South Korea Teaching English Travel Work Abroad

Teaching English in Korea: The Complete Guide for 2019

Woman reading in Korea

Teaching English overseas is likely one of the greatest methods to generate profits when you journey the world. You will expertise new cultures, meet new individuals and, most significantly, you will take an enormous, massive step outdoors of your consolation zone.

However in the event you actually need to make financial institution, it is best to critically take into consideration educating English in Korea.

South Korea has lengthy been a favourite amongst English academics due to the beneficiant salaries and job perks. Admittedly, there are some locations in the Center East that may pay you much more, however they merely can’t compete with South Korea’s cosmopolitan cities and plush nature.

For a lot of, educating English in Korea is among the greatest selections they ever made.

Positive, you must work onerous (no turning as much as classes hungover or with no lesson plan!), however educating in South Korea is deeply rewarding—from the grins in your college students’ faces to the ample journey alternatives to the hefty paycheck every month.

For those who’re able to commerce your hometown for the brilliant lights of Seoul or one in every of South Korea’s different vibrant cities, you’ll must be ready.

Right here’s all the things that you must find out about educating English in South Korea.

Teaching English in Korea: What to Know Earlier than You Go

Earlier than you even take into consideration reserving your flights, I strongly advocate securing a job in South Korea. The final thing you need is to be roaming the streets of Busan together with your résumé looking for somebody to make use of you. Get all of it sorted earlier than you go and you’ll have a a lot simpler time.

Get the Proper Qualifications

Let’s begin with the fundamentals. What qualifications do you want? South Korea actually wants English academics so the necessities are much less stringent than you may assume. However the necessities for all faculties embrace the next:

  • Citizenship from an English talking nation (U.S., U.Okay., Eire, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or South Africa)
  • A Bachelor’s diploma from an accredited school or college
  • A clear legal report, well being verify and drug check

Should you’re wanting for the higher, higher-paying jobs, additionally, you will want:

  • The completion of a 100-hour TEFL course or
  • Prior educating expertise

Teaching expertise could also be onerous to get in the brief time you have got earlier than you allow, however the TEFL isn’t. And, keep in mind, it’s completely potential to show English overseas with none expertise. You simply won’t get one of the best job.

Woman reading in Korea

Getting a TEFL helps you get a greater job.

TEFL stands for Teaching English as a Overseas Language. It’s a course you are able to do both on-line, in individual or as a mix of the 2. There are many on-line suppliers that provide reasonably priced TEFL programs.

i-to-i is likely one of the main suppliers in TEFL certifications, providing quite a lot of programs and, better of all, job help when you full your coaching.


Don’t be postpone by the prospect of 100 hours of labor. Once I did this 120-hour TEFL course, it truly solely took me 35 hours to finish!

The on-line course is the better choice as you’ll be able to full the entire course from the consolation of your property. Nevertheless, opting to undertake a minimum of a few of the course in individual offers you useful classroom expertise. It’s as much as you to determine which most accurately fits you.

Select The place You Need to Train

Public faculties in Korea are government-run and are just like the general public faculties in the U.S. There are three employers that rent academics in public faculties:

  • EPIK (English Program in Korea) is the most important employer and covers nearly all of the nation.
  • SMOE (Seoul Metropolitan Workplace of Schooling) covers the general public faculties in the capital and is probably the most aggressive program.
  • GEPIK (Gyeonggi English Program in Korea) applies solely to the Gyeonggi space outdoors Seoul.

Personal faculties (hagwons) are privately owned academies that faculty youngsters attend earlier than or after common faculty in order to enhance their English.

There are execs and cons to educating in each private and non-private faculties however the basic consensus is that public faculty jobs are higher. In fact, don’t blindly take my phrase for it. Here’s a fast breakdown of the professionals and cons of every so you can also make up your personal thoughts.

  Execs Cons Public Faculty
  • Common working hours (8am-5pm Monday to Friday)
  • 18-25 days paid trip (plus 13-15 nationwide holidays)
  • Higher job safety (hagwons can shut each time they need)
  • You’ll in all probability be the one English instructor and that may get lonely.
  • Class sizes of 30+
  • You possibly can’t select your location
Personal Faculty
  • Loads of different English academics to hang around with
  • Much less aggressive to get a job
  • Small class sizes (often lower than 15 college students)
  • Solely seven to 10 days paid trip per yr (plus 13-15 nationwide holidays)
  • Shift work that makes journey planning troublesome
  • Heavier workload than with public faculties

The place to Discover Jobs in South Korea

Upon getting ticked all the eligibility packing containers for educating English in South Korea, it’s time to start out wanting for a job. There are dozens of job boards on the market with listings of Korean faculties with vacancies. Some are higher than others, so strategy with warning.

Listed here are a few of the greatest TEFL job boards:

These job boards have postings from faculties everywhere in the world. If you discover one thing you want, ship off an software.

Make Positive You Apply on Time

Understanding when to use is vital in order to have the most effective probabilities of getting the job you need.

For personal faculties, the timing is a little more versatile. There tends to be extra jobs simply earlier than the start of semesters one and two (August and February, respectively), however there are often jobs out there year-round.

Temple in South KoreaTemple in South Korea

Which sort of faculty matches you?

For public faculties, the appliance window is narrower. Nearly all public faculties rent as much as 9 months earlier than the beginning of every semester. The first semester begins round September 1st and the second semester two begins round March 1st. This implies you possibly can apply as early as January for a September begin, or June for a March begin.

Jobs are usually allotted on a first-come-first-serve foundation. So, when you have your coronary heart set on a specific job or program, apply as early as attainable.

Determine Out How A lot Cash You Will Earn

They are saying cash can’t purchase you happiness, however I reckon there are a couple of academics in South Korea that may beg to vary. South Korea gives one of many highest English instructor salaries in the world. Usually, first-time academics make round $1,800 tax-free per 30 days. This could go up as excessive as $2,500 per thirty days for skilled academics.

Be thrifty and it can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of the yr. Alternatively, reside your yr in South Korea like royalty and get Korean fried hen delivered to your door each night time. Both means, you’re profitable.

However, a beneficiant wage is just not the one factor on supply in your educating contract. Listed here are all the opposite fantastic perks to which you’ll be entitled:

  • Return airfare to South Korea from your house airport
  • Free housing close to your faculty
  • Paid vacation (seven to 10 days for personal faculties and 18 to 25 days for public faculties)
  • Free healthcare
  • Paid sick days (the quantity varies per faculty)
  • Completion bonus (often the equal of 1 month’s pay)
  • Severance Pay
  • Renewal Bonus

Your severance pay might be given on the finish of your yr educating, as will your renewal bonus if you wish to prolong your time.

Severance Pay

That’s proper, on the finish of your contract you may be given severance pay, which is an quantity paid to an worker upon dismissal or discharge from their employment. That is often round one month’s wage, however I do know individuals who have been given as much as $5,000 on the finish of their contract.

That is the simplest cash you’ll ever earn, so cherish it. (And perhaps even use it to maintain touring round Asia!)

Renewal Bonus

Some individuals merely can’t convey themselves to go away Korea, and I don’t blame them. The individuals are nice, the meals is to die for, and the dwelling is straightforward. Each instructor could have the prospect to resume their contract when it finishes.

For those who determine to remain on for one other yr on the similar faculty, you may be given a renewal bonus of round $1,800 whenever you re-sign your contract. That’s primarily free cash.

Cheonjeyeon WaterfallCheonjeyeon Waterfall

Take that extra cash and discover South Korea.

Additionally, you will be given as much as 10 extra days paid trip per yr, however the quantity of additional days is on the discretion of the varsity. And, if that wasn’t sufficient, you’ll additionally get a increase that the varsity deems applicable.

There are additionally some faculties that provide free faculty lunches, however you’ll need to verify together with your faculty individually for this. The faculty may even help you in getting the right visa it is advisable to work and reside in South Korea.

For a deeper perception into the visa course of, check out this webpage from the Worldwide TEFL Academy.

Study Some Primary Korean

The remaining factor to do earlier than you head off for South Korea is to get a primary grasp on the Korean language. It’s a deadly mistake to imagine that everybody speaks English. You’ll wrestle in South Korea if you don’t converse no less than a little bit of Korean.

Duolingo and Memrise are two wonderful apps you possibly can obtain onto your telephone that will help you study Korean. Spend an hour or two per day on these and you’ll regularly really feel extra snug with the language. In fact, when you’re there you possibly can take your studying to the subsequent degree—immersion is the easiest way to study a language.

This may look like quite a bit to take in, however belief me once I say that it’s simpler than it sounds. The most necessary factor is that you simply give your self loads of time. Teaching English in South Korea can’t be a final minute choice. I like to recommend making use of for jobs 9 months earlier than you need to head out and completely no later than six months.

On the Floor Recommendation for Teaching English in Korea

You’ll be required to reach in South Korea round 10 days earlier than the beginning of the semester. This provides you time to settle in and to take care of orientation and coaching days. To sweeten the deal, you additionally get $300 as a settling-in allowance.

Young asian woman in Seoul Young asian woman in Seoul

Getting acclimated to your new life and position can be difficult however unimaginable all on the similar time.

So, you’re all arrange in your condominium and also you’ve labored out the quickest path to your faculty. Now what?

Get to Grips With the Teaching Tradition

The educating tradition in South Korea is totally totally different from something you’ve skilled again residence. However, it gained’t take you lengthy to know it—particularly if in case you have ever hung out educating English in Japan. Listed here are some essential pointers:

  1. There’s a LOT of strain on South Korean youngsters to excel. In reality, it’s common for youngsters to complete faculty after which go to a personal faculty in the evenings for additional tuition.
  2. Additionally it is commonplace for youngsters to remain up previous midnight ending homework. This implies your youngsters might typically lack the power to play video games all day or to interact absolutely with the teachings.
  3. South Koreans are aggressive. This may be useful whenever you’re making an attempt to encourage college students in the classroom, however it may additionally trigger college students to turn out to be shortly disheartened. The faculty system in Korea works in such a means that the majority good college students get As or good scores on a regular basis. It may be an actual shock the primary time they get a B.
  4. The educating tradition in South Korea emphasizes rote studying. In different phrases, memorizing phrases, grammar, idioms and so forth. with out a lot interplay or participation. Consequently, your college students could also be too shy to talk out loud in entrance of the category at first.
  5. Courses are combined potential. Within the US and UK, courses are sometimes separated by capability. In South Korea, no such factor exists. As a consequence, you could have a category of 40 college students, a few of whom can converse fluently in English whereas others can barely string collectively a sentence. This will make it difficult (however not unattainable) to organize lesson plans and supplies.
  6. South Korea has a really homogenous tradition. There are only a few foreigners wandering the streets and there’s a robust mentality of “fitting in.”

Some Tricks to Assist You Train in Korea

These variations sound intimidating and, at first, they are going to be. However, keep in mind, youngsters are primarily the identical all over the place in the world, it doesn’t matter what their background. They reply nicely to enthusiasm, dynamism and enjoyable.

  • To encourage your college students, give out factors for conduct, angle, participation and so on. This manner, even when they’re struggling to study English, they nonetheless have the prospect to realize factors or get excessive grades.
  • Break them into class participation gently, they may come out of their shells ultimately.
  • Calling out a scholar in entrance of the category or making them do one thing that may drive them to face out may be painfully embarrassing. Strategy this with warning.

Understanding How Korean Tradition Works

Your expertise educating English in South Korea won’t be restricted solely to the classroom. That you must perceive how life works out in the actual world.

South Korea has a really inflexible social hierarchy. It’s common to be requested your age, so individuals can work out the place you rank in contrast with themselves. Individuals of a better social standing command respect and can typically dominate conversations. This will get annoying, particularly in case you are younger, however you’ll get used to it.

Different necessary issues you need to bear in thoughts embrace the next:

  • It’s essential to take your footwear off earlier than getting into somebody’s residence; maintaining footwear on is very disrespectful.
  • Saving face is extremely essential. Koreans will attempt to keep a peaceable and cozy environment always, even when it means telling a “half truth.” Embarrassing somebody in entrance of different individuals is poor etiquette.
  • Picture is every little thing in South Korea. You’ll typically see ladies dressed in heels simply to get groceries.
  • Bowing is the usual method of greeting individuals. The larger the standing of the individual you’re assembly, the deeper your bow must be.
  • Individuals will stare at you and should even ask to take photographs of you. It isn’t meant as an insult; there simply aren’t many foreigners in South Korea, and you’re a curious novelty.

It might take me weeks to put in writing an exhaustive record of what to look out for, however these pointers are a superb place to start out. As a foreigner you may be given a whole lot of leeway in relation to social norms, so don’t fear an excessive amount of about offending individuals. By the top of your yr you’ll really feel far more snug with Korean etiquette.

Proceed Studying Korean

Keep in mind all that point you invested into studying a overseas language simply so you might journey to South Korea? Nicely, now’s your probability to apply. My recommendation is to attempt to make some Koreans associates. This isn’t straightforward, however it’s removed from unimaginable—particularly as soon as you’ll be able to converse primary Korean. It’s tempting to spend all of your time with different English audio system, however you’ll by no means enhance your Korean in case you don’t recurrently interact with locals.

You may also need to take a look at language-learning instruments reminiscent of Rosetta Stone, an award-winning language answer that mixes confirmed studying strategies and teaches you to make use of new phrases and phrases based mostly on real-world context. Rosetta Stone gives a 30-day assure that you simply’ll be studying Korean in no time.

Streets of Seoul at nightStreets of Seoul at night

Fortunately, loads of individuals in the large cities like Seoul, know English.

The extra Korean you realize, the richer your expertise in Korea will probably be. It is possible for you to to speak to Koreans and discover your metropolis’s hidden gems and native secrets and techniques. You’ll additionally achieve a deeper understanding of their fascinating tradition. Plus you’ll be capable of put “fluent Korean” in your résumé if you’re again house, which is a pleasant bonus.

Use Your Free Time to Journey

Right here’s the half you’ve been ready for. Working overseas is one of the simplest ways to generate profits when you journey. When you’re educating English in Korea, you ought to be continually planning to discover the remainder of South Korea and its neighboring nations.

Use your weekends, nationwide holidays, and paid trip to journey. You’ll be incomes greater than sufficient to take common journeys, so benefit from your ample money and time.

South Korea has a incredible practice community, so getting across the nation is straightforward and reasonably priced. From Seoul, nearly each a part of the nation is accessible by practice.

When you’ve seen every part you need to in Korea, contemplate visiting close by Japan, China, Mongolia and Taiwan. Tiger Airways, Indigo and AirAsia are nice price range airways that provide low cost flights across the space.

In fact, there are some individuals that may moderately spend all yr working and saving cash to allow them to journey long run after their yr of educating is completed. I met individuals who saved in extra of $10,000 while educating English in Korea. This allowed them to journey for a whole yr afterward with out having to work.

Tutor to Earn Additional Money

You’ll be making greater than sufficient cash out of your educating wage to cowl your dwelling prices and to save lots of. However, if you need somewhat additional disposable revenue, otherwise you merely need one thing to do together with your free time, think about personal tutoring. Korean mother and father are determined for their youngsters to get forward, so there’s all the time a requirement for personal tutors.

Seoraksan, KoreaSeoraksan, Korea

Generate income, discover a brand new nation, avoid wasting money, discover some extra… Teaching English in South Korea shall be probably the greatest life selections you can also make.

The greatest strategy to discover personal tutoring jobs is to ask round. You’ll undoubtedly encounter mother and father and adults trying to study themselves, enterprise individuals, and bored housewives who can be prepared to pay you for your providers.

Disclaimer: Personal tutoring in South Korea is technically unlawful as your visa doesn’t cowl it. Nevertheless, in case you are giving one-on-one classes and being paid money you’ll not be bothered by the authorities. For a extra complete breakdown of tutoring in South Korea, take a look at this text.

Remaining Ideas on Teaching English in South Korea

Teaching English in Korea isn’t a trip. It’s onerous work and there might be days once you need to hand over and go house.

Then there shall be days when your whole lesson plan goes out of the window, miniature satans exchange your college students, and the canteen provides you a fermented fish for lunch. It’s a must to simply experience it out.

However additionally, you will have days when your college students are nearly as good as gold. They cling in your each phrase, full their actions, and hold the quantity down.

Your coronary heart will swell with delight as they recite their new vocabulary and compete to point out you ways a lot they’ve discovered.

If you really feel such as you need to throw the towel in, keep in mind why you got here. You needed to step out of your consolation zone, immerse your self in a overseas tradition, and become profitable to journey.

You needed to make a distinction—not simply to your personal life, however to these of others. They may be misbehaving now, however your college students will keep in mind you endlessly.

Take into consideration the great days you’ve had and the even higher days which are to return when your financial institution is full and also you’re touring the world. And I assure you that for those who put the trouble into planning your classes, you’ll have much more good days than dangerous together with your courses.

In case you are wanting for a solution to make some critical cash and see the world when you’re at it, there are few methods higher than spending a yr educating in South Korea.

Do not forget to enroll for your TEFL course right here so you can also make this occur!


Are you eager about shifting overseas to show English Korea? Tell us in the feedback under!


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