Monthly Archives: August 2013

Mission Aborted: Why I Fled Korea’s Private ESL Industry

Optimized-IMG_0707Not the reason why I quit: my kids, while sometimes challenging and naughty, were generally friendly and well-behaved. The aspects that tipped the scales towards my departure were related to the behavior of my employer, using tactics that are shockingly common throughout the private ESL industry.

If you follow my social media accounts, then you may be aware of what has happened in the past week. If not, I’ll keep it brief: I left my teaching job in Korea after a series of legal abuses regarding to things owed to me by my hagwon, in accordance with Korean law.

In Motion: Vancouver’s True Nature (In 15 Seconds)

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In the weeks leading up to my departure to Korea this past Spring, I was as busy as a beaver, gathering together a collection of documents a mile long to qualify for my visa. All the while, my projected start date loomed on the horizon, adding urgency to the proceedings.

As such, I didn’t want to risk anything going wrong by sending my passport through the mail; placing my trust in Canada Post didn’t seem like the best idea with time running short.

Koh Chang’s Got More Than Beaches. Like This Amazing Thai Waterfall.

Optimized-hpim0967Just one of several stunning waterfalls accessible in the interior of Koh Chang, Thailand.

With my latest (unplanned) trip to Thailand well underway, one of the first places I’m going to make a point of visiting is Koh Chang, the second largest island in the country. However, it largely remains off the tourist grid because it isn’t in the south of the country, where the tourism heavyweights of Phuket, Samui, and Phangan reside.

A Look Around My Former Home in Korea, Baebang

Optimized-IMG_0384The streets of Baebang outside my apartment on the first morning at 8am

After shaking off the jetlag that accompanies a trip to the other side of the world, it was time to take a look around the community that would be my home for the next year. Baebang, unknown outside of Korea (and likely the Asan-Cheonan area) is considered to be a town by Korean standards, with a population of approximately 30,000.

While many places this size are a dime a dozen in this country, Baebang has a vibrant feel to it, due to the rapid economic growth it is experiencing due to the presence and continuing expansion of the Korean electronics company, Samsung.

Photo: Full Moon Over Lonely Beach on Koh Chang

Optimized-hpim0917The full moon shines through the clouds on a festive night in Koh Chang…

Throughout the world, Thailand is well-known for the rowdy celebration known as the Full Moon Party. Some love it, reveling in its trademark neon body paint, techno music, and bottomless buckets. Others hate it with a passion.

And still others are intrigued by the concept of partying and having a good time with only the moonlight to guide your dance steps, but they are turned off by what they see and hear at Koh Phangan’s flagship version of the event. The massive crowds of 30,000 people, excessive drug use, theft.

Photo: Bangkok Skyline, Sukhumvit Road Area

The view of the Bangkok Skyline from near Sukhumvit RoadThe largess of the Sukhumvit Road area of Bangkok, as seen from the highway headed towards the Eastern Provinces of Thailand

Known as the Big Mango, Bangkok is essentially the NYC of Southeast Asia. It is a massive city filled with people from every corner of the world. Some are here for business. For others, pleasure.

The former have no doubt made their mark on the Bangkok skyline,¬†gracing it with innumerable skyscrapers. From food to entertainment to the palpable buzz generated by everyday life in this megalopolis of 14 million people, it’s clear to me personally what I feel when I roll into town from the Southern or Eastern islands after dark: I’m home, baby!