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  • escapethegray
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • August 25, 2011, 04:35:31 pm
    • Yeongyang, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Advice for rural EPIK placement
« on: September 01, 2011, 03:27:24 pm »
I am a new EPIK teacher placed at an elementary school way out in the countryside in Gyeongsangbuk. I guess that I just want to ask the cloud for any tips that will help my survive, or even thrive during my time in rural Korea. I'm thinking that some mode of transportation should help, if for nothing else to escape the limitations of the local bus schedules. I am about 30-40 minutes by bus from a town with five or six foreigners, but bus timetables only allow me to get there on the weekends.

Any suggestions will be really appreciated. Thanks in advance.


Re: Advice for rural EPIK placement
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2011, 04:07:32 pm »
Learn the bus schedule and where it goes to lol.


Re: Advice for rural EPIK placement
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2011, 07:35:18 pm »
Buy a small scooter and a helmet.  But if you do, be very careful.  The accident rate for those flying delivery gus is pretty high.


  • gwiffey
  • Adventurer

    • 45

    • April 29, 2010, 01:40:37 pm
    • Gyeongbuk, South Korea
Re: Advice for rural EPIK placement
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2011, 05:42:14 pm »
I also live in rural Gyeongsangbuk. I'm actually on my 2nd contract out here, because the first year was so good. The key for me was finding a bigger city to socialize in. A town with 6 foreigners is an improvement, but still not much. Try to find out the most convenient bigger city (Gumi, Daegu, Pohang, Andong, Gimcheon, etc.) That has really been the key to my survival out here. I'm only 1 hour by bus & train from downtown Daegu, which I go to at least 2 times a week. Think about being able to travel more than 30 minutes. Even if it's a 2 hour commute each way, it might be worth investing your time and social energy there. The 6 foreigners in the other town may not even be people you like, so you'll probably want to invest in a bigger social scene.


Re: Advice for rural EPIK placement
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2011, 06:01:01 pm »
Unless you can handle being isolated and spending many many hours alone - Don't do it.

I did it for a year and wouldn't choose it again tbh.

It was kinda cool seeing how different rural chungnam and the people there are to seoul and gyeongi etc and it was soemthing I HAD to try just out of curioisity, so I kind of don't regret it, but that said I wouldn't do it again now it's out of my system.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2011, 06:04:27 pm by DWAEDGIMORIGUKBAP »


  • adamsmith
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • September 03, 2011, 03:59:10 am
    • United States
Re: Advice for rural EPIK placement
« Reply #5 on: September 03, 2011, 04:26:47 am »
from what I've heard, rural life as an ESL teacher is pretty rough. unless you're really comfortable with self-sufficiency and high levels of isolation at times, i would reconsider


  • lasoro70
  • Veteran

    • 83

    • November 24, 2010, 12:14:01 pm
    • Western USA
Re: Advice for rural EPIK placement
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2011, 07:02:31 am »
Unless you can handle being isolated and spending many many hours alone - Don't do it.

Well, I think the OP was looking for advice since he had already been placed in a rural setting. Anyway, a lot of people have little control where they will be placed so saying "don't do it" doesn't help.

My first assignment was a rural one as well on one of the North Western Islands. The way I survived was to make weekend bus trips into Seoul nearly every weekend (about 2 hours each way for me). This gave me something to plan and look forward to each weekend. I was also able to become friends with a couple of the English teachers at my school and I would hang out with them here and there during the week. Sometimes, they would even take time to drive me around to the "tourist" destinations on the island. There was also a mountain near my apt which I would try to climb at least once a week. Basically, you kind of have to make the best of what you have and create your own world of things to enjoy. I'm also a bit older and independent which probably made the isolation seem less difficult. I was able to finish my year there successfully but I decided to request a transfer to the city which was granted. However, I have good memories of my time on the island and have even gone back a few times to visit some of the old teachers.


Re: Advice for rural EPIK placement
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2011, 10:02:05 pm »
Placed or not, he / she still doesn't have to do it.  There ARE other options in Korea and the rest of the world.

Anyway, just get a hobby, join a gym, download loads of tv shows and establish a routine.  Social life = added bonus.  Can't go too far wrong with that plan.


  • escapethegray
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • August 25, 2011, 04:35:31 pm
    • Yeongyang, Gyeongsangbuk-do
Re: Advice for rural EPIK placement
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2011, 08:56:37 am »
Thanks to all of you. I think I will certainly give it a few months before I get to the point of considering leaving. And I think if I am proactive about finding stuff to do, I might do alright.

It sounds like the consensus is to build a routine that includes some interesting getaways, and then be willing to invest the time to fulfill that routine. I think from where I am, it is 3 hours to Daegu, 4-5 hours to Seoul, and 2 hours to Pohang. It'll be quite the investment in time, but if it'll enhance my quality of life, then I'll definitely do it.

I'm sure it will also help to have internet access at home, as well as a phone (hopefully a smartphone!). I've actually got a lead on a scooter, which I am going to test drive today. I don't think it has the proper papers though, so I am not sure that it is worth my time.


  • rp27
  • Waygookin

    • 10

    • August 23, 2011, 11:39:11 pm
    • Hwacheon, Gangwondo
Re: Advice for rural EPIK placement
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2011, 03:11:50 pm »
Buy a car!!! Opens up your world!!! Esp if rural!!
Second hand vehicles are affordable!! (750 000 - 1.5mil for decent cars). When traveling / sightseeing - you can go on your pace - you stop where you want to and you end up seeing SO much more!!