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26 January 2004
South Korean Flag





Korea Life Blog - Jangan College

I thought I was through with Jangan College. I sent them a letter turning them down because the pay is below average and they don't offer housing. This morning Professor "G" called me. I should have hung up.

"This is Professor G calling from Jangan College, may I speak with Shawn?"
I was outside, on my way to meet someone. "Can I call you back?"
"You were supposed to sign contract last week. Why didn't you?"
"I sent you a letter. Did you get it?"
"Anyway, are you ready to sign now? We can offer a little more money. 26,000,000 won."
That was less than 100,000/month more. "That's very kind, but an apartment costs more than that. Do you cover the initial deposit?"
"I'm sorry? I want to know. Do you want to work at Jangan College?"
"I want to. But like I told you - I can't because there's no housing. If I work there, I have to move out of my apartment."
"But that's no problem. All our teachers have apartment."
"But they had to pay a deposit and rent, right?"
"I don't know. You have no money for deposit?"
"Well, I might, but right now my apartment is free and my pay is almost the same as what you are offering."
"Anyway, we can help you. So do you want to work at Jangan college? We need an answer by today."
"Once again I want to, but there's no housing. I'm sorry to waste your time. Good luck."
"But housing is not a problem. Call one of our foreign professors. Tom. He can help you."
She started to give me the number. "Listen, I'm outside now so I have to call you back."
"OK. Call back."

Later I called and got the foreign professor's number. I decided to see if maybe the job was worth taking. Maybe he could also tell me about apartment prices. I called him but the connection was bad. He had to call me back 6 times. Finally:

"This is Shawn. I applied to Jangan college..."
"The apartment's been taken, sorry."
"What apartment?"
"It's taken."
"I didn't know you had an apartment for rent."
"Then why are you calling?"
"Actually, I'm not sure. Jangan college wants to hire me. Professor G told me to call and ask you about renting an apartment."
"I don't have anything to do with the hiring process."
"Can you tell me about the job?"
"It's OK."
"Well, how long have you worked there?"
"A few years."
"Do you like it?"
"It's not bad."
"Can you tell me anything else?"
"It's a decent gig. You'll have a lot of free time."
"But the pay is so-so considering there's no housing allowance, right?"
"Right."
"How do I go about renting an apartment. What kind of deposit would I have to put down around here?"
"Listen, I have to run."

I hung up, frustrated. An hour later Professor G called.

"This is Professor G calling from Jangan College, may I speak with Shawn?"
"Yeah, it's me."
"Did you speak with Tom?"
"Yes."
"Did he solution for your problem?"
"Not really. He sounded busy and he didn't know what to tell me."
"Are you ready to sign the contract now?"
"I'm sorry. Look - I'm making a big problem for you. I understand you need to to hire someone soon and you have no time."
"That's right."
"Well, good luck."
"What time will you be here?"
"I can't work there without housing - as I said, three times or more. If you can arrange an apartment, I'll gladly take it. I have no idea how to rent an apartment and neither of us have enough time. Also, won't I have to pay a big deposit? I don't really know the system in Korea."
"Maybe. You have to visit real estate agent. That's easy. Go to real estate agent and call me back."
"Well, where is it? I don't think they can speak English around here anyway. Can you call one?"
"You have to go. Maybe they have special arrangement for foreigners."
"OK, I will try tomorrow morning. I have to work now."
"Yes, make a decison by tomorrow morning. Hurry, please. I have to submit the teacher to adminstration right away."

At 4:30 she called yet again:

"This is Professor G calling from Jangan College, may I speak with Shawn?"
"Yes, I know who you are. This is Shawn. This is my handphone. Nobody else ever answers it." I was teaching and starting to get annoyed. "Can I call you back?"
"Did you go real estate agent?"
"I said I'd go in the morning."
"Anyway, I called one for you. You don't have money for deposit, is it right?"
"Well, I'm not sure. It depends -"
"She said you can pay 6 months rent in advance then. Total: 1,900,000."
"Not bad. What kind of apartment?"
"One room."
"Where is it?"
"Around our college."
"Well, where? I live nearby too. I'd like to see it. What's the name?"
"I don't know. Anyway, will you take the apartment and sign contract our college?"
"But I just said I don't know anything about the apartment. Is it new?"
"I don't know."
"If I'm going pay for it and live there for one year, don't you think I should at least see it?" The students were watching and laughing. The whole situation was aggravating. "I mean, I don't know what you expect. Can you tell me anything about it? How big is it? Is it clean? Is it furnished? Did you get any information at all beside 'one room' and price? Can you take me there?"
"You have to go to the real estate agent. They help you."
"Well where is that?"
"I don't know. I didn't get details. But tell me. How long have you lived in Korea?"
"Almost three years."
She laughed loudly. "Then how come you don't know about renting an apartment."
"Because I've never had to. Every apartment I lived in has been given for free with my jobs."
"But Jangan college has a different system," she said in a tone that implied I was an idiot.
"Yeah, I know that now. That's what the whole problem is. Hello?"
"Anyway, I want to know are you interested in working at Jangan College? Are you going to sign the contract today?"
That did it. I felt myself turning red. I was ready to tell her what's what, but being in the classroom, I was forced to control myself.
"No, I don't want the job. I'm sorry. Goodbye." I hung up. A minute later the phone rang again. I turned it off.

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