Contact

I love hearing what you think of the site, and if you have any suggestions for content or any experiences you’d like to share with other South Africans.

You can leave a comment on any of the pages of the website, or you can send an email with any comments/complaints/praises/suggestions to TB at:

safkorea@gmail.com

36 responses to “Contact

  1. As a South African hopefully embarking on this Korean teaching adventure in July, I have found your website very informative and helpful!

  2. i am leaving for korea in june, and alot of my questions have been answered, thanks to your great website

  3. A very helpful site – thanx!

  4. Great website TB! Incredibly helpful. Would u consider putting photos of urself and ur wife up? I ve been accepted to come teach in September and can t wait!

  5. I also wanted to ask, u mentioned it is hard to find bedding and I also believe it is hard to find some toiletries. Where does one find things like that?

  6. Well, with regards to the bedding, you can find stuff here, but it is different to what you will be used to in SA, and the prices are quite a bit higher. I still haven’t found anything resembling the sheets that I was used to in SA, but I have found fitted quilts that do the same job. I got these and a duvet substitute at HomePlus, which is like a Pick ‘n Pay. So you can find bedding, but you might have to be flexible about what you are willing to sleep on :). If you aren’t too picky you will be fine.

    With toiletries, I have been pleasantly surprised about what I found here. Before I came here I read that you couldn’t find anything, and I packed in tons of stuff. I live in a town about 2 hours north of Seoul, and I was surprised that I could find almost any of the toiletries that I could think of. EXCEPT deodorant. Bring plenty of this. It’s difficult to find, and expensive when you do. Also face and body cream is expensive, and you may not find the brand of shampoo that you are used to.

    If you want to know about something specific, let me know and I’ll see if I can see it around here. If you are going to Seoul the selection is much better than in the platteland. I do some shopping trips occasionally to the big city to stock up.

  7. Fareeda rowland

    Hi TB… hope you doing well…
    I love your website!! Its really fun and I love your frontpage with all the stories and stuff… good for you…
    Hope Korea is treating you well. Keep in touch!
    Regards
    Fareeda
    P.S. I’m a sucker for pictures, so why don’t you have pictures of your town and experiences (school, museums, etc.) also on?? Just a suggestion!!

  8. Hi Fareeda!

    Thanks for the great comments. I’m glad you like the site!

    Hmmm… I’ve had a couple of people ask me for photos. I’ll spend some time tonight and see if I can put a few online. Watch this space!

  9. Hi there
    I think it will be good if a prospective English teacher also keep in mind that things are still to some extent ‘rough’ when it comes to animals here in Korea – I am currently suffering a little(?!?) from noises that do not sound very happy – and from the research I have done in the meantime in order not to step on any (cultural) toes before I act, things look even more bleak – I won’t say any more – but this just so that whoever is interested in teaching here can make an informed choice. I did not take things concerning this matter too seriously before I came and I am paying a little price for it today, but I have decided to see things in a positive light and I am going to make the best of it – there are like-minded people enough around it seems form the research I have done so far, and I can add my voice to theirs! Maybe I’m not just here to teach English … ???
    I learned about Snuffy in the process and one of my lessons has cloning as topic – so the learning and the getting informed – the type of things I believe in – is alive and well!
    Maybe English teachers – something I also learned – that the British are the most animal banana nation – could all pledge themselves concerning this matter – because one story I read was precisely about a native English teacher who brought a desperate situation to light … to me it sounds like a nice multi-tasking touch … ???
    I just have Mahatma Ghandi’s words in my head after spendig a year reading Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger as part of my studies you see …

    Regards and all the best!

  10. Hey TB!

    I noticed you say you ve been a lot happier since u stopped trying to make every class ”fun” and interactive”. I m just curious as to why u say that?

    Take care
    Thanks a mill for everything!
    Michelle

  11. Hi Michelle

    Well, I don’t know if you have done a TEFL course, but on the one I did there was a lot of emphasis on making every lesson “fun” and “interactive” while teaching some target language or grammar. The students do most of the talking, while the teacher merely facilitates the activities and corrects where necessary. I think this is fabulous – if you have a small class of motivated students.

    In a private language school, like a hagwon for example, it is much easier to make a class fun and interactive, while actually achieving some concrete language goal. But I have on average 35 students in a class, most of whom are sleeping/chatting/doing other work. Most are also pretty low level students, and I only see them at most once a week. Some classes are darlings that take part and have a good time, but this is a public school, so a lot of students have no interest in English, no matter what you do.

    Building a “fun” and “interactive” lesson that relies on student participation to work meant that a lot of my lessons bombed. I got a lot of blank looks, and I would spend most of the lesson trying to get their attention to explain the activity that I wanted to do. So since then I’ve changed my approach so that the lessons are still fun, but not reliant on individual participation among the students. So I now divide the classes into teams, and play word/grammar games with them based on the textbook work they have done. I essentially treat my lessons as revision classes. By putting the students into teams, I eliminate the problems caused by individual students that don’t want to participate, and remove the pressure on the students to answer questions on their own.

    I do feel that lessons should be as fun and interactive as possible, since English is meant to be spoken, not memorised from a textbook. But the realities of teaching at a public school (well, at least at mine), mean that in many classes this approach won’t work. So since I’ve worked out which classes respond well to fun and interactive lessons, and which ones don’t, things have been much easier, and FAR less frustrating.

    Hope that answers your question!

    TB

  12. Hey TB

    Thats cool, it makes a lot of sense. Thanks for much for ur help as always! Keep up the great work!

  13. HI, i read somewhere that it is difficult to send sms’s from korea, but apparently their is a code or something you can add to the number….. any idea of this. thanks for the great website.

  14. Hi Angelique

    Yes, I’ve had a very hard time sending and receiving sms’s from Korea, and I’ve given up on it. We’ve had some success with my wife’s contract cellphone, but not with my cardphone (prepaid phone).

    You can try putting 00700 or 001 in front of the number you want to send to instead of the normal 00 (ie 00127 82 XXX XXXX, or 0070027 82 XXX XXXX, instead of 0027 82 XXX XXXX). Some people seem to have gotten it right.

    Let me know if this works for you.

    TB

  15. Hi TB

    Once again thanks so so so much for all your help. I ve just had a thought, I ll be in Korea end of next month and was wondering if dental floss is available or do I need to bring a supply? I do apologise if it seems a silly question!

    Michelle

  16. Hi Michelle

    There’s no such thing as a silly question! Better a silly question than a silly mistake, that’s my motto.

    Koreans are generally obsessive about cleaning their teeth. After every meal you’ll see them troop out en masse to brush their teeth. So dental hygiene products are readily available. I haven’t bought dental floss here yet (I brought some from home) but I’ve seen some in the shops. But if you can bring one box along to tide you over until you find a replacement you like, since many of the brands here aren’t the same as back home. One box won’t take up much space in your bag, and should last you quite a while.

  17. Hi TB
    Do you have any idea of any links to the Mid & High School Orientation week – for more photos and addresses and so forth – I think some email addresses were given, but I could be wrong.

    And then about something else – have you joined Costco yet, because I’m looking for a source for Red Bull – I’ve found in Itaewon, but if there’s at Costco I am definitely going to join soon – also for its wider range of cheese I heard about at Orientt. Koreans are not big on cheese, that’s for sure! Perhaps not a likely product in this humid weather which is now taking its toll on me – utterly new to me this sticky weather being a valie…
    good luck with those unmotivated students – I am going to make serious work of making my school a more English friendly environment – to make English more of a reality which is what I think is the problem – a certain isolationism! My co-teacher has been on a listening and whatever course – I am looking forward to ‘hear’ what is coming back.
    m

  18. Hi

    I’ve been looking for links to photos and such for the Orientation, but there’s not much on the internet. The email addresses I have are all in the booklet we got at the Orientation.

    Nope, I haven’t joined Costco yet, mostly because I hardly ever go into Seoul. There aren’t any Costcos around where I live. I’ve heard that it’s good for some familiar food and items, so I’ll try and check it out next time I head into Seoul.

    Good luck with making your school a more English-friendly environment. That’s a worthwhile cause!

    TB

  19. Hey TB

    Glad you enjoyed China, sounded absolutely amazing!

  20. Hi TB,

    If you can,please pass on my e-mail address to Zanele(lonely girl who is from Durbs) as I would love to meet someone from the same city that I am from.

  21. Hi

    Awesome blog, great info, I was just wondering about couriering stuff to and from Korea? Have you ever tried it? Instead of having those packing debates -5 extra cans of deodrant or another special Durban curry powder – do you think it would be easier to get ‘extras’ and stuff sent to you from SA once you get to Korea? Any thoughts… I keep getting into DHL type websites and being put off since I’m not moving my entire house.

  22. Hi Fiona

    Thanks for the positive comments on the blog! I’m glad you found it useful.

    I haven’t had much experience with couriering stuff to and from Korea, except for my application documents. And that was pretty expensive. The cheapest option is usually normal airmail (relatively fast) or surface mail (sloooow). For an idea of the costs, here’s a link to the SA Post Office rates booklet:
    http://www.sapo.co.za/Documents/2008-9%20Rates.pdf

    And here’s a link to the Korean post office rates page for international mail:

    http://www.koreapost.go.kr/eng/service/service01_06.jsp

    It’s definitely best to try and bring everything you think you’ll need. But you should be able to get things sent to you while you are in Korea. It just might start to get expensive if they are large or heavy items. And it’s a hassle, with the added worry about whether it will actually get through to you.

    To be honest, you should be able to bring everything you need with you. The only thing that I have struggled to find here is deodorant. Most everything else I could think of is available, but sometimes you just have to dig around a bit to find it, or it is a little expensive.

    Hope that helps!

    TB

  23. Hi there, I’ve been here 2.5 years and I just found out about the Biltong Guy. I’m sick of eating that horrible “beef jerky”. Thanks a lot for the information! This is a great and very useful website.

    Also, for those of you looking for deoderant, you MIGHT be able to find some on the Korean shopping websites like http://www.interpark.com. Get a Korean teacher to help you out. I’ve had to make a switch to Old Spice but it’s better than nothing, especially in the humid summers here.

    I’ve managed to find other items (like blocks of cheese) at CostCo, as someone said earlier. They even have Ceres juice from back home there.

    If anyone knows where to buy custard powder, please let me know.

    Cheers,
    Aidan

  24. Hi Aidan

    I’m glad you found some useful info. Always good to know. And thanks for the tips!

    TB

  25. Hello TB,

    thank you very much for this informative website. I and my sister got everything we needed from your site, this is amazing!! My sister is in Korea right now, it was her first day at school today Monday 09 Febr. TB, is’t possible to hook her up with someone who’s statying around Incheon City? that’s where she is and she’s so lonely hence she hasn’t met any South African since she arrived last week. Please help TB.

    Thanx, Nana

    • Hi

      I’m glad you found the site useful. That’s always good to hear!

      I’m afraid I don’t know anyone in the area she’s in. But it is close to Seoul, so there should be quite a few South Africans around. I’ll send her an email with some suggestions about how to meet a few fellow Saffers. No problem. The first few days are always tough, but Korea is really user friendly, and there are plenty of other foreigners around.

      No worries!

      TB

  26. Hey guys,

    Just wanna say this is an awesome sight, and has really helped in preparing to go to Korea.

    In our confirmation sent by EPIK they say that we must make sure that we have a Certificate of Residency for tax purposes, we have phoned SARS and they say they do not issue these. Can anyone help?

    THANKS
    Chantal

  27. Hi Chantal

    Thanks for the compliment on the site! I’m really glad you found it useful.

    With regards to your “Certificate of Residency”, I had a similar experience with SARS. No-one really knew what I was talking about, though I did get something out of them.

    If you are registered with SARS, you can do what I did. Go to a SARS office (if you have one nearby). Ask to speak to one of the consultants, and get them to print out an “Enquire on individual”. This should have your details (name, address, contact information etc). Get them to put a SARS stamp on this, to make it look more official. Hopefully this will be good enough if by some chance someone actually asks for this. They probably won’t.

    I wouldn’t worry about this too much. No-one has ever asked to see my “Certificate of Residency”, and I definitely don’t pay tax here in Korea (I’m with GEPIK). I think this certificate may be an American thing. I think it’s just to prove that you are not normally resident in Korea, or that you are a registered tax-payer in another country.

    I hope that helps!

    TB

  28. For all South African expats

  29. Well it’s my first time visiting the site, and although I’ve been here for three years now, I still found it very useful. I think a facebook link would help to spred the site around a lot. You know it’s good to have everyone contribute to the site, although many people take the wrong path and their info therefore screws others over. The best idea would be to make a true or false system, where you can say “yeah, good info”…or…”Dude…, you took a long walk off a short cliff and here’s what you should’ve done.” Even this can be a multi person job. Anyway, it’s just a suggestion, as I know what’s it’s like to struggle around and find things out for myself when there is no info out there. A very useful website! Let’s bring more good South Africans here in place of some others we all know…thanks

  30. Hi there SafKorea!

    By this time your well on your way doing whatever your doing with your life, while a whole new bunch of Saffa’s live it up here in South Korea.
    I just wanted to let u know ur site is great, Ive got a similar one going (Im based in Daejeon):

    http://www.farmboyandcitygirlhitasia.blogspot.com

    and am in the process of finalising a wordpress site 🙂

    So if you need to direct any questions from fellow Saffa’s to someone still here, please do so 🙂
    Anyways, good luck with all your travels!

    Citygirl
    🙂

  31. Hi there. When my sister went to South Korea, she told me that she couldn’t do internet banking (she had a Standard Bank account). I don’t understand why she was unable to do internet banking as it is the internet:) So, what I’d like to know is, as I’m going to work there soon, is whether there are any problems doing internet banking from there. I have accounts with Standard and FNB. Also, would I be able to do internet banking with my Korean bank account to transfer funds to my SA accounts?

    • Hi Morgan. I did all my online banking without any issues – I managed my SA accounts with Standard Bank, FNB and VirginMoney with no problems at all. Not sure why your sister wasn’t able to do the same.

      You should be able to transfer funds directly to your SA account from your Korean account, depending on which Korean bank you are with. I heard that KEB now offers this. You can read more on this in the discussion here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/permalink.php?story_fbid=491082947428&id=2309967428

      The rules and services change all the time, but you should be able to come right. I sent money home via my Nonghyup account without too many hassles. After the first time, my local branch knew who I was and why I was there, so it got easier.

      Hope that helps!

      TB

  32. HANNES VAN SCHALKWYK

    A friend is leaving for South Korea to take up a teaching position from 5 March. It is at a place called korea acadamy. The employment contract she received is in very bad english – full of spelling mistakes etc.. Could this be a hoax? Human trafficing? Are there any precautions or safeguards she should take?

  33. Hi there

    This is such a fantastic website. Thank you. I’m from CPT and last year I finished my advanced diploma in Australia. Would this be sufficient for me to work in Korea? I’ve heard of people applying for jobs there without a degree. I would appreciate your guidance.

    Regards

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