Jump to Navigation


Subscribe to Koreabridge feed
Updated: 46 min 11 sec ago

Moving to Korea? 12 tidbits to consider...

Mon, 2015-05-04 23:53
Moving to Korea? 12 tidbits to consider...

Over two years ago I considered teaching abroad in either Korea or China, but I chickened out.  After moving from Vancouver to Toronto the thought of packing my life into two suitcases and selling the rest just seemed too far-fetched, and having gone through the process of getting transcripts and copies of a degree notarized for a friend already teaching in Korea I just felt...too lazy.  Now I feel incredibly stupid for not just getting it together and going.  Now that I'm here there are a variety of reasons why I want to stay, and a variety of common misconceptions about moving to Korea I want to dispel. 

1. Korea is "Asia-light" - Truth!

Living in Korea (at least in Busan) is a lot like living in Vancouver, Canada where I spent 5 years of my life finishing up my degree and working downtown.  Throughout the week I spend my days working and my evenings at the gym.  I usually pick up a Kimbap (Korean-style "sushi") or Mandu (a tasty kimchi or meat-filled dumpling) on my way home.  It's cheaper than the subway sandwich or sushi I would get in Toronto, and during the week I tend to keep it simple so I can make the most of my weekends.  Of course, from time to time I'll head out throughout the week for a couple of socials or a night of trivia, but realistically I'm usually in bed at a pretty reasonable hour throughout the week.  On weekends?  I head out shopping, or to a club with friends, to a temple, or to the beach.  Having the beach and the mountains so close is just like being in Vancouver, and I'm thrilled to be able to swim in April!

2. Too much paperwork - myth

Getting your documents together is a pain, but it's not all that difficult.  I had to get my fingerprints done through the RCMP (I'm Canadian) and a criminal background check.  I also had to get copies of my degree notarized and several copies of my sealed transcripts sent.  There were different sized passport photos to get, and a couple of trips to the consulate to make, but I had planned months in advance so while it was fairly time-consuming it wasn't all that difficult.  My best advise is to plan so that you're not in a mad rush to get your paperwork together.  I was working a full-time job that actually had me working really long hours at the time and I still managed to get it all together.  Just start - once you've begun the process you will be invested and won't turn back.  You will need to get a health check up when you arrive in Korea and that will require more paperwork and more photos to get your ARC (Alien Registration Card - your key to multiple visits in and out of Korea).

3. Pack well - Truth!

This year winter fell right into summer (just as it seems to have in Toronto).  Many websites specify that there are four distinct seasons, but so far I've gone through winter (no snow, but holy cow was it ever cold), to diving into the water at the beach to cool off (let's be candid - the first time was in April and the water certainly wasn't warm, but it was refreshing!).  Koreans are pretty modest about their chest regions, so make sure to bring clothes you can layer as in the morning and at night it can be pretty cold but you'll find yourself sweating up a storm midday.  For the curvy girls and tall guys you WILL be able to shop in Korea.  There are a couple of H&M and Zara locations in Busan, and they have Forever 21 in Seoul as well.  I'm able to fit into Korean shirts and skirts but haven't tried pants anywhere other than western stores.  BRING SHOES - if you have above size 7.5 feet you'll have difficulty buying shoes (again - unless you visit the western chains).  Also I find that people here tend to have incredibly fashionable outfits that they pair with running shoes.  I don't understand it, but that'll give you an idea of most of the shoes that are sold here.  If you enjoy a cute pair of heels then bring them - although they might get ruined on the uneven sidewalks...

 - a shirt from my trip to Nampo. - my shoe closet.

3. Dining Experiences will be limited and I'll have to sit on the floor - myth

Um...NOPE!  There are TONS of different styles of food here, and I'm pretty sure I haven't eaten kimchi in at least 2 weeks (well other than the cooked kimchi in my mandu).  I have been to a vegetarian restaurant, several Italian restaurants, a cocktail bar with "Mexican" food, and yes - tons of Korean restaurants which can mean BBQ, fine dining, Makgeolli bars for pajeon, lunch box stops, and so much more.  Korean food is not limited to pork, rice, and kimchi - I promise.  I have yet to sit on the floor in a restaurant.  It's been offered at a couple of places but usually we sit at a table.  Oh, and you'll get good at using your chopsticks - promise.

4. Koreans don't speak English - half truth

Well you're in Korea, a KOREAN-speaking country, so you should probably learn enough Hangul to at least get by.  I learned how to read the alphabet before my arrival (it's incredibly straight-forward) , but it's only since actually being here that I've noticed how many English words are actually just written out in Korean, and which words I need to order food, take a taxi, get directions, etc.  You'll meet a ton of Foreigners here and the Koreans with whom you strike up friendships will likely be the ones who have studied at English Academies (or other teachers!) or who have studied at the English Universities.  If you do know key Korean words you can freak out your students when they're being bad by telling them to stop/ don't do that in Korean (HA-JI-MA) or asking for their homework but adding "Chuseyo" ("Give it to me" - ie. "Please").  I don't imagine that I'll ever have really good conversational Korean, but I haven't had a real moment of panic quite yet without it.

5. Don't work at a Hagwon - myth

There are many horror stories about living and working in Korea, but once I settled in in Busan I have to say I've been really happy.  I have many friends who work in the public school system and teach 15 classes a week but have to stay at their desk when they're not teaching.  They have a standard 8-4 or 9-5 and I believe get paid less than Private English Academy workers do.  I technically work longer hours (some days I start at 10 some days at 12:45 but I usually finish up around 7:30) but I have many breaks where I can go home and make lunch (I live half a block from work) or go to the gym, or read/ take a nap.  There's a beautiful park near where I live too so sometimes I hang out there.  I block out a couple of days a month to get my lesson plans done, and my colleagues are always there to help me as well.  I was nervous that I would be a bad teacher, but for the most part you can use your textbook as a guide and create fun activities to confirm your students knowledge.

6. Pack your own toothpaste, deodorant, and tampons - TRUTH!

I haven't really looked for deodorant or tampons (I brought 5 sticks and 200 tampons) yet, but I know that the toothpaste is a little sweeter and doesn't contain fluoride.  Just make it easy on yourself and stock up before coming.  I brought the little ob brand and just packed them in ziplock bags stuffed in my shoes.  It's not a lot of extra weight and you'll feel more comfortable having your own brands.  Bring some power adapters as well.  It's also worth bringing a couple of towels and your comforter from home.

7. Birth Control Pills are available over the counter in Korea - Truth!

I wasn't able to get Yasmin, of course, but I got a similar combination of hormones.  I don't feel any difference in my personality and haven't noticed any changes in my body because of the pill.  It'll cost you about $10/ pack and because it's over the counter it doesn't fall into the category of prescription medication covered by National Health Insurance, but it's not stressful to get at all, which helps.

 - buying BCP was as easy as getting the Korean equivalent of Coldfx.

8. Dating in Korea is a nightmare for Foreign Women - Myth!

Sure, there are a ton of foreign guys who come to Korea intent on securing a hot Korean girlfriend, but unless you're in a very rural area or somewhere without foreigners you'll have a fine time meeting people.  I've read about foreign women being really lonely because they Korean guys and Foreign guys all want Korean women, but I can pretty much guarantee that if you're in a city you'll find all sorts of people with all sorts of "types".  The great thing about dating foreigners here is that you all share a bit of a bond with other teachers, all teachers have at least a Bachelor's degree, and most foreigners here have a bit of a sexy sense of adventure and taste for new things which makes going on dates really exciting.  Careful about telling your Korean friends though - once you've been on ONE date with someone the general consensus is that they are now your significant other!

9. Your apartment will be a tiny box - half truth

I've seen some horribly small apartments here and some massive ones.  Mine could comfortably fit a king size bed (note: I have a single) and a couch (note: I have a loveseat), but my floors just got redone, I have TONS of storage, the wallpaper is fresh, and my bathroom is pretty massive.  I've seen some very small apartments as you get closer to the city centre, but most of those have double beds and frankly I'd rather be downtown and have a nice sized bed!  My life here is pretty comfortable - sometimes I consider getting a bigger bed but I'd rather spend the money on a trip (it's incredibly cheap to travel).  Perhaps I'll get a foam topper at some point but for now? Nah...

10. The cost of living is really low in Korea - myth!

In comparison to life back in Canada certain things are quite cheap, but if you want fruit, vegetables, meat, or peanut butter be prepared to shell out.  I tend to live on peppers, eggs, mixed greens, cabbage, bananas, and avocados.  Wine and Spirits are more expensive than back home, but beer, soju, and makgeolli are very cheap.  I can go get a healthy kimbap for about $5 Canadian, or a Korean fast food lunch box for about $4 Canadian (definitely cheaper than back home).  Ultimately it's been nearly 2 months and I haven't saved anything, but I also haven't been skimping on good times.  Once I'm through my first 4 months and am no longer paying my deposit on my apartment I'll be able to send a little bit more home.  If you're a bottle blonde consider heading back to your roots.  Getting your hair bleached properly in Korea will cost you megabucks - they wanted to charge me nearly $400 to get mine dyed, although I have heard of people spending $300 or as little as $125.  Not worth it for me.  Either invest in sending yourself some Revlon highlighting kits before leaving or head back to brunette.  I would also advise waiting until you get your ARC to get a phone.  The arrival store will cost you over $80 each month to rent a phone and the plan.  My phone costs me $45/ month and I got a brand new Samsung Galaxy Grand Max.

11. When handing something/ accepting something always use two hands - half truth.

When you hand money to a sales associate at a shop they'll generally be a little taken aback at a foreigner being so polite.  Do it anyway, and smile a lot.  If you don't have your Korean down then it's best to overcompensate with politeness!  Most places will just hand you your change with one hand though.

12. The Korean transportation systems are amazing - TRUTH!

Don't be afraid to get on an intercity bus and just GO!  The systems are a great way to check out temples, neighbouring cities, etc. and the HU-Metro system is really well laid out.  Make sure not to sit in the sections designated for ajummas and adeshis unless you feel like getting reamed out by everyone on board young and old alike!  Ajummas WILL push you out of their way even if there is plenty of room to go around - this happens in the streets as well.  People have this bizarre tendency to stand really close to you.  Just move if you're uncomfortable, but know that it will likely happen again.

So there you have it, friends!  The first of what will most certainly be a growing list of truths and myths.  Anything to add?  Leave me a note in the comments!

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

L2W: Wrong Korea, Divorce Increase, & Kpop Econ Boost

Mon, 2015-05-04 12:03
L2W: Wrong Korea, Divorce Increase, & Kpop Econ Boost

1. National
1) Seoul express ‘regret’ at Abe’s lack of apology 
Korean Foreign Affairs Minister Yun Byung-Se expressed “regret” that PM Shinzo Abe lost golden opportunity to confirm the correct perception of history by failing to properly acknowledge Japan’s responsibility for WWII at Abe’s speech in the U.S. Congress last week. Yun’s comment was made to lawmakers who are concerned about Korea being left alone while Abe and Obama are having nice dinners in Washington last week, and Abe and Xi Jinping are taking smile photo in the Asian-African Conference in Jakarta last month.
The best days Korea and Japan shared together was during 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup to my memory. There was a match between Japan and Belgium, and, surprisingly, I saw all Koreans were rooting for Japan as Koreans took Japan as an ally in a crusade against soccer empire Europe. It is about time Korean president Park Geun-hye and Abe pick up a ball and play soccer together to mend fences.

2) A Kenyan to Pyeongchang got lost Pyongyang 
WSJ reported a story of Daniel Sapit, a farmer from Kenya, who landed in Pyongyang in North Korea to attend a conference in Pyeongchang in South Korea, the host city for 2018 Winter Olympics. Mr.Sapit asked his travel agency to buy a ticket to Pyeongchang, but the agency thought it was a misspelling of Pyongyang. Mr. Sapit found he was in wrong place only after landing in Pyongyang from Beijing, and was able to get out only after $500 fine for illegal entry.
In 2001, Hyundai engineers sent an e-mail to my colleagues in Detroit to have a technical meeting at its R&D center in N.Y. Never heard of Hyundai’s technical center in N.Y., my American friends asked me its address. The N.Y. that HMC engineers meant was NamYang, the city Hyundai’s main R&D center is located near Seoul. Had my friends not asked me, they would have booked a flight to N.Y. I mean, New York.

2. Economy
1) More men likely to divorce 
To Statistics Korea’s marriage data from 1990 to 2010, the chance of divorce among men rose from 10.4% in 1990 to 25.1% in 2010, up 2.5 times over the last 20 years. The divorce rate for women increased from 9.4% to 24.7%. The number of remarriages has declined as more than seven out of 10 couples who divorced chose to remarry in 1990, but that dropped to half by 2010. Experts say the trend stems from a view that marriage brings no great benefits and living alone get easier and more convenient.
My first marital crisis came in August 1989, just three months into marriage in Quebec. While I wanted to buy a humidifier just right for the living room, my wife kept insisting a big one that could wet whole Taj Mahal. We ended up buying what I wanted, but my wife kept grumbling even at home. The humidifier thus had to face the fate of leaving my hand, flying out the window and landing in the backyard broken. My marriage has been O.K. since, except for 130dB whining noise I hear each time I sneak out to play soccer on Sunday.

2) K-pop helps Korean economy 
The economic effect of the so-called Korean Wave created by young Korean pop artists was estimated to be 12.6 trillion won (U$11.6) in 2014, according to Korea Trade Promotion Agency. The figure indicates that Korea’s industrial output rose 4.3% from last year thanks to the popularity of Korean pop stars and goods. The game industry benefited the most, with 2.2 trillion won in production inducement, followed by the tourism industry with 2.1 trillion won and the food and beverage industry with 1.8 trillion won
While people outside Korea were enjoying Korean Wave, Koreans were deep in Britain Wave when Paul McCartney performed in his or Beatles’ first ever concert in Korea on May 2. Over 45,000 fans braved rain to enjoy nearly 40 songs the 72-year-old British belted out. It was 100 times more action filled than Mayweather-Pacquiao fight held in Las Vegas the same day.

3. Auto Industry
1) Hyundai hit by worst quarterly earnings in years 
Hyundai Motor announced its Q1 sales were 20.9 trillion won ($19.3B) with operating profit of 1.58 trillion, the worst in four years. Sales dropped 3.3%t from a year ago and year-on-year operating profit dropped by 18.1%. The CFO of Hyundai said the strong won against Euro and other currencies in the newly developed nations had a negative sales impact in the global market.
Another factor attributing the poor sales performance is the erosion of domestic market by import models. Hyundai and its sister Kia enjoyed nearly 80% market share until mid-2000, but have seen it go down to 60.6% in January this year. Hyundai marketing better come up with good plans to please its domestic customers or they may end up humming what Paul McCartney sang in Seoul; Yesterday ♬.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Queer News: MoJ says no to the Rainbow Foundation, EBS' My Daughter is Transgender, and More

Mon, 2015-05-04 09:17
Queer News: MoJ says no to the Rainbow Foundation, EBS' My Daughter is A blow for human rights with the decision of the Ministry of Justice to not allow the Beyond the Rainbow Foundation to be established as a legal entity in late April. The official reasoning (bullshit?) is as follows:

The Ministry of Justice administers legal establishment to groups that aim to establish, monitor, or modify policies related to human rights of the country and related human rights groups. This organization has the purpose to promote the rights of social minorities different than the type of organization which the Ministry of Justice can administer legal status to and so was not given permission to become a legal entity. 

Beyond the Rainbow Foundation will appeal this decision.

The Human Rights Watch has asked for Korea to amend sex education guidelines by the Ministry of Education that fail to include sexual minorities or homosexuality, outlining the potential harms this exclusion would bring to society.

Members of the KTU Union Protesting the Ministry of Education's Decision
A court ruled that the online harassment of a Mr. Lee by protestant groups including the Esther Prayer Movement and the Coalition for Moral Sexuality, which included posting pictures of Mr. Lee along with statements such as 'isn't it attempted murder to hide the fact that you have AIDS', were incidents of defamation.

EBS produced a program related to transgender issues on the 28th of April titled My Daughter is Transgender. The father is really reluctant to accept his daughter, and the intense dramatization typical to Korean television makes it not very pleasant to watch. The whole video is available at Daily Motion.

Director Kim Jho Gwang Su, who has been bringing attention to these harms for some time now, has decided to take legal measures against homophobia with his husband Kim Seung-hwan, saying homophobic groups are impeding on LGBT rights.

Director Kim also had a lecture titled 'Being Happy as a Sexual Minority' in Gwangju as the third part of a lecture series. Protestant groups protested the lecture, emphasizing that they worried about infections of AIDS increasing and sexual identity confusion in teenagers. Fortunately, the lecture was held as planned.

In pop culture, Kim Dong-wan, a solo-artist who was once a member of K-pop group Shinhwa and recently on I Live Alone, has talked about being mistaken for gay once by the media who mistakenly described his friendship with a younger friend, emphasizing that he is not gay.

The drama Blue Bird Nest included a segment in episode 22 where mother Chung Su-kyung (played by actress Lee Hye-sook) believes her son (played by Lee Sang-yeob) is in a gay relationship. Unfortunately, it is just another misunderstanding. You can check out the hilariously dramatic clip over at youtube.

More gay mishaps took place in Let's Eat 2, with Dae-yeong and Sang-u mistaken as a gay couple by Ye-rim. Apparently, they have been pushing these lines a bit with a recent scene where Dae-yeong and Hang-mun are chatting in a cafe in a way that amusingly looks like a gay couple to other cafe patrons. Oh, the humor of two men acting in a romantic way .

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

This Week Out There – Expat Spared, Taste of Home, & Repatriating

Sun, 2015-05-03 10:00
This Week Out There – Expat Spared, Taste of Home, & Repatriating A selection of this week’s expat-related storiesWhatever gets you through the night…

It can be a little lonely out there as a stranger in a strange land, and everyone has different ways of dealing with it. To combat her loneliness and alienation in Spain, 30-year-old British expat Emma Biggins spends 30 hours a week playing the Kim Kardashian – Hollywood game, in which users (most of whom are teenage girls) “compete to get points in a bid to become Kim’s best mate.” Biggins says the game makes her feel “fabulous.” and that she thinks “Kim really is [her] best friend.” Read the story here, or decide you’ve already heard enough and move on.

Filipino Expat Spared Death (for now)


Filipino expat Mary Jane Veloso narrowly escaped execution by firing squad in Indonesia on Wednesday when Indonesian President Joko Widodo granted her a temporary 11th-hour stay of execution after evidence surfaced that she may have been duped into drug trafficking. Time will tell if she is exonerated, granted a reduced sentence, or executed, as were eight other convicted smugglers, including seven foreign nationals whose appeals fell through. For now it appears she will be given the opportunity to testify against Maria Kristina Sergio, the daughter of Veloso’s godparents who Veloso claims set her up by giving her a bag that had over 2 kilograms of heroin sewn into the lining.

There’s no Taste Like Home

The Battleship Burger. Oh yeah.

As U.S. troops relocate from Yongsan Garrison in Seoul to points south, a reluctant U.S. expat marks the passing of the Navy Club, “an eccentric bar-and-grill that was a vital taste of home for generations of soldiers, sailors and civilian expats,” and waxes poetic about the Battleship Burger, “a sizzling half-pound of ground Angus sirloin, topped with America.” Seoul’s changing food scene in the area around Yongsan may make the passing of the Navy Club a quiet one, but the Navy Club will no doubt be missed by many for whom it provided a crucial taste of home to smooth the transition abroad.

You Can’t Go Home Again?

A group listens to a returned expat as he relates his overseas experience.

Repatriating after an extended stay abroad can be tough; so tough, in fact, that many expats (like yours truly) never seriously attempt it, and those who do sometimes end up bouncing back overseas.

Was Thomas Wolfe right when he wrote that you can’t go home again? The followingshort primer on repatriating is a bit more sanguine, and advises those heading back to treat it as they would treat a move to any foreign country. This bit of advice from one commenter stood out:

“Don’t immediately talk about all the places you’ve been, what you’ve done, etc.… This will alienate people,” she wrote. “Keep it low-key, make it like dating, dole out information very, very slowly.”

Sounds about right. I would also add that favorably comparing country X to your home country in any way should be exercised with extreme discretion, especially during Christmas dinner.

And how are you doing out there this week



Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

How to Get a University Job in Korea Video Series

Sun, 2015-04-26 14:35
How to Get a University Job in Korea Video Series

University Jobs in Korea

On my blog, My Life! Teaching in a Korean University by far the most common questions I get from my readers are related to getting a university job in Korea. While I love answering questions and helping people by giving them solid, reliable information, I found myself answering the same questions over, and over, and over again which is why I decided to write a book.

While you can get most of the information found in the book in various places around the Internet, I wanted to make a single resource which would make the job search easier and simpler for my fellow teachers. I'm all about saving time and I think most people are as well.

I hope the book (and the video series as well) is helpful and if you have any questions related to teaching in Korean universities, ESL in Korea or getting a university job I'm more than happy to help. You can find my email address in the top of the sidebar at the blog listed above.

Good luck in your job search!


Jackie Bolen: How to Get a University Job In Korea


My Life! Teaching in a Korean University: 

University Jobs Korea: universityjobkorea.com

YouTube: youtube.com/playlist?list=PLL0Q8kr18oQIo12jZrwIUdnU4C6eJV5rK


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Satoori: How to Speak Korean Like a Local

Sun, 2015-04-26 02:29
Satoori: How to Speak Korean Like a Local

All Korean text books teach students how to speak standard Korean, which is the dialect found in Seoul. However, Korea is a mountainous country that until very recently was difficult to travel around. As a result, each region has strong regional dialects, called ‘satoori’ in Korean. The best way to learn satoori is from a native of that province as satoori is generally spoken rather than written. This can make it hard to learn from written sources as it will be written phonetically whilst regular Korean (despite what many people think) is not written perfectly phonetically. This makes it more difficult to make the connections between sounds in satoori and regular Korean through reading alone.

Korea has many regional dialects

Regional Korean satoori (사투리) is very different from regular Korean (표준어). As satoori is often spoken, and used between people who are intimate with each other, most of the examples in this article are written in 반말, so be careful when using them with people who you are not close to or with people who are older than you. This article covers the three main Korean dialects that you are likely to hear: Gyeongsang, Jeolla, and Jeju dialects. Some other dialects that you may come across in South Korea include Chungcheong dialect, Gangwon dialect (which is very similar to Seoul dialect) and perhaps even Chinese Korean (조선적인) Dialect.

Busan / Gyeongsang Dialect

Busan at night

Seoul and Busan could not be more different, they are at opposite ends of the country and to travel between them you have to go through endless mountain ranges. As a result, the dialects in Seoul and Busan are very different, to the extent that people from Seoul and people from Busan can have a hard time understanding each other. The differences between the two dialects are much bigger than the differences between different English dialects in the USA, although British readers could use the difference between the accents and dialects in London and Newcastle as a comparison. The difference could also be thought of as similar to the differences between the Tokyo and Osaka dialects of Japanese, with Busan satoori, like the Osaka dialect, being considered rougher than the dialect of the capital city. Lots of great Korean films are set in Busan, such as 친구, 해운대, and the recent Korean box-office hit 국제시장. Busan is also a great place to visit whilst in Korea so learning a bit of the local dialect, or satoori, could be very useful. Here is an example of Busan Satoori spoken by Robert Holley, who, due to his accent, has appeared on many Korean TV programs such as the popular ‘90’s comedy 남자셋, 여자셋.

오이소, 보이소, 사이소 = 오세요, 보세요, 사세요요

오이소, 보이소, 사이소

Jagalchi fish market is one of Busan’s main attractions for tourists. On the sign welcoming people to this huge market, you will see the words ‘오이소, 보이소, 사이소’, meaning ‘come, see, buy’. In Busan satoori, the imperative form of a verb is made by adding –이소 rather than the standard –세요. For example 가세요 becomes 가이소 in Busan dialect. This feature of the dialect is proudly shown on the sign at Jagalchi Market’s entrance.

밥묵읏나? = 밥먹었어?

The Korean expression ‘밥 먹었어?’ literally translates as ‘Did you eat?’ but its meaning is more like ‘How are you?’. It is sometimes spoken as ‘밥 먹었니?’ which means the same thing. In Busan satoori, to say this expression, you should say ‘밥 묵읏나?’ or just ‘밥 문나’. In Busan satoori, yes/no questions usually end with an ‘아’ sound whereas ‘wh’ word questions such as 머 하노 (뭐 하니 / 뭐 해 in standard Korean) end in an ‘오’ sound (the Seoul dialect makes no distinction between these different question types). The verb 먹다 in Busan satoori is 묵다. The way verbs are used is slightly different in Busan satoori, for example the 받침 (bottom consonant) isn’t always removed in irregular verbs and adjectives such as 낫다 or 덥다.

맞나? = 정말?

Instead of ‘정말?’ / ‘그래요?’, people in Busan usually say ‘맞나?’ There are lots of unique words in the Busan dialect such as ‘찌짐’ which means 전 (as in 파전), ‘단디하다’ (단단히 하다) which means ‘조심하다’, and ‘디질래?’ Which means ‘죽을래?’ You can find a list of Busan dialect words by category here.

Jeolla Dialect

Ever since the days of the three kingdoms, Jeolla and Gyeongsang province have been bitter rivals, and so it comes as no surprise that they have very different accents and dialects. Like Busan satoori, the imperative form is different in Jeolla satoori, with ‘라우’ or ‘지라우’ being used instead of ‘세요’. Also, the vowel sounds are slightly different, ‘어’ becomes ‘으’ and ‘여’ becomes ‘예’, so words like ‘먹다’ or ‘없다’ become ‘믁다’ and ‘읎다’. To ask questions or make suggestions, an ‘잉’ sound sometimes appears, so ‘Have you eaten?’ would be pronounced ‘밥 믁어잉?’ in Jeolla province. The province also has its own unique words such as ‘시방’ which means ‘now’.

Jeju Dialect


Being an island, Jeju’s dialect is even more different than the other Korean dialects. Some of its unique words are related to Mongolian from the time that it was ruled by Mongolia. It even includes a vowel that can’t be found in regular Korean.

To say ‘welcome’, you can say ‘혼저옵세예’, for ‘thank you’, you can say ‘고맙수다’, and for ‘nice to meet you’, you can say ‘반갑수다’ or ‘반갑시오’, although this is also sometimes used to say ‘hello’ on Jeju island. A well-known word in Jeju dialect is ‘하르방’ meaning ‘grandfather’, not to be confused with ‘한라봉’, Jeju’s native tangerines.

Dialects have many hundreds, if not thousands, of unique words and phrases so it isn’t possible to teach you how to speak Busan dialect as well as Robert Holley in just one article. If you are interested in learning more about a particular dialect, then the best way to do that is by actively searching out people from that region for language exchanges.

Which dialect would you most like to learn and why?

Learn to read Korean and be having simple conversations, taking taxis and ordering in Korean within a week with our FREE Hangeul Hacks series: http://www.90DayKorean.com/learn

Korean lessons   *  Korean Phrases    *    Korean Vocabulary *   Learn Korean   *    Learn Korean alphabet   *   Learn Korean fast   *  Motivation    *   Study Korean  Please share, help Korean spread! 



Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

This Week Out There – April 19th-25th

Sat, 2015-04-25 04:05
This Week Out There – April 19th-25th Ah! The Luxury of Moving House

Moving house is never fun, and moving as an expat can carry added difficulties. Being mobile requires one to frequently let go of many things, so the process of deciding what to leave behind can be especially fraught.

To help ease the move for her son, this expat mom in Turkey offers a dose of perspective, writing that deciding what to take with you in a strife-torn part of the world is a luxury that many people can’t afford.

As we watch the morning and evening news together, we are both reminded of just how fortunate we truly are. My son understands that around the world, and along the Turkish borders in particular, there are so many people who do not have the opportunity to pick and choose which items they want to keep and carry with them.

For those dealing with a recent move, read it here.

Stop the Press! Expats Consider Moving

A recent survey found that around half of expats in the UAE report that they are considering leaving due to the rising cost of living. In a country where an estimated 88% of the population is composed of expats, that works out to about 3 million people and a hell of a lot of moving vans.

It’s good to keep in mind that when an expat says he or she is considering moving, we probably need to take it with a grain of salt – my own anecdotal evidence suggests that expats as a species are generally more open to the prospect of moving than the average person; it may be part of the reason many of us ended up living halfway around the world in the first place. Anyway, here’s the story.

Possible Link Between Expat Experience and Creativity

Too much creativity can actually cause the brain to explode

Many of the great 20th century artists – Orwell, Picasso, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway – lived abroad for significant parts of their lives. If you’ve ever pondered whether the expat experience helps to foster great art, check out this report on a recent study by Columbia University and INSEAD, which found a link between expat experience and enhanced creativity (You can find the abstract here). The study looked at fashion houses but the authors point out that it could have broader applications for business.

“Creativity is the driver of growth for companies and individuals in the 21stcentury. Professional foreign assignments are the surest way to become creative, and fashion industry understands that. Companies in other industries also should value executives’ foreign experiences and promote them through global talent mobility programmes,’ said INSEAD’s professor Andrew Shipilov”

Shiplov also notes that it’s not just living abroad that drives this growth, but engaging with local culture in meaningful ways.

‘The key, critical process is multicultural engagement, immersion, and adaptation. Someone who lives abroad and doesn’t engage with the local culture will likely get less of a creative boost than someone who travels abroad and really engages in the local environment,’ he added.

Now we await the research that explains why repatriated expats are undervalued. Any guesses?

Speaking of creativity <cough>…

In 1954, expat Alive B. Toklas published a cookbook that was to become legendary in the 1960’s for the hashish brownie recipe it included, which was the inspiration of the 1968 Peter Sellers film I Love You Alice B. Toklas. Anthropologist Layla Eplett has written an interesting account of the origins of the recipe, and its unwitting inclusion into the book that rocked the hippie scene and was a favorite of William Burroughs and other expatriates of the mind.





Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Ridin' Solo

Thu, 2015-04-23 14:28
Ridin' Solo

Not to quote Jason Derulo too hard (ahem..."Jason Derulo" - Jason Derulo), but the last few evenings I have been ridin' solo through the big bustling metropolis of Busan (er - more like Ben Folds Five: "Rockin' the Suburbs" in Hwamyeong-dong, Buk-gu).  Yesterday I hit the gym before work which meant I either had a long night of thinking about food (yes - I'm back counting my calories and working the macros) or I could go on a walk and explore the area I had seen when driving back from a field trip.  

There is a lot more to Hwamyeong than what I have discovered thus far.  I'm sure every neighbourhood in a big city has the kind of awesome places to eat (we have some Japanese places, a couple of Vietnamese restaurants, a handful of Italian spots, a ton of chicken restaurants, and of course lots of Korean restaurants!), the standard Baskin Robbins, Lotteria, McDonald's, and Starbucks, as well as a ton of bars (business and otherwise), Norebangs, and local and chain coffee houses.  We're also blessed with a glow bowling alley  and a movie theatre as well as a bunch of places you can go to play computer games, watch DVD's, or play video games.  

My apartment is surrounded by love motels and thus far my understanding of the neighbourhood has been limited to about 4 main streets, the longest of which I decided to explore last night.  

I walked past the MMA gym (the owner speaks no English otherwise you know I'd be training there.  at $100/ month and 5 sessions of training a week? Heck yes.  Perhaps when my Korean is better...), the Top Mart, and hit a dark patch, then a huge Church (giant LED red cross on a building that looks like a big office).  I continued walking and came upon another grocery store, a few ladies clothing stores, what appeared to be a bespoke tailor, a nail salon, Bbang Ddorak Pizza, a sushi restaurant, and a Yankee Candle (which always reminds me of Angie from 30 Rock: "This is just like what I told the sales lady at Yankee Candle: 'I AIN'T BUYING IT'").

After that I walked in the dark for a bit seeing a few restaurants (the really cool one I want to check out [pictured directly above] advertises Octopus...not sure if it sells much else) before walking by the Fire Station, a post office, a Mercedes-Benz dealership, a lighting store, a bike shop, and the biggest "Angel-in-us Coffee" I have ever seen.  It took up a lot of real estate and seemed to have two levels.  If it were closer I would be there all the time, but as it stands "A Twosome Place" is pretty close and is really comfortable.  I continued on and realized that I had walked the length of 1 subway station and had landed in Sujeong.  

I mean...the pastries looked incredible.  It took a lot to say no!

At first glance Sujeong doesn't look like there's much other than the GIANT Lotte Castle Kaiser complex (if you think Cityplace is big then imagine 20 of them squished together). Underneath the Castle (where the subway is located) you'll find Lotte Super (a Lottemart that is just a Supermarket), a really cool little bakery called "Bread Papa", a "Tous les jours", a "Paris Baguette", and some salons and clothing stores I will more definitely have to check out on a weekend when I have some more cash.  

Curvy ladies - there were also two "Big Lady" (ugh - I know...) stores that looked as though they had some cool stuff!  No word on price yet though.  I'll have to get back to you on that.  I've found that I can fit into Medium or Large in Korean clothes pretty well, but if I want pants that aren't from H & M I may check these stores out.

Speaking of big ladies...I might become a REALLY big one if I give into my Hotteok cravings more than once a month.  I gave in last night.  These things happen.

Tonight I had plans to head out on another mega-walk with a friend of mine and her pup but she had to stay late at work so I took myself to a chicken place I had been wondering about for a while called: "Chir Beer 369" (get it - Cheer Beer? Perfect for a retired Cheerleader!).  With a slogan like: "Don't worry, Beer happy!" how could I resist?  It's just on the other side of the small "Rose Park" near my place, and a hop skip and a jump from work, so I ordered some take-out and took a seat at the bar.  The decor is adorable with many handwritten notes on the window and walls with decals of London, Paris, and New York (we're working on Toronto and Vancouver...okay, I am). 

The owner walked in with two ridiculously adorable children who I assumed were his.  WRONG!  Another man walked in and did a double take.  As the only person in the restaurant (and a foreigner at that) I attempted a nod/ bow as best I could seated and attempted an Anyong-haseyo.  Then I got a chuckle, but not for the reason I initially though.  The guy was from California, and those were his kids!  Turns out he and his wife live nearby and they had had some dinner at a goki (meat) place next door.  They sat down, had a beer with me, talked sports, English, business, and social dynamics, all in between quips with the restaurant owner and beginner English with the kids.  I really hope I'll get the chance to see them again as we had a lot of laughs and we all seem to have some common interests.  The little girl even gave me a huge hug goodbye (aw!).

Down to what you really want to hear: How was the food?!  The chicken was fresh, moist, and tasty.  This was boneless chicken (white meat only) with a mildly spicy breading and honey mustard drizzle.  I haven't been super partial to fried chicken here as there always seems to be some sort of mystery coating (I have yet to tell you about the "Snow Queen" Cheesy Fried Chicken - that's a story for another day) or there are just too many tiny bones to properly enjoy the meal.  Thus far I have been pretty loyal to Monster Craft, but this might just be my new go-to bar for chicken, potatoes (cheesy fries, anyone?  Uhh...cheat day? :P), and salads.  They seem to use fresh ingredients (at one point I saw the owner don some plastic gloves and start grating what looked and smelled like Reggiano cheese) and the restaurant itself is clean.  They offer an array of bottle and draft beer (Heineken on tap means we need to frequent this place more) and have comparatively good prices for Busan and for the area (so it's good value).   I'll have to translate the cocktail menu, but they seemed to be decently priced too, and offered some beer cocktails which was pretty cool!  I'll actually be back on Tuesday night for a chat with the owner so I'll keep you posted on my nibbles then!

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Weekly Featured Events - April 17~23, 2015

Fri, 2015-04-17 02:34
Weekly Featured Events - April 17~23, 2015

Coming Up This Weekend & Beyond 

  • Foreign Culture Market
  • ​Busan KOTESOL Symposium
  • 2nd Critical Mass
  • Tipsy Talk, FlowerFest
  • HaHa Hole
  • Craft Beer Fest
  • Mira Story
  • & more

Check out all Koreabridge Event Listings (and post your own) at: http://koreabridge.net/calendar

1st Annual Craft Beer Festival in Gapyeong
Fri, 04/17/2015 - 12:00

World Cinema XII
Repeats every day until Fri Apr 24 2015 .
Fri, 04/17/2015 - 11:00

Nakdong Riverside Yuchae Flower Festival
Repeats every day until Sun Apr 19 2015 .
Fri, 04/17/2015 - 11:00

Africa Art Fair @ Walseok Art Hall in the KNN Centum Building
Repeats every day until Sun Jun 21 2015 .
Fri, 04/17/2015 - 11:05

Tipsy Talk a.k.a. Drunk English
Repeats every week until Sat May 30 2015 .
Fri, 04/17/2015 - 19:00

The HaHa Hole! Busan's Open Mic Comedy Night @ OL'55
Fri, 04/17/2015 - 22:00

Laochra Busan GAA - Gaelic Football Training
Repeats every 7 days until Sat Oct 24 2015 .
Sat, 04/18/2015 - 11:00

Busan KOTESOL Symposium: Culture in Korea's English Language Classroom
Sat, 04/18/2015 - 12:30

2015 Spring Busan Flag Football Season
Repeats every 7 days until Sat Jun 13 2015 .
Sat, 04/18/2015 - 11:00

Busan's April Foreign culture market
Sat, 04/18/2015 - 13:00

Dalmaji Art Market
Repeats every day every Sunday and every Saturday until Wed Nov 25 2015 .
Sat, 04/18/2015 - 14:00

The 2nd Critical Mass Busan
제2회 크리티컬 매스 부산
http://koreabridge.net/event/2nd-critical-mass-busan-제2회 크리티컬 매스 부
Sat, 04/18/2015 - 15:00

Redeemer ICC Sunday Service
Repeats every week every Sunday until Mon Dec 28 2015 .
Sun, 04/19/2015 - 11:00

English Worship Sevice @ Podowon Church in Yulli
Repeats every week every Sunday until Thu Dec 31 2015 .
Sun, 04/19/2015 - 12:00

Free Irish Dance Lessons
Repeats every week until Sun Jun 14 2015 .
Sun, 04/19/2015 - 18:00

Language cast Busan weekly meetup
Repeats every week until Thu Dec 31 2015 .
Mon, 04/20/2015 - 18:30

Janáček String Quartet Concert
Tue, 04/21/2015 - 19:30

Controversial 'Mira Story' to be screened at Gukdo Art Cinemahttp://koreabridge.net/event/controversial-mira-story-be-screened-gukdo-art-cinema-april-2015Wed, 04/22/2015 - 19:40 

Open Mic Night @ OL'55
Repeats every week until Wed Dec 30 2015 .
Wed, 04/22/2015 - 21:00

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Date a Man Who Travels

Wed, 2015-04-15 02:55
Date a Man Who Travels

Date a Man who travels

They are easily missed in the bustling, dusting, city centers of the world for they are usually camouflaged in local garb against the backdrop of pedestrians walking enmasse, motorbikes riding, tuk tuks tukking, darting in between the ever stacking egg crates, petting wandering goats and cows. Never confused with the spectacled flash of their boyish traveling counterparts painted with the latest in Koh San Road beer label fashion, found traveling in interchanging wolf packs. With a still eye however you may spot their grinning beards, which finds solace in the chaos of the big smoke. You may notice them alone, fearlessly snaking through the melee of fruit markets in search of that perfect mango breakfast they had had the previous morning, with which they are eager to share with you, and anyone who comes across the shine of their disarming vibe of brotherly love, be it a local, a tout, the aforementioned green traveler, or most of all, with a scentful woman who resides in such dimensions of freedom.

Date a man who travels.

Try not to shy away when he approaches you with an unconventional question, because a man who travels would rather share an experience WITH YOU rather than waste time on names and geographic labels. Try to enjoy the exchange before you dismiss him, it maybe the breath of fresh air you didn’t realize was needed, exhaling societal complexities and toxins. Try your hand at his queer witty banter, the exchange could spring you right back into things. And once you both have settled into the liberating free breathing realm of presence, and find yourselves flying off into a joyous sunset of random convos, the humdrum topics ranging from cities of birth to favorite family guy lines will come about on their own, and will actually be interesting.

Date a Man who travels

When you see him having his ritualistic coffee in the calm of morning whilst reading his book of topics eastern, join him. It is your turn to approach and allow his boyish center to reveal itself. Join him in the silent peace of a traveler’s morning, which alone can be a bonding moment. Further cemented by eating the piece of waffle he’s offered you hot from his plate. Do not be suspicious of his brotherly ways for they are most likely authentic. He has a big heart and it bleeds for true human communion beyond the Freudian motives that so often arm us. Most likely he’s already willing to do so much for you lady, much less share some “maple soaked sweet bread?” Surrender the rest of your day to the travel gods cause most likely he wants to spend it with you, and probably has a loose plan of action, at best. Join him and foster his magic, for a traveling man always carries with him at least a little bit, but needs the catalyst of a free woman’s trusting smile to work. So push him on that two day kayak trek down the Mekong offered by that smiling dready around the corner, charm his magic into action, and no doubt that river trek or city walk or museum visit or what have you will extend on and on.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Missionary Imposition

Tue, 2015-04-14 13:08
Missionary Imposition

The first Koreans I met were in Xi’an, China. They were missionaries and so was I. We had bubble tea on a university street on a hot evening and talked about miracles. Mean little homeless cats stalked across the Lazy Susan on the café table. The Koreans, a young couple, were mildly concerned about the state of my salvation because I wasn’t Catholic, like they were. The police deported them the next day for proselytizing, which is officially illegal in the country. I forget their names now.

This was summer 2007. It was my first trip to Asia and I’d flown over with eleven other bible college students. White saviors, there to do the Lord’s work. To witness to the locals and show them the signpost to salvation. After seven weeks of laying groundwork we’d leave, pushing them off on their own like kids on a bike, reinforcing them from the other hemisphere with the power of prayer. Hoping they’d start a church or something and that the conversion rate would grow exponentially in our wake.

To get visa approval we had to go “undercover” as university students enrolled in a Mandarin speaking course. We were coached by our school’s Student Missionary Union to stay off Facebook in the country, because that would expose our links to the church. And not to use the words “Jesus” or “missionary” in public, in case the local police overheard us. All of this was enough to allow myself to indulge in daydreams of espionage, of being an international renegade infiltrating a secular Communist bloc. I remember the rush of wrapping my Bible up in T-shirt and burying it deep in my suitcase like I was smuggling a 9mm Beretta through immigration. I was James Bond, if James Bond were a nineteen year-old American Christian who had never kissed a girl and didn’t know what beer tasted like.

So it was a vice-free excursion. No alcohol or nightlife. But that was fine; at that point I didn’t know what I was missing. Lights out at 10:30, after prayer meetings and four-chord worship songs strummed by our team leader. During the day we’d entrap college students by hosting huge ultimate Frisbee games on the quad. The goal was to make friends, invite them to coffee, then slowly sneak in our message during conversation, which we’d direct toward the topics of passions and dreams.I didn’t really bother with any of that. I was happier sticking with the leisurely perks of a summer abroad; tearing into a plate of dumplings on the street and posing in front of pagodas wearing aviators. I didn’t consciously acknowledge it until years later, when I got a little separation from it all, but I was a fraud that whole summer, as I had been from the jump. A wholly insincere Christian, only really enlisting as part of the flock because it was all I knew. Evangelism wasn’t a priority. I just went on the trip to impress girls from church and to compile a Facebook album.

I was less of a human being than I was a wellspring of arrogance, this being courtesy of a stilted worldview and a perception narrowed to the width of a sniper scope. Mine was an untested, unchallenged childhood spent behind a shield. Comfortably inside the middle-class Baptist bubble. I look at American soldiers in Seoul and trust-fund backpackers in the Philippines and many of them regard the planet with same superior smirk that I used to. Seeing each country as some quaint destination that exists for our amusement. Or yet another place populated by natives in need of our ideology.

I was the rebel of the team, because I’d vault the campus fence at midnight and go on six or seven-mile runs through Xi’an. Past the Drum Tower inside the old city wall or through the alleys in the Muslim quarter. Or through the red light district, where the girls carrying trays in dive bars wore shorts that showed their ass cheeks. A new sight, for me. The filth in the underworld was almost impressive: the decades of grime packed into the grooves of the sidewalks, the rolling hills of trash and the grease slicked all over the steel walkways twisting overhead. Old women in shapeless clothes just squatted and shit wherever they happened to be walking.Every run was another spin of the kaleidoscope. Sweaty taxi drivers on break tipping back flasks of baijiu, one of whom casually vomited in his cupholder as I went past, as if this was standard operating procedure. I spent a lot of nights out there, pounding through the city. My curiosity impelled me; I’d come all this way, I wanted to see something real.

And I did. There was the night a guy had his girlfriend pinned in front of a bar with her arm corkscrewed behind her back. He was knocking her head sideways with open-hand slaps as I came around the corner. The other drinkers all sat nearby and sipped. I’d never been in a fight; I don’t even think I’d ever seen someone get hit. He yelled at me to go away and I did. I still think about that moment.

Xi’an in the country’s old capital. Like any Chinese metropolis, it’s the real deal and makes Western cities look adorable. Its towers spawn out into infinity. Some people look at a city like this and regard it with urgency, because they see eight million people who are damned unless they can reach them all. I was wondering who could reasonably expect us to do such a thing.

I got lost in the sprawl some nights and the humidity would force to me to a stop. If you ever slowed down, then groups of kids on canes came up to ask for money. Most of them had been maimed by local bosses or whoever organized the begging racket. There were little girls whose legs had been broken and reset so they healed backward. Slumdog Millionaire schemes. If Jesus loved them, he had a strange way of showing it. On Wednesdays we went to an orphanage and took the disabled kids with swollen heads swimming. They liked to be held weightless on the surface of the water. Doing this made me feel helpless. Against ugliness, against all this cold chaos I kept witnessing. All these vignettes were adding up to something. They put deep cracks in my foundation and forced me to a point of honesty.

It’s been eight years since then and now I drink. Now I don’t believe in Heaven or a guy who decides if you get to go there. Billions still do, but I don’t necessarily begrudge them that. Someone has to go to the orphanage. What has kept surprising me is that, despite all the warnings of the emptiness that tortures the lost souls on the other side of the fence, I’m more fulfilled now.Now I’m back in Asia. There’s a stretch of road near my villa here in Korea that I’ve learned to avoid because it’s a missionary hunting ground. Enter the zone between the golf driving range and that glassy new hospital and you’re straying into the confluence of three churches. Right in the middle of overlapping fields of fire. You can feel the neon crosses tracking you like target reticles. The Christians always dress smartly and they’re quite clever; they’ll stop you to ask for help with “Englishee homework” before quick-drawing a Bible and beckoning you inside the church to hear the “Secret of the Passover.” My fellow expats will relate. Sometimes blond Mormons from Utah will come up and I’ll shoot the shit with them just to enjoy a rare sober conversation with a foreigner. Twice, cars have shuddered to a stop next to me and their drivers have rushed up with leaflets. I empathize with their urgency. They care about my salvation. I guess in a way it’s kind of nice that someone does.


Sweet Pickles & CornSPAC ON FACEBOOK


!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");



Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Date a Man Who Travels

Tue, 2015-04-14 06:19
Date a Man Who Travels

Date a Man who travels

They are easily missed in the bustling, dusting, city centers of the world for they are usually camouflaged in local garb against the backdrop of pedestrians walking enmasse, motorbikes riding, tuk tuks tukking, darting in between the ever stacking egg crates, petting wandering goats and cows. Never confused with the spectacled flash of their boyish traveling counterparts painted with the latest in Koh San Road beer label fashion, found traveling in interchanging wolf packs. With a still eye however you may spot their grinning beards, which finds solace in the chaos of the big smoke. You may notice them alone, fearlessly snaking through the melee of fruit markets in search of that perfect mango breakfast they had had the previous morning, with which they are eager to share with you, and anyone who comes across the shine of their disarming vibe of brotherly love, be it a local, a tout, the aforementioned green traveler, or most of all, with a scentful woman who resides in such dimensions of freedom.

Date a man who travels.

Try not to shy away when he approaches you with an unconventional question, because a man who travels would rather share an experience WITH YOU rather than waste time on names and geographic labels. Try to enjoy the exchange before you dismiss him, it maybe the breath of fresh air you didn’t realize was needed, exhaling societal complexities and toxins. Try your hand at his queer witty banter, the exchange could spring you right back into things. And once you both have settled into the liberating free breathing realm of presence, and find yourselves flying off into a joyous sunset of random convos, the humdrum topics ranging from cities of birth to favorite family guy lines will come about on their own, and will actually be interesting.

Date a Man who travels

When you see him having his ritualistic coffee in the calm of morning whilst reading his book of topics eastern, join him. It is your turn to approach and allow his boyish center to reveal itself. Join him in the silent peace of a traveler’s morning, which alone can be a bonding moment. Further cemented by eating the piece of waffle he’s offered you hot from his plate. Do not be suspicious of his brotherly ways for they are most likely authentic. He has a big heart and it bleeds for true human communion beyond the Freudian motives that so often arm us. Most likely he’s already willing to do so much for you lady, much less share some “maple soaked sweet bread?” Surrender the rest of your day to the travel gods cause most likely he wants to spend it with you, and probably has a loose plan of action, at best. Join him and foster his magic, for a traveling man always carries with him at least a little bit, but needs the catalyst of a free woman’s trusting smile to work. So push him on that two day kayak trek down the Mekong offered by that smiling dready around the corner, charm his magic into action, and no doubt that river trek or city walk or museum visit or what have you will extend on and on.

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Expat, Immigrant, or None of the Above?

Sat, 2015-04-11 06:26
Expat, Immigrant, or None of the Above?

What do you call someone who moves abroad for “a year or two” and never goes home?

By John Bocskay


An anonymous wag once observed that a farmer who has sex with a sheep is a pervert, but an aristocrat who does the same thing is an “eccentric”. I’ve always loved this joke for the humorous (if slightly crass) way it bares a fundamental truth: social class and privilege profoundly affect our perceptions of people, and these biases are reflected in the language we use to describe them.

A case in point is the recent flurry of pieces discussing whether we who live overseas are more appropriately labeled immigrants, expats, or something else.

Some have argued that factors like social class, economic status, and country of origin are the more relevant determinants of who gets to be an “expat” and who gets saddled with a less glamorous label. Mawuna Remarque Koutonin, editor of SiliconAfrica.com, has argued that the words ‘expat’ and ‘immigrant’ are primarily racial distinctions. Writing for The Guardian, Mr. Koutonin notes that “expat” is an example of a “hierarchical” word “created with the purpose of putting white people above everyone else.”

Hemingway in his Paris apartment

When it first appeared in English as a noun in the early 19th century, expatriate referred to a person who has been banished from his country (it comes to us via the French verb expatrier, meaning “to banish”). In its current usage, it more often refers to people who have chosen to live abroad, but it still carries the old sense of exile, whether voluntary and romantic (think Hemingway)  or involuntary and sad. Expatriate still has negative connotations among stateside Americans (some of whom mistakenly parse it as “ex-patriot” and draw the inevitable conclusion) because as any avid reader of American bumper stickers well knows, you can “love it or leave it” but apparently can’t do both.

While a word derived from Latin “ex” (outside) and “patria” (fatherland) should ostensibly apply to anyone who resides abroad, Koutonin claims that “that is not the case in reality; expat is a term reserved exclusively for western white people going to work abroad.”

I can’t speak to the truth of this in Europe, though I think right away of James Baldwin and Richard Wright, celebrated African-American writers whose “expatriate” label has never been challenged. Whatever the case, it doesn’t completely square

James Baldwin

with the situation here in Korea, where “expat” is the general term that white-collar professionals use to describe themselves, regardless of color.

This is not to say that people of color don’t experience discrimination in Korea – they do, and it’s unfortunately not very hard to find recent examples of that – but merely to suggest that the “expat or immigrant” question, at least in Korea, is moot. Foreigners here are free to call themselves whatever they please, but the Korean language lumps us all under the term waegukin (literally, “outside country people”), which, as far as Korea is concerned, is the most salient fact about us: we’re all from somewhere else.

Koutonin’s call to deconstruct these terms is well-taken, but it’s hard to get on board with his remedy. Rather than extend the “expat” label to anyone residing overseas regardless of race, color, or class – a suggestion which would have the virtue of being both egalitarian and linguistically precise – he encourages readers to “deny [white expats] these privileges” and to “call them immigrants like everyone else.”

It’s not clear exactly what type of ‘expats’ he’s referring to but it’s important to recall that immigrant means (from Merriam Webster) “a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence.” Expats then are a free-wheeling, mobile bunch, while the immigrant plants his stake and settles in for the long haul.

“Immigrant” also raises the question of intention. I’ve talked to a lot of Western expats over the years about why they came to Korea, and I have yet to meet even one who has said, Yeah, you know, I figured I’d go to Korea and spend the next forty years there. I mean, why not?

I have however met many expats who have no plans to return to their home country, and to be fair to Mr. Koutonin, a lot of us do end up not going back. One more year leads to one more year until you reach a point where you understand that the effort required to pick up start over far exceeds the effort required to stay where you are. For better or worse, this has become your life.

A substitute teacher lives the dream

Many expats will say that they remain open to the hypothetical cushy job that could lure them back (but which never comes looking for them); others give repatriation a go and come scurrying back when they get tired of substitute teaching or suburban monotony; still others stick it out in Asia and resign themselves to being blown in the winds of a global economy that requires more of us to migrate to where the jobs are and doesn’t always enable us to end up back where we started. To the extent that it is predicated on choice, calling oneself an “expat” may turn out to be a privilege after all, and the uncomfortable truth is that after so many years abroad the path leading back to the West for some of us is radically narrowed or effectively closed.

Does this then make me an immigrant, if only with the benefit of hindsight? Or can I claim to be an expat as long as I occasionally entertain idle thoughts of moving on? Other phrases like ‘international migrant’ and ‘global nomad’ strive to capture both this uncertainty and the willingness (or necessity) to flee to more promising shores.

As I quietly figure out where my life is headed or not headed, I find myself not concerned with labeling that experience. I realize that this stance may itself be another form of privilege – that of not caring – but it’s also part attitude, which may best be summed up by paraphrasing another old joke:

Call me an expat or call me an immigrant; just don’t call me late for dinner.


* Are you an expat? An immigrant? Late for dinner? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

**This piece originally appeared in Haps Magazine

Sweet Pickles & CornSPAC ON FACEBOOK


!function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src=p+"://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");



Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

On being a totally unqualified private ESL tutor

Sat, 2015-04-11 03:00
On being a totally unqualified private ESL tutor

This past winter, I quit the fifth and last job I would have in 2014. It was a waitress gig at the local contemporary American restaurant. My boss was a bipolar alcoholic. That, combined with his penchant for playfully slapping my ass was enough for me to say good bye and fuck you very much to the restaurant industry.

Here’s a clip of my boss asking me if I wanted to see his cock (yump, I sneakily voice-memoed at work sometimes):



Quitting that job, just like quitting the four before it, felt kind of great and kind of terrible. On the one hand, I got to leave a less-than-ideal situation. But on the other, I was frustrated at myself for propagating what seemed like a never-ending cycle of irrelevant work experiences (dishwasher, tech support representative, real estate admin assistant, barista, waitress).  I promised myself that in 2015, I would do things differently.




Now it’s April and I’ve been tutoring three ESL students for two months. All three are middle-aged Japanese businessmen and, even though it’s only been two months I feel somewhat attached to my tutees and will be sad to say goodbye to them come May. I’m lucky to have gotten this new job that’s way more relevant to my life than bussing tables and getting that extra cup of ranch.

But even so, I’m still unhappy with my work and I hope you do not perceive me as an entitled brat because of it! The point of this post isn’t to complain. Instead, I am writing it to share the experiences of a post-grad somewhat aimlessly bouncing around this shitty job market. If you’ve ever been curious about responding to one of those ESL-tutor needed craigslist ads, this post is meant for you.

Here are four reasons being a private ESL tutor kinda sucked for me:

  • I am totally unqualified to be a private ESL tutor.
    • I was hired for the job because I have an English degree. But that doesn’t mean I know anything about explaining how the English language works. Sure, I intuitively know what’s right and what’s wrong when it comes to grammar. But I’m clueless when it comes to describing the difference between “during” and “for” when talking about time. I don’t have prepared worksheets or lessons for the sessions; I have been making it up as I go. My tutees have told me they enjoy the lessons and look forward to them, but how much am I really helping them?
  • I have little faith in adult ESL education. 
    • Of course, I support learning at any age. But I don’t think it’s realistic for a man who works 40-60 hours a week (hardly using any English) to devote extra time to studying a second language. After the age of seven, the critical learning period for second languages is over. Then, people have to rely on declarative learning (such as rote memorization or repeated drills). The older you get, the harder it gets. I’m not saying they shouldn’t try. I’m saying it’s just going to take a lot of energy that they might not have, given their packed schedules. Their companies mandate weekly ESL lessons and it all seems like a formality to me. None have the time or the energy to take learning English at their age seriously.
  • I am unsure of the tutor-tutee power dynamics.
    • One of my tutees told me today that he wants me to push him to study, and he wants me to be tell him explicitly when he’s doing a bad job and when he needs to try harder. But how can I tell someone so busy to study? And how can I tell someone older than me what to do? I don’t know too much about Japanese culture, but I think that in general they respect the position of teacher more than Americans. He expects me to take ownership of that authority but I see him as of a higher status and am extremely uncomfortable taking charge.
  • I don’t trust getting close to (older) men.
    • One of my tutees is always really sweet and funny. Sometimes he gives me chocolates or soap. We have a good time having casual conversations and grammar lessons during our sessions. He told me I remind him of his daughter, and when I told him I was moving to Korea, he asked me to continue skyping ESL lessons with him once a week for the whole year and wanted to pay me in advance (almost $1000).  This smells a bit fishy to me but I could just be being over-sensitive. Either way, I said no and ever since then, things have been a bit awkward between us.



Overall, I haven’t enjoyed this awkward craigslist ESL tutoring job. I hope my experience teaching in Korea will give me a foundation to build on!

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Some Regional Honesty on the 70th Anniversary of the End of Pacific War? Not a Chance

Fri, 2015-04-10 04:19
Some Regional Honesty on the 70th Anniversary of the End of Pacific Wa




There will be loads of retrospectives this year. But rather than write yet another ‘what are the lessons of WWII?’ piece, thought I would write about how current Asian politics is still framed so much by the war. Particularly, I thought it would be useful to point out in all honesty how some of region’s elites actually came to power on the back of the war – even though they’d never, ever admit that. Specifically, Chiang Kai-Shek would have crushed Mao if he hadn’t had to fight the Japanese instead, and the (North) Korean Worker’s Party would never have come to power without the Red Army ‘liberation’ that was legitimized by Japanese occupation. Being honest about this stuff is helpful, if uncomfortable.

This piece was originally written for the Lowy Institute. It starts after the jump:



“Seventy years ago this summer, the long project of Japanese imperialism in the Pacific came to an end. In the West this will all be rolled together with the war against German and Italian fascism. For Americans particularly, it is all World War II, and the struggle against Hitler has always taken preeminence in our remembrance of the conflict. But in Asia, the final death struggle between Imperial Japan and its many enemies, most importantly the United States, is better understood as the crushing of a near-century long Japanese imperial project to remake Asia.

Although it is popular now to read WWII as a global war, I think the Asian term, ‘the Pacific War,’ for the regional war against Japan is more accurate. The conflict that culminated with Hiroshima has its direct roots in Japan’s post-Meiji turn toward imperialism with the first Sino-Japanese war (in the 1890s). German and Italian fascism, by contrast, more were clearly products of the interwar period and the rise of Stalin. Japan’s commitment to the Axis was always mixed at best; C.L. Sulzberger and Steven Ambrose spoke of the ‘Axis Gang’ rather than an alliance. The same imperial Japan which opportunistically declared war on Germany in 1914 opportunistically aligned with it in 1940 (first to pick up its Pacific territories, then to hedge the US and USSR). The Axis powers so distrusted one another that the Nazis did not inform the Japanese of the planned invasion of the USSR, nor did the Japanese consult the Germans on Pearl Harbor.

The ‘Pacific War’ puts the regional focus where it belongs – Japan. It was modernized Japan that permanently broke the long-standing Sino-Confucian order of the region (a momentous rupture that needs more research). It was Japan that dragged, often quite violently and unwillingly, much of the region into economic modernization. It was Japan that first absorbed and then spread western ideologies like sovereignty, nationalism, fascism, genetic racism, and capitalism (corporatism is perhaps more accurate) around the region. And it was the defeat of this long-term imperial project that opened the door for Marxism in the region, compelling the US to stay permanently – and, ironically, fight wars such as Korea or Vietnam mostly to protect Japan against forces the empire itself had sought to counter. A rather strange twist of history that…

So rather than trot out another ‘what are the lessons of WWII?’ essay (here is the best one I’ve read so far), I thought instead to capture what local leaders might say in all honestly about the what became a region-wide, anti-Japanese war:

Japan: “We started the war, and it was a blatant imperial effort to dominate the region. There, I said it! Yes, I know you and the whole world know that already, but my right-wing coalition back home doesn’t. (Actually, they do. They just don’t want to admit.) I would roll-out our old-time excuses that we were just doing what the Brits and French were doing in Africa, or that we were liberating Asians from the whites, or that the Americans forced the war on us, but our extraordinary, Nazi-like brutality in China and cultural eliminationism in Korea are still inexplicable by any of those excuses. Maybe the best I can come up with is that we were blocking the spread of Marxism in the region, but then we also did more than Stalin or Ho or anyone else to help Asian communism by crippling Chiang Kai-Shek against Mao. *Sigh* Ok. I really got nothing left. It’s our fault, and we really should alter our history instruction and at least put up a few museums on the carnage we left behind. But at least we fought the war really foolishly; our general staff actually thought we could simultaneously fight China, the British Empire, and the US and win…”

China: “Thank god for the Japanese invasion, or the Great Helmsman never would have survived the 1930s. Ok, since we’re being honest, Mao really wasn’t so great, but the point is that our party probably would have lost the civil war to the Nationalists if Chiang hadn’t had to spend most of his resources turning eastern China into a quagmire for the Imperial army. And Chiang did a pretty great job of that too, a point I will be sure to never, ever admit to Chinese history students. If the Japanese army hadn’t bogged down so badly in eastern China, then the Japanese strike into southeast Asia, which chain-ganged in the Brits and Americans, wouldn’t have been necessary. I am happy to say that Mao did the least he could in all this, back-biting and infighting with Chiang while using him as a shield against the Japanese. Nor will I ever admit that Mao is responsible for far more Chinese deaths than the Japanese ever were. I’ll just be sure to bang the Diaoyu drum whenever this sorta stuff come up.”

South Korea: “The war is a huge embarrassment. While the Chinese, Americans, and even the Filipinos got to fight, we were torn between ineffectual partisans and collaborationism. So many collaborators in fact, that our country is still turned upside down by this issue a hundred years later. We’ve had book publishing wars explicitly naming names of whom worked with whom. The dictator president who put us on the map was a collaborator too, and we even ripped off our economic model from the Japanese. All this is pretty hard to stomach, so we’ve therapeutically fashioned our political identity in part as the anti-Japan.”

North Korea: “We’re far more indebted than we’ll ever admit. Without the Japanese annexation and the subsequent Soviet ‘liberation,’ Kim Il Sung might have wound up a Presbyterian preacher. There wasn’t anything close to majority support for a communist takeover in Korea, and most of what we say about Kim Il-Sung’s anti-Japanese heroics at Mt. Paektu is completely made-up. Japanese colonialism also happily provided us with a legitimating ideology, even though our own despotism has lasted twice as long and is far more brutal. We even pulled our racist, semi-fascist, barracks-state, god-king political structure, which is neither Marxist nor Korean in precedent, from imperial Japan. But we admit nothing.””

Filed under: Asia, Domestic Politics, History

Robert E Kelly
Assistant Professor
Department of Political Science & Diplomacy
Pusan National University


About Me

About this Blog



Terms and Abbreviations

What I am Reading Now



Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

The Seven Levels of Korean Aegyo

Thu, 2015-04-09 13:16
The Seven Levels of Korean Aegyo

Korean Aegyo (애교) is basically when somebody acts in a cute or childish way, despite not being a young child themselves. This can take many forms, from how people speak and act, to how they dress or decorate their room. The reason for acting cute is to try and flirt with or impress somebody, or to get something that you want. If you are impressed by somebody’s aegyo, then you can say ‘gyiyowoyo (귀여워요)’ which means ‘cute’ in Korean (dictionary form: 귀엽다).

She thinks Korean aegyo is 귀여워요

Korean Aegyo is generally performed by women although some more feminine guys might use it too from time to time. If a regular guy uses this then you may feel uncomfortable and get daksal (닭살) which means ‘goosebumps’ and is used in Korean when somebody is weirding you out. Of course, most people don’t use it in an extreme way, and quite a lot of people really hate it. The more ridiculous examples of aegyo can often be found in Korean dramas or on comedy shows. Those examples are very different from how people might use it in real life, just as Korean dramas themselves aren’t a particularly accurate portrayal of Korea (otherwise we would all be living in the one authentic hanok available to rent in the whole of Seoul or one room apartment overlooking the Doota shopping mall, but dating a chaebol heir/heiress with a secret past and whose evil mother hates us).

The word Aegyo is often used with the word bulida (부리다) to make aegyo bulida (애교 부리다). This means ‘to act in an aegyo way’. There are different levels of aegyo, with some things being used by lots of people and generally accepted as reasonable behavior in public. Take a look at the seven levels below and let us know which levels you think are appropriate to use on a date, and which levels should be left to Korean dramas and gag shows.

Level One Aegyo

Stretching the final vowel of a word

If a word ends in a vowel, then this vowel can be stretched to sound cuter (or whiny depending on your perspective, this guy in particular hates it [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DMCnEpeyTS0]). The word ‘oppa (오빠)’ is a good example of this. (For those not familiar with ‘oppa’, it literally means ‘older brother’ is used by girls to refer to a guy who is a little bit older than them). As lots of guys like being called ‘oppa’, saying this word in a cute manner has more effect than other words might (sorry guys, I don’t think saying ‘noona (누나)’ in this way will have quite the same effect).

Level Two Aegyo

Extra ‘ㅁ’s and ‘ㅇ’s

In English it is very hard to show some features of the language, such as sarcasm, when sending a text message or email. In Korea, if you want to express your aegyo in a text message, then rather than adding umpteen extra vowels and wavy line symbols at the end of every word that ends in a vowel, people add the letters ‘m’ or ‘ng’, for example ‘oppang (오빵)’, ‘baegopang (배 고팡)’ etc. This can drive you mad if you are using a dictionary to translate somebody’s text messages. The ‘yo (요)’ at the end of many Korean sentences is also often written as ‘yong (용)’ when people are using this sort of aegyo. Texting in this manner is not uncommon, but some people take it a step further, adding these extra consonants (자음) when speaking.

Level Three Aegyo

Using basic hand gestures

This is when someone uses their hands to make cute symbols like a heart or ‘v’ sign (The Korean ‘V’, not the English ‘V’) in situations outside of having their photograph taken (where even ajjoshis (older Korean men) can be seen making the ‘V’ sign on occasions). The hands can also be used to accentuate the face by creating mock dimples or a ‘V’ shaped chin. Watch the hand gestures in ‘Gee’  if you want to learn some new aegyo hand gestures. Pouting is also included in this level of Korean Aegyo.

Level Four Aegyo

Wearing Lotteworld hairbands outside of Lotteworld

Everybody in Korea knows Lotteworld, the indoor amusement park near Jamsil Station that is open all year round. Many people have dates there and a very popular item on sale there are animal ear hairbands. They look cute and you will see lots of people wearing these around Lotteworld. Whilst wearing these inside Lotteworld is of course aegyo too, it is a generally accepted thing to do, after all, you are in a world with fairies and pirates so why not wear leopard print (호피무늬) cat’s ears? Wearing these in public is not a common thing to do however.

Level Five Aegyo

Full on body movement

Similar to level three, but with the whole body being used, including foot stomps and noises to go with the gestures. By this stage, we are definitely entering TV drama territory, and some readers may wish to tell whoever they are with to stop acting in this way. One way of doing that is to use the verb ‘척하다’ which is similar to ‘pretend’ i.e. gwiyowoon chokhada (귀여운 척하다) – to pretend to be cute; or yeppun chokhada (예쁜 척하다), to pretend to be pretty. If someone’s aegyo is getting on your nerves, then you might want to say ‘kwiyowoon chokhaji maseyo (귀여운 척하지 마세요)’ (stop pretending to be cute).

Level Six Aegyo

Bbuing Bbuing (뿌잉 뿌잉)

Although this is a hand gesture, it is so closely associated with Korean aegyo, and especially the more ridiculous aegyo that you see on Korean gag shows, that it needs its own level. There are several long running jokes on Korean comedy shows which involve very un-cute actors doing the ‘bbuing bbuing’.

Level Seven Aegyo

Choosing to sing this song in a noraebang

This song pretty much sums up Korean aegyo. Watch this video to see some more hand gestures associated with aegyo.

VIEWER WARNING: this song will get stuck in your head so if you really don’t like aegyo, don’t watch this video!


Of course most people don’t use a lot of these later examples seriously except for on TV or in dramas, but the first few levels are used quite regularly. Which level of Aegyo would you use with your partner, and which levels do you think are unacceptable in public?

Learn to read Korean and be having simple conversations, taking taxis and ordering in Korean within a week with our FREE Hangeul Hacks series: http://www.90DayKorean.com/learn

Korean lessons   *  Korean Phrases    *    Korean Vocabulary *   Learn Korean   *    Learn Korean alphabet   *   Learn Korean fast   *  Motivation    *   Study Korean  Please share, help Korean spread! 



Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Controversial 'Mira Story' to be screened in Busan April 22

Fri, 2015-04-03 13:02
Controversial 'Mira Story' to be screened in Busan April 22

This month Busan has a very special event on the evening of Wednesday the 22nd, and you guys should know about it.

Korean director Chul Heo (Ari Ari the Korean Cinema) and actress Mira Choi will be screening his newest independent film, “Mira’s Story.” (There will be English subtitles)

Chul Heo is known for touching on controversial Korean issues in his films, and this one is certainly no exception.

The Korean government was not happy when Oliver Stone paid a visit to the Korean Film Critic Yang Yoon Mo, who was a political prisoner being held on Jeju island. Professor Yang served an 18 month sentence for protesting the construction of a deep water Naval base in Gang Jeong village on the island of Jeju.

This film, “Mira Story,” has received similar resistance since its release in January 2015, in part because the opening scene involves the Sewol Ferry- the most controversial issue in Korea- and ends at Gang Jeong village, where for eight years the naval base construction site has been a center of protest.

In addition to the possibility that this may be your only chance to see the film, Chul has included some songs from our very own Busan expats Gino Brann and Violet Lea.

 You definitely don’t want to miss this unique and touching film which has been funded solely from artists’ talent donation and crowd-funding. Pencil it in and come support an independent art film for a great cause. More details below.


“Mira Story” follows the lives of individuals who have been suppressed by government policy and is told through the eyes of Mira--jobless and lost--who sees an opportunity for change and healing by bringing thousands of books to a village in Jeju.

Mira (Played by Mira Choi) meets various people on her journey and they bond through their similar intentions, frustrations, and motivation to set sail with these books. Talking with them lifts her spirits as she tries to forget the things that have bogged her down--the standard measure of success.

Mira’s trip to Jeju is an eye-opening experience for her as she witnesses the conflict between the villagers and the police and the harsh reality of the struggles people have been going through for the past seven years. She marvels at the stark contrast in the beauty of the island and the damage that is being done by the construction of the naval base. Her emotions cycle between doubt, fear, anxiety, and hope as she makes her way around the island and views the difficulty with her own eyes.


국도에술관 (Gukdo Art Cinema) http://cafe.naver.com/gukdo/
Daeyeon subway (Line 2) exit 5, walk straight and make your first right. 10-15 minute walk to the theatre. (Map included)

ADMISSION: Adults 9,000W Students: 7,000W

TIME: 7:40-10pm (1 hour Q&A/ live performance at the end)

MOVIE TRAILER: http://youtu.be/C76lFN6y55o

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Working it Out Abroad

Wed, 2015-04-01 02:47
Working it Out Abroad

Britney said it best: "You want a hot body?...You better work, b*tch".  I had gained about 30 stubborn pounds in Toronto over the course of my 3 years since leaving Vancouver.  I had a trainer, I would diet, but nothing seemed to work.  I've kind of come to the conclusion that I'm getting into those twilight years of my twenties where rather than losing weight I'm just working out to avoid the inevitable gain my body so desperately wants to waddle into.

Enter Eco-Gym (formerly Bill's?).  This small gym in Hwamyeong-dong, Busan has just what I need to keep my cardio and weight-lifting up, and not much more.  There are several treadmills, a handful of stationary bikes, a lat-pulldown, a leg press, some other weight machines I don't tend to use, a couple of squat racks (that the locals use for deadlifts, curls, and un-weighted squats, which makes me want to scream).  There's a plethora of free weights which I love, as Mark Sparks (my conditioning specialist at Cardio-Go in Toronto) ensured that my last few sessions focused on workouts I could do with limited equipment.  My only complaint (well, more confusion) is that most of the weights are in kilograms rather than pounds.  I'm pretty good at converting the weight in my head, but they still feel way heavier than back at home.

The gym itself was really cost effective: 100,000 KRW for 3 months of use.  This also includes use of their workout clothes, however I have yet to take advantage of that offer.  Most of my workouts usually involve a walking on the treadmill as a warm up for a couple of minutes then HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).  I follow that up with abs and weights for the next 30-40 minutes focusing on different combinations (depending on the day, of course) of arms, shoulders, chest, abs, legs, and of course - the booty.  So far I've made it to the gym 4-5 times a week since joining 3 weeks ago and am feeling pretty good about it!  I've also stopped eating rice throughout the week, which should definitely help.  

If you're in the Yangsan - Deokcheon area this is a great deal.  Some of my Korean friends/ colleagues are even considering joining so that we can all go together, which is pretty sweet!  They offer Personal Training as well (I found that out the hard way when one of the "English-speaking" Members - ie. someone who knows how to say Hello and talk about the weather a bit) told me I could use that area no problem and then I found out that I had been interrupting a personal training session - whoops.

On my walk home I pass this magnificent organic grocery store and bakery.  I don't dare step in - the bagel and cream cheese just looks far too good, as well as a Love Motel with a slogan telling me to live out my dreams. 

Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Apartment hunting in Korea

Mon, 2015-03-30 02:01
Apartment hunting in Korea

I recently went through the harrowing experience of finding a new apartment in Busan, Korea. Finding a new apartment anywhere is stressful, but things felt even more unstable with the language barrier and culture differences. I wanted to share some quick thoughts in hopes that this would help someone else.

Koreans tend to live by a “bali-bali” (fast-fast) lifestyle, and apartment hunting is no exception. Start searching for an apartment 2-4 weeks before you need to move. It is very common to look an apartment and transfer money (the initial deposit) on the same day. 

First, figure out your ideal move-in date (입주일), location/neighborhood (위치/지역), key money deposit range (보증금 범위), monthly rent range (월세 금액 범위), contract period (계약기간) for one or two years, and desired housing type -Studio, 1 bedroom, 2 bedroom (주거 형태 - 원룸, 방 1 개, 방 2 개). Keep in mind that a Korean studio has the kitchen and bedroom in one room, while a 1 bedroom has the kitchen and bedroom separate. A 2 bedroom is what Americans would refer to as an actual 1 bedroom. It seems that Koreans refer to each room as a “bedroom,” including what Americans think of as merely a living room.

I recommend checking the Koreabridge housing classifieds직방다방, and 부동산 (real estate offices). The classifieds are in English, but the selection is limited. The phone apps for those two sites are only in Korean, but relatively intuitive. You can send text messages to individual realtors as their numbers are listed on each listing. Then, arrange to meet up to see the apartments. Different real estate offices/agents have different properties. I recommend walking into as many as you can and just telling them what you’re looking for. They’ll arrange a few apartments for you to view.

When viewing an apartment, make sure to ask how much it is (얼마예요?) in regards to deposit, monthly rent, building fee (관리비), and options/furnishings - washing machine, stove, A/C, refrigerator (어떤 옵션 - 세탁기, 가스레인지, 에어컨, 냉장고). If utilities aren’t included in the cost of the rent, they usually don’t know the price of them, but it doesn’t hurt to ask [i.e. gas (가스비), electricity (전기비), and internet (인터넷비)].

The key money deposits for monthly rent housing contracts usually start at 3,000,000 won and go up from there. A larger key money deposit will lower your monthly rent. Typically, if you are looking for a bigger apartment, such as a 2 bedroom, you will need at least a 10,000,000 won deposit. Ideally, you will get your entire deposit (aka “key money) back after you move out, subtracting any unpaid utility bills, cleaning fee, and repairs for damages you’ve made.

Once you’re looking at apartments, you’ll find that it is a very quick process. Realtors will encourage you to transfer a 10% deposit ASAP. I have viewed apartments with other apartment-hunters and seen that whomever transfers the deposit first gets the apartment. So, when you finally do decide what apartment you want ask your realtor what their commission fee (중개수수료) is. It should be a percentage of your deposit and monthly rent. It’s kind of complicated and honestly over my head. I just keep asking for a discount (”깎아 주세요”) until it is 300,000 won or less. I believe they are not allowed to ask for a certain amount, legally, but they don’t seem to be afraid of any consequences for breaking the law; the penalty must not be very serious.

Before signing papers for the apartment, be sure to see a copy of how the structure is legally registered (등기부등본) to check whether the owner has any serious debts (집주인의 대출관계).

If you live in Busan, I have three suggestions for movers, listed from most expensive to least: (1) Ho Bohm Hyang 010-9732-2424 Doesn’t speak any English; professional mover with lots of help, (2) 010-5912-6212 Speaks limited English; just one guy with a bongo truck so you’ll have to help him if you have a lot of items, (3) Midan 010-3379-6339 Speaks perfect English; drives a yellow van taxi so moves smaller items and you should move them yourself. They are all really kind and very reasonably priced! Pay in cash only and be immensely grateful. They are some of the kindest people I’ve ever met and have helped me and my friends move all over Busan.

After you move, make sure to change the address on your ARC within 14 days to avoid any fee penalties. You can go to the immigration office to do this, but the easier and faster option is to go to your local gu (neighborhood) office. Try searching for the closest “구청.”

Also, register your lease to protect your key money deposit! It costs less than a dollar and only takes a few minutes to complete. To register your lease you will need to go to your local community center (주민센터) and ask for a “확정일자.” This is an official record of the deposit money you have put down, and establishes your priority for getting your money back should the property go to public auction.

Each neighborhood, or dong (동), has at least a few centers, but you can only register at the center that covers your residence’s location, so you may have to do a bit of walking. 

Once at the right location, you will need to fill out a remarkably short and simple application (in Korean) asking you for your name and address. You will also need to have a copy of your lease and your alien registration card. The process takes about ten minutes and mostly involves the clerk helping you punch data into a computer.

About the girl

Hi, I'm Stacy. I am from Portland, Oregon, USA, and am currently living and teaching ESL in Busan, South Korea. Busy getting into lots of adventures, challenging myself, and loving people. Something more than an ethereal will-o-wisp.

Thank you so much for visiting and reading.

Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, LastfmFlickr, and FacebookAsk me anything


Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed

Ye & Partners Law Firm

Sun, 2015-03-29 21:27

About Ye & Partners

YE & Partners is a full-service international law firm founded in the summer of 2012.

Ye & Partners is a group of responsive attorneys and professionals with the backgrounds, expertise and industry experience to advice on a wide variety of legal matters. Attorneys in Ye&Partners comprise the leading talent in their practice areas. They provide attentive and client-oriented service, an understanding of each client’s needs.

From our experience in the legal area, we’ve discovered that many foreigners living in Korea fail to protect their own rights due to inadequate legal counsel. We’ve met tons of accident victims who totally have no idea where to begin the process to recovery. We’ve met many employees who have accepted their unfair treatment in workplace without ever taking any kind of legal action.

All such suffering could have been avoided had they had their chance in court. This is why we decided to offer legal services to those people.

Actually, this is not about us, it’s about you. Your success is the only meaningful measures of our success.



  • General Civil Litigation
  • Family Litigation
  • Real Estate
  • Compensation
  • Corporate Governance
  • Employment & Labor


  • Corporate Governance

  • Employment & Labor

  • M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions)

  • Antitrust Litigation

Intellectual Property

  • Patent & Trademark

  • Copyright

  • Trade Secret

  • Entertainment


  • Administrative Disputes


  • Criminal


Dean. F 
Thanks so much for your reply. It is nice to have like you who will help and give free advice to your people especially for foreigners like me here in Korea. Thank you again

Hi Jin! Thank you for your prompt reply. Your answer was so clear and helpful to me. I hope we meet soon.  Thanks again!

Even though I do not live in Korea, this legal consultation service was very helpful. I was so glad she was fluent at English too. Thank you!!

Julia Um - 
I greatly appreciated the affordable price!!!!

Mike Kim - I was very happy with the service I received from Ye&Partners. From meetings to courtroom proceedings I felt that I was very well represented throughout my legal situation. I was explained everything that I did not understand throughout the ordeal

Maria Oh - 
Being represented by Ye&Partners reduced my concern about the issue while I went to school. I would most definitely recommend Michelle Chang to anybody seeking legal advice/representation

The attorney I spoke to gave me all the information I needed for my case plus extra helpful info


All information will be kept in strict confidence.

  1. Send the details of your inqiry.
    1. contact form 
    2. email : ksk@yeyul.com ( click here )
    3. phone : (+82) 02-2135-5251
    4. Fax : (+82) 02-598-5554

We will send a reply mail or call back as soon as possible.

Ye & Partners Law Firm
Categories: Worldbridges Megafeed


Main menu 2

by Dr. Radut