Teach English in South Korea
Are you, like the rest of the world, becoming obsessed with South Korean culture? Maybe you don’t know what all the fuss is about but you’re curious? Either way, South Korea is smack bang in the middle of a cultural revolution that is putting it in the worlds spotlight, so why not choose now to uproot and check it out for yourself? It isn’t just the recent developments that make South Korea a great choice for ESL teachers. This beautiful country is steeped in thousands of years of a mystical history, and is now one of the biggest employers of English teachers in the world. There has never been a better time to teach English in South Korea.
Cities Spotlight – Seoul, Incheon and Busan
Let’s start with Seoul. This enormous mega-city is usually the first choice for English teachers, and anyone who has ever seen a K-drama probably dreams of visiting Seoul. The sprawling city is an explorer’s paradise, taking at least three hours to get from end to end and holding more bars, restaurants, concert halls, dance studios, temples and shops than you will ever be able to visit in your lifetime. Living in the towns just outside of Seoul is a preferable option for those who don’t enjoy the crowded city vibes, but who still want to benefit from the crazy Korean nightlife. The outskirts are also cheaper, although they aren’t as bustling. Seoul has literally everything to offer, from history and incredible Korean food to nightlife and entertainment, you’ll never run out of ways to fill your days here.
The second choice for many is Incheon. Located about 2 hours away from Seoul, Incheon allows residents to experience the best of both worlds and then some. The travel options from Incheon are endless, so if you’re looking for weekend getaways then this is the place for you. The ultra-modern city is home to a huge bus station and international airport, meaning you can take a bus a few hours in any direction around South Korea or fly over to China and Japan whenever you like. Transport is very cheap inside Korea, so getting around won’t break the bank either. Incheon also has enough to keep you entertained, without the cost or crowds of Seoul.
Busan is for those who want to enjoy the coastal life in Korea. Still only a three-hour bus journey to Seoul, Busan is located in the South and is famous for its beaches and mountains, where you can find traditional temples galore. You’ll also find hot springs, fantastic sea food and cultural hotspots in this colourful, slightly eccentric seaside city.
Korean food is known for its saucy, spicy taste but there is much more on offer than just Kimchi. The Koreans have a big food and drink culture that consists of stews, noodles, rice dishes and an insane amount of meat. Korean barbeque cannot be beat, and the restaurants are around every corner. Eating and drinking can be incredibly cheap if you eat like a local too and especially once you get out of Seoul you can eat out every day, trying all these incredible dishes, and not feel a hole in your pocket. Get ready to share food as meal times are a big time for bonding in this country, with many dishes only being available in group sizes. It’s not uncommon to even find yourself eating from the same bowl as someone else. Koreans do a lot of business over food as well, so don’t be surprised if your employer asks you out for a welcome dinner as soon as you arrive.
If you don’t already know something about Korean culture you must have been living under a rock for the last few years. Korean entertainment is now the country’s biggest export and money maker, with K-pop, K-drama and K-beauty products being consumed worldwide. This is of course only one part of Korean culture, but it is a pretty big one! K-Pop is played constantly while you’re out and about so if you’re planning on moving you should find yourself a playlist before you arrive to better acquaint yourself with the sound. Despite the eccentric reputation of the entertainment industry, Koreans themselves are quite calm individuals. Like many Asian countries, they have a respect for family, their elders and traditions that date back thousands of years. That’s not to say they don’t know how to let loose though, as Koreans enjoy a drink and a party more than most. This is reflected in their amazing nightlife, and they have many festivals and celebrations every year that cannot be found anywhere else. Fear not though, traditional Korean architecture can be found all around the country and even in Seoul, where you might stumble on beautiful traditional neighborhoods right out of a history book.
There is an incredible amount of jobs on offer in Korea at the moment, not to mention online opportunities which can fund you while you explore this beautiful country. The expansion of the entertainment industry into the Western world means that more and more people want to associate with the West and learn how to speak English so now is the perfect time to apply. Salaries can range anywhere from $1300-$3100 a month depending on where you end up teaching but many people opt for the public schools as they tend to have a bit more of a structured system and teaching aid on offer. Private schools will offer more money but can have a bit more of a hectic schedule, and if you have a fair bit of experience then University jobs are a coveted position salary and time wise. Students are friendly and respectful, not to mention very eager to learn English and share with you what makes Korea so interesting to them.
Native speakers with a TESOL certificate are required to teach English in South Korea and most schools will require you to have a bachelor’s degree. It’s better to get a job before you arrive as many schools will pay for your flight, but if you cannot wait then jobs are advertised locally too. Job boards are absolutely flooded with Korean vacancies so it isn’t hard to find a job that might fit your qualifications, however if you don’t have the time, energy or money to do a bachelor’s degree, then online teaching is the perfect way to earn money and explore here as transport is so affordable.
Your school will deal with organizing your work visa before you arrive if you meet all the correct criteria. Korea actually has a teaching visa that you can apply for if you have a bachelor’s degree, pass a health test, have a clean criminal record and are from a list of countries that have English as a first language including India if you have a teaching qualification there. If you cannot get a teaching visa, a tourist visa lasts for 3 months, which gives you plenty of time to explore and teach online.
Jump on the cultural bandwagon before it’s too late and move to Korea to experience a cultural phenomenon that is taking over the world before your very eyes. There are millions of schools, academy’s, cram schools and universities screaming out for native speakers, so if you’re looking for a unique slice of an incredible Asian culture, Korea is the place for you. With plenty of ESL job opportunities available and a bucket list to see and do, get started today. You can chat with one of our friendly staff about your next move and Teach English in South Korea.