Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Korea Ultimate Survivor Guide

Ten tips for living in Korea.

1. The first thing that you want to do if you are an English teacher in Korea is get a place to live. Most of the time your employer will provide a place for you to live, but if they don't you might want to prepare some money (Anywhere from between 5 million won if you want to pay the security deposit and live in a small town one room, to ten billion won if you want to live somewhere in Gangnam.) If you don't want to shell out that kind of money, there are many mountaineering and camping stores where you can probably buy a tent and live in a mountain. One nice thing about living in Korea is the fact that sometimes rustic mountain areas are quite close to highly urban areas so you can pitch a tent in many different places and catch the bus to work every morning. If you live in a big city, you could try living in the many different subway stations, or if you live in a city with a river, you could probably find a bridge to live under. Note, I do not advocate taking a homeless lifestyle in Korea since 99.999% of the jobs provide housing and your co-workers will probably complain about your smell. (Well you could also establish a network of public baths to sleep in as well, that way you will at least get clean.)

2. The second best thing to do is to feed yourself regularly. Most people die if they don't eat. Korea has many restaurants and grocery stores throughout the country so you can take advantage of those. If you don't want to do that, Korea is also blessed with many kilometers of natural coast, so you could fish for your food. If you want to teach English yet subsist as a hunter gatherer, you might try finding a school near a coast or a river. Land is expensive in Korea so for many English teachers, farming or herding is out of the question, however if you do, the government offers many subsidiaries to those who choose that life style.

3. Don't walk too far north. There is a murderous criminal regime to the north of South Korea. Luckily the boarder is heavily armed with many soldiers so if you see a whole bunch of guys in camouflage with guns, and they start yelling and shooting at you, you might be wise to turn around. There is a northern sea line limit too. For all of my readers who engage in the hobby of sextant navigation, it might be a good idea to bring along a G.P.S.

4. Learn some Korean. Here are a few useful expressions: 고양이 젖 어디에 살수있입니까? (Where can I buy cat milk?) 너무 무서웠어. 섬뜨하던데. (It was really scary. It really gave me the creeps.) 안영 개새끼야 (Hello you son of a bitch [not a common expression])

5. Find out the requirements to get a Visa and get one. Most countries don't let you work internationally if you don't have Visa.

6. Be nice to people. You probably won't make many friends if you try to punch as many people as you can in the face, but if you do, make sure that you knock them out so that others fear you.

7. If you get sick see a doctor or something. If you are from America, you will find that the Korean medical system is both cheap and convenient. If you are from the U.K. or any country that isn't America you might find it odd that you have to pay when you go to the doctor. Anyway seeing a doctor is usually a pretty good way of overcoming an illness, or at least helping to find what is wrong with you.

8. When you leave your house, tent, apartment, number 4 exit at the Apgujungdong station, mountain tree house, or underwater research facility, try to wear clothing. Korea is a conservative society that has little tolerance for nudist professionals.

9. Koreans do eat dogs, but it isn't like some big-dog-free for all. If a co-teacher invites you over to their house for dinner, use your emerald encrusted daggers to impress the children by teaching them how to carve hobo symbols, not by butchering their lhasa apso.

10. If you were hired as an English teacher, you should teach English. You might be a financial planner back in your own country, but even though people should start saving money when they are young, it might not be a good idea to use your class time to give kindergarten students advice on managing their 401ks. I know sometimes it is appropriate, like when the kids ask questions about asset allocation, but you should try not to get distracted from the topic of the day. If a lesson is about the past tense, there usually isn't any reason to start talking about appropriate ratios of bonds to stocks.

From the title of this post, I might get some traffic to this site, kind of pissed that I don't have adsense. Anyhoo happy Koreaing.


Lady Hwa-Hwa said...

This is the most practical guide to living I've ever read.

Flint said...

Much better than that other "helpful" site. :)

3gyupsal said...

I know its a joke, but as I was writing it, I was kind of half considering living in a tent on a mountain...I don't think that my wife would go for that though. If I estimate the cost of a bathhouse shower at 4500 won a day then I'm spending 135,000 won a month on cleaning myself. Then I still have to pay phone bills and that kind of stuff, but there is no electricity or gas costs, but there is the small problem of heating in the winter. I don't think that you could save any money by living in a tent on a mountain.

Oh, in the original post I forgot to mention shipping containers. I remember reading something about a poor Korean guy who sent his family overseas to study English. He lived in a shipping container that eventually caught fire and he died. I hope that I don't ever get that desperate to have my children learn a language.