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Korean language and living and working in South Korea


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@Kareni  I saw your daughter's story in your homeschool graduates thread. It was lovely to read 🙂 

My youngest daughter is passionate about the Korean language and has a goal of working in South Korea one day.

Is your daughter a native Korean speaker? If not, would you mind sharing her language studies? Did she need to sit the TOPIK? And also, if you don't mind sharing, has she found any particular pros or cons of living and working in South Korea? 

My daughter uses Talk to Me in Korean and has learnt it from scratch using just that program. She's really built up a love of the language and culture, and I'm all ears to any suggestions or advice from anyone here regarding learning materials, study options, work experiences etc.

Thank you 🙂 

 

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Hello chocolate-chip chooky,

I did get a notification this time, but I think @katilac is correct that the notification process is sometimes hit or miss.

7 hours ago, chocolate-chip chooky said:

Is your daughter a native Korean speaker? If not, would you mind sharing her language studies?

My daughter's native language is English, and she was not exposed to Korean growing up. She studied Latin formally for five years starting in 8th grade and did a year of Ancient Greek as a twelfth grader. She also expressed an interest in learning Japanese, Korean, and Arabic during that time. I think her interest in Asian languages developed due to exposure to manga and KPop. She dabbled with Pimsleur Korean language courses at some point during high school.

During her first year of college, a number of young women on her residence hall were huge fans of KPop and some had already studied Korean for a year or two. During her college years, my daughter continued to dabble in Korean; she also joined a dance group that primarily performed to KPop numbers and she joined a Taiko (Japanese drumming) club. 

During the summer after her junior year, she visited a friend who was working in Korea for the summer. She spent some time with that friend and also spent some time in Seoul. She was already considering the possibility of teaching English in South Korea, and this trip was taken to see if she could envision herself there for a year.

Her senior year of college, my daughter took her first formal year of Korean language study. Since her college did not offer the language, she took the class at a different college with which her college had a reciprocal arrangement. To make the commute worthwhile, she looked to see what other class(es) she might take there. She chose to take a class on the History of Korean music from antiquity to KPop.

8 hours ago, chocolate-chip chooky said:

Did she need to sit the TOPIK?

She did not need to sit the TOPIK test in order to get a position teaching English in South Korea. In both places she has taught (the first for early elementary students, the second for adults), teachers of English are actively discouraged from using anything other than English with their students. Some of her colleagues have spoken no Korean save for pleasantries while others have had limited or more proficient Korean skills.

For my daughter's second year in Korea, she obtained a   Working holiday visawhich enabled her to spend up to 18 months working, studying, or traveling in South Korea. During that second year, she worked a variety of small jobs while taking Korean classes. At the end of her course of studies, she elected to take the TOPIK exam; however, it was not required for her subsequent position (years three and on) teaching English conversation to adults.

I'll be back in the next day or seven to answer your other questions. I'm currently away from home for a family wedding.

Regards,

Kareni

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Chooky— do I recall you posting awhile back about online friends for your dd? If that was you, I tried to pm you at the time because it sounded like your daughter shared a number of interests with one of mine. PM didn’t go through, though. Now that I’m seeing this post I’d love to see if they would have any interest in that, because my daughter is also learning Korean. PM me if you want to talk more. 

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On 5/6/2019 at 2:33 PM, kand said:

Chooky— do I recall you posting awhile back about online friends for your dd? If that was you, I tried to pm you at the time because it sounded like your daughter shared a number of interests with one of mine. PM didn’t go through, though. Now that I’m seeing this post I’d love to see if they would have any interest in that, because my daughter is also learning Korean. PM me if you want to talk more. 

I think you may have me confused with someone else 🤔. I'll PM you 🙂

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Thanks, @Kareni 🌻. I really appreciate your reply.

My daughter is also a native English speaker, with zero prior exposure to Korean. There was a KPop song that she wanted to translate, so that she could understand the lyrics, and she just fell in love with the language. 🙂 

She started with Duo Lingo, then moved on to Pimsleur, and then on to Talk to Me in Korean. She's currently at level 5 in that program and loves it. She's hoping to sit the SAT subject test in Korean and study more of the language and culture at university (we're in Queensland, Australia, and her options are limited, unfortunately).

I hope you're enjoying the wedding 🙂 

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On 5/7/2019 at 4:31 PM, chocolate-chip chooky said:

My daughter is also a native English speaker, with zero prior exposure to Korean. There was a KPop song that she wanted to translate, so that she could understand the lyrics, and she just fell in love with the language. 🙂 

She started with Duo Lingo, then moved on to Pimsleur, and then on to Talk to Me in Korean. She's currently at level 5 in that program and loves it. ...

That is wonderful, chocolate-chip chooky; your daughter is clearly a motivated learner.

To get back to your other question ~

On 5/5/2019 at 4:07 PM, chocolate-chip chooky said:

And also, if you don't mind sharing, has she found any particular pros or cons of living and working in South Korea

The quote below is something that I posted a couple of years ago:

"The salary for teaching English in South Korea is generally about $2200/month; frequently included are air fare and  accommodations in a small studio apartment. 

My daughter is rather frugal and was easily able to save more than a thousand dollars a month during her first year of teaching." 

My daughter was able to use those savings to cover her expenses during her second year in Korea when she had the working holiday visa. That was a definite pro.

 

Costs in Seoul can be high, but a lot depends on one's lifestyle. For example, beef is expensive but pork and chicken are not. Some restaurants are expensive, but my daughter has found many where one may eat well for under ten dollars. Street food is also inexpensive. Liquor and bars can be expensive, but my daughter does not drink. Public transportation in Seoul is readily available and affordable. Many city dwellers do not own cars. Living spaces are often far smaller than one might expect based on American standards. Washing machines are fairly common in apartments but dryers are all but unknown. My daughter hangs all her laundry to dry on racks.

My daughter has enjoyed learning more about and participating in Korean culture. Do you recall that I mentioned above a class she took on History of Korean music from antiquity to KPop? In that class, she heard mention of the National Gugak Center She took a number of classes there and elsewhere and over her six years has learned to play several traditional Korean instruments: the janggu, the buk, and the Kkwaenggwari.  She joined an expat samulnori group which has performed at numerous festivals and participated in a world championship competition. She's actually been on Korean television several times performing and/or being interviewed.

Air pollution can sometimes be an issue in Seoul; on the upside, her allergies to many green and growing things have been better in Seoul than at home. Health and dental care seem much less expensive in Korea than in the US. The culture of beauty and appearance is huge in Korea (my daughter's job applications required a photo). Cosmetic surgery is an enormous industry. Tattoos are frowned upon. Homosexuality is not well accepted. Racism against the Japanese and (more so) the Chinese is evident.

I think I've babbled on enough for now. If you have a specific question, I'd be happy to ask my daughter.

Regards,

Kareni

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  • 1 year later...

@chocolate-chip chooky and @kand,

I'm reactivating this thread to let you know that my daughter recently attended a Korean language version of the musical Rent. (She's so familiar with the English version that she said it was like having her own internal subtitles!) She sent the following link which enables you to see some of the production. If you're not familiar with the production, be aware that it contains significant adult content. You might consider sharing this with your daughters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7MejpxfeeU 

Regards,

Kareni

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27 minutes ago, Kareni said:

@chocolate-chip chooky and @kand,

I'm reactivating this thread to let you know that my daughter recently attended a Korean language version of the musical Rent. (She's so familiar with the English version that she said it was like having her own internal subtitles!) She sent the following link which enables you to see some of the production. If you're not familiar with the production, be aware that it contains significant adult content. You might consider sharing this with your daughters.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o7MejpxfeeU 

Regards,

Kareni

Thank you for thinking of us and sharing! I will check it out and forward to my daughter. My older Korean learner is 20 now, so adult content is a bit out of my hands anyway 😉

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I'm glad this thread was reactivated!  My second daughter (now 13) has become very interested in Korean, also because of k-pop and Korean dramas, lol.  She has taught herself the written language so she can translate names and things like that, but I was unsure of where to go for spoken language learning.  I am definitely going to be looking into these recommendations!  I'm not sure why it never occurred to me to search here first, honestly.

She also would like to live in Korea.  We have a very good friend who was selected for NSLI-y and has spent a summer and a year over in China.  We are looking at applying for that in high school.

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10 minutes ago, AFwife Claire said:

I'm glad this thread was reactivated!  My second daughter (now 13) has become very interested in Korean, also because of k-pop and Korean dramas, lol.  She has taught herself the written language so she can translate names and things like that, but I was unsure of where to go for spoken language learning.  I am definitely going to be looking into these recommendations!  I'm not sure why it never occurred to me to search here first, honestly.

My daughters started their Korean learning with http://koreanfromzero.com/

They used to have the PDF online to download free, but now you can either buy the physical version from Amazon or you can use the online version for free.

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I just wanted to put out a warning for those who want to teach in Korea....my daughter was teaching for a private school in Korea when Covid hits. (this should be said of any school overseas in which you must enter into a contract for teaching and not Korea specifically) Please, please, please investigate the school in which you are considering signing a contract before you do so. Speak with people who no longer work for the school. Do extensive research. A glowing recommendation from a current teacher is not sufficient. My oldest did not do sufficient research but she is an adult and I allowed her to do her own thing and live and learn. Her school was definitely doing some illegal things in regards to business practices with their foreign teachers which made life pretty hard for her. When working overseas as an English teacher it can be very hard to leave that school and move to another one without coming back to the states or moving to another country.

My daughter was going to move to Japan to teach in order to remove herself from the situation but Covid struck. At that point she couldn't fly straight from Korea to Japan so she flew home and was going to be here for two weeks. The day after we were allowed out of quarantine after she came home from Korea, Japan closed their borders to travelers from the US so now she is permanently home and has gotten a teaching job at a local PS and is applying for grad school in the states lol.

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On 8/16/2020 at 10:54 AM, kand said:

Thank you for thinking of us and sharing! I will check it out and forward to my daughter. My older Korean learner is 20 now, so adult content is a bit out of my hands anyway 😉

You are welcome, kand. I hope that all is well with you and your now adult learner!

22 hours ago, chocolate-chip chooky said:

Thank you, @Kareni 🌼  It's so lovely of you to think of us 🙂 

My Korean learner is still only 14, so I will check out the content - thank you for the heads up.

You are quite welcome, chocolate-chip chooky. Best wishes to you and your Korean learner.

Best wishes also to your daughter, @AFwife Claire, with her Korean studies.

Regards,

Kareni

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11 minutes ago, nrbeckking said:

I just wanted to put out a warning for those who want to teach in Korea....

Do extensive research...

Wise words here! My daughter has friends who have also had negative experiences with their employers.

I wish your daughter well with her graduate school applications.

Regards,

Kareni

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21 hours ago, kand said:

My daughters started their Korean learning with http://koreanfromzero.com/

They used to have the PDF online to download free, but now you can either buy the physical version from Amazon or you can use the online version for free.

Hey, I bought that for my daughter back in early May, just based on reviews on Amazon!  I'm glad to see it recommended here too!  Whew! I figured the physical version would be good, since a younger daughter is interested too.

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