Category Archives: South Korea
On To My Next Decade In South Korea
The 2nd of March (2023) marks the completion of my first decade here in South Korea. My heart is bursting with gratitude for having been given the chance to work and live here for the past ten years. I could not thank God enough for guiding me and helping me find a niche most suitable for my personal and professional growth. I am forever indebted to Dr. Mark Celis and Dr. Larry Chong for considering me qualified to teach paving the way for my entry to this country via Gyeongju University. A lot of thanks also to Dr. Sheri Slick and Mr. Damon Osburn for opening the doors of Hanseo University (where I have been teaching since 2014) for me.
Salute to the universities aforementioned for believing that teaching English should not be made exclusive to citizens from native English-speaking countries. Thanks to the universities here in South Korea for believing that Filipinos like me can teach English. In my 10 years here in South Korea, I did a “quiet comparative analysis” of ESL teachers from those “seven countries” and mine. I focused my comparison on the areas of pedagogy, professionalism, and attitude. My findings… universities here in South Korea and elsewhere should seriously reconsider their policy of hiring teachers from the said countries only.
Teaching overseas is in the list of my career choices ever since. It was part of my career pathing. I prepared and trained for it. Eventually, I decided to take this path for three reasons – “greener pasture,” job burnout, and a personal demon that I had to slay.
Many of my loved ones and friends considered my going to South Korea a bad move. I had a great career in my country and the pay was not bad. I had other sources of income as well. They considered it unwise for me to still want to work here. But as I said, I wasn’t just seeking financial stability. I really got tired of my previous jobs supervising people and doing administrative work. I wanted to just teach and pursue my other passion – writing.
I was really at the crossroads of my career at that time and it did not help that I was also suffering from a personal crisis. I felt I had to do something. I had to do one life-altering decision. I was like Jake Sully, the main character in the movie “Avatar” saying, “Sometimes your whole life boils down to one insane move.” So, I made the move. I decided to come here. As it turned out, this country is the perfect place for me tame a “toruk makto.” Not that mythological creature in the movie but MYSELF.
Honestly, the past ten years were the most productive years of my life personally and professionally speaking. God willing, I would still like to spend the next ten years of my life here. This country has become my second home. It has been a channel of blessings for me and my family. I have nothing but respect and gratitude for this country, its people, and the two universities that granted me the opportunity to serve.
We are required to render only 19 hours of work weekly staggered in a 4-day period. There are 168 hours in a week. Imagine the amount of free time that we teachers have here in the university where we are teaching. We don’t even work for a total of roughly 5 months (but we still get paid) because of the winter and summer breaks. So, how did I spend my free time in the past 10 years?
Given all the free time that I had in the years past, I was able to pursue my other passion vigorously – writing. I was able to create not just 1 but 3 websites. Last year, I created 2 YouTube channels. Those websites and channels are my workshops – they serve as my training ground and a haven for self-expression. In addition, almost yearly that I was able to finish research works that were either presented in international conferences or published in indexed journals (or both). Those free time also allowed me to pursue “self-improvement” both as a personal activity and advocacy and… to count my blessings.
My journey will continue. I will tread the same path that I have been treading in my next years here in South Korea. My desire to achieve my full potential as a person and as a professional is a torch that will remain lit to brighten that path.
To God be the glory.
South Korea: Celebrating My 10th Year
On to my 10th year here in South Korea. This country has been a huge… huge blessing to me, personally and professionally.
Thank you Lord. To You be the glory!
This video shows a few glimpses of my 10 years in this country.
Examining National Character and Development in Selected Southeast Asian Countries and South Korea
This essay investigated the relationship between the development of a nation and the characteristics of its people. In this investigation, the construct used to embody the characteristics of the people living in a particular country is national character and the development of a nation is viewed here using the socio-economic and political lenses. The countries chosen upon which this investigation was anchored were South Korea and three Southeast Asian (SEA) nations, namely, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
In examining the national character of the aforementioned countries, Hofstede’s measures of cultural values (Hofstede’s 6-D model) were used. In measuring the development level these countries have reached, their scores and corresponding ranks in the Human Development Index (HDI) were compared. The descriptive-comparative structure was used in the discussion.
The investigation sought answers to the following questions: 1) How may the national character of the selected SEA countries and South Korea be described in terms of Hofstede’s measures of cultural values?; 2)What is the current status of development in these countries as indicated in their latest HDI rank?; 3) What inferences could be made as to how national development in these countries is associated with their national character as described using Hofstede’s measures of cultural values?; and 4) What can SEA countries learn from South Korean models in terms of national character and socio-economic and political development?
Hofstede’s 6-D model show that the South Koreans are the least hierarchical, most collectivist, the most feminine, the most uncomfortable with uncertainty, the most long-termed oriented, and the most restrained among the group of people whose national culture and human development were analyzed. The Malaysians are the most hierarchical and indulgent while the Filipinos are the most individualistic. Only the Philippines has a masculine society, and its citizens are the most short-term oriented. Of the three Southeast Asian nations, Vietnam is the most long-term oriented.
The cultural dimensions that are considered significantly correlated with wealth are power distance, individualism-collectivism, and long-term orientation. The less hierarchical, more collectivist, and more long-term oriented a country is, the wealthier and developed it could become. The South Koreans are the least hierarchical, the most collectivistic, and the most long-termed oriented. Of the four countries chosen for this analysis, South Korea is ranked the highest in the Human Development Index. Among the three Southeast Asian countries, Malaysia has the best score in the Human Development Index.
This investigation concluded that the development of a nation could be affected by the characteristics of its people. The South Koreans have certain characteristics, as shown in their scores in Hofstede’s 6-D model, that helped them consistently ranked high in the Human Development Index. People in Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam, and other Southeast Asian nations may perhaps consider embracing, not only the music, movies, TV dramas, food, and fashion of the South Koreans but also their cultural and behavioral orientations that are considered positive and applicable to them. In particular, the leaders of the said countries should consider looking at South Korean models when formulating their policies in the fields of education, research and development but at the same time also study how they could avoid the social problems besetting South Korea.
Keywords: National Character, National Development, Culture, Hofstede’s Cultural Dimension Theory, Human Development Index