Collecting your pension

One thing I did not mention in my first two posts about applying for a job in Korea is that my job includes a pension plan. The pension is on top of the salary, severance pay, round-trip airfare, health insurance and furnished apartment. Not bad, eh?

The pension is called a lump-sum pension refund. If you qualify, a small amount of money is taken out of your paycheck each month and matched by your employer. Unfortunately, my British and Kiwi coworkers pay into the pension yet do not qualify to receive the pension at the end of their contracts, yet Americans and Canadians can expect to receive their lump-sum pension refund four to five weeks after ending their contract.


That is what 9 million won looks like in 50,000 won notes. Not too shabby.
That is what 9 million won looks like in 50,000 won notes. Not too shabby.

My pension is meant to be around 1.6 million won (or $1,550)**  after working in Korea for 12 months. For me, the best part about this money is that it was an added “savings” account for me. While I was able to save about 59% of my paycheck, this is added savings that I did not have to account for.

Collecting your lump-sum pension refund is easy. The woman in the office in Daegu speaks English. Some male foreign teachers have tried to snag her number, so she is good looking, too. I recommend visited the office four weeks before your flight out of Korea to give you time in case you’re missing documents.

It is an easy trip to the National Pension Service Office.

Be sure to bring:

  • Passport (original)
  • Alien Registration Card
  • Flight ticket (should be within one month of departure date)
  • If you want your money transferred into your KEB account, bring your KEB bank account passbook
  • If you want the money transferred into your home country’s bank account, bring the following information: bank’s address, phone number, account number, routing number, and a copy of a bank statement.

Where’s the National Pension office in Daegu? 
Beomeo Station (범어역), on the green line. The LIG building is between exit 1 and 4. It is a huge building, you cannot miss it.  The office is on the 11th floor.
If you want to be lazy and take a taxi (you are about to get 1.5 million won, so you can afford to splurge) Tell the taxi: 범어역 출구 1번으로 가주세요 – (Boh-Moh-Yuck-Chool-Goo-Eel-Bohn-Euh-Roh-Gah-Choo-Say-Yoh)

Phone: (053) 750-9180
Address: 11th Floor, LIG Bldg., 712 Dalgubeol-daero, Suseong-gu, Daegu


** UPDATE: In Mid-November, $1,900 was deposited into my Bank of America account.

Korea Burn


Korea Burn was held on 4th of July weekend in the town of Taean, which is on the east coast a few hours south of Seoul. I arrived late Friday night on the Enjoy Korea bus. Enjoy Korea is a solid travel company ran by an awesome American girl, Stacey. She has done a great job putting together trips and packages for low-stress, high-satisfaction fun. I highly recommend going on an Enjoy Korea trip.



The Burn was something I was really looking forward to, and it did not disappoint. My friends from Cheongju put together an awesome themed Camp of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

This incredibly talents guy made a fire breathing Jaguar Shark.
This incredibly talents guy made a fire breathing Jaguar Shark.

While costumes are not required, it is one of those things you will wish you had put some time into a costume. Korea Burn is an event where the more you put into it, the more you will get out of it. The biggest lesson from Korea Burn is BRING BUGSPRAY.


Chris ordered this headdress off of Etsy in preparation for the event.

Teaching in Sangin


My coworkers and good friend Rikus, who the students call Matt Teacher, went on vacation for a week. It was during middle school testing, which is a time I do not have classes but instead work on preparing test questions or work in my school’s publishing department.

Covering Rikus’s classes was a welcomed surprise because the students are a few years younger than my 12- to 14-year-old students. There were loads of differences between teaching these different age groups.


First, the students were incredibly kind and took the time to say hello. The students were happy, carefree, not stressed and seemed to enjoy being at academy (or at least better at hiding their dismay).

“Me! Me! Me!” was exclaimed when I asked,”Who wants to read the first paragraph?” It was a welcomed change from the middle schoolers averting eye contact when it came time to be called on.


Busking in South Korea

My friend from, Chad Huston, university sent me this video he saw it was from South Korea. I love that seeing the word Korea made think of me.

via K Mingz’s YouTube

In one year in South Korea, I rarely saw anyone playing in the subway. K Mingz seems to have a good time doing it.

As for the subway in Korea, I can’t say enough on how clean and efficient they are. I wish I could always live in a city with public transportation.

Students want soju, too.

student essay01

Essay question: What is something you want to do when you grow up? Give three reasons.

“I want to drink a sojue soju. because When I was young I drank a Beer accidenly accidentally. But It’s very delicious so when I was grow in adultup, I want to drink sojue soju or Beer. ”


written by a 13-year-old student

An artist in Insadong

During my five-day holiday, I traveled to Seoul to have a museum day, a beach day and a hiking day. On Tuesday, September 9, I set out to explore the Seoul Modern and Contemporary Art Museum and Insa-dong on my own.

After exploring the museum, I walked past Gyeongbokgung, the large palace, and one of the small gates to Insa-dong, a touristy street full of shops and many foreigners. I have visited Insa-dong before but this time was different because I was alone with no time restraints and able to take my time looking around.


 A homeless man in a bright neon vest had to move his home because a generator was on fire. There was a lot of commotion and excitement.


An artist set up a table with two red plastic stools across from him. He was asking for models to sit so he could quickly draw their face with a traditional brush and black ink on a small sheet of white paper.

I sat down and the artist smiled at me with his kind eyes. A family of four stopped to look over the artist’s shoulder as he quickly drew my face.


When he was nearly finished, his phone rang. He apologized and picked up to answer. He spoke quickly in Korean, but I recognized the word, “no” and “text.”

IMG_3313 IMG_3314

After hanging up, he finished my portrait and asked me to sign my name. He kindly allowed me to take a picture. His goal with the project is to draw one million faces. He was able to complete a face in less than two minutes until he is interrupted by a phone call, of course.


“What are you doing?”

I leave Korea in exactly two weeks and some are starting to wonder, “What are you doing?” To no one’s surprise: I’ll be traveling after my contract. Twelve weeks of solo travel to be exact.

The plan: Japan (October 7-19), Shanghai (October 19-22), flight to Bangkok on October 22. No plans from there except that I will visit: southern islands of Thailand, Bangkok and northern Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Laos and Vietnam. The lovely Jessica will be joining me from November 4 to the 14th in Thailand for ten days of adventure. Other than that, I will be trekking solo in search of the best food and experiences Baht, Yen and Kip can buy!

Map your travels.
Map your travels.

The ferry to Bijindo Island (비진도)



The early morning ferry from Tongyeong to Bijindo was 45 minutes of blissful views. With Chris’s arms around me, I knew I was living life right. I have spent the last year pushing myself to experience more and improve myself more. I’m not perfect nor is my life, but I do spend a little bit of every day improving it bit by bit. It is moments like the ones in the ferry that I am truly thankful for.


How to get to Bijindo Island (비진도):

  1. Take subway line 1, the red line, to Seobu intercity bus terminal (서부 바스 트름이나ㅣ). The Seobu intercity bus terminal is right outside of Seongdangmot station, exit number 3.
  2. Buy a ticket to Tongyeong (통영) from Seobu Bus Terminal. You cannot buy tickets online, but you can call 1330 to find out ticket times
  3. Then take the ferry from Tongyeong Passenger Port Terminal.

Tongyeong (통영)

Tongyeong (통영) is where you take the ferry to Bijindo (비진도). On Friday night, I traveled to Tongyeong, where I’d meet Chris before heading to Bijin Island Saturday morning. I heard that Gangguan harbor (강구안) is the place to walk around, eat and sleep. I took bus 101  from the Tongyeong Bus Terminal to the Gangguan harbor. The bus costs less than ₩1,500.

At the harbor, there are replicas of the turtle ships used in ancient war times. There are dozens of love motels surrounding the harbor. I recommend staying at the Theme Motel on the west side of the harbor. Chris and I had dinner at the Jungang Live Fish Market (중앙활어시장), where we picked out what fish we were going to eat. Check out pictures of our fishtastic dinner here.

IMG_3341 IMG_3342 IMG_3343

On Saturday morning, we could have walked to the Tongyeong passenger ferry terminal (여객선 터미널) but opted to take a ₩2,800-taxi to catch the 7 a.m. ferry.

I recommend arriving twenty minutes early to the ferry terminal. The terminal is a departure for nearly a dozen ferries. The hiking Koreans were clad in their uber expensive head-to-toe professional hiking gear and were eager to buy tickets. Yet, not so eager to help me. I experienced some trouble getting a ticket because the ferry was delayed twenty minutes. Thus, the Korean hikers were throwing a fit at the ticket counter. I gathered all of this from body language because no one spoke English. Thankfully, Chris and I grabbed some vanilla lattes and a spot on the 7:20 a.m. ferry heading to Bijindo.

Getting to Tongyeong: From Seobu Bus terminal in Daegu, it will take about 2 hours and 20 minutes and cost ₩13,000.

Getting to Gangguan Harbor: The local bus stop is right outside of the Tongyeong Bus Terminal. I took bus 101, but I also read that buses 10, 20, 30 and 40 (₩1,100) run to Gangguan Harbor, which is near the Tongyeong Ferry Port, where you catch the ferry to Bijindo.

Getting back to the bus terminal from Gangguan: Take local bus 501. Tongyeong Bus Terminal is the last stop.

For more information on the ferries, click here.

Seonyubong Peak in Bijindo (비진도)

We hiked to Bijindo’s Seonyubong Peak Saturday morning. With dozens of inhabited islands scattered in the ocean, this was the most beautiful places I have seen in Korea. I’d even say it was more picturesque than Jeju Island… maybe.


We met So Hye Mi and her boyfriend, Lee Chan Hee, a few times along the hike to the Seonyubong Peak. Once Chris and I arrived to the observation deck, we stopped to enjoy the views, eat some canned spicy tuna and take lots of pictures.

When Chris jumped up on this rock, So Hye Mi and her boyfriend gasped! Their eyes were wide as they were both shocked at Chris’s daring feat. Knowing Chris, the way I do, he felt like the King of the Mountain with his two admirers applauding him. If I had not had a busted hand, I would’ve been right up there with him, I’d like to add.

“Go!” I said with a smile as I motioned her to join him. So Hye Mi jumped to the chance while boyfriend was a lot more hesitant.


Chris first helped So Hye Mi up without much struggle. Her boyfriend, Lee Chan Hee, was not so lucky.


It was so funny So Hye Mi was laughing hysterically at her boyfriend’s failed attempt to ascend the rock.



Chris posed with our new friends at Seonyubong Peak. I love traveling not only for all the beautiful places you see but also for all the wonderful people you meet.