When in Korea

The Fake Foreigner. Three Schools.

Timothy Tang. The fake foreigner.

Born in Singapore. Raised in Vancouver, Canada. University of Victoria graduate.

The term fake foreigner is an inside joke that Timothy’s former colleagues in one of the elementary schools he taught at labelled him with.

The term describes someone who seemingly looks like a local, but is actually not from that city. Timothy, being a Chinese Canadian, fits the description, causing a lot of confusion for Koreans since he arrived in December 2015.


Before leaving his coastal seaport city for South Korea, the 24-year-old shares of the nerve-racking wait he had to endure.



Timothy was fortunate enough to have a smooth sailing experience when settling into Korea.

However, Timothy’s teaching situation was unique. It is not common to land a teaching position like Timothy did. It did take Timothy some time to wrap his head around it.

Timothy taught at three elementary schools in a rural city called Sacheon (사천 시). They were Nosan Elementary School (노산 초등학교), Samcheonpo Elementary School (삼천포초등학교) and Sinsudo Elementary School (신수도 초등학교).



Class sizes, duration of lessons and English curriculum were distinctive differences between the three schools.



Learning to adapt to your situation is a big piece of advice that Timothy emphasises when one looks at what his teaching situation was.

He adds to it by sharing a couple more tips from his time teaching in Korea.



The teaching system in Korea is not the only difference when comparing to Canada. Being a north American, one thing he will miss from Korea is not tipping in restaurants.



One of Timothy’s hobbies while living in Korea was learning the language. He shares that studying the language did make him grow a deeper interest in re-learning Mandarin.



Timothy’s teaching contract in Sacheon city ended at the end of November 2016. He has returned to Vancouver and plans to study teaching at the University of British Columbia this winter.


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