Some clips of Flight of the Conchords. "Business Time" and "Jenny" are partcularly great. Two very talented and funny Kiwis!

Flight of the Conchords

Loading...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Who Killed Sandy McManus?

I suspect foul play. Last year Sandy was blackmailed by the "Headmaster" in Japan and handed over the keys to the TEFL Blacklist to your noble sleuth. Now suddenly and unexpectedly he has abruptly ceased his Tefltrade blog.

His list of enemies it must be confessed was rather long. I have a suspicion that someone has finally tracked him down.

I notice that someone has nominated Paul Lowe for an Oscar. He's certainly been after Sandy for some time.

Old Sandy used to let rip. Now alas it's R.I.P.
_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

  1. The Index
  2. Most Recent
  3. Nominate a School for Blacklisting

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The TEFL Oscars 2008

Obnoxious School. Classes Appalling. Real Shysters.

The 2008 TEFL Blacademy Awards Ceremony
presented by the ever popular
Inspector McHammered of the Lard.

Live February 24, 2008 from The Hotel Wanker in Austria where the Inspector is currently on a skiing holiday.





THE 2008 CATEGORIES FOR THE OSCARS....................
  • OVERALL OSCAR WINNER WORST SCHOOL 2008
  • WORST SHYSTER
  • WORST PAID
  • WORST LOCATION
  • WORST FRANCHISE
  • WORST JOB BULLETIN BOARD
  • WORST TEFL JOB ADVERTISED
  • WORST TEFL COURSE PROVIDER
  • WORST SCHOOL FOR RIPPING OFF STUDENTS
  • WORST TEFL AGENT
  • WORST TEFL PUBLICATION
Only a few more days to go.


A quick reminder of last year's winners:

OVERALL OSCAR WINNER WORST SCHOOL 
2007ASTA Kids Club in Incheon, Korea
WORST OWNER
Shane of Shane schools and his alter ego Saxoncourt Recruitment.
WORST DOS
ASTA Kids Club in Incheon, Korea 
WORST PAID
East London School of English 
WORST LOCATION
China. Can be great if you do your research well but a place to be very wary of as there are some terrible schools. 
WORST FRANCHISE (for people daft enough to buy one)
Smith's School of English, Japan. Shame on International House London as well and worthy of a special mention.
WORST JOB BULLETIN BOARD
TEFL.com. No attempt at all to inform the unsuspecting teacher of crap outfits. At least Saint Dave Sperling has a forum (albeit heavily neutered).
WORST TEFL COURSE PROVIDER
Paul Lowe of Windsor TEFL Courses
WORST SHYSTERS FOR STUDENTS
Wall Street Institute for being bankruptcy bandits.

As you have probably gathered The Inspector was not in a good mood last year. Just thinking about some of these "schools" brought out boils on his bum and he couldn't sit down for a week.
There's a whole load of new schools to take into consideration for The Oscars 2008.



_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

  1. The Index
  2. Most Recent
  3. Nominate a School for Blacklisting

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Marriage - A little Levity

(dedicated to Lady Florence McHammered)

What am I doing wrong?

Okay, I’m tired of beating around the bush. I’m a beautiful (spectacularly beautiful) 25 year old girl. I’m articulate and classy.
I’m not from New York . I’m looking to get married to a guy who makes at least half a million a year. I know how that sounds, but keep in mind that a million a year is middle class in New York City, so I don’t think I’m overreaching at all.

Are there any guys who make 500K or more on this board? Any wives? Could you send me some tips? I dated a business man who makes average around 200 - 250. But that’s where I seem to hit a roadblock. 250,000 won’t get me to central park west. I know a woman in my yoga class who was married to an investment banker and lives in Tribeca, and she’s not as pretty as I am, nor is she a great genius. So what is she doing right? How do I get to her level?

Here are my questions specifically:

- Where do you single rich men hang out? Give me specifics- bars, restaurants, gyms

-What are you looking for in a mate? Be honest guys, you won’t hurt my feelings

-Is there an age range I should be targeting (I’m 25)?

- Why are some of the women living lavish lifestyles on the upper east side so plain? I’ve seen really ‘plain jane’ boring types who have nothing to offer married to incredibly wealthy guys. I’ve seen drop dead gorgeous girls in singles bars in the east village. What’s the story there?

- Jobs I should look out for? Everyone knows - lawyer, investment banker, doctor. How much do those guys really make? And where do they hang out? Where do the hedge fund guys hang out?

- How you decide marriage vs. just a girlfriend? I am looking for MARRIAGE ONLY

Please hold your insults - I’m putting myself out there in an honest way. Most beautiful women are superficial; at least I’m being up front about it. I wouldn’t be searching for these kind of guys if I wasn’t able to match them - in looks, culture, sophistication, and keeping a nice home and hearth.

it’s NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests
PostingID: 432279810

THE ANSWER
Dear Pers-431649184:

I read your posting with great interest and have thought meaningfully about your dilemma. I offer the following analysis of your predicament.
Firstly, I’m not wasting your time, I qualify as a guy who fits your bill; that is I make more than $500K per year. That said here’s how I see it.

Your offer, from the prospective of a guy like me, is plain and simple a crappy business deal. Here’s why. Cutting through all the B.S., what you suggest is a simple trade: you bring your looks to the party and I bring my money. Fine, simple. But here’s the rub, your looks will fade and my money will likely continue into perpetuity…in fact, it is very likely that my income increases but it is an absolute certainty that you won’t be getting any more beautiful!

So, in economic terms you are a depreciating asset and I am an earning asset. Not only are you a depreciating asset, your depreciation accelerates! Let me explain, you’re 25 now and will likely stay pretty hot for the next 5 years, but less so each year. Then the fade begins in earnest. By 35 stick a fork in you!

So in Wall Street terms, we would call you a trading position, not a buy and hold…hence the rub…marriage. It doesn’t make good business sense to “buy you” (which is what you’re asking) so I’d rather lease. In case you think I’m being cruel, I would say the following. If my money were to go away, so would you, so when your beauty fades I need an out. It’s as simple as that. So a deal that makes sense is dating, not marriage.

Separately, I was taught early in my career about efficient markets. So, I wonder why a girl as “articulate, classy and spectacularly beautiful”
as you has been unable to find your sugar daddy. I find it hard to believe that if you are as gorgeous as you say you are that the $500K hasn’t found you, if not only for a tryout.

By the way, you could always find a way to make your own money and then we wouldn’t need to have this difficult conversation.

With all that said, I must say you’re going about it the right way.
Classic “pump and dump.”
I hope this is helpful, and if you want to enter into some sort of lease, let me know.

Courtesy of Craig's List

_________________________________________________________

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

  1. The Index
  2. Most Recent
  3. Nominate a School for Blacklisting

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Monday, February 04, 2008

The Index - What Index?

There has been such a glut of postings that the index is clearly in dire need of updating. The TEFL Blacklist is also in need of some light hearted comments to counterbalance the recent outpouring of bile on the "nominate a school for blacklisting" section.

The Inspector will have to give the gorgeous Margherita the night off and burn the midnight oil in order to make the Blacklist a shade less black. In any case If I carry on at this rate she'll cause me to slip a disc. At least young Hamish McHammered has now gone. Took a job to get Ryanair to take his caber on the plane as sports luggage but we finally managed it!

Anyone care to nominate a very good school? Now is the time.

_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

  1. The Index
  2. Most Recent
  3. Nominate a School for Blacklisting

CBI Canadian Bilingual Institute in Bratislava, Slovakia (Slovak Republi



Phew! The Inspector is Mcknackered. Surely there can't be that many bad schools out there. Rest assured if you have been unfairly listed here then just drop a quick word in his ear.

CBI Canadian Bilingual Institute in Bratislava, Slovakia (Slovak Republic). This English school has the worst management, an incredibly greedy owner, and doesn't take care of its teachers.

Teachers are coaxed into signing a contract, then after they arrive (paying their own travel expenses) are told about other personal expenses, deductions, and work requirements that weren't in the contract and never mentioned during interviews (I even asked a direct question regarding some of the matters during an interview, and once I started working found out that I was lied to!).

They also think they are above the law - illegal contracts, screwing up people's visas, income tax problems, etc.

Terrible!

_________________________________________________________

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain


  1. The Index
  2. Most Recent
  3. Nominate a School for Blacklisting

Anglo European Study Tours AEST Summer Schools


Another comment that appeared on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section."
WARNING to anyone who'll apply for summer work with AEST summer schools. I worked as Assistant Course director last year and it was by far the shoddiest shadiest bunch of cowboys I've come across (and in 10 years I've seen a few!). I worked in Galway, We were forced to pay £25 to receive our own wages (well overdue, needless to say) transferred into a UK bank account . I rang their bank (Coutts &Co. no less) and was told that it was NOT necessary to pay anything for a 3-day transfer: I rang the AEST head office in London to tell them this, they blatantly lied, I told them I'd just got off the phone to the bank who told me otherwise and they simply slammed the phone down on me. It would of course have been easier if teachers could have been paid in euro from AEST's Bank of Ireland account, though again they told me this didn't exist, even though at the end of the course I had to pay a company there with - surprise, surprise - a cheque from their non-existent account.
Apart from staff money problems, the kids had no books, pens, etc. Teachers resorted to buying these and paying for photocopies out of the own pockets.
There is another centre in Dublin, I finally tracked down the DoS there and if anything their situation was even worse: NOBODY got paid from the beginning to the end of the school. Half the teachers left before the end, simply giving up on the prospect of seeing any money. Regarding understaffing, in our centre the DoS ended up simply going round the pubs in the evening trying to find extra teachers (he found one, actually a qualified TEFL teacher, who lasted one day and then left in disgust).

It makes me sick that though we were treated like slaves, lied to and ignored by head office, I read the contract they had with an Italian government body, and they got 517,000 euro for the Galway centre alone. Yet didn't fork out for a photocopy budget or board markers for teachers. nice. (Anyone who doubts this can have a photocopy of the contract which I have). Yet they STILL wanted more money: they knowingly accepted more kids than they had accommodation for, even suggesting at one stage that Italian teenagers could simply sleep two to a bed (I kid you not)!
SO PLEASE: SPREAD THE WORD!!!!!

_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain


  1. The Index
  2. Most Recent
  3. Nominate a School for Blacklisting

Daleena International Language Centre in Malaga, Spain

Interesting comment.

Not too sure if this is strictly one for the blacklist as I doubt this school really exists!!

Just wanted to warn others not to waste time with these guys- any recruitment process will end with them asking you to wire money.. its just a scam!

They may operate under other names also- but if it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

  1. The Index
  2. Most Recent
  3. Nominate a School for Blacklisting

North China Electric Power University.

Nearly at the end of the many comments that have recently appeared on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section."
This one is notable in that the person concerned has come out and given his name (I think!)

North China Electric Power University.

Michael Coombs, an English teacher from the UK who was employed by the university, was disappointed to find that he was not given the three room apartment with all facilities he was promised. Instead, he was placed in foreign students accommodation. Living conditions included: One room; No hot water until 18:00; Absolutely no guests allowed except from 16:00 until 22:00, and then only two guests maximum; Main doors locked at 23:00 with no exit/entrance for residents until 06:00, any attempt met with abuse by the night watchman; A small kitchen shared with many students, from which food was consistently stolen; Improperly fitted windows and doors resulting in coldness and mosquitoes. He was told throughout the four months he was there that he would be moved to the three room apartment with all facilities soon. Eventually he resigned.

_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

  1. The Index
  2. Most Recent
  3. Nominate a School for Blacklisting

British Institutes (BUSTO ARISIZIO)

Another comment that appeared on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section."

British Institutes (BUSTO ARISIZIO)

I lasted a month and actually left without pay because I was so keen to Foxtrott Oscar.

I worked in Japan and Poland before B.I Busto Arsizio so I wasn't completely green to the situation.

There are too many ridiculous things to mention. Most of them happened to us (another guy left just after me) and a whole lot more happened to the people who we replaced (they all lost money).

In short, stay clear!!


_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

  1. The Index
  2. Most Recent
  3. Nominate a School for Blacklisting

Berlitz Istanbul, Turkey

Another comment that appeared on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section."
I wouldn't recommend Berlitz Istanbul. If you are interested in seeing a foreign country for 6 months and experience a new culture then this place is a no-brainer. But, if you are looking for medical benefits, a teacher's permit, travel pay (all promised in the original contract) forget it! There is no honor by this thief. They even pocket the teacher's income tax at the end of the year!

Strong stuff! Anybody care to add to this. I'll remove it if nothing more substantial emerges


Addendum

Indeed it has. The Inspector's Investigations unearthed the following ancient (2003)
observations elsewhere on the web!
_________________________________________________________
As you have all probably seen, Berlitz Istanbul is hiring once again, and I wanted to warn the uninitiated out there that they are a very poorly-run organization and I would advise anyone against taking a job with them. The reason they are always hiring is that their teachers are always quitting. Avoid them like the plague.
_________________________________________________________
I have been contacted by Inlingua Istanbul and noticed that their Web site contained "Berlitz." Are they one and the same, or affiliated??
_________________________________________________________
Check this site out for more info on what life is like working at Berlitz Japan and Korea.
_________________________________________________________
I've said this before as well Berlitz has a bad reputation in Taiwan and Korea and, depending on your school, Japan.

If you are patient and look carefully, I believe better schools can be found than Berlitz.

Check this site out for more info on what life is like working at Berlitz Japan and Korea.

I just finished reading another thread on the Saudi Arabia Forum here at Dave's and it looks like Berlitz in the M.E. offers a pretty weak package for prospective teachers.

I've said this before as well Berlitz has a bad reputation in Taiwan and Korea and, depending on your school, Japan.

If you are patient and look carefully, I believe better schools can be found than Berlitz.
_________________________________________________________
I also advise teachers to avoid Berlitz Istanbul. Speaking from experience, I can say that their management staff is very difficult to work with and they really don't seem to care about their teachers at all. Probably the reason why their turnover is high (the average teacher stay seems to be about two or three months). Also: if you do get into negotiations with these guys, beware the contract. They may tell you it's just a formality, but they're actually very serious about it and may try to pursue you in court if you attempt to quit. It may be worth getting a lawyer to look at it beforehand. Bottom line: it's possible to teach there, but be very wary and stand your ground at every turn.
_________________________________________________________
Hi folks,

No one answered the previous poster, is there a sneaky relationship between Inlingua and Berlitz? I've been looking at the Inlingua in Baglarbasi, does anyone know anything? I'm limited in that my credentials are in Spanish, not ESL, and that seems to limit my choices a little bit.

Should I be lying awake tonight like this: ?

Gracias,
stural
_________________________________________________________
I was offered a position with Berlitz in Beyoglu some weeks ago. Since I'm domiciled in Hong Kong, this entailed packing my belongings, giving notice, arranging transportation etc. One week before I was due to leave Hong Kong I was told by the Berlitz center manager that I could not be hired after all, because the Turkish Ministry of Education had issued a directive that prevented them from recruiting staff in Hong Kong. As far as I know, Turkish schools do not make a practice of recruiting people in Hong Kong, so I found it rather surprising, to say the least, that the MofE would bother formulating and issuing such a specific directive. Predictably, when I asked Berlitz for further clarification (and the name of someone at the ministry with whom I could communicate) my letter was ignored.

I've not been able to determine, by my own efforts, if such a directive was ever issued but I have been offered employment with another Istanbul language school, so I'm very much disposed to believe that I was lied to. If this is an example of the way in which Berlitz treats people I'm not surprised at all that they have such a poor reputation.
_________________________________________________________
I know this is a bit late to respond, but I was very moved to reply once I read what Iskender wrote.

I did work at Berlitz Istanbul for an entire year. YES! I finished my contract- but I got stiffed for half of the expenses for getting my work permit. I was told that he was not going to pay for my honeymoon. I left screaming nasty things like you are a lying SOB. He agreed with me and said he had no problems sleeping at night and disinvited me to enter his facility again.

Things are not right in Berlitz Istanbul and Marc47, you hit the nail on the head when you said you may have been lied to. This is the biggest problem of Berlitz in Istanbul. The owner and manager is a pathological liar. He really can not help himself.

just a few examples---I have a friend who went to interview with him for teaching the lawyer class. Another friend, who also finished a full one year contract had totally created the materials and the format of this class. The interviewing friend was told that she could not speak with the previous teacher because said teacher had left Turkey and was back in the US. LIE!!! The interviewing friend had had dinner with the ex-teacher the night before. The interviewing friend was then told that there were no materials to be seen for the class because the ex-teacher took them all when leaving Turkey. LIE!!!!!

The same ex-teacher friend had dinner with the ex-law class. The next day, the class was told that the reason for the delay in restarting their class was that the teacher died. When confronted with the fact that their teacher was very much alive and enjoying sheep for dinner, they were then told that Solmaz never told them it was that teacher, but a teacher. Strange that none of the teachers that were working at Berlitz at the time had heard of any teacher dying.

The personal problems mentioned by Iskender most likely have to do with rotten scheduling of classes, disorganization, weird contracts, low pay, lack of pay for long travel times, and various other job related reasons that have nothing to do with personal problems. I knwo of several instances of teachers during my year and just after who "ditched" Berlitz Turkey.

As far as the center thriving goes- all of the Asian based teachers are having to travel to Europe in order to have classes to teach. There ARE NO CLASSES in the Suadiye branch. It seems ridiculous to say recruiting because of expanding. Summertimes are not good for getting hours at Berlitz Turkey. I know of several instances of teachers who "ditched" Berlitz Turkey

Solmaz does do lip service in regards to "caring" about teachers and students and talks about his "happy family." Unfortunatly, most things come with strings. They also come with nasty things said about the students- "All students at the center are lazy Turkish B*******. He also has an unwritten rule that teachers are not to speak to each other. The Turkish staff is supposed to stop this action.

"The teachers are expected to work hard." Yes indeedy! I went several months working every single day because I needed the hours. I managed to earn an average of about 460 dollars per month for the year I was there. I also spent 6 hours a week travel for one class that paid me for 9 hours of work.

" I am satisfied with the work and I love living in Istanbul. I also find it comforting to work for a place that is secure and likely to endure the economic rollercoaster when other centers may fold."

I admit that I was satisfied with the quality of my students and that when I had a normal schedule, I was satisfied with the work. I too love living in Istanbul, but I find it much much more comforting to work for a University where I have REGULAR hours, am paid at the first of the month instead of two weeks later, actually have insurance and PAID SSK (unlike my entire years time at Berlitz Istanbul), and am paid for vacation time.

There is so much more to be said, but I believe I have said enough. Berlitz Istanbul is an experience I am glad to put behind me. Anyone who is considering working at any location should speak to people who have worked there in the past. I am happy to be finished there.

"I wouldn't write off working for Berlitz because of the comments of those who have no experience working there ..."

I am a real person who worked at Berlitz Istanbul. I have no qualms about signing my name either. I SURVIVED BERLITZ-TURKEY!
_________________________________________________________
This may also be a bit late to post but from my experience with Berlitz Istanbul it is best not to even begin negotiations with them. I accepted a job with them via email and when I came to Turkey highly regretted it. I spent only two days in the Berlitz office and left before my relationship went any further. The management was rude and unthoughtful and my gut told me to get out. I never taught a course there nor did I finish their training.

Just to get an idea of how little time I spent with them I'll give some background info. The training I did do consisted of sitting in a room by myself and watching 8 hours of videos. The next day I sat around my house all day waiting for them to call me and then finally when I was asked in at 3 was rushed through some of their books so that I could teach the next day. It had been my understanding via the emails we had that I would come in and discuss the job but was put in a room with the contract and when I asked questions was told don't worry, just sign. I had purposely not signed the contract from outside of Turkey because I wanted some other people there and the contract itself asked for someone from the AKYO corp (which owns Berlitz) to be there, I felt pressured into signing something I never should have and due to me being too trusting and advice I had received from a TEFL course I took that I could do no better than Berlitz unfortunately I signed.

Before I told them I would not work with them I had two Turkish lawyers look at the contract. Both told me that it is not valid for various reasons. I received a nasty email from the manager and was told not to respond by my lawyer. A couple of months later I received a court order from them asking for over $USD2500 in damages! Luckily I have a lot of connections in Turkey that are taking care of this. None of the other expats here I have spoken to nor any of the heads of other private language schools I have talked with have ever heard of a case like this going this far.

My advice is stay away from a place like Berlitz, go with your gut feeling and check out all your options! Istanbul is a great city, and Turkish people are very kind. If you are thinking about coming here there are many better jobs at private language schools like International House and English Time that not only pay better but treat their workers with more respect. Even better if you enjoy working with children many schools hire foreign staff to teach English. Good Luck and be wary of Berlitz!

_________________________________________________________
I see Berltiz is advertising yet again!! I wanted to add to my previous message for those who just don't know!

Beware of any email from a person named “Dave Smith” in correspondence with Berlitz Istanbul. There is no such person and there has never been any such person at Berlitz Istanbul. “Dave Smith” is a creation of Solmaz, owner and manager of Istanbul Turkey. Several people have fallen for this unethical created version of a “fellow American, who just loves working at Berlitz Istanbul” and have come to Istanbul only to find out that this “great” guy that they had been emailing about working for Berlitz Istanbul is admitted to be Solmaz himself. Solmaz has said that he emails people with the name “Dave Smith” so that people feel good about Berltiz Turkey and want to come work there.

I personally find it disgusting and highly unethical to represent oneself as an American working at Berltiz Istanbul when he is the owner of a franchise with well known problems with many past employees- as well noted on this board.

Don’t just accept any American sounding name as a reference. It is easy to lie via Internet and as stated in the past- it is easy for this person to lie to your face too.


_________________________________________________________
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain

  1. The Index
  2. Most Recent
  3. Nominate a School for Blacklisting

Eurolingua Brno, Czech Republic

This comment appeared on the "nominate a school for blacklisting section."

Eurolingua in Brno, Czech Republic is best to avoid.

"After one interview and seeing the premisis, I opted not to take a job offer with them and decided that I will not work with them ever.

The woman who runs the place has very little in people skills or social graces and said to my face that she refuses to hire people legally, won't help employees with taxes. Basically, she said she gives you the money and the rest is your problem and don't ask her for help.

The bureaucracy in the Czech Republic for foreigners is quite daunting, so you certainly don't need an employer like this

While I have not worked there personally, I have a colleague and a former student who both have done teaching work there (they are both Czech) and neither had much good to say about the owner of the school or her people skills, they also went on to say that many students were not happy at the owner's business practices on one level or another."

_________________________________________________________

Not too sure whether this schools deserves a mention here. Any comments either way (nothing nasty please) would be of help.
In any case a degree of caution never does any harm.

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain


  1. The Index
  2. Most Recent
  3. Nominate a School for Blacklisting

Friday, February 01, 2008

Korean Xenophobia - The Inspector's last Word (probably)


LOST IN TRANSLATION
"Is Korea still an isolated country? Many have been calling for a "global Korea" over the last decade, stressing that globalization is the only way for survival. The number of foreigners living in the country exceeded the 1 million mark last year, but many of them say Korea lags far behind Singapore or Japan. There is plenty of inconvenience in their everyday life here, from basic communication and asking for directions to applying for credit cards and using the Internet. They also say Koreans still have little regard for the feeling of foreigners.
John (25), a Canadian English teacher in Seoul, has a problem with, of all things, his mobile phone. Despite plenty of battery power, his mobile phone goes dead a lot because he is on a pre-paid plan. In Korea, it is difficult for foreigners to subscribe to normal, post-paid plans, apparently because service providers fear they could scram without paying their bills.

Michael (42), an American who has taught English at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies for three years, has a similar problem. Last year, he went to an airline office to buy a flight ticket for the Christmas holidays carrying W3.5 million (US$1=W936) in his backpack -- and with Korea’s small-denomination banknotes that’s a lot of paper -- because he could not get a credit card. "I tried to apply to two banks for a credit card. But the only reply I got from their clerks was, 'No, sorry.' They neither attempted to explain to me why they were not issuing a credit card nor gave me any brochures in English."

Foreigners in Korea complain that it is very difficult to get ID numbers to use in the basic service sectors, including financing, the Internet, and communications. Most foreigners carry alien registration cards and numbers provided by the Korean government. But they are no use in everyday life, which makes it much more difficult to book train tickets, buy movie tickets in advance, or make online payments.

Korean websites use strict criteria for foreigners who wish to subscribe to their services -- and there are no set standards either. It is possible for foreigners registered with the Immigration Office of the Justice Ministry to apply for services on portal sites such as Naver and Empas with their ID numbers. But they are required to send copies of their alien registration cards by fax if they want to use services on CyWorld or CGV. And errors frequently occur even on Naver during the subscription process.

Banking is another headache. Even if a bank decides to issue credit cards to foreigners, services differ greatly depending, it seems, on the individual clerks who deal with them. One clerk at a call center of Kookmin Bank, the country's largest bank, said, "If you carry a professor's visa but don't have a third guarantor, you have to give proof of a salary of over W50 million a year." But another clerk said, "If you carry a professor's visa, you don't need proof of income."

What is the situation in other Asian countries like Japan and Hong Kong? In Japan, foreigners can immediately subscribe to mobile phone services and medical insurance if they carry an alien registration card. They are not discriminated against in terms and conditions or benefits from such services. Most portal sites in Japan like “livedoor.com”, the most popular site among Japanese netizens, only require foreigners to present basic information such as names and addresses, without asking for ID numbers.

In Hong Kong, foreigners also have little trouble subscribing to mobile phone and credit card services, even if they don't have third guarantors or make security deposits. Major banks in Hong Kong, such as HSBC, Standard Chartered and Heng Sheng Bank, allow foreigners to apply for credit cards three months after they open accounts -- on the same terms and conditions as local residents. Foreigners can also apply for housing loans after verifying their credit status, including income, just like local residents.

In Singapore, foreigners with employment passes, are not discriminated against in applying for mobile phone or credit card services. If they have employment passes and bank accounts, they can apply for bank loans. Ryan (32), a Canadian English teacher who arrived in Korea two years ago after living in Japan for three years, said, "Foreigners experience more inconvenience in Korea than in Japan because Korea has no universal standards. It seems Korea hasn’t even set its own standards yet, let alone using global standards."


Courtesy of english.chosun.com

_________________________________________________________

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain


  1. The Index
  2. Most Recent
  3. Nominate a School for Blacklisting

Are There any Good TEFL Course Providers?

This question was posted deep in the bowels of The TEFL Blacklist. It's a good point and therefore The Inspector hereby invites all and sundry to comment.

Hello Inspector Mchammered

Interesting blog, found while I was searching for a training centre.

Whilst you have merrily bashed several training facilities, you have recommended none. Are there no schools that make the grade?

I would love a nudge in the right direction so as not to waste my hard-earned pennies on shysters and thieves.

Thank you.
January 31, 2008 7:53 PM


For a very good reason Toni Q. This is a blacklist and not a TEFL Whitelist.

However a few pointers wouldn't hurt the Inspector! So.................

In general ensure that your course lasts at least a month with plenty of teaching practice. Don't be fooled by "International House" as although the London courses are good (albeit ludicrously expensive given TEFL salaries), some of the International House "affiliates" or rather franchises are dreadful and clearly there is enough evidence that they don't all operate to the same standards. International House Kuala Lumpur is notorious.

Trinity (who actually removed accreditation from Windsor TEFL and Paul Lowe) or Cambridge approved is a positive sign. Google the hell out of your shortlist as the Internet often yields unexpected nuggets of information. Expect the course to be very hard. There are simply no shortcuts. The weekend or online courses might get you a job in Tibet but you won't learn anything much about TEFL.

Just remember only a tiny % of all the language schools make it onto the TEFL Blacklist. There are plenty of good ones out there.

Oh and don't expect unbiased helpful advice from Richard Bradford and the folks at Cactus TEFL or for that matter i - i or Saxoncourt Recruitment. Their priority is parting you from your hard earned cash.

_________________________________________________________

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain


  1. The Index
  2. Most Recent
  3. Nominate a School for Blacklisting