Living in Asia

Fashion, Hip-hop, Lifestyle………………BlackLight

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Teaching in………………South Korea

By J.T  (Taught in Seoul)

Taxes, health insurance, pension. Every month about 10-15% total of your check is devoted to these things. Health care is dirt cheap. Doctor visit and prescription $10. Pension can be withdrawn when you finish your time here. Equal to about a months pay each year.

Comfortable living- you can eat well, party, and still save money. Haven’t heard of any teachers who lives as comfortably as the teachers in Korea.

Depending on the job there are lots of other perks. Is possible to have lots of free time and vacation but not at a hagwon. Definitely not teaching adults.

Cons – if you teach adults you have to work splits quite often. So the schedule is tiring. Plus you’re often required to work some weekends during your contract.

Management doesn’t always see eye to eye with western business practices. You may be told one thing but have something different happen. This is mostly hearsay because I’ve never had this problem. Some bosses are overbearing and expect too much from their employees such as working past their scheduled time without pay.

Housing is sometimes lower quality then expected.

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Song of the Week (14) Ghetto Bastard………….Naughty By Nature

Naughty by Nature are a Grammy Award-winning American hip hop trio from East Orange, New Jersey that at the time of its formation in 1989 consisted of Treach, Vin Rock, and the DJ Kay Gee. They are known for being one of the few rap acts who were able to balance success on the pop charts with hardcore rap credibility.

The group formed in East Orange, New Jersey  (colloquially referred to as “Illtown” in the 1980s) in 1988. They first appeared on the music scene in 1989, releasing an album called Independent Leaders under their then name the New Style. The album generated the minor hit “Scuffin’ Those Knees”. After the release of their first album, the group was mentored by fellow New Jersey native Queen Latifah,and subsequently changed its name.

Their first hit as Naughty by Nature was a track called “O.P.P.,” which sampled the Jackson 5‘s hit “ABC” and was released in 1991 on their self-titled album Naughty by Nature. The song peaked at #6 on the Billboard Hot 100,making it one of the most successful crossover songs in rap history. The song has become well known in pop culture, being mentioned in TV shows and films such as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Malibu’s Most Wanted, Monk, and The Office. “O.P.P.” also gained critical acclaim, being named one of the top 100 rap singles of all time in 1998 by The Source magazine,and being ranked the 20th best single of the ’90s by Spin magazine

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Teaching English in………………Sydney


(Teaches in Sydney, Australia)

– jobs are competitive, many colleges have closed
– degree + celta is the bare minimum
– full-time contract is almost impossible, casual is the norm
– pay starts at $40/hr – but cost of living (esp. rent) is v. expensive (much more than japan)
eg. pay could be $4000/month, but after tax and rent, more like $2000
– 20hr working week, with the option of taking on more
– nightlife lacks variety, is expensive, but a handful of places are a lot of fun
– not many cultural sights, but natural sights are excellent (beaches, rainforests, etc)
– we all speak english

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Teaching English in……….Bangkok

By Evan

(Taught in Bangkok, Thailand)

Thailand is a great country to be an expat in because of the low cost of living. The luxury of cheap food, accommodation, and widely available party in Thailand can make the beautiful country side, cities, and beaches even more attractive for excursions and adventures. It may still be possible to live well on $30 a day and in some cases much less if one embraces the lifestyle of your average Thai person.

One difficulty with living in Thailand is the almost impenetrable culture due to the strong feelings of cultural identity. There is no real integration as an expat will always be labelled as ‘falang’ or foreigner. Price inflation and pre conceived notions about cultural attitudes are hard to dispel and this can result in a negative perspective which is maintained by groups of foreigners who feel prejudiced against.

Choose your social circle wisely because there are some very shady characters lurking around Thailand.

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Pros and Cons of Teaching English in Taiwan

When I first decided upon teaching English in Taiwan, I would never have thought that I’d be coming to a country where the people are as friendly and as hard-working as Taiwanese people are.  There is a sense of pride in what they do.  It’s inspiring.  I’m going to look at a few key areas and answer some of the burning questions the readers have.

Lifestyle and Entertainment

Taiwan is an easy country to live in, especially if you reside in any of the more notable cities, such as Taipei, Taichung, or Kaohsiung (Taibei, Taizhong, Gaoxiong).  Here, you have access to world-class rapid transit, with enough subways and buses to get you where you need to be in a short, clean and comfortable time.   There are loads of night markets and traditional day markets where you can fill your belly and your fridge, all while having a sufficient amount of cash left in your wallet.  As far as entertainment is concerned, the cities are loaded with nightclubs, bars, and restaurants to balance out your work life and bring a little joy to your week.  If you love shopping, there are enough malls and markets to dive into.  For the health conscious individual, there are gyms and riversides spread all across the cities.   Gyms are affordable and convenient and offer a variety of classes, such as Yoga, dance and Jiujitsu.  The riversides often have more than enough basketball courts, soccer fields, and football fields, along with some baseball diamonds.  It’s simple to travel in Taiwan and there are so many outdoor activities to engage in.  There’s a lot of nature to explore, from biking to hiking and mountain climbing to scuba diving.  Stay fit and entertained while you explore a new lifestyle and culture.


For those who don’t cook, Taiwan is known for its affordability and convenience.  Most street corners host 24-hour convenience stores that sell just about anything you might need, from a T-shirt to a chicken sandwich.  There are also countless independent venders everywhere who sell all varieties of food and drinks, many of which remain open until midnight.  Markets are also a great place to find a vast selection of tasty treats and hearty eats.  If you prefer to cook your food, day markets, or traditional markets, are the place to be.  They open  at the crack of dawn, and they sell fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats until the mid afternoon.  They are much better than your average grocery store.  It’s the best choice for health conscious individuals.


A large majority of the foreign residence are either teachers or students.  There are also many who work with the elderly.  For teachers, there are so many English schools in the cities.  These are referred to as either cram schools or buxiban.  These are schools where primary and elementary school students go after their regular classes.  Essentially, it’s school, after school.  Most cram schools will provide lesson plans, while some are more free-form and are accepting of your input.  It’s rather simple to follow the lesson plans.  Like any job, it takes a while to get into the flow of things, so don’t beat yourself up when you face challenges.  As a teacher, you are the language expert.  You cannot forget this.  You are paid a handsome wage to deliver quality and care from the perspective of a native English speaker.  Understand your value and purpose and you’ll reap the rewards.  It’s simple to get interviews.  You could very well send out resumes, via e-mail, and a quick call at that very moment and find that you have an interview in a few hours.  If the job opening is posted, they want it filled, immediately.  A lot of people teach elementary school students, but there are many who only teach adults.  Both options are great, but the adult teaching game isn’t as widespread outside the cities.  Try to pick up one or two private students for conversation to fill out your time.  It’s well worth it in the bank and it’s a great way to be social.  Those who have teaching certificates and degrees may work in elementary schools or even high schools, where they work longer hours, but earn a sufficient amount more.  The life of a teacher in Taiwan can be amazing.  Since you’re only working 15-30 hours per week, you’ll have a lot of free time to study the language and travel.  If you have an independent business idea, this is the place to allow it to grow.  Make a plan and see it through.


Living is affordable in just about every area of Taiwan.  Whether you’re living alone or sharing a place with friends, you’ll find that it is simple to find a place that suits your needs.  It’s safe to say that you can find a 2 bedroom apartment, complete with a bathroom, living room, and a kitchen for around $500CDN per month.  Most apartments are at least partially furnished, some completely.  You may have to purchase some odds and ends.  Amenities are beyond reasonable.  The closer you live to a subway (MRT) line or bustling area, the more expensive, naturally.  Housing is not an issue.


As mentioned earlier, you will be paid a handsome wage for your work.  This is mostly by Taiwanese standards.  You may be paid two or three times the amount of your average Taiwanese local.  You should be getting paid a minimum of $20CDN per hour, to start.  The more professional schools will offer regular raises, either at the end of the year or half-year.  Learn the conversion rate and learn how to manage your money.  Many new-comers tend to spend much more than necessary, because they are wowed by low price tags.  Understand how Taiwanese people use their money and look carefully at what they view as expensive.  It will prove to be beneficial in the end.  With food and living expenses as low as they are, you should have no problem saving money and sending some back home, monthly, to keep your other accounts active.  Living here is more about how you spend and save, as opposed to how much you earn.  When you understand that balance, your wealth will increase.


Teaching English in………Japan

By Niko

(Taught in Osaka, Japan)

Teaching English in Japan is a great way to have a working holiday and explore an intriguing culture. It can even be a decent career or a springboard to start your own business. The down side is that the job can be so easy that a teacher can become complacent and lose focus of their reason for being in Japan. It is important to have a goal and keep focused. This is true for no matter where you are in life, but especially so in Japan.

By Adam

(Taught in Osaka, Japan)

– not as great as it used to be. i think most people are working freelance, for contract agencies, or for few hours at remaining schools (gaba), community colleges (senmon gakko) or for public schools in jet. opportunities for foreigners outside english teaching are limited and more difficult to negotiate.
– only need a bachelor degree and a foreign appearance
– contract is usually negotiated before start
– pay avg’s $2000/month, but after travelling around jp, i had saved nothing after a year
– less than 30hr/week
– nightlife in osaka seems better than in other cities. there’s a vibrant live music scene (punk music) and club scene (hiphop, dancehall).
– cultural sights in spades (hyogo has himeji castle, kyoto has fushimi-inari shrine, wakayama has koyasan temple complex), but natural sights are fewer (mino in north osaka)
– food is incredible: all levels of dining from street food (takoyaki, okonomiyaki, oden, doteyaki) to high end (kaiseki, kappo, michelin-starred french). street food is more expensive than on the asian continent, but high end is usually cheaper than in europe.
– more english is spoken in cities with tourists (kyoto, hiroshima) – but intermediate japanese is essential to live there, especially beyond the first year.

By Christina

(Taught in Osaka, Japan)

Pros and cons of Japan and Korea. Okay, happy to help you out.
For a con, I would say how the eastern culture’s ways were very different from westerners, although they’re adapting to both ways (and hopefully westerners can adopt eastern ways too). Specifically in both countries, when someone was hurt, no one came to help. That seemed so cold. I witnessed a man having epilepsy after Nova one day, and all the natives stood around him, taking photos. No one called for help. Those ending their shift from Nova heading down to the red line were the only ones who got help for the man. Another time, and old man fell all the way down the subway steps. Everyone ignored him. I offered help, thinking it was the right thing to do. To me, it seemed like a lack of humanity.
Pro’s were expanding my horizons and mind seeing different cultures (not just natives, but other foreigners from other western countries too). I think it boosted my confidence in speaking/traveling anywhere. It made me appreciate what I had at home (b/c I was poor in Japan! I missed my friends/family at home). It made me realize what I was capable of teaching others/helping others. When finding employment now, a lot of establishments are impressed w/me living abroad, and some language skills I have learnt.