The QiRanger Adventures

Friday!!!!!

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The short mini-vacation, known as Chuseok week, is now over and I must return to work… for one day.

It has been a glorious week away from work, aside from the rain. What’s been best about the week, is that Jo and I made the most of it, taking side trips and visiting such iconic places as the DMZ and Everland.

We had originally wanted to hit Everland earlier in the week, but rain forced us to delay our plans, so we went on Thursday. This was very fortunate, since at the park we met up with Robert.

The day was a blast and such a great place to return to as well (for me). We weren’t alone in our plans to take the last day of vacation at Everland, as thousands joined us. In fact, at one point, we saw an MBC helicopter taking video of the day.

I think what made the week even more special for me was that I left the camera behind and enjoyed it as a real vacation. This weekend, Jo and I have a few plans (ie, video and cultural trips), but the big one is Seoul Tube. I am really looking forward to this event, as it is shaking up to be really huge. As of last night, we had 84 RSVPs on the Facebook Event. That is far more than I ever thought would come.

Since I have been away for so long, I feel kind out of the loop on all things Internet. What’s up in your neck of the woods?

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Written by Steve Miller

September 24, 2010 at 8:10 am

Views on North Korea

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First off… HAPPY CHUSEOK! Now for something related to what’s going on here, as power appears to be shifting up north:

This past weekend, Jo and I took a trip out to Seoul and the Demilitarized Zone. With all the press that North Korea gets, I thought I’d find out what foreigners think about our neighbor to the north and how it affects their daily life. Thanks to Evan, Rachel, Cassie, and Johanna for being in the interview section.

Written by Steve Miller

September 22, 2010 at 9:35 am

Fun, Crazy, Time

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Written by Steve Miller

September 16, 2010 at 4:48 pm

The Pick-up

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Today was the awards ceremony for the most recent Korea Brand UCC Contest. Unfortunately, due to my work schedule, I was unable to fully participate; however, I did manage to make it out to Seoul for a while today and meet with the fine folks at the Presidential Council on Nation Branding.

At first I declined to attend the ceremony, not because I didn’t want to meet everyone, but because it takes about 90 minutes to get from their offices back to Dongtan. Since the ceremony was going to be at least an hour, it meant there was no way for me to be at their office and miss work. My solution was to go early (with their permission), and they agreed.

As this was my second award, both parties were eager to put faces with names. When I received my award certificate, it was also shared with all those in attendance that I was a repeat award winner.

It was great to finally be at their offices and mingle with other award winners. There’s an incredible amount of talent in Korea, and the contest brought out the best in everyone. They announced two more contests for the remainder of 2010, and I might enter them as well. For now, I we’ll see how my free times stacks up.

As mentioned on YouTube, I thought I’d answer some of the most common questions regarding my travel videos. I’m going to do that now, since I’ll be delivering my computer to UBASE on Friday for a hard disk upgrade, and I’m not sure when I’ll get it back. Couple that with SeoulTube 2010 and Chuseok (추석) next week and I think you’ll see that I’ll be away from the Internet for some time.

So here are those commonly asked questions:

How long does it take to make a travel video? On average, the 4-minute videos I produce on YouTube with a travel theme take a full day of editing. Meaning that it may take 8 or so hours to produce the 4-minute program.

How do I choose where to go? This is really more of a team effort on Jo and my part. We both love to travel and see as much as we can during the time allotted. This means researching our destinations and scouring over maps to see what may be interesting and off the beaten path. Once we have an idea of where we want to go, we set about researching the Internet and consulting tourism organizations and books for details.

Are my videos scripted? Not really. Based on my research, I know what bullet points I want to cover, but rarely do I actually write out each line.

As always, thanks for reading and commenting. If you’re in Korea, I hope you have a great Chuseok and I’ll see you soon!

Teaching in Korea: Schools

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One of the questions I get regarding teaching in Korea is about what kind of school programs there are and how to get a good job. This is a multifaceted question, and I’ll try to break it down as easily and simply as possible.

There are two major teaching opportunities in Korea: Public Schools and private academies. While there are other teaching jobs available, the vast majority of individuals coming to Korea to teach English usually find themselves in one of these types of programs. Each has its own pros and cons, which I’ll cover below.

Public schools operate throughout the country and are generally regarded as a safer teaching option. This means there tends to be less issues with payment and contract issues. Most contracts are also during daytime hours and hover around 20 teaching hours per week. In addition, public schools tend to offer more vacation time and an up-front settlement allowance. However, there are some downsides. First, payment tends to be a bit lower than private academies. Second, since schools have long semester breaks, you may be asked to “desk warm” at the school (show up to work and sit for a full day with no work or classes to teach when students are on vacation).

Private academies offer a variety of work schedules ranging from mornings, days, afternoons, evenings, and split shifts. For the most part, you can find a school that teaches class when you want to work, so that you can maximize your free time. For example, I like having my days free, so I work evenings. Second, pay tends to be slightly higher than at public schools. Classroom hours vary, but can be up to 30 teaching hours per week. There can also be several problems at private academies. Some organizations are not above-board and try to cheat their employees by not abiding to the terms of the employment contract (longer hours, no overtime, late salary payment, etc.). This can be seen on several discussion boards. Furthermore, vacation time usually holds fast at two weeks per year. There are fewer problems when working for a large franchise, as they are very brand conscious.

When selecting the kind of job to apply for, really think about what age group you want to work with and what hours you’re willing to put into the classroom. Once you’ve done that, then you can start looking for a job. Probably the best way to get a good job (either at a public school or private academy) is to find someone online that likes where they are teaching and ask them how they got the job. The will usually point you to a recruiter and you can navigate from there. In some cases, you just might be in luck and the school will have an opening just for you.

Written by Steve Miller

September 14, 2010 at 4:45 am

A Story…

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There once was a pig named George. He lived on a farm, and while there were lots of animals for him to talk and play with, he was still very lonely. He longed for a new friend.

One day, Betty came to the farm. She was a beautiful young girl with long, golden hair. George wanted desperately to be her friend, but every time he tried to get close to Betty, her parents would chase him away.

George was sad. He walked behind the barn and sat. George almost started crying when he heard a strange sound. When he looked up, he saw the busy bees circling around their hive.

“Hey, busy bees! Can you help me?” George asked.

“Whazzzzzzz the problem?” the busy bees quizzed back.

“I want to be friends with Betty, the nice, new girl at the farm, but her parents always chase me away and I can’t get close to her.”

“Hmmmzzzzzzzzzzzzz,” the busy bees thought. “We hazzzzzz an idea,” they told George and proceeded to pour their honey all over him.

“What’s this?” George shouted!

“Everybody loves honey cured bacon,” the bees replied.

Written by Steve Miller

September 13, 2010 at 4:20 pm

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Thanks!

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Since I’m opening the question gate over on YouTube, I thought I’d do it here as well. If you have a question about how I put together my travel videos, please let me know in the comments and I’ll craft them into a video response!

Written by Steve Miller

September 13, 2010 at 6:40 am