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Unread 05-08-2011, 04:40 PM
zippie zippie is offline
Seorak Sender
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 1
which cities do most climbers here work/climb near?

Hey guys,

I need some help. I'm thinking of moving to ROK to teach esl and climb. Which city(s) do most people who climb live in korea? From the thread I've gathered that the best climbs are in the northern part of S korea. But I've also read that Seoul is not that great because of 1) polution 2) long subway commute to climbs. Someone mentioned Busan as a good location. Any suggestions and pointers would be helpful.

Also, there seems to be ALOT of ESL organizations. Which agencies do most climbers here use to get an ESL job?

thanks everyone!
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Unread 05-09-2011, 11:40 PM
dusty dusty is offline
Climb Higher
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
Posts: 35
what's your fancy?

hi zippy,
this is coming from someone going on 4 years, though there are many who have been here longer than me. this is also only my opinion. 3 areas to look into:
1. seoraksan (climbing): great condensed area of multipitch, trad, and bouldering. ideal city would be either sokcho or gangneung. secondary area nearby is byeong pung am in the town of donghae. all these cities i listed are fairly small, so if you don't know any of the language, it may be a bit frustrating to say the least.

2. daegu (city): there are 10-15 crags all within 2 hours from daegu. it's also a pretty big city, so you can connect with other native english speakers, which is a major plus for extroverts. and there's good food to be found.

3. gwangju (city): this is another larger city with similar amenities as daegu, and with the best hard sport climbing (up to 5.14) in the country in seonunsan, about an hour away. there are several other cities and other climbing areas nearby as well, such as yongseo pokpo near guyre. but i've listed gwangju because i suggest at least starting your korean experience in a larger city. the transition is a bit smoother.

as for jobs, it also depends on what you want. university jobs seem the golden pig these days, though if you don't have a master's degree or 3 years experience in ESL with some sort of certificate, it's pretty unlikely you'd get it. the perks are 2-4 months paid vacation, and from 12-20+ teaching hours per week.

a good second bet is through the epik program, korea's public education system. this is a very stable job. what you see is usually what you get. many people staying only for a year or two love this job because everything is provided for. though your apartment may be small, it's usually furnished and you do a lot of "desk warming", meaning you won't teach that many hours, but often times you'll have to be at work up to 40 hours per week... even if you're only teaching 10. some people love this because they really like watching movies or are getting their master's degree online.

the final solid option i see is with a reputable hagwon. i work at a university near daegu, but i know some folks who have better pay and hours than i do because their employer loves them. if you build a good relationship with your boss, it can go a long way. but sometimes it's luck of the draw. one good way around that is by knowing some who has gone or is going through it already. i also know of a good place in sokcho.

oh, one more possibility. my first year, i worked at an english village in seoul. specifically, suyu (district). it was a 5 minute walk from the base of the bukan mt. range and really near where the climbing is on insubong and dobongsan, both easy to catch the bus to. if granite slab and crack and old school bolts, ethics, and ratings are you thing, it's a great location.

i know of good stuff in busan too. i just don't have any personal experience with it. good luck with whatever you do, and i hope this helps some.
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Unread 05-11-2011, 04:19 PM
P_Freeman P_Freeman is offline
pizzle nizzle
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Jeongseon
Posts: 44
Hey Dusty,

How was your experience with the English village gig? I'm looking to move to that area mainly for the bouldering near insubong and the climbing gym nearby.

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Unread 05-13-2011, 10:11 AM
dusty dusty is offline
Climb Higher
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
Posts: 35
overall, i found it to be a perfect intro experience to korea. there were 30-40 foreign teachers, so lots of community dinners and drinking. we lived at the village, which was a bit removed from the busy life of seoul. there was even a small area of wilderness surrounding our apartments where i set up a slackline and a hammock. one of the cool perks i didn't fully comprehend then was that everything was provided: housing, gas, electric. everything but your phone bill. and whenever camp was in session, you could eat in the cafeteria. it's a great way to save money...if you don't mind korean cafeteria food.

if you walked 3-5 minutes, you could catch a bus that would take you into suyu or directly to the base of insubong. walking to town was about 15 minutes. or you could catch a 5,000 won cab to the top of the drive which puts you about a 20-30 minute hike to the campsite boulders. i was told you could hike over the mountain to get to the riverbed boulders, but i never did it.

as for the work, it's what we called "edutainment". you act as somewhat of a dancing puppet, which is extremely simple, but i found exhausting because it was so menial. classes were experience based, with classrooms set up as a fire station, airplane, post office, etc. sometimes we had to wear costumes. luckily, i never got the hair design class. we worked 5 days per week, chose a day shift (9-5) or night shift (1-9). the gym we went to was within walking distance (15 minutes), so i usually took the local (green) bus into town, climbed and then walked home.

overall, it was a pretty good experience. p.m. me if you have any more questions.
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Unread 05-14-2011, 11:16 PM
blacklotus blacklotus is offline
Jiri Jammer
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: n/a
Posts: 47
@dusty: Thanks for the description of that English village position. I like my current school (a middle school south of Seoul), but I've been to Suyu-dong twice since I've been in Korea, and am curious about possibly working there someday.
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Unread 01-18-2013, 01:47 AM
ghia63 ghia63 is offline
Seorak Sender
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 3
I know this thread is old, but it seems the most relevant to my question. I know there are many threads discussing the "best" location for a climber. But I haven't found one detailed enough yet. Here's what I'm looking for:

A town/city with very accessible outdoor climbing (sport & trad). Ideally within 30 minutes on public transit.

I would prefer close quality crags, to a larger quantity of more distant crags.

I did see that there are a lot of areas surrounding Busan, but they seemed to be about 1hour away. Is that right? Is there a region of Busan that is closer to the crags that I should look for?

Or should I be looking for a town entirely separate from Busan for close crags?

I've done a bit of research on this forum and I've found quite a bit, but google earth has not responded as favorably as I would have liked to my searches for the towns with crags. If someone could post a few of the best cities/towns for climbing and the distances in time to each crag that would be great!

or if you know of a thread with this info, please post the url
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Unread 01-18-2013, 02:56 AM
ghia63 ghia63 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 3
ahhhh, my bad.... I'm so impatient. i've just found several threads that give me almost exactly what I was looking for. Thanks
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