Right now I am in my spanking new office looking at the mountains. Some light snow is falling.
I can't believe how well the university is treating me compared to the hogwan experience. Wonderland did a number on me with my last paycheck but I was expecting that. Hogwans are not trustworthy. I knew they would find a way to take most of my last paycheck.
a few things in my gigantic office:
a brand new computer with a lcd
a conference table with six chairs for meeting with students
a great view
a gigantic glass bookcase (which is quite empty at the moment),
a few closets for my personal things with keys to lock everything
a new computer desk
a new leather office chair
a huge office desk
My name is even on the door. I would never get this treatment in the U.S.
The name of the university is Gyeongin (kyong in) National University. It is the number one university for training public school teachers. The university is in Anyang which is just a few stops from where I am staying right now. Unfortunately, I have to go back to Japan for another visa run next week. So I will have some intial expenses. But it's worth it.
The English department secretary (her English name is Kate) just came to my office as I was typing this. She brought me a brand new cd player and radio with a remote so I can have music in my office.
The only downside to all this is I have to find my own housing (which would be the same in the U.S.) but I must have at least $3000 for a deposit on a small flat. So right now I am living in a Goshiwon. It is a walk-in closet. A real contrast to my university office. Goshiwons were originally set up for students preparing for exams who wanted a quiet, convenient place to stay when studying. There are thousands of goshiwons all over Korea, with the biggest concentration around universities. It's very quiet. Like a meditation room.
Here is some more info on my new living quarters (I will not stay a whole year in a Goshiwon, but it will be an interesting communal and cultural experience).
"A goshiwon (고시원) is a small room somewhere around three square metres (1.5 pyeong) that students will often live in for a number of months in order to focus on a test. Goshiwons are generally located inside buildings somewhere around the second to sixth floor or so, and one goshiwon will have a dozen or two people living on one floor. A lot of goshiwons are for students studying for huge tests. These tests (고시 or 考試 is another name for test in Korean) are similar to a bar exam in the sense that they give accreditation for certain positions, and due to their importance people will often live in a goshiwon and do nothing but study for a number of months to be sure to pass the test. Goshiwons include a large number of people from smaller cities who do not have family nearby and need an inexpensive place to live.
At the same time, goshiwons are a remarkably cheap way of living in the country if one does not mind the small space, especially for a few months. Prices in a goshiwon will range from 200,000 to 400,000 won per month, and sometimes more."
My goshiwon is about $280 a month. So that's not too bad.
I can't wait to climb all these mountains around me in the spring. I have the best of both worlds here. I am right around the corner from the subway which goes right into Seoul (unlike where I was living before) and I am in the mountains.
I will post pictures soon.