So you're accepting a job halfway around the world in a country you know nothing about. There is no way to be sure you're making the right choice. All you can do is ask a few questions and then jump. Lucky for me, the outgoing teacher is wonderfully helpful:
Below are my answers to your questions and also, I will give you some helpful advise how to pack your belongings:
What is the address of the apartment so that I can send a few things before I leave?
In your best interest, it is wise to have boxes shipped to the hagwon rather at the apartment due to the fact nobody will be available signing for receiving your boxes.
How far is the apartment from the school?
It is about four miles away from school or if you are walking slowly to the apartment from the hagwon, it will take you about 30-45 minutes.
Taking the bus is simple: Walk diagonally across the street from Dongin Officetel and take the following buses-pay 1,000 Won . . . 1-1, 7-1, 9-1.
Make certain you tell the Bus Driver: "Ma la yo Sokcho! Good Morning Mart, ka ju say yo. Kam sa ham ni da!"
****Taking the #88 Bus (1,000 Won) will drop you off on the side of the hagwon building! Please tell the Bus Driver: "Cho nuen Wonderland Hagwon Yong-o Song sa nim im nida-Joyang-dong ka ju say yo . . . Cho gee (point towards the mountains)"; When leaving the bus: "Kam sa ham ni da! An nee hee key say yo!
Is there a gym, sauna or bathhouse near the apartment?
There is a sauna bath downstairs located on B-1 at the Dongin Resort Officetel Apartments. The sauna is located next door to 7-11 Store (yes . . . the same 7-11 Store in USA!).
Cheoksan Spa(show your E-2 Visa Card and pay 4,500 or don't show your ID Card and pay 7,000 Won/WaterPia-28,000 to 40,000 Won for entire day:
Take the 3-1 Bus (1,000 Won) right by the Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal. Tell the Bus Driver: "Cheoksan Spa or WaterPia, ka ju say yo."
How far is grocery shopping from the apartment?
7-11 Store is downstairs as stated in your question located above.
There are three main grocery stores in Sokcho:
- E-Mart (Wal-Mart of the Far East): Take the 1-1/7-1/9-1 Buses to E-Mart (Say to Bus Driver: "Cho why yo E-Mart, ka ju say o." When leaving the bus: "Kam sa ham ni da! Ani yo hee key say o!"
- Good Morning Mart in Joyang-Dong is located 1 1/4 miles BEFORE E-Mart, so please take the same buses to Good Morning Mart from Dongin Officetel and you may also take #88 Bus) down the street from the hagwon.
- Hanaro Market by Expo Tower (take the same buses as stated above, but get off the bus at the Sokcho Fire Station and cross the street.
Upon comfortably settling down in Sokcho, I highly recommend you sign up for the each store's point discount card. You will save a lot of money by signing up for the point card. You must have your E-2 Visa Alien Registration Card when signing up for any discount store card.
What's been your favorite part of living in Sokcho?
I like Daepo Harbor for buying fresh seafood caught minutes before buying my seafood! If I don't have time going to Daepo Harbor, I go to E-Mart afterwards and buy day-old seafood-it's ok (I haven't gotten sick from eating the seafood at E-Mart) because E-Mart will sell a BIG plate of sushi for about $4.50!!! What a STEAL!
Mt. Soraksan/Ulsanbawi Rock/Waterfalls trails (7-1/7 Bus . . . 1,000 Won=$1.00 USD (no USA currency is accepted as payment for buses)
Osaek Hot Springs (4,500 Won one way; go to Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal>1/2 block from Dongin Officetel. Tell the lady cashier at the Bus Terminal:
"Cho why yo Osaek, ka ju say yo, chigum."
Walking by the lake located on the left side down the street from Dongin Officetel.
The beaches are only four blocks away from the Dongin Officetel Apartments.
The Sokcho Intercity Bus Terminal by Dongin Officetel will take you to Dong Seoul Bus Terminal in Seoul for 16,100 Won. Tell the cashier lady:
"An nee ha say yo. Cho why yo ha na Dong Seoul, ka ju say yo. Kam sa ham ni da!" The bus departing gate should be Gate 1.
Do they provide lesson plans or will I be creating my own?
You must make your own lesson plan, but you must go by the textbook you currently using. I am at the tail end of using the current textbook given by Lee Won Seob (Wos san neem-that's what I call Mr. Lee).
In addition, you must submit a lesson plan for Activity Day for the Kindergarten Students once a month which is the LAST Friday of each month.
Also, Mr. Lee told me to tell you to make a report card for Elementary students on a quarterly system rather than a semester system. The Kindergarten class will remain as status quo-submitting a report card per student once a month due on the 20th of each month.
What ages have you been working with?
I have worked with students-ages 3 through 17 years old.
How many students are in the classes?
Classes start at 10:10 AM until 7:20 PM M-F. I have a schedule posted in the Dinosaur Classroom. The class schedule operates as week one and week two. When you see the schedule, you will understand how the classes operate day-by-day.
Bunny Class-3 Students
Puppy Class-8 Students
Kitten Class-10 Students
Blue Planet-4 Students
Phonics Mentor Joy 3-11 students
Bricks Yellow-1 Student
English Grammar-2 Students
Phonics Mentor Joy 3-4 Students
Bricks Yellow-2 Students
Bricks Blue-2 Students
How much additional time past the 30hrs does this particular Hagwon requires?
I have never worked overtime, so I cannot answer your question.
Tell me a bit about the rest of the staff.
Mr. Lee's wife, Teacher Sabrina is the head Korean Teacher at the hagwon. Teacher Hart is the Korean/English Teacher. You are the only English Teacher at the hagwon.
WHAT YOU MUST PACK INTO YOUR SUITCASE:
Now-I must tell you what to bring!
Bring one pair of indoor street shoes NEVER worn outside! These shoes are the shoes you will wear upon entering the hagwon's entrance. You cannot wear outside street shoes inside while working in the hagwon!
BRING one pair of UGG type slippers for the winter and one pair of thong type sandals for the summer while walking around inside Dongin Officetel Apartment!
Bring at least 12 USA made toothbrushes and at least 6 tubes of USA toothpaste! You will LOATHE using the Korean toothbrushes and toothpaste (YUKKO!)-they wear out quickly and tastes terrible!
Bring one electric blanket BECAUSE the apartment gets FREEZ-ZING-LY, BITTERLY COLD IN THE WINTER! There is an upright, free standing heater and a floor heater, but they do not emit much heat where you want it.
Bring TWO bath towels, one hand towel, and one wash cloth for your shower. The shower is the size of a water heater closet! So, I hope you are not claustrophobic!
Bring clothes for FOUR SEASONS. The spring is very BRISK. The summers are sweltering, sizzling hot, autumn is more brisk than spring-rains cats and dogs/wind howls worse than the wind blowing through NYC's streets, and winter is just DEADLY FRIGID! Bring high top rubber boots and a goose-down stadium (floor length) jacket for winter-you'll thank me!
Bring an extra $500.00 USD for the Apartment and Utility Deposit! When you arrive here, please arrange to go to NongHyup Bank and open a bank account ASAP! Also, arrange with Wosannim you will pay for the utilities yourself-make SURE you STRESS you will pay for the utilities!
I left you a plethora of maps and notes inside the Dinosaur Classroom and inside Dongin Officetel. Please find them and please thoroughly read my notes.
BTW: Do you need a electric coffee pot and two Korean plug lamps? If so, please let me know if you want them.
Take care . . . and uh, if you need my help for anything, please do send me E-mail!