Foreign start-ups edge in on Korean tech turf

Korea opens up to foreign services, workplace diversity Published May 22, 2015, in The Korea Herald This is the second article in a series on foreigners working in Korea’s technology start-up ecosystem. ― Ed. Tech industry pundits in Korea used to joke that this is where overseas companies would come to die. In a country once dominated by local titans like Nate and Cyworld, foreign rivals like Yahoo and Myspace struggled to connect with local Web users and eventually backed out. But the situation has flipped in the past three to five years, they say, as social media and content…

Diversity missing in Korea’s creative economy drive

Global mindsets needed for shift to software, experts say This is the first article in a series on foreigners working in Korea’s technology start-up ecosystem. — Ed. Published May 8, 2015, in The Korea Herald   With the world’s best broadband networks, global technology giants, game-crazy smartphone users and a hefty 4 trillion won ($3.7 billion) government budget to foster the local start-up ecosystem, Korea is building itself up to be the next major Asian tech hub. But on the ground level, financial, legal, language and cultural roadblocks in Korea are still pushing many foreign tech entrepreneurs to favor Singapore or Hong Kong, industry…

World Cup: Honors even

Published June 18, 2014, on The Korea Herald CUIABA, Brazil ― South Korea’s meticulous World Cup preparations paid off enough to stop its losing streak, as the Taeguk Warriors reached a 1-1 draw with Russia on Tuesday in the final opening group match in Brazil. Korean forward Lee Keun-ho scored the opening goal in the 68th minute, followed by a dramatic equalizer by Russia’s Aleksandr Kerzhakov just six minutes later. Lee Keun-ho celebrates after scoring South Korea’s first goal of the World Cup against Russia in Pantanal Arena in Cuiaba, Brazil, Wednesday. (Yonhap) The draw stopped Korea’s painful pre-World Cup…

English teacher training program faces resistance

Teaching English in English program faces criticism for low participation, murky evaluations Published May 9, 2013, on The Korea Herald   This is the second in a 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. This three-part 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. ― Ed.   One trainer likened it to boot camp. Arduous 9-to-5 classes with only…

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.…

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.,”…

Anita Alvarado: Chile’s Geisha takes a low profile

Published Aug. 7, 2008, on The Santiago Times   (Ed. Note: Anita Alvarado is most commonly known as the Chilean Geisha. From a poor background, she gavebirth to her first child at a young age and began working as a prostitute to support her child. In 1992, when she was only 19, she emigrated to Japan, where she continued to sell her sexual services, but quickly became one of Japan’s VIP prostitutes, involving herself with mafia clients and eventually marrying into money. She is a well known, controversial figure, often in the Chilean spotlight for being born a poor woman…