the same damn scene.

The best is when someone is holding a cigarette, then it magically turns into a blur as soon as it touches their lips.

A blue viagra pill taped to paper? Not on MY watch. You get a blue blur. Let your imaginations go wild.

Online zola

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #115 on: January 10, 2018, 08:32:33 AM »
Driving in snow in Korea is stressful :lipsrsealed:
Kpip! - Martin 2018

Online zola

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #116 on: January 10, 2018, 08:39:32 AM »
Didn't stop people driving through reds, mind.

Yip.
Kpip! - Martin 2018

Online Mr.DeMartino

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #117 on: January 10, 2018, 10:43:06 AM »
Your response to my humble submission was 'Guns and Suicide in the United States.'  http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp0805923
(There is not one reference to South Korea in it.)

You do not refute another's argument by posting irrelevant material.

Yoy, I just noticed that. I copied the wrong link from the wrong tab. That was my mistake.

This is the one I meant to link, it was within the article that dealt with gun suicides. Next time, don't just read the headline. The relevant information was inside the article on suicide impulsivity
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11924695?dopt=Abstract

Not to mention there's this.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4965648/

Quote
We are discussing the rather tragic prevalence of suicide in South Korea.
Attempting to crowbar the evidence of another country (without making that very clear) into this discussion risks entrenching the parody of 'derailing' doesn't it?

Discussion is about contributing to the greater worth of it by making points which are relevant.

And in any discussion, it is perfectly legitimate to concede points. Not rely only on the calorific content of one's posts.

I apologize for copying the wrong link so that because you only ready the headline, but not the part of the article that dealt with impulsivity and the study within, that you thought I was talking about gun suicide.

Offline msession1992

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #118 on: January 10, 2018, 11:40:20 AM »
I am experiencing a lot of stress here. I don't think Korea is the culprit of my stress but it isn't helping. For myself it's more like I am stressed in Korea vs Korea is stressful.

1st of all I am fresh out of university more or less. 23 when I graduated & started my job. I am 1 year & 4 months into my Public School job (middle school). I finished university & started work in Korea. I could've taught ESL in the US with the company I did an internship with but I am really trying to get financially stable. Paying my student loans on top of rent, needing a car to get around in the US, health care deducatbles & all of the other things that come with adulting in the US, I'd be struggling to stay afloat.  I studied Applied Linguistics & my professor thought it would be a good idea to work here to save money, pay loans, & see if I truly like teaching. I went through with it & here we are & I hate to say it but I don't like it here.

While I went straight from Uni to Korea, I have been around. I've been to France, Croatia, Mexico, & Quebec, Canada before coming to Korea. I wouldn't consider myself a backpack style traveler. I've spent 3 months in each of these countries & to get a proper feel because I won't know if I really liked something if I've only been there for a a week max. So going from those places to here is very different. I learned a valuable lesson that vacationing somewhere is different from actually working & that makes me sad. & I'm doing the SAME thing I'd be doing but instead of working for Uncle Sam I'm working for Uncle Kim. I thought it'd be more glamourous I can't lie. My friends think I have it made but I'm like I have a 9-5 just like you only I'm in a different country. Don't get me wrong I enjoy my coworkers, my kids, & teaching in general but not a huge fan of the way things are done here work-wise.

My money situation also stresses me out. I came to Korea with 27K in student loan debts. I know many people who don't care about debts but its hard for me to sleep at night knowing I owe someone that much money. It so uncomfortable. I got them down to 19K at this point. I could've done better but I traveled to Thailand, went to Seoul a lot & did shopping trips. I like that we have enough money to pay things off while enjoying life somewhat. If I wanted to live like that in the US I would've had to supplement with an AMEX or Discover card. But I want this debt gone fairly quickly. Paid by the end of my 3rd year so I had to cut back on some expenses. No vacations & only going to Seoul once a month for parties, only buying necessary things. So far so good. But being frugal makes it more annoying.

Also being sober from weed is kinda driving me mad. I have anxiety. Well the doctor said I did. I was prescribed meds in the US but nothing really worked. Its like I was a zombie & overall felt worse. Once it got to the point where the doctor wanted to prescribe me Xanax, I was like no thanks, I'll just smoke weed. I was very productive handled my stresses well & didnt feel like a zombie. I'm not a drinker I feel like alcohol brings me down & makes me even more depressed. When everyone goes out drinking I have a good time with my water but sometimes I'm like Lord if I had a blunt this would be intergallactic. So battling sobriety is ****** hard & creates a stress all on its own. I just listen to Chief Kief "I hate being sober" in my apartment & rage out & then have a good laugh at myself.

I honestly feel like I brought my stress with me to Korea. I feel like I would've experienced stress anywhere I went to be honest. The phrase "Where ever you go, there you are" is my life motto. Even if I was in 420 friendly America. I'd say there are little microaggressions of the job like desk warming, no requested off days, taking a vacation on the days that your boss approves, not the days you actually want, lack of preparedness, last minute things, failure to let me know important things like updating my ARC. I just feel like those are triggers for what I already have inside. I see my coworkers cope with their stress & it either inspires me or worries me. It is rather annoying though & some days I feel like I'm sitting on a chair full of needles. But this experience is very real & true. The uncomfort has really lit a fire under my ass to get things done quickly.

I plan on going back to the US because I can't get jiggy with it here. The devil you know vs the devil you don't! I'd love to visit Korea after leaving but working here ever again, oh no. I feel like I will feel stress when I return because there is readjusting. However, my financial situation will be a lot better. Sure I'd only make 50K as a Middle School English teacher but with no debt & savings I should live quite comfortably (I live in the South so that's a lot of money down there lol). I'm doing the GATAPP alternative teaching program. I'll recieve a nonrenewable license & will be eligible for a permanent license in 3 years. Once I'm legit certified I can try for international schools, if working abroad is something I want to do ever again.

I am very stressed but living in Korea has taught me how to become 1 with it & cope in healthy ways.

So you went on holiday for a whole year and now you're stressed about how much money you owe? Could you not have paid off your student debts with the money you spent vacationing?
These are vacations taken over a 5 year period. Not 1 year straight. You know when you have summer breaks in between semesters. I should've clarified that in the OP. My fault. All paid for with cash from jobs I've worked in the pizza industry, as all of my loan money went towards school. I never got any extra money back. I did pay some of the debts while in school during the 5 years, on the ones where the interest wasn't subsidized by the Government. But I feel what you are saying, hindsight is 20/20. All of my debt is strictly student loans.  No credit cards. I'm stressing bc I'm trying to pay them back in 3 years instead of the standard 10. Which my friends think I'm delusional for even attempting LOL. If I did the 10 year plan it would be less stressful but a lot can happen in that time frame.

Online Mr.DeMartino

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Re: Why is Korea so stressful?
« Reply #119 on: January 10, 2018, 12:08:14 PM »
All paid for with cash from jobs I've worked in the pizza industry,

You worked pizza and didn't spend all of your money on weed, beer, and scratch & wins? Wow.