South Korea is not just a country of Kimchi, Samsung, Kia Motors, awesome K-dramas and K-Pop songs (think Gangnam Style!). And yes, it’s perfectly safe there, despite North Korea’s threats. Nothing like its brother country, South Korea has experienced remarkable economic growth and now becomes the fourth largest economy in Asia. It’s an exciting place with a lot going on and many job opportunities, especially for ESL teachers.
Here are 5 things you should know about teaching English abroad in South Korea:
1. Earn Your TEFL or TESOL Certificate
Depending on the English class level, prior teaching experiences might be required. Most of the times, you’d just need a bachelor’s degree and a TESOL or TEFL certificate (if your major is not Education). Taking TEFL or TESOL course may also increase your salary and put you in a better position as an English teacher candidate in South Korea.
2. Use a Recruiting Agency
Teaching private classes is illegal in South Korea. Therefore, you have two options: public schools (EPIK) or private schools (Hagwon). While it’s possible to apply to public schools in South Korea as an individual teacher, the application standards are very strict, and you must prepare all documents properly. For private schools, their preferences are unique, and some have a bad reputation for the way they treat their teachers. Thus, a recruiting agency will know which the best match for you will be and guide you through the application procedure to save you time and effort while increasing your chance of getting hired. We can help you find a teaching job in South Korea!
3. Korean Students Are Very Friendly
Korean students are often afraid of speaking out at first. They tend to be reserved and shy. However, once you create a bond with them, they are super friendly and fun to teach. In the South Korean culture, kids are extremely pressured to succeed academically. As a result, they are hardworking and often given lots of homework. However, the level of students in a class may vary a lot, which can be a bit challenging initially.
4. The Pay Is Great
South Korea is one of the best places to make money as an English teacher broad! The pay is around 2 to 2.7 million Korean Won (KRW), which equals approximately $1,750 to $2,500.
Besides, many companies, including our partner, provides an airfare allowance as well as free housing (a furnished single studio apartment). You will just have to pay for your own utilities (electricity, gas, water, Internet access, and cable TV). Upon contract completion, you’ll receive an exit airfare allowance and a mandatory severance payment (required for all employees completing a 12-month contract in South Korea), which equals one full month’s salary.
You are required to contribute 9% of your income as national pension (unless you are South African). Your school will pay 50% of this amount. However, if you are from America, Canada or Australia, you can get the entire 9% back once your contract is completed by visiting the local pension office and providing proof that you are departing South Korea. Another compulsory deduction from your monthly paycheck is Medical Insurance, which is around 7% of your salary. Again, the employer is responsible for half of it.
5. You’ve Got Plenty of PTOs
Besides Saturdays and Sundays off, you are provided with a minimum of 10 working days of paid vacation. Most public schools allow at least 18 vacation days. On top of that, there are 15 national holidays per year. According to the South Korean culture, people work even when they are sick unless it’s so serious that they cannot perform their duties. Yet public schools provide around 11 paid sick days.
Are you looking for opportunities to teach English abroad in South Korea? Check out our Teach English Abroad Facebook group for daily job listings.