Teaching English in South Korea

Teaching English in South Korea

Korea Overview

Main Cities/AreasSalary range (USD/month)
All major cities$1800 – $3000

South Korea is the most popular country in the world for many TEFL teachers. High salaries and reasonably low living costs enable many teachers to save significant portions of their wages each month. The demand for English tuition far exceeds the supply of English teachers so many contracts offer excellent employment terms and conditions such as free housing, medical, and paid airfares.

Most teachers have a great time in South Korea but others complain of an unwelcoming host culture. One thing is for sure – with so many jobs out there it is fairly simple to meet a large group of other English teachers and have a great social life.

Flag of South Korea - Wikipedia

Typical Requirements

Degree?TEFL Certification?Experience?

Public schools hire staff at the beginning of March and September. However, you need to begin the job and visa application process up to six months prior to actually starting the position. These positions are filled in a first-come, first-served basis.

Private sector schools recruit all year round but you should ideally begin the application process 4-6 months before you hope to begin.

There are lots of websites where you can make contact with other teachers in Korea. It is a great idea to get involved in a leisure pursuit outside of work in order to socialize with other foreigners.

Those wishing to teach English in South Korea need to obtain an E-2 Visa. This process takes between 6 and 10 weeks. This should all be underway well in advance of arrival in South Korea. You will also need a recent and apostilled criminal records check (known in the UK as a CRB check and in Canada as an RCMP Search), original degree certificates and transcripts (authenticated), plus a pile of passport photos for when you do arrive. Additionally, you will need two original letters of reference. Once you have arrived in South Korea you will be helped by your employer to obtain your ID card (β€˜Alien Registration Card’). You will also be required to have narcotics and HIV tests at a local hospital. Should you fail either of these tests you will be sent home and will be expected to cover any costs incurred by your employer in this whole process.

Many employment contracts include the provision of rent-free housing as part of the deal. This is because it can be quite difficult and costly for a foreigner to rent a private apartment without paying rent for a full year in advance. Transportation and local food are cheap but imported foreign food can be expensive.

Pros of Teaching in South Korea

  • There is an insatiable demand for English tuition in South Korea
  • Good salaries and benefits are the norm
  • Great social life with other English teachers

Cons of Teaching in South Korea

  • A substantial number of employers in Korea have poor reputations so thorough research is important before signing a contract
  • Employment contracts are less important in Korea than in the West so you may be unpleasantly surprised by the level of flexibility expected
  • Some teachers find Korean culture unwelcoming towards foreigners

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