BestFriend trouble! (2)

EDIT: Please mind that this post dates back to November 2012. The school has changed in a good way. They still have a few points to work on, but nobody’s perfect. Please read ‘BestFriend trouble!’ (the first post on this topic) for more details. Thank you.

It’s about a week later now, I received my refund and I learned about even more money they’re asking from me. Oh and I moved from the homestay in Anyang to a rather small studio apartment close to Yonsei University. And my plans for Japan!

First, the refund. Please read my other ‘BestFriend trouble’ post for the preceding story.

I was told that I would get 30% of the tuition fee and nothing for cancelling the apartment. Which means I got about 113.000 KRW as a refund for cancelling 1 month of class and 1 month of my apartment. This means that after calculating everything, seems I lost 1331 EUR (about 1700 USD). That’s quite a lot, isn’t it. Oh and when I went to get my refund, the English coördinator (I really hate this guy by now) told me there’s a facility fee for the apartment that isn’t included in the rent. There goes another 130.000 KRW. I guess I’ll have to work hard when I get back to Belgium. I’m guessing altogether it’s about one month salary. Oh what did I get myself into? Coming to Korea was a big mistake in the end. So because of that, I’m already making plans for going to Japan in March. ^^ But more about this later in this post.

Second, I moved from Anyang to Seoul.

The moving itself was a big hassle, I woke up early because the son of the homestay told his mother I was going to leave at 7.30. So at 7 I ate breakfast and half an hour later I was ready to go. I tried to call taxis, and a few stopped but when I told them where I had to get, the muttered something in Korean, closed their windows and took off. So after half an hour trying this in a bitter cold weather, I decided to go by public transport. 1 bus and 2 subways in rush hour with a 20 kg suitcase, you can imagine I really didn’t want to do this! But I had to, it was already 8 and class starts at 10, most of the time it takes 1h15 to get to school but with the large suitcase it would definitely take longer.

To make a long story short, the trip is best described with the following: 10-minute bus ride (really full bus, angry faces!). 2 old women telling me there’s an elevator in the subway station when I was looking at the long staircase with a very sorrowful face. Long staircase down for the platform. Waited for second subway so I could be the first to board it. Angry faces. More angry faces. And more angry faces. For 20 minutes. An old man helping me to keep my suitcase balanced on the subway. Another really long staircase down in Sindorim. And another one down. Waited for third subway because there were too many people. Boarded. Angry faces and more and more and more angry faces. (oh, all this time my feet were under my suitcase, so I had a weight of 20 kg on my feet)  Another 20-minute subway ride. When trying to get both my hand luggage and the giant suitcase up the stairs again, a Korean woman helped me by carrying me hand luggage. THANK YOU! She also helped me to get through the gate, it was a sight to see… And as you could imagine, another 2 staircases to get to street level in Sinchon. I first carried the hand luggage to the first half. Then a foreign woman asked me if she could help. We carried my 20 kg suitcase together and as we reached street level she said “How can you carry this alone?!”, I’m guessing it might be more than 20 kg! But THANK YOU to that woman too! So that’s about the end of the tough move.

After that we had about an hour of class and then our final test. Next day I got the results:

A+, yay! Interview (oral exam): 18/20. Presentation: 10/10. Attendance: 10/10. Test: 95/100. I think I did quite well for not studying. XD

After the test on Thursday, my friend helped me to get to the apartment. We got in a taxi and the driver got kinda lost so he gave us a discount at the end. Then we got to the gate, which had a number code lock, turned out the English coördinator explained wrong so it took 10 minutes to get it unlocked. Off to the basement then! When I first got the address I was on the first floor, room 105. 2 days later the room changed and I’m in the basement, room B110. That school’s management is really getting on my nerves! I mean, the basement, really? Seriously? So I don’t have any natural light and I hate artificial light. Here are some pictures:

It’s really small for what I paid. If I could have cancelled with a refund, I would’ve done so! But yeah I’ll have to stay here for one month now.

Third, my plans for Japan.

I really really really want to go to Japan now. I’m sad and angry at myself for changing my plans of going to Japan, just because of the money. And now I even lost money, so I could’ve gone to Japan for the same money… But there’s no way of turning back time so I’ll have to get through this now…

So for Japan: I’m thinking of going to GENKIjacs in Fukuoka for one month and then WWOOFing, to cut the costs. WWOOF simply explained? Work 6 hours a day, get housing and food in return. Pay only 5.500 JPY (53 EUR, 68 USD) for one year membership. Sounds good, right? And you can choose how many days you want to work at one place and then you can move to another place to do something else. So this way I can experience what life is really like in Japan and I can see different places. For no money! I’m still looking into all WWOOF hosts, because there are so many! Once I know more about this, I’ll certainly update about it!

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15 thoughts on “BestFriend trouble! (2)

  1. Thank you so much 🙂 I don’t really like the “repeat and don’t think” method as well, so I might have to reconsider my decision. Can’t wait to hear your friends’ opinions on BestFriend 🙂

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    • This is what one of my friends says:
      “about Best Friend… it is very bad place! now I study korean at the university and I am really happy ! Here very very good teachers and programme!!!” (I think she’s in Seoul University now)

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    • My other friend said this:
      “I study at Yonsei and it’s a lot of grammar and studying every day. When i look back at the lessons at best friends i now consider them as a joke lol. Yonsei is good but I think Ewha and Sogang is better for improving speaking. I don’t feel like my speaking-skill has improved that much. If I would change now I think I would change to Sogang! But what do I know hehe.”
      And the third one said:
      “I think study in university is a lot better~~”

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      • Hi! Sorry, I have a couple more questions. 🙂 Just wanted to know how you would rate Best Friend’s services? I mean, I’m currently corresponding with them via email and they seem quite grumpy and not really helpful. What’s your experience with them? Thanks in advance 🙂

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      • No problem!
        Yes, their service is not great. Are you corresponding in English? The English person’s English is terrible, he doesn’t understand anything you ask or say, and doesn’t even listen to any problems… I wouldn’t rate their services high, they didn’t really help me and the only thing they really wanted to do was keep me there. They didn’t care about my opinion or my problem, the only important thing for them was to keep me in the school. My friend said that guy’s a jerk.
        I’m now in a school in Japan and I can tell you, this school is at least a hundred times better than BestFriend.

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  2. I am about to enroll for a course with BestFriend and was searching for reviews about it when I saw your blog. Objectively speaking, would you still recommend that I push through with my plans? I really want to learn Korean…

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    • Hi! I would personally not recommend the school, but I don’t know any other/better schools. The method of teaching is in my opinion terrible, you don’t learn how to use the language, you only repeat what the teacher says. I think this method is more focused on Asian students. Also the management of the school is really poor. If you would want to learn Korean long term, I would recommend a university instead of a language school. They are more expensive but I think it’s worth paying more there.
      My classmates from BestFriend are now all enrolled in a university to learn Korean. They weren’t really happy with BestFriend either and quit soon after I did. If you would like opinions about the universities they are enrolled at, I could send you some contact details.

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      • Thanks for replying. I’m Asian so do you think the teaching method would suit me? Would appreciate also if you can send me some contact details. Thanks again!

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      • Hmm, in my opinion the ‘just repeat and don’t think’-method doesn’t really work to learn a language anyway. But if you think that this method suits you, then I think it will be good. I’m used to learning by using the language and by really having to think about it myself, so for me it wasn’t a good way to learn the language.
        I will ask my friends and will give you their details as soon as possible. You can also ask their opinion of BestFriend of course!
        You’re welcome 😉

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  3. Pingback: BestFriend Center and introduction to Sinchon-dong | yoooya

  4. Pingback: BestFriend Center en kennismaking met Sinchon-dong | yoooya

  5. Yikes, yeah. It is cold in Korea this time of year! In Japan it’s a little warm yet~
    Lots of angry faces on the trains, but lots of kindly elderly folks, too! 😀 That’s great! Could they speak English, or did you speak in Korean?

    I’m in Fukuoka but I’ve never heard of GENKIjacs. A friend of mine did WWOOFing a few years back in Japan. Seemed pretty cool, if not without it’s awkward points living with the family and such. But it’s a pretty neat idea all in all, I think!

    Anyway, if you have any general questions about coming over to Japan, lemme know~ ^^

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    • Temperatures are okay for me, for some reason it still feels like it’s too warm for me… 😮
      Hmm the Korean people who helped me didn’t really say anything at all, they just helped! 😀
      Oh really? It’s the first language school I found haha! Yeah living with people you don’t know might be awkward but I think it might turn out really nice too! That’s why I would like to try it, to get to know Japanese culture and how people really live! 🙂 Yeah it gives me a lot of opportunities! ^_^
      Sure, thanks! It’s good to know a gaijin in Fukuoka! 😀

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