Native English teacher head count continues decline

As regional programs continue phaseouts, competence of Korean teachers called into question Published May 2, 2013, on The Korea Herald This is the first in a three-part follow-up series to one which was published in the Expat Living section on March 6 and 13 and covered the ongoing native English teacher phaseouts in certain regions nationwide. This series further assesses the native English teacher program as well as the Teaching English in English initiative for Korean teachers of English in primary and secondary public schools. Intern reporters Choi In-jeong, Lee Sang-ju and Suh Hye-rim contributed to this series. ― Ed.…

No two chaebol are alike, author says

Published April 9, 2013, in The Korea Herald While Koreans’ rising presence on the global stage is hard to ignore, how to do business with them as a non-Korean is an increasingly tricky area little covered in English-language literature. Don Southerton explores the niche with his recently published book “Korea Facing: Secrets for Success in Korean Global Business,” which picks apart how to work with a Korean conglomerate from the ground up, for non-Koreans working in Korean branches overseas. “Over the years I witnessed firsthand cross-cultural issues that surfaced as Korean companies expanded globally. My role has been to address these issues…

How much of a difference do native English teachers make?

As public schools wind down NET programs, teachers look back on how effective their input was Published March 13, 2013, on The Korea Herald   This is the last in a two-part series on the native English teacher phaseouts in public schools. Intern reporter Lee Sang-ju contributed to this series. ― Ed.   Times have changed since Canadian Sabrina Hill first came to Korea in 2005 to teach English. The English teacher program that year was gaining momentum with the number of native teachers in public schools reaching 1,178 and rising to 5,553 by 2008. “We were treated as a…

Saying goodbye to an era

Cuts to native English teacher programs begin to set in Published March 6, 2013 in The Korea Herald This is the first in a two-part series on the native English teacher phaseouts in public schools. The second, featuring native English teachers’ further assessments of the program, will be published next week. Intern reporter Lee Sang-ju contributed to this series. ― Ed.   As more than 500 students at Jungwon Middle School in Bucheon, Gyeonggi Province, gear up for another school year this week, their teacher Zenas Hubbard has cleaned out his classroom and already said goodbye. “The last week of school…

Is Korea’s EFL education failing?

Published March 2013 in Groove Korea   Kelly Choi is an 11-year-old entering fourth grade in Seoul’s Gangnam district. She spends some 10 hours studying in seven English classes every week — more than three-fourths the class time of all her other subjects combined, not counting homework. Statistically, Kelly (her English name) is behind her classmates. She began studying English in first grade, but half her Gangnam peers started before kindergarten. And when they get to middle and high school, they will spend more than 15,000 hours studying the language. “I want her to go to university in the U.S.,”…

Foreigners should not expect ‘freebies’

Korea Business Central community fills in gaps on doing business locally, creator says Published Dec. 11, 2012, in The Korea Herald   With the eighth-most business-friendly environment in the world ― so said the World Bank in October ― along with free government-provided services in English, Japanese and Chinese at the Seoul Global Business Center, free economic zones scattered across the country and various foreign direct investment incentives, there’s something to be said about Korea’s initiatives to help foreign businesses. It’s that foreign business owners should not expect any of it, according to Steven Bammel, creator of Korea Business Central, a…

Foreign start-ups hope city’s support breeds success

Seoul Global Business Centers offer multitude of free services for foreign start-ups Published Nov. 13, 2012, in The Korea Herald The following is the first in a series of stories featuring support and networking systems for foreigner-owned businesses in Korea. ― Ed.   Lia Iovenitti, president of market entry assistance company Conselit, put it like this: “The more you’re successful, the more money you earn, the more taxes you pay, the more Korean employees you employ. So the more successful we are, the better it goes for the Seoul Metropolitan Government and for the business situation. It’s a win-win situation for…

Youth start-up programs young, but blooming

Public and private sectors boost entrepreneurial support to tackle nation’s unemployment problem Published Oct. 3, 2012, on The Korea Herald   In an effort to tackle youth unemployment and boost young people’s enthusiasm for starting their own businesses in a conglomerate-dominated economy, the public and private sectors alike are boosting their entrepreneurship programs for ambitious new university graduates. Chung Ju-yung Entrepreneurship Competition The latest of these programs is the Asan Nanum Foundation’s Chung Ju-yung Entrepreneurship Competition, which awarded its first six winning teams in August for their ambitious industrial ideas. Created by the Asan Nanum Foundation, which is funded by…

Final days of Kari Bowerman & Cathy Huynh

Published September 2012 in Groove Korea News of two Korea-based English teachers who died while backpacking in Vietnam in late July and early August has shaken the local expat community. Friends Kari Bowerman, 27, of the U.S. and Cathy Huynh, 26, of Canada had just begun their week-long vacation when they suddenly fell ill and passed away due to unknown causes. One month after their deaths, many questions are left unanswered about what happened to them. Groove Korea spoke with several friends of the girls, including one who was in contact with Cathy via Skype and phone in the hours…

EU FTA has silver lining for big firms

Published July 1, 2012 on The Korea Herald One year has passed since the much-lauded Korea-EU Free Trade Agreement went into effect on July 1 last year. However, high expectations that the tariff-cutting pact would give Korea’s exporters a boost into the European market have been lowered over the year as the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone continues to weaken the region’s overall demand, said an economist. While 13.8 percent of Korea’s exports were sent to the EU in 2008, that share actually slid to 9.4 percent this year amid the eurozone’s debt woes and fierce competition from rivals…