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  • Ivy Belle
  • Adventurer

    • 51

    • December 02, 2012, 03:35:16 pm
    • Sth Korea
Travel time to your school
« on: December 02, 2012, 04:25:54 pm »
Hi all

I'm a bit unhappy. I've been here a month now, and I'd been led to believe that my accommodation would be in the same town as my school. However, it is not. The last teacher pushed for the accommodation to be changed to the nearest city, so that they could enjoy the nightlife of the city. I, on the other hand, applied specifically for a country job - wanting to live in the same little town that I taught in. However, during the first week when I said this to my co-teacher she said it was 'impossible' to change the accommodation - it could only happen if I re-signed after one year.

So I am left with commute of 2 buses and a 15min walk to my co-teacher's apartment, then an hour drive with her - a trip that takes me 1.5 hours. Each way. I am utterly exhausted from all the travelling. Early next year she'll be on leave, and my trip will then be even longer as I'll need to catch 2 buses, one an infrequent one that goes out to the town my school is in.

I hate wasting three hours of every weekday commuting... is this common?

...and I just can't see anyway out of it.... :(


Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2012, 04:46:36 pm »
The above poster is correct, in my opinion. I was in touch with the previous teacher at my current rural school. He lived in the town his first year but then the school moved him to the city to make it more convenient for his family in his second year.

Since I am a new teacher to this school, the admin rented an apartment in my town which is an 8-minute walk from the school. I this the apartment case depends on the admin of your school. They should not have renewed the apartment contract.

I don't think you would be able to move this year because the school may have made a 1-year contract with the landlord. Sorry to hear about your inconvenience.


  • money55
  • Super Waygook

    • 277

    • July 05, 2011, 02:12:38 pm
    • south korea
Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2012, 11:16:55 pm »
I don't know if you could do this but maybe you could ask them to give you a housing stipend (allowance) instead.  It's about 400,000-600,000 KRW a month.


  • Jaunter
  • Super Waygook

    • 431

    • April 02, 2012, 11:57:17 am
    • Goyang, Korea
    more
Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2012, 07:32:08 am »
I think my situation is special, I live a ten minute walk from my school. 

Which is great for the most part except that I have zero excuse for being late and I run into my students...a lot. But at least none of them live in the same building as me!
_ゝ`) ...


  • Erinrbush
  • Explorer

    • 6

    • May 09, 2012, 12:06:34 am
    • south Africa
Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2012, 07:49:32 am »
Do you get a travel allowance because you live so far away? I believe that you can get one if you live outside a certain time frame or travel distance.


  • kbm0770
  • Explorer

    • 6

    • October 20, 2011, 10:25:58 am
    • south korea
Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2012, 08:17:07 am »
I hope you feel better.. ;D


  • Deesh
  • Super Waygook

    • 250

    • April 01, 2011, 02:22:10 pm
    • Gyeonggi-do
Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2012, 09:46:23 am »
Check your contract. Some contracts state that you must live within walking distance of your school, unless you agreed otherwise. And it certainly doesn't sound like you agreed otherwise! It's definitely the responsibility of your school to take steps in resolving this for you. I just hope it doesn't get too messy - as Troglodyte said, keep calm and rational. Good luck.


Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2012, 09:48:53 am »
Your school screwed up. They should have relocated the apartment back to being near the school, but somebody forgot or was too lazy or whatever.

No, what I reckon probably happened is that the school has signed a two year lease on the apartment and they're stuck with the place for another year. That's the usual length of tenancy agreements here and this would be consistent with the OP being told she could move after a year. The way rental agreements work here, it's not just a month's notice and get your deposit back as it is for many our back homes. You (i.e. the school in this case) agree to the pay the rent for the entire duration of the agreement and can lose the outstanding amount from your deposit if you quit early.

Of course, whatever the reason, it doesn't alter the fact that the OP has a pretty awful commute through no fault of her own. You could say that the school screwed up in letting the previous teacher move to the present accommodation, so far away in the city. There again, we don't know - maybe they had good reason to believe that the OP's predecessor would stay for the entire 2 years of the lease.

It is a tricky one for the OP and I'm not sure if there is a definite way out of it. Would it be possible to find your own accommodation in the town you work in? Then you could quit the school's accommodation and take the housing allowance instead. Not sure they'd be terribly happy if they still had to pay for the place you'd vacated though. The usual way of getting out of tenancy agreements mid-contract is to find a replacement tenant. Any chance you could do that?

I agree with what was said by someone else above that if the school really can't change your apartment (and it IS quite possible that they genuinely can't), they ought to let you have some other concession - like perhaps letting you leave early on some days. If the transport options would allow it, that is.


  • goldilox
  • Waygookin

    • 23

    • March 04, 2012, 02:57:46 pm
    • Anyang, South Korea
Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2012, 09:55:03 am »
I don't know about EPIK, but with GEPIK it is written in our contract that our school cannot place us in housing that is more than an hour's commute away. You should check your contract and see if you have the same stipulation. It can give you leeway when you bring the topic to the higher ups. I wouldn't stand for that personally.


  • papayapie
  • Super Waygook

    • 421

    • May 30, 2012, 10:30:06 am
    more
Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2012, 11:35:55 am »
Here's a way out of it: quit.

That's what I would do. I'm sorry, but that's crap. I wouldn't put up with that. Like you're saying, that's three hours a DAY you're wasting commuting. In a week, 15 hours. That's insane. I have a heck of a lot of better things to do then spend a million hours on a bus to get to school.

I think your co-teacher is lying about not being able to do anything. I'm with GEPIK and was unhappy with the apartment I was provided (disgusting, unsafe area, no washing machine, 30 minutes from my school), so I told her to cancel it and that I was going to move in with my bf. It took a bit of paperwork and a bit of money on my part, but I got it canceled and now I'm getting the housing allowance. If they aren't willing to find you a new apartment, ask to cancel yours, pocket the housing allowance and look for a place on your own. An apartment in the countryside shouldn't be too expensive.


Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2012, 11:47:43 am »
I, also, agree with the others.

One last option, if politely going up the chain of command fails, is to see if you can have the school cancel the housing contract.

This can cost 300,000 won (or more).  This is why the school doesn't want to change your housing.  However, you can offer to pay for part or all of this fee, if it's this important to you.  Then, you can see what options you have.  Perhaps, after this, you can get the housing allowance or a nearer apartment.
C is for cookie, that's good enough for me.


  • Grimne_Lothos
  • Expert Waygook

    • 846

    • December 28, 2011, 12:56:27 pm
    • Buyeo, south korea
Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2012, 11:53:10 am »
I am with EPIK in a rural area and have an hour bus ride each way.   I was told that they try to place foreign teachers in the biggest city possible within a 1 hour commute.   It works out ok for me since the way the bus schedules work I get to school 30 mins late and leave 30 mins early because only one bus every 90 minutes comes to my school.  With a smart phone and a laptop I am as productive on the bus as I would be at school.  Probably more so.


Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2012, 12:10:11 pm »

I've rented two apartments in Korea and was never forced to take a two-year lease.

I never said it wasn't possible to have an agreement shorter than a two year lease. What I said was that that was the situation I reckoned the school was probably in.

Of course you can get a shorter lease but as a result you tend to pay more in rent. Often what happens with public schools is that they are effectively loaned by the education office an amount to cover a jeonse deposit on the flat they find for the NET. They then later have to return that amount in full when they get it back. For a shorter lease, they'd be paying less of a returnable deposit, but more in rent, which they wouldn't get back, and would end up considerably worse off financially over the 2 years.

Even if it's not a jeonse agreement, signing for 2 years means the landlord can't put the rent up for that period. Whereas if you agree for only one year, the landlord can alter the deposit and/or monthly rent as he sees fit.

IMO, it would be a bit stupid of the school to bend so far to the wishes of one NET who wanted to be so far away, but who was only guaranteed to be there for just the 1 year. In that regard, I agree, as I said before, that the school screwed up and the OP has got the rough end of that. But their signing a 2 year lease would have made financial sense, which is why it's so common, and if that's what they have, they're stuck with it and it's not just someone forgetting or being lazy.

« Last Edit: December 03, 2012, 12:14:57 pm by ironopolis »


  • lotte world
  • The Legend

    • 2272

    • August 22, 2011, 09:00:38 pm
    more
Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2012, 12:14:42 pm »
Here's a way out of it: quit.

That's what I would do.

No.  You wouldn't.

You have been whining incessantly about how much you hate your situation here, and yet, you're still here.


Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2012, 05:16:54 pm »
Thanks for your advice - it's appreciated! It's such a bummer because I really like everything else - the school, students, and my co-teacher especially has been very helpful and reliable in the classroom. I will talk to her about the different ideas offered here, especially if they can cancel the lease and I find my own accommodation in the town the school is in... I will give it all another month to play out, and will then will weigh everything up and assess whether it actually is a deal-breaker...

Thanks again!


Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2012, 08:07:09 am »
Hey i'm sorry to hear that the travellling is killing you, but honestly your case isn't exceptional.
I had to do the 2 buses, 1.5hrs travel to school every day. If the 1st connecting bus didn't come on the way back (which it often didn't) i was stuck in the rain/snow/wind for an extra hour.
When i renewed i asked to move to a closer school, despite how much I loved the kids, schools etc My GF said i was walking around like a Zombie all the time and to just bite the bullet
I know quite a few people near to me that have it even worse! One guy had to catch a ferry to school, another girl a boat, if it rained real hard or the wind was crazy (which it has often been around these parts with all the typhoons) they were STUCK THERE. No way home

I don't mean to say "Stop Bitching!"
Just that a lot of people have the same deal/have it worse and that you're not alone


  • Violet711
  • Waygookin

    • 11

    • September 05, 2012, 11:11:24 am
    • Changwon, South Korea
Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2012, 08:42:15 am »
This thread makes me so conflicted. It's nice to know that I'm not the only person with a hellish commute. But it's also really sad we have to put up with this bullshit. My cummute is pretty cooshy in the mornings. One of my coteachers drives me to school which takes about 45 minutes but 3 days/week I'm at another nearby school and have to walk an additional 30 min on top of the drive to get there. On the way home, however, it is awful. I have to walk 45 minutes to the bus stop and 2 bus rides later I finally get home. This can take 2/sometimes even 2.5 hours. And I wish I could entertain myself on the bus but I am standing up the WHOLE TIME on the tiny, crampt bus. Side note: bus drivers are maniacs. I have a bone bruise on my foot from falling down the stairs on the bus bc the driver stopped short. Two days a week I feel like the commute is something I can handle. But the other 3 days I literally cry on the way to school and the way back home bc it is so awful. Especially with the weather getting colder. My toes have chilblains and the coldness hasn't even peaked yet.
Like the OP, I'm looking for solutions. I also tried to move but was denied my request. The problem is that at the school that is farther away, the teachers don't speak English very well. I don't know how to communicate with them politely and efficiently about my problem. And I'm actually on the verge of quitting. I hate to give up on Korea, but I came here to travel. Not to cry myself to sleep every week day.
I hate to just rant and rant but it feels pretty damn nice to be heard. And I have a lot of anger for this situation. For those of you that do commute/have been doing so for a while: how do you keep your chin up? I feel so defeated. Words of wisdom would be wonderful here. I just want to know where the draw the line. How much is too much?


  • MWeb37
  • Super Waygook

    • 422

    • February 11, 2012, 10:24:08 am
Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #17 on: December 06, 2012, 08:57:10 am »
If there is absolutely no way to change your situation, why put yourself through the misery? I would think of searching for a private academy/hagwon job for this coming March. Right now is hiring season, why not give it a look? Call some recruiters and see what they can do for you. If you find something, quit your contract now (at least put notice in) and gear up for your next job. It might be better, it might be worse (although commute-wise, I don't see how it could be) but at least you have a chance for a fresh start.


  • Violet711
  • Waygookin

    • 11

    • September 05, 2012, 11:11:24 am
    • Changwon, South Korea
Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #18 on: December 06, 2012, 09:11:53 am »
Yeah, theres a lot more to my circumstance than just the commute though. I'm a vegetarian, I have a boyfriend back home and I have a health condition that makes nutrition and energy rough here. If I were to quit I would be moving back home.
My only hestencies are that I am with EPIK and if I choose to come back to Korea at a more appropriate time in my life, I would rather teach at a public school than a hagwon. Will EPIK be pissed if I quit and never hire me again? Also, I think that working at my school for another 2 months will be quite awkward, don't you think?  My coteachers have been very congenial with me and I tend to have a guilty conscience.


  • JeremyC
  • Featured Contributor

    • 2322

    • July 15, 2012, 03:48:16 pm
    • Korea
Re: Travel time to your school
« Reply #19 on: December 06, 2012, 12:33:30 pm »
Do you think getting better shoes and socks might help with the bruises, standing, walking etc? Also, if you don't have one yet, get a phone you can read books on and listen to music on; keep yourself entertained while on the bus. And what nutrition problems, is it an allergy? There are many vegetarians here and, although it's really difficult if you don't cook at home, you can have a pretty varied diet.

Oh, and 30 minutes walk? Luxury. In my day we had to walk two hours to school barefoot, uphill both ways!  :smiley:
It's nice to be important but more important to be nice.