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  • gogators!
  • The Legend

    • 4808

    • March 16, 2016, 04:35:48 pm
    • Seoul
Re: How Many Years have You Been In Korea?
« Reply #20 on: June 16, 2021, 10:42:58 pm »
Yes, the Korean golden age is tied to NETs and the exchange rate.

The Korean Golden Age is now in terms of cultural output and having been viewed as a model nation for the first half of the pandemic and one of the winners overall, even with the slow vaccine rollout.
"One of the winners"--what a strange perspective.


  • fka
  • Expert Waygook

    • 996

    • September 05, 2019, 06:37:44 pm
    • Seoul
Re: How Many Years have You Been In Korea?
« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2021, 08:43:40 am »
How far did your Korean skills progress? If a lot less than expected thatís most of us.  :cry:

"A lot less than expected" is a pretty accurate phrase. I'm going for TOPIK 1 at the end of the summer.

 :sad:  - This is the closest I could come to a shame emoticon.


  • Kayos
  • The Legend

    • 2150

    • March 31, 2016, 07:13:57 pm
    • NZ
Re: How Many Years have You Been In Korea?
« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2021, 09:00:49 am »
5 years. 4 years - going into a 5th at my current schools, and year before that in another year. This coming year might be my last depending on how things go.
Was only thinking of doing another 1 - 2 years here anyway. I'm in a spot where I love 2/3 of my schools, but also feel the need for a change of scenery. And have an ongoing health issue (that I think it related to exposure to mold over the last 4 years, as my apartment has a lot of hidden mold and is an old building - and sadly, not many options for renting anywhere nearby).


  • hangook77
  • The Legend

    • 3642

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: How Many Years have You Been In Korea?
« Reply #23 on: June 17, 2021, 10:42:03 am »
The golden age is when Korea was different culturally both good and bad.  Nowadays, it's pretty international and many behaviours have changed a lot in the past decade or so.  Culturally, especially outside of Seoul it was very traditional with lots of odd behaviours (some amusing, some interesting, and some annoying - like folks butting into line in front of you).  Korea was also a place where rules were not followed.  There was a kind of freedom there, though that could have bad consequences. 

But of course the main golden age perks was the ease of getting contracts and jobs combined with high wages in comparison to the living costs (you could live quite well while paying off your massive student loans - you didn't have to be all that frugal and penny pinch like now).  2009 recession flooded the market with too many teachers.  All of a sudden even the bottom feeders were in demand with tons and tons of applicants.  These were the type of jobs most foreigners avoided due to a bad rep (slave labor program, etc).  Now tons of people were desperate to work there.  Some hakwons even went to longer days for same day.  By 2014 or so, they started getting rid of return flights and SMOE got rid of renewal allowance (though other public schools kept it).  It just got worse and worse.  The economic recovery dragged on back home.  By 2015 and 2016, folks finally felt good enough to start leaving and start exiting to other countries in smaller droves.  Things were really heating up economy wise until Corona came along and kicked us all in the nuts. 

So, there are less and less teachers here now.  It is pretty easy to get a hakwon job nowadays (compared to 5 or 6 years ago where the market was flooded for quite a few years after the Great Recession began).  A few hakwons have put up their pay while many stubbornly try to keep it low (mostly because folks accept it with no negotiation).  Korea will lose more people if wages don't go up more. 

Anyways, the golden age was a great time.  Great memories.  The country changed so much culturally in the 2010's decade, it's almost hard to believe.  I am told this summer renewal has much less teachers than in the past (and there were no position cuts).  Many of us had extra schools added to us from last September.  (EPIK is still hiring and recruiting, I do believe.)  Facebook groups are always filled with tons and tons of hakwon job offers (unlike 10 years ago when the market was really flooded).  I'd ask for a higher wage myself if I ever aplied for one. 

Some of the last vestiges of the Golden Age like Itaewon and other places are gone now.  Well, unless you count now having night clubs that discriminate against foreigners in the "foreigner district" and Olive Youngs as being exotic (Itaewon).  Itaewon was already declining when I was last there in 2019 and Jan 2020.  I am sure it is totally wiped out now in 2021.  It is such a different country from when I first came.  (Heck the kids don't even scream "weigookin" at you anymore.  Most folks don't care if you're a foreigner anymore and this is outside of Seoul I mean.) 

I'd say not just the wages and work conditions, but the whole package including the uniqueness and exoticness of the place is gone.  (It is pretty westernized now.)  An example of a changed behaviour, I was told Koreans always do everything including eating out in groups.  Well, nowadays I see many eating out alone individually and doing many activities alone.  Sometimes you almost want to find a place that hasn't been opened to the world for long to find the traditional places (while getting the high demand for you and the high pay to go with it). 


Re: How Many Years have You Been In Korea?
« Reply #24 on: June 17, 2021, 12:46:59 pm »
The golden age is when Korea was different culturally both good and bad. 
While I share your nostalgia for "the good ol days" when indoor smoking was everywhere and there was a more rustic feel, at the end of the day, I think for most people the Golden Age is now. Korea has at the very least, substantially moved up from the days of "Kim Jong Il and dog meat" being the only things people knew about Korea.

Now its Parasite, BTS, Mukbang, Korean Fried Chicken, Korean Corn Dogs, Korean bat flips, Korean Corona safety, Korean dramas, Korean skin care products, Korean fusion tacos, Korean esports stars and who knows what is next.

Just because its not what we're into, doesn't mean it isn't big.


  • hangook77
  • The Legend

    • 3642

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: How Many Years have You Been In Korea?
« Reply #25 on: June 17, 2021, 01:19:14 pm »
Most Koreans in 2005 or 2010 wouldn't have let themself be told what to do at every corner like now.  They spoke their mind, let their emotions out quickly, and certaintly wouldn't have worn masks in such extremes like being in a car by themself or being outside by themself socially distanced from others.  The expression '아조씨 파워" would mean nothing today. 


  • VanIslander
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 2493

    • June 02, 2011, 10:12:19 am
    • Seogwipo, Jeju Island
    more
Re: How Many Years have You Been In Korea?
« Reply #26 on: June 18, 2021, 04:04:18 am »
How good was 2006?

The public schools suddenly recruited tons of ELTs, so hagwons were scrambling.

I turned down two 2.6 mill jobs that spring in favor of a 2.4 Monday to Thursday (3-day weekend) 3pm-8pm job (that's a mere 20 hours a week). I stayed there, in small town Hadong, South Gyeongsang province, for three years before jumping to Jeju Island for eight years (with OT 3.1+ mill).

The spring of 2006 was so very lucrative. So many jobs, so few applicants, wages and conditions pimped unlike anything seen before or since.

All went to pot by 2010. But man, those who f'd the law and did privates only must have raked in a fortune. It was the heyday.


  • hangook77
  • The Legend

    • 3642

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: How Many Years have You Been In Korea?
« Reply #27 on: June 21, 2021, 08:01:44 am »
How good was 2006?

The public schools suddenly recruited tons of ELTs, so hagwons were scrambling.

I turned down two 2.6 mill jobs that spring in favor of a 2.4 Monday to Thursday (3-day weekend) 3pm-8pm job (that's a mere 20 hours a week). I stayed there, in small town Hadong, South Gyeongsang province, for three years before jumping to Jeju Island for eight years (with OT 3.1+ mill).

The spring of 2006 was so very lucrative. So many jobs, so few applicants, wages and conditions pimped unlike anything seen before or since.

All went to pot by 2010. But man, those who f'd the law and did privates only must have raked in a fortune. It was the heyday.

Late 2006 is when I arrived.  I applied to a recruiter.  I figured a hakwon.  But he got me a rural public school job.  I felt like it was the pits in the beginning.  Daves ESL cafe might as well have been called Seoul ESL Cafe.  Any questions about out in the provinces and there were no answers.  Hard to get any info.  But, it turned out those areas were desperate and kept hiking the wages though the local education offices would try to nickle and dime you on some things.  They put in place the current pay package just as the Great Recession began.  So, it worked out to a higher wage package.  Though starting out I really wanted to get my ass to Seoul or Gyeonggi.  I am glad I didn't now due to the low pay up there for public anyways. 

I actually made just below average to start with before making more than average now.  I think as a level 3 (which they no longer hire as) I made 1.8 million plus 100k for being in the country so 1.9. I didn't actually get that now so coveted 2.1 mil salary intotal until my second year.  But boy it seemed I have almost the same purchasing power as now due to the much cheaper living cost back then.  The slackness was awesome.  Many rural schools would send you home early back then.  Some schools even picked you up in the morning and drove you there, fed you free lunch, then drove you home afterwards.  Getting home by 1 pm was awesome.  Field trips days and exam days many schools sent you home.  It was like working a part time job.  Hop a bus and go away for a few days to a bigger city.  Definately had it's perks.  But could be socially isolating at the time as very few folks spoke English and there were not many foreigners around.  Lots of hostility if you dated a local K chick too.  Had to be very discrete there.  Nowadays, it's all about the deskwarming and putting in the time.  Making sure I am at 22 hours no matter what (though before you often had less than 22 hours).  In fact, I might even almost do a 2.1 mil for a year if I had 4 day weekends and no deskwarming now.  Ha ha.  Almost but prob not. 


Re: How Many Years have You Been In Korea?
« Reply #28 on: June 21, 2021, 08:37:50 am »
Arrived in 2014, feels like forever.

Unless you're married to a Korean or are looking for citizenship, I think staying here longterm isn't a good idea. Hot as hell, but it's a lovely summer day and I'm going to try my best to enjoy what I'm certainly going to miss about this place when I leave next year.


  • leaponover
  • Expert Waygook

    • 770

    • March 05, 2012, 12:08:16 pm
    • Iksan, S. Korea
Re: How Many Years have You Been In Korea?
« Reply #29 on: June 22, 2021, 12:48:05 pm »
January 2012 was my EPIK orientation


Re: How Many Years have You Been In Korea?
« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2021, 11:10:32 am »
arrived in 2008... back when cheese was locked up in emart. left a couple years later, then returned in 2016.