The first question comes via email regarding public school positions in Gangnam, inspired by a post last fall "More bullshit from Seoul public schools: Gangnam changes contract, won't provide housing anymore":
I just applied for a public middle school teaching job in Gangnam, and the academic coordinator is interested in my application. For the longest time I've thought Gangnam is the place to teach/ live. But after reading about this on your blog and the Chosun Bimbo, I've been second guessing its hype, especially since they don't offer housing anymore. I want to take this job, but I really don't have the Key money to put down on an apt.
Does the Gangnam DOE offer Key money?
And, I read here: http://briandeutsch.blogspot.com/2009/10/more-bullshit-from-seoul-public-schools.html that you had some info on real estate agents. Could you fill me in on English speaking real estate agents?
Searching through the post I don't see any information about English-speaking real estate agents, but will offer Seoul's Craigslist as one possible solution.
The second question comes as a comment to a March 2008 post, "Gangjin Foreign Language Town will finally open." I had written about it a few times since I signed a contract to work there but was platooned in a local elementary school for a month, then two months, then finally for a whole year as the opening was delayed for 18 months. emcat writes:
so i was just offered this job for March 2011. I live in Gwangju at the moment. I am just wondering if you know of how that school is progressing as of now. This post scares me a little, I will be honest.
let me know.
I don't have many updates on the Town or the post, other than to report that there's finally an official website for the 강진외국어타운. The three foreign instructors listed can be Facebooked for contact information.
You can judge for yourselves how scary the post is, and can discuss---as we did a little here---the wisdom of these rural English islands that aim to provide more "practical" and situational English instruction (see the dialogues and scenarios previewed here) in lieu of weekly or biweekly meetings with NSETs, but the lack of planning isn't unusual. I will say that since 2007, and since March 2008, there have been a couple of changes in the area to which emcat might be able to attest. The first is that a bunch more English-speakers have passed through the area to live and work, exposing not only more students to native speaker English teachers, but collecting more information on the region for potential signees. As I mentioned many times before, before I moved to Gangjin I never saw a picture of it and didn't know a thing about it. Like I just said you can browse Facebook and contact teachers currently or formerly with the school, a luxury not available to people who passed through rural Jeollanam-do just a couple of years ago.
Secondly, the local expatriate community in Jeollanam-do is more connected and more active, so that while a contract in rural Gangjin could be extremely lonely a few years ago, there are more options available for teachers who want to interact not only with other English-speaking teachers, but with foreigners from different countries and local Korean residents. Facebook is full of local groups and meet-ups, and the Gwangju International Center is bigger and more active than ever before. Those things won't account for the shitty planning you'll find at English programs throughout the country, but they'll make rural Korea a more pleasant and satisfying experience.
Please add any answers or updates you have as a comment.