Chances are if you’re here, your hagwon boss gave you a little piece of paper that looks a little bit like this.
Held annually by regional hagwon associations (and not metropolitan offices of education), this Saturday seminar is held with the hopes of educating foreign teachers about life in Korea. Unfortunately, the only thing teachers learn is why not to attend the seminar in future years. Here are some questions and answers from my experience with the Gyonggi Seminar For Foreign English Instructors.
What is it?
It’s an un-paid Saturday seminar that your hagwon is required
Is it required by law?
Absolutely not. From extensive research, there are no laws backing this up, it’s just a flat out lie.
Will it affect my visa if I don’t go?
Not a chance.
If it’s not required by law, and it won’t affect my visa, why should I go?
Most hagwons in a specific area belong to a regional hagwon association. These organizations dictate that each school should send a representative (or a few) to this seminar. If a school fails to do this, the school can face fines. While you are well within your rights to refuse, be aware that your boss may seek revenge for not attending – as it’ll likely cost them money and face.
Here are some things to expect from the “mandatory” seminar:
- There will be an entrance fee (usually around 10,000 won)
- You’ll hear a large amount of nationalistic propaganda (and anti-Japanese comments)
- You will have to have a piece of paper signed saying that you attended for the full amount of time
- You will receive a presentation on how to apply for an E2 visa, given entirely to a room of people who have previously applied for, and currently hold, E2 visas
- An enormous amount of spelling errors in provided materials
If you’re still wondering, here’s a reddit thread discussing the subject.