Korea? What do you know about Korea?
We really knew little about South Korea except what we knew from the TV show M*A*S*H and that they held the Olympics in Seoul back in 1988. The good news was that the Korean National Tourist Organization had offices in the US and sent us a huge packet of maps, brochures about almost every region. It looked nice, so we said sure, let’s go for it.
Things were not what they appeared to be
What we found out was that things were not exactly as they appeared to be. The US Embassy in Seoul flat out told us that not to come because they got at least one call/day from an American citizen who had been lied to, cheated on, not paid, you name it by Korean hogwon owners. They pointed out that the embassy could not help you if you got cheated. They did though send us a brochure about teaching English in South Korea explaining the various places you could teach in Korea.
How about teaching at one of these places???
Besides hogwons, we found out that there were other places to work besides those. These include places like companies, public schools amongst other places. The Korean government was just starting the what is now called the English Program in Korea (EPIK) where the government would place you in a school which we applied to and were accepted into. However, the one that intrigued us we’re universities. At that time, if you had a master’s degree in anything you could teach the now required freshman English courses. There was also the chance to teach non-credit English courses through either what was called “Foreign Language Centers”. These were like hogwons but run by universities. University jobs were considered the best jobs in Korea. They tended to follow the contract to the letter, you were paid on time and treated fairly well while the privately run hogwon’s were a crapshoot at best.
to be continued…