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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Saekyung College Yeongwol, Gangwon-do, South Korea

Posted on the "Nominate a School for Blacklisting" section. Any comments?

"I am posting information about this college on the internet so as to warn any and all individuals interested in obtaining employment in Korea about Saekyung College and its corrupt business tactics.

The management system in place at this private college is manipulative and deceitful in regards to its day-to-day dealings with foreign English instructors.

Saekyung College is privately owned; however, it receives government backed grants from the people of Gangwon-do to stay afloat. Unfortunately, the college has misused its newly acquired grant money to actually refurbish its dilapidated facility without actually meeting the requirements and mandates set forth in the agreement made between Saekyung and the government of Gangwon-do.

In regards to foreign English instructors, Saekyung College has already hired and illegally dismissed two foreign instructors out of three employed during its first year of operation.

Contracts are not honored or respected, and working conditions change daily. The current management system in place has existed since July; and during its first year of operation, there was literally no management system in place for nine out of ten months.

Communication does not exist, as English is not spoken at the college...even in the Foreign Language Village and/or by Korean professors supposedly holding PhD's obtained outside of Korea. In other words, Saekyung College's Foreign Language Village is currently managed by a Director who cannot speak English. He claims that he was a professor of Economics in the United States; however, his spoken English is equivalent to that of a five-year old child's. Therefore, how could he have been a professor at prestigious universities in the United States of America? He couldn't have been, and he wasn't.

If you are interested in obtaining employment with this independent college, understand that you will be deceived into thinking that your employment status will be that of a college professor. However, you will be issued a work visa with the status of English instructor. You will not be regarded or treated as a professor at the college. You will simply be a native English-speaking conversation teacher.

In addition, the college will endeavor to make you create and design curriculum and reading material, despite the fact that a budget is in place for the acquisition of such material. If you visit the facility, you will instantly notice a large amount of reading materials and English-based learning products. However, none of the material is actually applicable to the learning environment with its intended goals (Business and Tourism English). Someone at the college simply purchased a packaged set of English products without actually analyzing the overall content of those materials.

When it comes to the payment of salaries and overtime worked, Saekyung College often pays late if not at all. Salaries are supposed to be paid via the budget allocated in a grant provided by the government, with contracted stipulations in mind. However, expect to not be paid for overtime worked. The college does not like to spend money, and expect to see a college in complete demise if you intend to visit the facility for further review.

My advice: avoid the corruption and deceit. Yeongwol is not hospitable towards foreigners, and Saekyung College simply lies to get what it needs...warm, white bodies in place to serve as maniquines on display for the government of Gangwon-do.

Finally, I worked there for almost one year and was unjustly dismissed in my tenth month of employment. This was done so as not to pay severance at the completion of my contract. In addition, I have had other potential applicants contact me in regards to a lack of information about this college on the internet. They have been lied to during the interview process, as Saekyung has claimed that no other foreigners have been employed at that location before. Visit the college's website. You will find white, western faces.

Distorted communication, lies, deceit, manipulated pay, non-payment for services rendered, and blackmail are all standard business tactics currently used by those in management at Saekyung College."
Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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Berlitz Moscow, Russia

Posted on the "Nominate a School for Blacklisting" section. Any comments?

"I nominate Berlitz Moscow for blacklisting since the company has advertised a teaching job in Perm, Russia for the past 2 years when no such job actually exists. This recruiting effort is a classic bait (Moscow and Perm) and switch (Berezniki) tactic, i.e.

Q. Where is Berezniki?
A. Berezniki is a small Communist mining town which is North of Perm. All teachers are recruited for Moscow or Perm and then are informed they will be going to Berezniki immediately once they arrive in Moscow. They are flown on a 1950s Aeroflot aircraft from Moscow to Perm where they are then driven 3 hours by car to Berezniki. Berezniki suffers from extreme isolation and poverty. See:

Q. Why should Berlitz Moscow be blacklisted?
A1. An instructor is expected to fulfill a rotation in the city of Berezniki for 26 weeks out of the 52-week year without prior notification (not in contract) before arriving in Moscow.

A2. An instructor is expected to fly back and forth on 1950s Aeroflot aircraft between Moscow and Perm every three weeks.

A3. Berezniki is dangerous to go out at night, as it has three local prison populations that release prisoners regularly into Berezniki. Also, Berlitz tells the instructor not to go out of the hotel.

A4. There are no laundry facilities in Perm, instructors are expected to wash all of their clothes in a bathtub and are allowed only one suitcase on the aircraft due to weight restrictions.

A5. Instructors are placed in a hotel for 3 weeks and expected to be on-call for the company across the street from the hotel from 6AM to 10PM. Most scheduled courses result in cancellations.

Q. Why am I telling us this?

A1. I witnessed at least two instructors going through severe isolation sickness; one actually was close to a nervous breakdown while I was there due to constant schedule changes and the isolation.

A2. I spent 3 weeks in Berezniki, when I returned to Moscow I confronted Berlitz Moscow management with the breach of contract and notified the consulate much to the chagrin of the company.

A3 When I quit for breach of contract, I was given my last month's pay, was driven to my apartment and told to pack immediately and I was driven to the Moscow rail station.

A3. When I informed Berlitz Moscow of the contract breach I also mentioned that I was terrified of flying 7-10 times a year on an Aeroflot 1950s aircraft; I was told to see a psychiatrist by the manager.

Unfortunately, September 14, 2008 confirmed my worst fears and made me grateful that I quit when I did otherwise I might not be here today to tell you this: i.e. Aeroflot-Nord Boeing 737-500 for Aeroflot, flight SU821 from Moscow Sheremetyevo to Perm (Russia) crashed into a railway line southwest of Perm about 3:10 AM MSK (5:10 AM local time, or 13 September 2008, 23:10 PM UTC). Perm's police said the crew attempted an emergency landing due to an engine failure. AFP reported 88 including 21 foreigners killed at 5:15 AM Perm time. See:

This is the same route that a Berlitz Instructor is expected to fly 7-10 times a year. Please stay away from this company, I personally witnessed that the center manager has no conscience and sees all instructors as her chattel. No one at Berlitz International ever answered my emails despite this horrible situation and repeated requests for assistance.

I do my research before speaking and this is what the research says about Aeroflot:

Shame on Berlitz Moscow for not honoring its contractual terms and endangering the lives of its foreign instructors with this shabby behavior and continuing to post a job in Perm that does not actually exist."

Inspector McHammered of the Lard in Pamplona, Spain
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