A Guide To Teaching Abroad in South Korea
South Korea has successfully made itself one of the made itself one of the most attractive places in Asia for native English speakers to teach English abroad, with a remuneration package that includes free flights and free accommodation. Fortunately, for people who decide to teach abroad in Korea, the initial incentive fronts many more reasons why it is such a great place to teach abroad. Koreans are proud of what they have created and are keen to showcase their home through friendliness, honesty, and sincerity. Ready to give teaching in South Korea a shot?
A huge positive teaching in Korea is its internal accessibility. It is not a large country, and it boasts a fantastic transport system, which means that whatever city or town you are posted to, you will not be isolated.
Seoul covers a vast area of the country and, consequently, has the most state schools and private academies. Seoul deviates from Korean culture like nowhere else in the country. It cannot be described as western, but it offers much more cross-country variation that anywhere in Korea; although great to visit, if you teach English in Seoul permanently, your sense of Korea’s own culture may get lost among the shiny lights.
Busan, 200 miles away, has a much more relaxed attitude. Still a big metropolis with jobs everywhere, it has a much more chilled out, beach atmosphere than the capital. The stretches of white sand are beautiful and, as an inhabitant, you’d have the best knowledge of when to appreciate them the most.
Teaching English in South Korea is the primary objective, but this may be dressed up in other subjects, such as math, science, social studies, art, or crafts. Private hagwons often run through textbook learning; state schools require more planning, but there are many EFL forums out there to help with this.
At state schools, vacation time is much more plentiful although still not to the same extent as the kids. Most schools offer summer camps during the holidays that state school teachers have to run, and they are sometimes required to come into school during the holidays – a term known as “desk-warming”.
State school classroom teaching time ranges from four to six hours depending on what classes there are on what day. In a hagwon, you can teach for around six hours a day. The older the Korean child, the longer they are expected to study and hagwons open until late. There are English teaching jobs in South Korea with working hours from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. or 3 p.m. to 11 p.m., which a lot of westerners find to be an exciting difference from the typical 9 .a.m to 5 p.m. block.
Salaries. You can very quickly become a Korean millionaire as an English teacher in Korea, with a monthly wage hovering around the two million Won mark, an amount that should go up with every year that you spend teaching English in South Korea.
Accommodations. Accommodation varies wildly from state school to hagwon and in city to city. What is certain is that it is free. Due to the lack of space throughout the country, South Korea has built up to accommodate its growing economy. Apartment buildings range far and wide across city skylines and it’s likely that you’ll reside in one of those. International teachers are more than likely to get an apartment on the smaller side of appropriate than on the larger side.
Visas. To live and teach English in South Korea you need an E-2 Teaching visa. It can be a long and complicated process and requires a lot of documents to confirm your validity, so get in with your early on to ensure you can complete the entire process in a timely manner.
Safety. While you are teaching English in South Korea you will not have to worry safety issues. Just be aware of your surroundings and follow your gut!
Teaching English in South Korea will open your world up to new opportunities. Not only will you gain incredible work experience, but you will also get to live in South Korea and travel in and around the country! When—scratch that—if you return home to work after teaching in South Korea, you will stand out from your peers with an impressive skill set of cultural comprehension and teaching abroad!
South Korea is known as the “hermit country”. While it is an exceptionally friendly place, it is very insular in terms of its location and often its attitudes. As a foreign English teacher in Korea, you are extremely valuable, but you will always be a visitor. Consequently, the expat community is small and made up predominantly of those who have decided to teach in Korea long-term. As a result, the camaraderie around the country between Westerners is fantastic and incredibly welcoming. Equally, the demand for native English speakers is high, in order to fill the hundreds of English teaching jobs in Korea.
Of course, there are schools out there that don’t follow the rules. Do your research well, go with an open mind, and, above all, enjoy the experience of teaching English in South Korea.
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