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  • steparu86
  • Newgookin

    • 2

    • December 13, 2014, 07:41:05 pm
    • S Korea
North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« on: December 13, 2014, 08:29:30 pm »
In my opinion, 2014 sucked so much major donkey balls that I moved to another country.  Mainly because it became impossible for me to find employment, even as a longterm US citizen. 

But man I miss my home country.  Some things I miss the most right now: the food, bars, easy accessibility to car ownership, plenty of reasons to even own a car, great cultural diversity, shopping, friendly albiet intrusive law enforcement, and again, the FOOD. 
« Last Edit: December 13, 2014, 08:32:46 pm by steparu86 »


Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2014, 10:20:52 am »
Ah my car.....that's all I miss. I don't really miss the food, but I miss driving to get the food!


  • lianney
  • Super Waygook

    • 260

    • April 05, 2012, 09:12:45 am
Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2014, 10:32:49 am »
I definitely DON'T miss the stress and cost of driving and commuting. Perfectly happy to ride my bike everywhere, even though this isn't the safest place to do so.

I don't miss much about the states besides my family and friends. There are certain food items I miss being easily accessible and affordable, but I make do here. Now having ricotta cheese and making everything bagels at home is an absolute luxury, so I savor those things more and don't take them for granted anymore.
http://www.liasian.wordpress.com Accounts of a Korean American adoptee

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  • CliffK
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 329

    • September 03, 2014, 10:57:02 am
    • South Korea
Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2014, 10:38:34 am »
Yeah US employment sucks. I just met a teacher over here from the US, master's in teaching along with a valid teaching certificate and years of teaching experience- couldn't find a job in the US so she came here and loves it. I have a family member who lives in the US with 10 years as head of a medical non-profit and two master's degrees- she makes $13 an hour tutoring 19 hours a week because she can't find other work. I have many more stories like this...

Anyway, I don't even miss the car! Driving was stressful anyway and the expenses- car insurance, car payments, gas, regular maintenance- too expensive. I own a bike here- my only expense with that will be a new back tire in a couple months! I do miss some of the food from back home, but I have lost about 15 pounds since I got here and am not fat anymore so I can't complain about that!


Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2014, 10:46:43 am »
I don't miss owning a car. I really like public transportation here.

I do miss good pizza, good beer, my friends and family, watching live events as they happen, the wide availability of breakfast foods, wide spaces of walk-on-able grass, cheaper imported products, good deli meats and cheeses, and warm clothes fresh from the dryer.
Dropbox is the BEST way to coordinate files between home and school. Click here to get it --> https://db.tt/JSMXsrdm


Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2014, 10:53:55 am »
I miss good, accessible mexican food. I know it's available in Korea but I don't like having to search for directions and then commute for sub-par tacos and salsa


Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2014, 12:15:00 pm »

 I've been teaching here for five years, and I'm finally heading home for good in February. I've got a good amount saved up, and just found out how much pension I'll be getting on the way out  :cheesy:  Every time I went back home for a visit, I absolutely dreaded going back to the airport to return here. I've got some good friends, and a long-term significant other, so my life isn't terrible or anything like that; however, I miss so many things about life back home, and I feel as though I've been "open-minded" (please understand our situation) and put up with all of those micro-aggression for so long, I just want to be somewhere where I feel comfortable and happy. Korea is just too uptight for my tastes. Are there worse places to live? You bet. Am I happy here? No. I appreciate all of my experiences here (mostly the money, though), but it's time to move on. One of my biggest fears is turning into a lifer here. No offense if that's your situation and you like it--good for you. But  I knew if I didn't leave this year, each year would get harder and harder to leave.  The countdown has begun!

You're probably making the right choice.  As for looking for work in the States, avoid the coasts and focus on the interior.  There's a cheaper living cost and a much lower unemployment rate.  Best of luck.


Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2014, 12:50:16 pm »
I guess I mean, "I miss driving my car and the freedom it gave me." I definitely don't miss paying for gas and insurance. As for the public transportation here...it's cheap. If I have to objectively compare driving a car to taking a bus/taxi/subway, driving my car wins every time.


  • mr_spivak
  • Veteran

    • 80

    • June 15, 2011, 01:38:59 pm
    • Bundang, Korea
Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2014, 01:00:59 pm »

 I've been teaching here for five years, and I'm finally heading home for good in February. I've got a good amount saved up, and just found out how much pension I'll be getting on the way out  :cheesy:  Every time I went back home for a visit, I absolutely dreaded going back to the airport to return here. I've got some good friends, and a long-term significant other, so my life isn't terrible or anything like that; however, I miss so many things about life back home, and I feel as though I've been "open-minded" (please understand our situation) and put up with all of those micro-aggression for so long, I just want to be somewhere where I feel comfortable and happy. Korea is just too uptight for my tastes. Are there worse places to live? You bet. Am I happy here? No. I appreciate all of my experiences here (mostly the money, though), but it's time to move on. One of my biggest fears is turning into a lifer here. No offense if that's your situation and you like it--good for you. But  I knew if I didn't leave this year, each year would get harder and harder to leave.  The countdown has begun!

I'm out for good after 5 years come February too. I've said I'm leaving every year for about 4 years now but this time it just feels like its finally time to move on. I could have saved a lot more had I not traveled a lot but I have no regrets about that. I'm also looking forward to the pension but it's only for 3 years since I already cashed out before. Good luck!


Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2014, 01:48:28 pm »
ďMany of us have established a comfort zone in our lives. Weíre just coasting along taking the path of least resistance, and just getting by. This is a very common and understandable attitude. Weíve all worked hard to get where we are and it may seem a good place to be. The problem with this is that once we stop reaching, stretching, seeking and risking, we actually stop growing.  The comfort zone frame of mind is settling for what we are TODAY.That may be fine today, but without continued growth, WE ARE NOW ALL WE ARE EVER GOING TO BE.If youíre in a comfort zone, beware Ė the danger of a comfort zone is that it doesnít hurt, and it may even feel good.Ē -Bob Riggs


OP, itís not up to us to tell you whether to go home or not; itís up to you to determine if youíre ready. You need to have a solid evacuation plan. Do you have an income source set up at home or are you one of those people just going home hoping to find something? Many of the people who do the latter end up back in Korea 6 months later because no one will hire them and they've run out of savings. Iíve met some of them personally. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
 
As for me, Iím out of here first week of February. My plan:

1.   I secured a job as an international student advisor to college students starting after the spring break.
2.   I have an export business that is currently bringing in about $1200-1600/ month in profit, which is not enough to live off yet but once I get home and am able to manage the business, increase sales and get rid of my import agent, I should be able make a full-time income from it.
3.   I plan to use some of my savings from Korea to get back into the car flipping business now that I have enough money to flip newer and more lucrative cars than I did when I was in college.

With my three income streams and a nice savings cushion of 50k from Korea, my plan is extremely solid. 


  • Mstrom
  • Adventurer

    • 43

    • February 25, 2014, 08:12:16 am
    • South Korea
Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #10 on: December 17, 2014, 01:51:27 pm »
I don't have an exit plan. I do plan to hit the ground running with the job hunting.

I've come to the decision very early on that Korea is not the place to be for me. I don't want to live here for the rest of my life, or even for another year of my life. I might have to depend on the kindness of friends and family for a little bit when I get back.

I'm going back to Canada, so I don't feel that the job prospects are as dismal there as they might be in the USA.

I work in the public school system in Seoul, so, really, I'm only making about $11.50 an hour. I have large bills in Canada (student loans) that I can go on interest relief for while IN Canada, which makes my expenses only a little bit more there, all things said. Minimum wage in my home city is 10.25 an hour, which is only a bit less than what it is here. Granted I might only be able to get a part time job when I get back, and that would be rough, true.

It's not worth it, even with steady employment here in Korea, to stay where I'm not happy. Life might be harder back home, but it's still home.


Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #11 on: December 17, 2014, 02:51:36 pm »
Every time a thread like this pops up, I wait for Hugh G. Rexion to tell us about his 50k and export business. Dude, so solid. Dude.

I guess I miss poetry readings. And indie theaters. And general silence.


Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #12 on: December 17, 2014, 02:53:26 pm »
Every time a thread like this pops up, I wait for Hugh G. Rexion to tell us about his 50k and export business. Dude, so solid. Dude.

I guess I miss poetry readings. And indie theaters. And general silence.

I guess after poetry readings and indie cinema general silence would be like winning the ****** lottery


Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #13 on: December 17, 2014, 02:57:17 pm »
Every time a thread like this pops up, I wait for Hugh G. Rexion to tell us about his 50k and export business. Dude, so solid. Dude.

I guess I miss poetry readings. And indie theaters. And general silence.


Haha, yeah, sometimes.


  • orangeman
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1769

    • September 01, 2011, 09:56:35 am
    • Seoul-East Side
Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #14 on: December 17, 2014, 03:14:21 pm »
I don't have an exit plan. I do plan to hit the ground running with the job hunting.

I've come to the decision very early on that Korea is not the place to be for me. I don't want to live here for the rest of my life, or even for another year of my life. I might have to depend on the kindness of friends and family for a little bit when I get back.

I'm going back to Canada, so I don't feel that the job prospects are as dismal there as they might be in the USA.

I work in the public school system in Seoul, so, really, I'm only making about $11.50 an hour. I have large bills in Canada (student loans) that I can go on interest relief for while IN Canada, which makes my expenses only a little bit more there, all things said. Minimum wage in my home city is 10.25 an hour, which is only a bit less than what it is here. Granted I might only be able to get a part time job when I get back, and that would be rough, true.

It's not worth it, even with steady employment here in Korea, to stay where I'm not happy. Life might be harder back home, but it's still home.

You only make 1.8 million?  ($11.25 x 40 x 4)

You're leaving out the housing, which would add another $700 onto your monthly salary, which increases it about $4.38/hr. 

That's besides all the other stuff like a 13th month of pay at the end, flight reimbursements and flight refund.  Then you have the fact that taxes are much lower here and purchasing power is higher, too.  The exchange rate is also pretty good right now, 939 won per C$ (some of us lived through the 1100 won per C$ of the 2008/9 era). 

And I'm sure you've worked a minimum wage job before and know it sucks so much harder than our jobs here.  No/little vacation, physically demanding labour, a-hole bosses and/or customers, crappy hours over nights and weekends. 


Of course I'm not trying to convince you that Korea is better or that you should stay.  Heck, I'm again getting into my "GET ME THE EFF OUT OF HERE!" mood and will be leaving in a few months.  I'm just pointing out that financially, the place still makes sense if your options are limited.  You imply that you can live with friends/family which is great (though not available to all of us, not that you said it was).  But then you're losing some independence, too. 

What I miss from back home (besides friends and family) is food.  Not just authentic and cheap ethnic food, but cold cuts and being able to look up a recipe online and walk over to a grocery store and find those things.  I miss being able to pick up some cheese and salami and just snack on that on a Friday night.  Baking.  Ovens.  Bathtubs when I'm sick and just want to soak.  I miss drinking beer at night while watching sports, or meeting friends at a bar to watch the game, or going to the game, or living in my home town during playoffs.  I miss having a problem and knowing exactly how to deal with it and who to contact, and that a relatively logical solution will be applied. 

I don't miss overpriced and underdeveloped internet and mobile service.  I don't miss having no vacation and that which I do have being over holidays and thus used to see family.  I don't miss not being surrounded by somewhat like-minded people, only people who don't care about traveling or what's happening in the world.  I don't miss crappy jobs that totally don't pay a living wage.  I don't miss the hell that is winter...ok, crazily enough I kind of do (December before Christmas, anyway.  Then it can go to hell).  I don't miss everything being overpriced and overtaxed.  I don't miss paying $8 for a beer in a bar, or tipping $1 for the guy to turn around and hand it to me, tipping everyone everywhere while service standards go down and down.  I don't miss ridiculously expensive and limited public transportation. 


It's always a trade off.  Nowhere is perfect.  For me, Korea is just really easy.  Too easy, where I've let things go on too long.  The best way out is to go back to school and update your skills, which is what I've saved up enough to do now.  A BA in our home countries are pretty meaningless now.  It overqualifies you for simple work, but it's not nearly enough for any sort of good long term job. 

Anyway, good luck on your return!


  • Mstrom
  • Adventurer

    • 43

    • February 25, 2014, 08:12:16 am
    • South Korea
Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #15 on: December 17, 2014, 03:45:48 pm »
Ah, Orangeman, I appreciate your concern. In the end it is a bit of a hit and you're right about the holidays and severance. I also see I calculated my pay a bit wrong, however I only get about $1770 every check, after deductions. I will probably have to pay taxes in Canada, so that's the same amount here as there. Rent is definitely not $700 where I live in Canada, I was sharing accommodations for less than $500 a month.

My reasons for returning are a bit more personal... more specifically I wish to settle down and have a family sometime soon, and want to have that happen in Canada, where I can see my family every once and a while. Korea is great for younger folk or people that are okay marrying and living in a different culture. If I were still in my twenties I'd probably have no problem staying an extra year and saving more money!


  • L I
  • The Legend

    • 3783

    • October 03, 2011, 01:50:58 pm
    • Seoul
Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #16 on: December 17, 2014, 04:12:15 pm »
I'm going back to Canada, so I don't feel that the job prospects are as dismal there as they might be in the USA.

Last month the U.S. added 321,000 jobs. Unemployment is 5.8%

Last month Canada lost 10,000 jobs. The unemployment rate went up to 6.6%

http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/unemployment-stats/

For an American college grad the unemployment rate is 2.9%.

For a Canadian grad...I dunno. I saw some stats from last year that said 3.7%. I also read that (like the U.S.) unemployment rates for Canadian college grads are roughly half of what it is overall. (Maybe 3.3% is a good guess then?)

TL;DR: Job prospects in the U.S. aren't worse than those in Canada. In fact, they are slightly better. (But both countries are doing well.)


  • KirbyOwnz
  • Veteran

    • 136

    • March 01, 2013, 11:17:05 am
    • Geoje Island
Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #17 on: December 22, 2014, 03:58:06 pm »
I miss good, accessible mexican food. I know it's available in Korea but I don't like having to search for directions and then commute for sub-par tacos and salsa

I've had the inside joke with my friends/family that the first thing I want is Mexican for the exact reasons.   I also have another joke about Taco Bell (which is a little true), but yeah this is the big one for me.   Not interested in 10,000+ "tacos" when I can get a much better thing for cheaper.


  • Ley_Druid
  • The Legend

    • 2468

    • February 17, 2011, 08:36:33 am
    • Shinan-Gun, Jeollanam-Do, South Korea
Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #18 on: December 22, 2014, 04:59:34 pm »
I'm going back to Canada, so I don't feel that the job prospects are as dismal there as they might be in the USA.

Last month the U.S. added 321,000 jobs. Unemployment is 5.8%

Last month Canada lost 10,000 jobs. The unemployment rate went up to 6.6%

http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/unemployment-stats/

For an American college grad the unemployment rate is 2.9%.

For a Canadian grad...I dunno. I saw some stats from last year that said 3.7%. I also read that (like the U.S.) unemployment rates for Canadian college grads are roughly half of what it is overall. (Maybe 3.3% is a good guess then?)

TL;DR: Job prospects in the U.S. aren't worse than those in Canada. In fact, they are slightly better. (But both countries are doing well.)

I am glad to see that unemployment is down, and I have seen this "myth" (well, myth to me) about the low college grad unemployment rate, but I am curious, where do you go to find entry level positions? I have gone to tons of places, and never got any help back home in the US.


  • CliffK
  • Moderator LVL 1

    • 329

    • September 03, 2014, 10:57:02 am
    • South Korea
Re: North America 2015: Thumbs up or down?
« Reply #19 on: December 22, 2014, 05:12:23 pm »
I'm going back to Canada, so I don't feel that the job prospects are as dismal there as they might be in the USA.

Last month the U.S. added 321,000 jobs. Unemployment is 5.8%

Last month Canada lost 10,000 jobs. The unemployment rate went up to 6.6%

http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/unemployment-stats/

For an American college grad the unemployment rate is 2.9%.

For a Canadian grad...I dunno. I saw some stats from last year that said 3.7%. I also read that (like the U.S.) unemployment rates for Canadian college grads are roughly half of what it is overall. (Maybe 3.3% is a good guess then?)

TL;DR: Job prospects in the U.S. aren't worse than those in Canada. In fact, they are slightly better. (But both countries are doing well.)

You are right about the unemployment rate but the unemployment rate doesn't tell the full story. Jobs are being added but many of them are very low wage/low skill. "Four years into the recovery, low-wage industries have accounted for 44 percent of job growth, but they only made up 22 percent of the losses during the recession. These jobs pay between $9.48 and $13.33 an hour" (http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/04/28/3431351/recovery-jobs-low-wage/). Furthermore, many of these jobs are in the service industry- waiting tables, bar backing, etcetera.

So, if what someone is looking for back in the US is low wage/low skill jobs then by all means they're going to find that back home. But if they're actually looking for a job that provides a middle class or lower middle class lifestyle then they may be hard pressed to find it.

Two more points. Number one is that the number of able bodied adults in the US who are actually working is at one of the lowest point in decades. Why is the unemployment rate so low if so many people are not working? These poor souls have given up looking for work, often after years of fruitless searching, and so therefore their joblessness is not reflected in the official unemployment number.

Point two is that many people are just working part-time jobs when they instead want full-time work. They cannot find full-time work, so settle for part time jobs that lead them to have to rely on food stamps and other government programs to get by. Again, these individuals are not reflected in that official unemployment rate, because they technically have jobs.

So, the official unemployment rate tells far from the full story, and fails to illustrate the inherent weaknesses in the current "recovery" and certainly does not show the plight of millions struggling to find meaningful work that provides enough hours for a living wage.