question from a reader

Question from a reader: what to tell your parents

A reader writes in:

My parents seemed quite impressed and supportive when I mentioned that teaching in Korea was a possibility for graduates like myself, but now that I’ve actually started the process, they’re, well… less than, shall we say.

Any advice/tips/resources you could recommend to help put them at ease? I’m going to go through with it either way, but it is nice to have them on one’s side..



“You’re doing WHAT? WHERE? WHEN? WHY?!” The questions are as varied as the people, and the responses aren’t necessarily straightforward.

For twenty-plus years, they’ve been trying to keep you safe, out of trouble, and possibly bailing you out of a tough situation. To most parents, choosing to leave your home country will come as a shock, or at the very least a change of plans. In most cases, however, being a twentysomething means the need to recognize your independence.

Some questions parents commonly ask:

Question from a reader: must-knows before coming to Korea?

A reader writes in:

Hi Chris! I love your blog and have learned so much about various experiences in Korea. I am leaving on Friday to Seoul for a week of training and then living in [city redacted] which is nearby Seoul. Just wondering if you have any must knows that you could share with me, as I am clearly becoming nervous as time comes. Thanks so much!


Coming to Korea remains a scary thing. Despite the abundance of information, it’s hard to cut through the out-dated and biased info to find the useful nuggets.

Question from a reader: stuck in a rut?

A reader writes in:

First of all I would like to say that your website is fantastic! Really refreshing, and you seem to cover all angles.

Question from a reader: school gives bad references?

A reader writes in:

I’m having a problem. I’m trying to find a new job in [city redacted], but no hagwon owner will hire me without speaking to my previous school about why I left early. (They stopped paying me on time and I gave them notice and left 2 months before my contract was up. It was an amicable separation.) However, it seems that [hagwon name redacted] is giving me a bad reputation or something, because once I give the recruiter info on my school, I don’t hear back from the recruiter. And, I figure I can’t exactly lie and say I’ve never been to Korea, because they will see that I’ve been there before once I try to apply for a second visa.

Thanks for any advice!


Question from a reader: diagnosed with depression

A reader I’ll keep anonymous writes in:

My name is [redacted] I’m a returned Peace Corps Volunteer living here in [city redacted]. I came across your blog on a Google search for information about teaching English in Korea. I currently have to friends who are past PCV’s teaching with EPIK in Korea.

Question from a reader: non-smoking, please!

A reader writes in:

Hi Chris,

I was looking forward to traveling all around Korea when I moved to Seoul nearly 18 months ago. But I’ve had a heck of a time because I am severly allergic to smoke. This is not something that’s been easy to explain to locals, even when (trying to) use Korean words. I ellicit blank stares in places like Sokcho or they assure me that the room has been ‘cleaned’ and I still get sick. I’ve only been able to find four and five star lodgings that have genuinely non-smoking rooms (not that they use air-freshener and call it n-s), and those prices are crazy. We’ve been to Jeju, Soraksan, Busan, etc but I’d like to spend more time smaller towns and villages. Do you or your readers have suggestions? Or know of any non-smoking inns, homestays, hanok, motels or small hotels? They can be anywhere really.

Thanks for your blog in general, and any help in specific.


Question from a reader: a teacher’s schedule?

A reader writes in:

Hi Chris:

I stumbled across your blog and I’ve found it to be of great use to
me, as I am going to be heading to Seoul in approximately two months
to teach English. Although I have done quite a bit of research on my
own, I have been unable to find information on how much time I’m going
to have to spend outside of the classroom preparing lessons and
grading papers.

I went to school to be a Spanish teacher and when I did my student
teaching, it was a life-consuming process. I’d be curious to know your
experience with the overall workload of an ESL teacher in Korea.



Question from a reader: professionals coming to Korea?

A reader writes in:

Hi Chris,

I recently obtained a job as a design engineer with one of the major Korean companies. I’ll be moving to [city redacted] in June for at least the next couple years and am very excited for the adventure!

One thing which I haven’t been able to find information on is how to deal with a lot of the financial aspects for the move.  I know you’re not a financial adviser, but I was thinking you or your readers have probably dealt with most of these issues.  How did you deal with things like your old credit cards from before the move? If you have an investment portfolio in your home country did you have to switch that to your Korean address or can you, for example, use your parents’ address.

Question from a reader: being vegetarian / vegan in Korea?

A reader writes in:

Hi, Chris,

I have a question.  I’m interested in traveling to Korea this fall, and am learning Korean to prepare, but have one concern about the trip:  I’m vegetarian.
How difficult is it to eat in Korea if you do not eat meat, fish, or eggs (allergy to eggs)?
Thanks for your help,

Hi S.W.,

Going vegetarian or vegan is somewhat difficult, but manageable. Assuming you’re already familiar with what to watch out for, that makes the job a little easier – and there are a couple great bloggers out there living the vegan / vegetarian lifestyle. More on them in a second.

Question from a reader: Jeonju vs. Tongyeong?

A reader writes us:

Hi Chris,

I’ve just seen your website and was wondering if you might be able to help me! I am going to be moving to South Korea to teach English very soon and am trying to make a decision about where it is best for me to go… as you seem to have traveled quite a bit I hoped you might be able to help me out a little. I have many many questions and if you could find the time to answer one or all of them I’d be very grateful!

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