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Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #60 on: September 01, 2011, 11:55:33 pm »
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100% of the economists are not all on the same page, and there are many who see the Asian block as owning the next century. I never lived in the U.K., but the massive protests against tuition hikes, the country's austerity measures and the recent riots tell me that the GDP numbers is not telling the whole story. The same thing goes with the U.S. with the drastic cuts that it has to make. Yes, the GDP may look good, but there is 9.1% unemployment in the U.S. with 16% underemployed, meaning 25% of the population is suffering.


Protest about things like that have a long old history in the UK.  Slowly like the rest of the world we're having to accept the spoils of empire are long dried up and people are going to start having to pay for stuff again.  Again, not so much a decline, more a wake up.  Still cheaper to go to uni in the Uk than the US, but yeah the whole 'free housing, uni education and dole' is going to have to be re-evaluated.  But it still would only put us on the same page as the rest of the world, not lower down...


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I consider that a decline, yet Asia hasn't really seemed to suffer so much. The Asian block overall has done quite well for itself despite the world economic crisis. That's why you see sooooo many foreigners here. There are even hots foreign women now, which was incredibly rare just 6 years ago.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I agree that our lifetime belongs to Asia (and Germany).


China published recently 4% unemployment.  China old hands would advise you to add at least ten percent to any figure their govt put out.   I'm sure you know what I'm saying there, doesn't need spelling out.  And again, who are their market?  I don't see any Indians or Koreans Or Japanese doing the kind of free trade deals for the same products they are trying to get rich exporting themselves. 

Hot western girls in Korea?  Not so black and white.  Certainly paying off the old studetn loans is aprt of it but for the most part it's the adventure, post uni blow out / year out for most of them and facebook probably has as much of an influence.  I'd concede economics is a part of it but a lot of it is having an exciting 'travelling' job rather than a hum drum call centre job or whatever.

It is hard back home at the moment though, but again I think it's industry relevent, not every sector.  My old man and his friends are all in the building trades and those guys have been hit hard.  I was looking for pt jobs for when I go back as I don't plan to work ft anymore and there are still lots of grad jobs in sales, marketing, recruting etc.

I see the west in a trough, sure, but it aint no 1930's type deal in my (very layman's) opinion.  Quite simply the emerging economies need us to buy their stuff.  They sure as sugar aint gonna go 'uh us Indians, we're selling cheap tv's that undercut the Japanese model, so hey, let's buy the same thing from China...'  You see what I'm getting at...

I dunno, if there are glaring holes inmy argument, I'd be happy for them to be pointed out.  I mostly just read newsweek these days for a quick news fix, so pretty middle brow when it comes to this topic.


Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #61 on: September 02, 2011, 03:32:29 pm »
I can see what you're trying to say when you say that the rest of the world is catching up. I agree that they are catching up to the west, but it's at the cost of the quality of life of millions that are unemployed. I don't know about you, but I consider ,9.1% unemployment, 16% underemployment and the inability to buy the things buy things people once used to be able buy without using a credit card, a decline in a nation's standard of living. The unemployment situation is something that hasn't occurred for a really long time. Yes, there are some sectors that have done really well for themselves, so I do agree that it's according to sector, but there are so many sectors out there that are being effected. Not everybody is smart enough to become an engineer or computer analyst to work for Apple, Google, HP or companies like that. Construction, parts of the service sector, the retail sector, and manufacturing are in falling. These sectors are in decline in my opinion.

A lot of teachers and I always wondered why there weren't many hot white girls in Korea back in the early 2000s, and the general consensus was that it was because the hot ones could find jobs back home. Friendster and Myspace existed back then, yet very few hot ones came to Korea. The demographic of teachers is much broader nowadays including two other demographics I never saw before in the early 2000s: elderly couples in their 50s and families with children.

A friend of mine running a business in China said that, "The gap between the rich and poor in China is epic." So there are still tons of poor people in the country and a lot of unemployed. However, the GDP growth, development of their cities and the growth of their middle class (now the largest middle class in the world) is something to take note of. If the dollar will collapse, then these export driven economies will find other people to sell their goods to and also sell their goods to their own middle class who have tons of savings and who are not living off a credit card.

I don't really buy the arguement that all the consumer economies are needed for other economies to survive. The best analogy to simplify or boil it down it is to have 5 people who get stranded on a desert island (A Japanese, Chinese, German, Korean and American). All 5 assign themselves jobs to live on the island. The Japanese guy, Chinese guy, German guy and Korean guy assign themselves to make products and the food to survive, but the American assigns himself to the job of eating (consumer economy). The American thinks that he is the key to the whole survival to the group, but the reality is that the Japanese guy, Chinese guy, German guy and Korean guy can survive without the American.

The analogy can be applied to a German guy, a French guy and a Greek guy too. I'm sure a lot of Germans are furious with Greece for consuming too much and not producing.   

Yes, it's going to be a huge shock that they'll need to adapt to, but in the end, it might be better for them unless these consumer economies can turn themselves into productive economies which they once were. And that is the largest difference between the 1930s and this great recession. America was a saver and export driven economy back then, so they were able to ride out the hard times and produce itself out of the depression.

I think I'm rambling now and not sure where I'm going with this, but I wrote so much that I can't delete this! hehe. Have a good weekend. My brain will be refreshed on Monday.


Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #62 on: September 03, 2011, 11:58:31 pm »
I am pretty sure that about 90 percent of the people working here are here because of financial/economical motivation. Living in Asia has many perks and that includes the travel opportunities and economical "advancement". But at the end of the day... They're both a motivation for leaving our countries to come aboard for a year to teach.


  • Narconis
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    • September 02, 2011, 03:20:51 pm
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Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #63 on: September 05, 2011, 10:05:48 am »
Yep.  I got stuck in a rut with sales jobs that I hated back home.  It seems like once you get a "sales" job, the only places that will even consier you are sales jobs.  This was my way of rebooting my career.  After this I will go back home, and hopefully find a better job.


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    • September 07, 2011, 09:48:17 am
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Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #64 on: September 07, 2011, 10:30:33 am »
Oh god, yes.  I'm a recent grad (like most of us, I assume).  To me, this seems like a no-brainer:  You can either slave away at an unfilling secretary job or sales position back home, or you could come to Korea and have an amazing life experience.  And paying for my apartment and air-fare?  Easy option.


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    • August 04, 2011, 01:09:02 pm
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Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #65 on: September 20, 2011, 04:47:05 pm »
I'm quite amazed at how many people I meet teaching who have Degrees and Masters but still because of the recession couldnt find work at home and are forced to look into other options. Its pretty much my reason for leaving home.


Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #66 on: September 20, 2011, 05:06:16 pm »
I'm quite amazed at how many people I meet teaching who have Degrees and Masters but still because of the recession couldnt find work at home and are forced to look into other options. Its pretty much my reason for leaving home.

Is it not more that they can't find 'the right kind / preffered' work back home rather than literally thay can't find any job in any industry that would let them live an eqvt lifestyle to Korea?

For example, I could have media / advertising sales job in a flash back home, bad economy or not they always want young grads for that even right now and I could be on around 20k gbp with commission from the ground level - but I don't want to do that work and prefer esl to that.


Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #67 on: September 20, 2011, 09:18:55 pm »
I'm quite amazed at how many people I meet teaching who have Degrees and Masters but still because of the recession couldn't find work at home and are forced to look into other options. Its pretty much my reason for leaving home.

I have seen several interviews on TV where a lot of CEOs say that there are tons of jobs out there, but the problem is that nobody has the right degree to fulfill them. They are looking for electrical engineers, scientists and other technical backgrounds, while tons of people are graduating with a non technical degree. I imagine that the people you meet who graduate with a Master's Degree are people who do not have a technical degree (I.E. Master's in Education, Literature, Sociology, etc.). And the problem is that although there are a lot of smart critical thinkers out there, not everybody is smart enough to be an engineer or scientist.  Hence, a lot of people have been pursuing other opportunities like here in Korea.

I spent the previous 5 years in business and thought about getting my MBA, but I don't think an MBA is good choice in this environment being that there are a lot of people with tons of business experience waiting to get a job back home. Korea is a nice place to be to build up your cash and figure out the next step, if that's what you want to do.


Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #68 on: September 30, 2011, 02:09:55 pm »
that's a definite yes :o


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Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #69 on: September 30, 2011, 08:45:50 pm »
Hmmm... Probably. I always wanted to live and work abroad, but when I finished uni a couple of years ago I didn't have the guts, or the maturity really, to go for it. But after realising that no matter what way I go with employment, because my field is psychology, I'm always going to start at the bottom with bad wages. I have a good job at the moment, with a decent wage but in the UK, that doesn't mean much. You're still just scraping by. A couple of years of this really toughened me up and made me re-think the living and working abroad idea.

I'm actually glad of the money issue in a way because it gave me the kick up the backside I needed to go out there and just do the teaching abroad thing.


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    • August 17, 2011, 01:47:44 pm
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Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #70 on: October 01, 2011, 09:28:01 am »
I am pretty sure that about 90 percent of the people working here are here because of financial/economical motivation.

May be you meant 90% of the teachers but for many the interest is just seeing the world and discovering new horizons. Anyone with any kind of valuable degree would make way more in the US than teaching here anyway and jobs are easy to find assuming your degree is not some kind of fine art / history piece of paper. I make about 30% less here than at home while having additional expenses (quarterly un-reimbursed trips to the US) but it is a great cultural experience so it's well worth it.


  • jurassic82
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Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #71 on: October 01, 2011, 03:37:33 pm »
I am not sure if I would call myself an economic migrant or not. I first came to Korea in July, 2006. At the time I was just interested in seeing Asia and marking a couple countries off my list. I wasn't really too sure about teaching. After my first two years of teaching I realized I really enjoyed it and decided it was my calling. Eventually, I lucked out and got a good public school gig. I have been there the last three years and have really enjoyed it. At the same time I have started working on a masters in TESOL and start buiding my professional skills as a teacher by attending various teaching workshops and networking with other teachers.

At the same time I would like to go back home (U.S.) but after living abroad for 5 years now it is starting to look less and less appealing. As a teacher back home it seems like you have less job security, less pay and less respect from students and adminstration. I know everyone has their own opinion and I am sure some of you can debate me on this. I am just going off what I have heard from people back in my own state (Michigan) which has been maybe the worst hit with the recession.

For myself I am at a point where I am not sure if I want to go back. I for sure don't want to stay in Korea forever. I have to admit though I am better taken care of here than back home. Eating out is relatively cheap here if you stick to kimbap restaurants, health care is excellent and inexpensive. I had neck surgery back in June and it only cost me 2 million won for everything. The same surgery would have cost me much more even with insurance back home. For me I like the fact that a teacher's salary affords me a descent lifestyle where I don't have to worry about too much. I can take a few vacations to South East Asia every year and still put money in the bank. I don't think I would be able to do the same back in America or it would be much more difficult.

I have to say though I do miss my family and friends back in America and the general warmness of people back home. People actually smile back at you. So to answer the question am I an economic migrant? I guess yes, as I would like to move back to America someday but as of right now I am pretty content staying where I am at.


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    • October 02, 2011, 02:39:30 pm
Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #72 on: October 02, 2011, 03:25:57 pm »
I do wonder how many of us would be teaching English in Korea (as opposed to Japan or somewhere else) if the pay wasn't so reasonable. Although I didn't come here purely because of job prospects at home, it certainly helped to know that life here would be financially stable. There are many reasons, some already listed, that explain why I came here.. and economics certainly played a part.


Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #73 on: October 02, 2011, 04:27:00 pm »
I consider myself an economic migrant, can't get no work in EUrope and I have +10 years experience in my professional field.

I can't imagine how anyone could spend years upon years of their life here. I don't even understand what anyone from Australia is doing here, your country, lifestyle and salaries  are amazing, what are you doing here? People are emigrating from all over the world to Australia. Even koreans are emigrating to Australia.

I have travelled and worked all over world and Korea is the most difficult country I have ever lived. I wouldn't even call it a life, just an existence. It is quite possibly the most boring conservative country I have ever been to. Every day I wake up, first thing I wonder is, what the hell i'm doing here. Then I look out the window to see the same uncreative, uninspiring concrete boxy buildings that littir every town and city.

On the plus side, I put a plan in action to upgrade all my skills and am saving every last penny I can get here so I can enjoy life elsewhere next year.

Like one poster says, this economic downturn could last another 10 years, I don't want to spend the best years of my life stuck here, who would?

This is my 50th post, thought i'd make it a good one.

« Last Edit: October 02, 2011, 08:40:39 pm by globetrotter.2011 »


Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #74 on: October 03, 2011, 09:35:20 am »
One of the most common arguments I hear is that one can make so much more money back home. This is often a top of the line view rather than looking at the bottom line. That's not how one should look at it, because I know people from third world countries making $12,000 a year who's quality of life is just as good as your average American's, but they are saving more money (I have friends in third world countries saving around $6,000 a year).

http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/09/28/140882116/what-we-buy?sc=tw&cc=share

Here is some spending data provided by the United States BLS. If I take the taxes in California and apply it to the average household income then subtract the average "household" expenditures (not including social security payments), the average US household is saving around a whopping $4,800 per year per household. That is half the average teacher in Korea saves annually. Individual savings rates for single people is even worse than this. And if you include the money you  have to put into an insolvent social security system, there are no savings at all.

The amount sounds about right for the people I talk to back home who are willing to admit how much they actually save. Plus, that money goes a longer way here in Korea since the costs are less, and it's cheaper to travel in neighboring countries.


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    • August 17, 2011, 01:47:44 pm
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Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #75 on: October 03, 2011, 04:27:49 pm »
One of the most common arguments I hear is that one can make so much more money back home. This is often a top of the line view rather than looking at the bottom line. That's not how one should look at it, because I know people from third world countries making $12,000 a year who's quality of life is just as good as your average American's, but they are saving more money (I have friends in third world countries saving around $6,000 a year).

Well 6k or 12k for that matter won't get you to far. I am saving about 30k a year. I am not sure how I'd do that on 2.1k won a month. I have some experience being in my late 30s but a young graduate with say a mechanical engineering degree with some basic work experience could start at 45-50k even in fairly low cost locales in the US (There is more to the US than California!). If they want they can save a lot of this money especially if they shelter a lot of it through a 401k as an example.

The reason you can save a lot here on a small salary is because you live DIFFERENTLY! In the US you'll want a car (even if you could get away without one), you're more likely to spend money on a mortgage, you have more distractions, the figure you shows takes into account many people with KIDS (yeah that will cut into your savings ;) ). I find Korea rather expensive. I could get a house for rent in many parts of the US for less that 1000$. Here my apartment with my noisy neighbors cost me 1.5M a month. Food costs easily as much. Ski resorts are ridiculous. 70k for that little shitty hill? Really?  Might as well fly to Hokkaido. Mountain bikes? Probably 30% more than in the US. Clothing? Again much more expensive for branded stuff (although yes you can find some super cheap stuff as well). Cars? I won't even get there. Prices are just ridiculous. Museums, soju and public transportation are cheap but how much of you budget is that?

Korea is probably a great place to get to live a low-cost lifestyle out of college if your degree is in a field that is not popular with employers but to say that Korea is worthwhile as an economic migrant is greatly misleading I think especially if your field is not teaching and the experience you accumulate is not useful to you long term! These years, if not in your field, will more likely than not hurt you future returns! At a minimum people should focus a big part of their energy learning a new language being here but it seems many won't even make the effort.

Anyway my take in all of this is Korea would do better to with less people coming here for money and more coming for the cultural experience (it would cut down on the jaded westerners conversations too ;) ).


Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #76 on: October 03, 2011, 05:08:05 pm »
Part of it is the economic factor...but I'm a recent college grad I just don't want to start the professional life in the U.S. right now with our ongoing recession  8)


Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #77 on: October 03, 2011, 08:29:46 pm »
I am not advocating for engineers or computer programmers to work in Korea as a teacher. It is not often that you'll meet somebody with a technical degree in Korea, so my comments are mainly meant for people with degrees employers are not really looking for in a bad economy (social sciences and arts degrees). I actually have never met one single teacher with a technical degree, but I'm sure there are a couple out there out of every hundred or so teachers out there. I've mentioned in previous posts that engineering or some type of science degree is the way to go.

The ones without the technical degree would and are are struggling to save money back home, and the world economy is changing in a way where somebody half way around the world can do the same job at a fraction of the price and that once required an American to work in America. I can see this continuing, and the only way for things to change for people is for people to get technical degrees that cannot be outsourced or to take a big stand to change economic policies in the US.

30k a year? So you save the same amount of money as your average American's entire discretionary income for a year? That's quite good. What do you do? I should tell one of my engineer friends back home, because he is trying to save 50k for his wedding in California :) Sorry, but I have nothing else to really compare but to California, and savings are not really too bad compared to savings in California. Are there any other people out there from different states with different experiences?

As for costs, I don't find it too expensive in comparison to California. My brother has been a teacher for 5 years in California. He eats out everyday, hangs out every weekend, goes on the occasional road trip, and I consider our lifestyles to be the same. But teachers here who live the same lifestyle (with the exception of having a car) put away more money than him. I also find from the teachers that I met here that most say that their quality of life is much better here, but I didn't ask where they are from. How about people from other states out there? Other countries?

I definitely agree that people should learn the language and make Korean friends if people plan on being in Korea for a long time. A future employer in the states who sees somebody who has been in Korea for X number of years will want to know how fluent he or she is in Korea and what contacts he or she has.  They should also look for part-time work doing something non-English related, or at the very least, teach business English to meet some businessmen.


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Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #78 on: October 03, 2011, 10:51:56 pm »
What do you do? I should tell one of my engineer friends back home, because he is trying to save 50k for his wedding in California :)

I am just an engineer. Nothing special. Your friend is his own enemy. You don't save 30k a year by spending 50k on a wedding. Spending 50k on a wedding is quite indicative of his spending habits! And yes California is expensive but a teacher in a place like Utah will do great ( I have many friends teaching middle and high in Utah and they all seem to be living quite well. No they don't drive BMWs). I think that's the beauty of Korea: it gives you a chance to reflect on your spending habits so you save more?


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Re: If your honest with yourself...Are you an economic migrant?
« Reply #79 on: October 04, 2011, 07:54:39 am »
I would definitely say I'm an economic migrant.  I came here after 4 months of not being able to get work in America because I did not have the exact training employers wanted before starting.  I was able to come here with only education and general work experience and am now entering my second year.