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What if you didnít come to Korea?
« on: May 13, 2021, 06:22:05 pm »
What do you think that you would be doing right now if you had never come to Korea to teach English?


Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2021, 06:59:26 pm »
Teaching English in Country X

Hard Time

Your mom


Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2021, 08:17:37 pm »
I'd hopefully be a school principal in NZ.
I'd hopefully still be married to my Korean wife.
I'd hopefully be sitting in a packed stadium with no mask, watching a rugby game.



  • gogators!
  • The Legend

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Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2021, 08:47:14 pm »
Makin' a livin' the old hard way
Takin' and givin' my day by day
I dig snow and rain and bright sunshine
Draggin' the line (Draggin' the line)


  • VanIslander
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Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2021, 08:57:11 pm »
I only planned to take a one-year travel / working holiday from my career in newspaper journalism, having never had four consecutive days off for years!

I would likely have moved to a big city unionized daily, or took another head editor job running a newsroom of a weekly or twice/thrice weekly community newspaper.

I had often considered eventually running for city or town council.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2021, 08:59:51 pm by VanIslander »


  • tylerthegloob
  • The Legend

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Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2021, 07:19:10 am »
oh i'd be super drunk singing "last nite" in a karaoke bar somewhere

maybe i would've tried to get into the esports world. i still have so many connections from those days and at one point was one foot in one foot out before i decided to go full ESL

maybe i would've sold my soul to some political campaign

probably i would've worked part-time jobs and then eventually migrated to teaching

most likely the third one i guess... that's my plan now, anyway (the migrating to teaching part, not the living in my mom's basement part)
more gg more skill


  • Kyndo
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    • 2215

    • March 03, 2011, 09:45:24 am
    • Gyeongsangbuk-do
Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2021, 07:26:20 am »
Makin' a livin' the old hard way
Takin' and givin' my day by day
I dig snow and rain and bright sunshine
Draggin' the line (Draggin' the line)

+1
Great tune!


  • starryella
  • Veteran

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    • November 07, 2019, 04:29:39 pm
    • Busan, South Korea
Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2021, 07:35:06 am »
Before coming here I worked at a company for several years. For the last couple years working with them I was basically working on my way out through TEFL and the process of getting a job in Korea. It took me a while because I was a full-time worker so I just took my time with all of it since I was pretty burned out anyway.

I arrived in Korea just slightly before corona hit, and jobs in the US became hard to come by with people being let go over shutdowns. I just heard a couple weeks ago from my old friend who was still with my old company that their entire department got axed last month, except her (the lowest-paid employee, who they were planning to move to another department and take her knowledge of the old department with her). The person who replaced me was also let go.

It made me realize if I hadn't come to Korea when I did I likely wouldn't have been able to leave that job over the past year with all that was going on in the US, and would now be jobless. I was really glad then that I made this decision.

On the other hand, I got married since moving to Korea to my husband I met here, so honestly when I think about "what if I hadn't come" my life looks pretty bleak. I'm really glad I followed my heart and took the leap.


  • 745sticky
  • Hero of Waygookistan

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Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2021, 07:45:26 am »
What do you think that you would be doing right now if you had never come to Korea to teach English?
probably still running through part-time jobs while living at my parents place. or hell maybe i would've really liked papa johns and stuck it out there for a while


  • hangook77
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    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2021, 08:22:43 am »
Korea was a good place to land.  The Maritimes always were a bad economy.  I applied for a US green card through family connections then decided to come here.  I spent over a year researching and probing as much as I could as Dave's ESL Cafe was the only place for info back then.  No YouTube vids or folks to ask on Facebook.  No Reddit subs, etc.  Hardly anyone knew about it.  You heard by word of mouth and scores of Maritimers went due to the bad economy.  The Canadian dollar was really low and the living cost dirt cheap.  Folks kept coming home saying how much money you could make.  So, I finally came over after dipping my toe in the water.  Took the risk as I also heard things could go bad where you got screwed by hakwon bosses sometimes (labor boards didn't necessarily follow the rule of law back then either).  My recruiter got me a hakwon job in Gyeonggo, but I didn't take it.  Had to wait a few more months due to something coming up.  So, then my recruiter sent me to an English Village in a smaller regional city.  The job fell through at the last minute and the education office sent me to a rural public school instead. 

Folks in the rest of more prosperous North America didn't come here in droves back then.  The Great Recession changed all that.  I was set to transfer to Seoul and get to the city.  But the market got so flooded, I figured I keep my job and so that is where I stayed.  Also pay scale got readjusted for rural EPIK.  Exchange rate went to shit for several years and later cost of living shot up in recent years, but those are other stories for other times. 

Korea was good in it's day.  A shame I got here at the end of the golden age and not at the beginning of it.  Great times.  Good pay, lots of slackness (IE  little desk warming, extra unofficial days off, etc), being a minor celebrity in small towns, etc.  Sometimes nostalgia can have you thinking of teaching in other countries for those perks again.  Fun and everything being new.  Many changes in Korea for the better (IE less racist, though not 100% pure even now).  Many changes in Korea for the worse (pay and work conditions, missing many traditional things and people you less and less of). 

I think for newbies very little risk is involved coming here and they can ask a million questions online on various forums.  Screwed by a hakwon, labor board will rule in your favor rather than ignore you because you were a foreigner like back in the day.  Coming here back in the day was a real risk.  You rolled the dice and hoped for a good employer rather than a bad one.  You got a bad one like not paid, you did a midnight run.  It was all you could do.  Folks who came to Korea back in the day were risk takers and willing to take it.  Nowadays, not so much. 

I did like the ease of using recruiters though they could be dishonest and lie to get you here.  You always have to think for yourself and not let yourself be gullible.  IE  Demand to come on a legal Visa and do your own research to know what that is.  Don't come over on a tourist visa, etc.  But they could get you a hakwon job if you were fussy about location or if you were less fussy, they could get you a public school job with ease too.  None of this EPIK hoops I hear you have to jump through now.  I never interviewed with anyone, never provided any references, I picked up a police check and brought it with me in my suitcase.  I applied and 3 and a half weeks later, I was here.  So simple back then.  Easy come, easy to get screwed, but also easy to get paid and make money due to the great exchange rates, and very cheap living cost.  (Even Americans got in on the deal as 2 million won was $2100 USD as opposed to being $1700 USD now.) 

Great times and great nostalgia.  Though I should add I wouldn't mind hoops it if weeds out the weirdos and creeps.  You definitely met quite a few back in the day here.  In the case of other countries, demanding no criminal records and uni degree checks has created shortages and pushed up wages there even more.  So, sometimes the hassle can lead to a payoff. 

So, long story short, Korea was a great experience.  Maybe not for much longer and that's a shame.  I came to make money and got good at teaching along the way due to experience.  What does astound me is so many folks doing ESL don't even like kids.  Not sure how you could do a job you hate for years.  The job itself I enjoy most of the time (just not the bureaucracy from the ed office and their nonsense lately).  I perhaps have some minor machoness but become a softy around kids and have a silly side myself so it's fun.  I have lots of energy and make my own fun activities.  I could probably rake in the cash if I did this privately.  But the high living costs make it hard to save now to get the school started.  Sadly, I had credit card debts and student loans that took too long to pay due to the exchange rate crashing for several years. (China hadn't risen as a good paying option at the time and the market back home was gutted due to the Great Recession.)  When it recovered, I paid most of that quickly.  Then the living costs started shooting up.  I do okay due to higher pay.  But I see the writing on the wall.  A shame.  Korea was great in it's time and I will always be grateful for covering me during a rough economic season. 


  • jaehak
  • Veteran

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    • June 09, 2011, 10:45:21 pm
    • Seoul
Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2021, 12:11:32 pm »
Don't come over on a tourist visa, etc. 

No way. Going to Korea on a tourist visa was awesome back in the day. I got free trips to Fukuoka in '06, '07, and '09. Good times.


  • confusedsafferinkorea
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Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2021, 12:28:31 pm »
I would have gone to Phuket, Saudi or Dubai for which I had job offers from all.
There is no known medical cure for stupidity!


Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2021, 12:28:55 pm »
If I hadn't come here, I'd probably be a specialist in my previous field by now, making incredible money in a very secure position that's safe even during pandemics. But I'd also probably be totally unhappy and wishing I'd done something else, lol.

I kind of wish that circumstances would have allowed me to go somewhere other than Korea, but I don't regret coming here. Korea has been a good experience, even if it leaves me feeling stuck sometimes.


  • tylerthegloob
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Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2021, 12:33:18 pm »
specialist in my previous field by now
im guessing you left it out because you didn't want to elaborate... but just in case it was an accidental omission, what was your previous field?
more gg more skill


Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2021, 12:55:48 pm »
I started my career in Korea and worked there for 7 years. If I didn't go to Korea, I would have been working menial jobs making peanuts living with my parents while trying to get a chance to start out as an occasional teacher in Ontario. And if I did become an occasional teacher, it would have taken me a decade to get a permanent job, and I would not have been able to pay off my student loan debts as I already did.


  • hangook77
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Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2021, 01:18:18 pm »
No way. Going to Korea on a tourist visa was awesome back in the day. I got free trips to Fukuoka in '06, '07, and '09. Good times.

I meant to teach permanently and work on one.  But yeah I heard of those.  Sadly, I never got to do one of those.  Came over on the E2 and stayed with same employer, different schools and towns over the years though.  I did spend a week and a half in Metro Tokyo over a decade ago before the Tsunami wave.  Great place to visit. 


Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2021, 03:17:18 pm »
im guessing you left it out because you didn't want to elaborate... but just in case it was an accidental omission, what was your previous field?

Yeah, I purposefully left it vague for a few different reasons, but mainly because it could identify me irl, haha.

I will say that it's a technical job with many sub-divisions that uses a lot of science, though. And also something that most people don't have the stomach to get into, lol.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2021, 07:28:02 pm by Chinguetti »


Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #17 on: May 15, 2021, 11:31:44 pm »
I'd have probably saved for a year, gone travelling for a year, and then eventually settled on a PGCE.


  • KimDuHan
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1416

    • January 15, 2015, 11:48:59 am
    • Seoul
Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #18 on: May 16, 2021, 03:01:28 am »
There are just too many variables, going to Korea changed everything.

Everyone here may be alive because of Korea.

Not coming to Korea would have been so life changing there is no way to know where you would be now.

Think about it you decide to stay in your home country and work you invest in Bitcoin and become a millionaire.

In contrast you could have been in an accident and died.

Everyone here owes Korea for where they are today good or bad and thinking about what could have been is a pipe dream!!


  • pkjh
  • The Legend

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    • May 02, 2012, 02:59:44 pm
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Re: What if you didnít come to Korea?
« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2021, 09:20:05 am »
Drunk, high, and poorer.