Teaching / Living in Korea

Why would I want to teach in Korea?

South Korea is a hotspot for Asian culture and offers a rich experience. At the intersection of cutting edge culture and steeped in history and tradition it is the perfect place to explore, work and live. Teaching in Korea allows teachers to explore a new culture; including a multitude of different foods, traditional and nontraditional venues and various other experiences. In addition, many teachers find teaching in Korea attractive because of the provided housing, very affordable living conditions and the fact that you are a hop, skip and jump away from other Asian countries.

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Who will I be teaching?

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What is great about Korea is the variety and diversity of teaching positions that are available. These include teaching young children, teenagers and even adults. If you have a business background, maybe teaching adults at one of the many Korean conglomerates will be for you. If you have an education background, maybe teaching children or teens is more your fit. The wonderful thing about the Korean ESL market is how many different opportunities are available to you!

Tell me more about the different types of schools.

Public Schools

Are schools that are run by the government. These schools only interview candidates that are currently located in Korea. However, these jobs tend be a little rarer than private schools or hagwons. Typically, public schools have regular work hours 9-5 Monday-Friday and have about 6 weeks’ vacation.

Academy (Hagwons)

Are privately run companies that provide supplemental education to students. Hagwons hours of operation can vary depending upon what time of year it is, what you are teaching and who you are teaching.

Preschool/Kindergarten programs – Usually from 9/10am until 6pm.
Elementary – HS student programs – Usually from 1pm until 9pm.
Adult (Business English) – Split shifts. Would look like 5:30am – 9am, 5pm-   10pm

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Am I required to have a TEFL certificate or education background?

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It is a common misconception that it is required to have a TEFL certificate or education background to t each in Korea. The only thing required of teachers is a bachelor's degree in any discipline from an accredited university as well as a clean FBI background check. However, having a TEFL certificate or Bachelor’s degree in Education will open a few more doors for you.

Where will my housing be? How much will I get paid?

Most schools will provide a single room furnished apartment that will be within walking distance of the school itself. Korea has a fast, efficient and timely public transportation that allows you to get to the school quickly if it is not within walking distance. Most teachers start with a salary around $2000-$2500 USD per month. Additional benefits include

 Airfare (Flight reimbursements)
 Free accommodation
 Minimal tax burden (For Americans at least)
 Health insurance
 Pension

What about weekends? After I’m done teaching for the day?

South Korea offers a burgeoning cultural, artistic and nightlife scene that will cater to anyone's needs and curiosities. The food scene in Korea is as diverse as anywhere you will see, mixing traditional Korean fare, fusion food, Mexican, Turkish, American….you name it, Korea most likely has it. Koreans also produce and consume various mediums of art such as the theatre, musicals, movies and concerts. Lastly, Korea is a great spot for nightlife. Whether enjoying your favorite beverage of choice at a watering hole with expats in Itaewon, enjoying world famous DJ’s at clubs in Gangnam, or exploring century old palaces near City Hall, there is something for everyone


The climate of South Korea has 4 seasons with cold winters and hot, wet summers. In Seoul, the average January-low temperature is -2.5°C (28°F) while the average August-high temperature is 29.5°C (85°F).

South Korean won ( 1 USD around 1100 KRW)
- Coins: ₩100, ₩500
- Banknotes: ₩1000, ₩5000, ₩10000, ₩50000
- Usually teachers bring 500 USD for their first   month, however if you are coming early, you
  might need to bring more.

You can get everything in Seoul but sometimes a few things are hard to get and might be a little expensive.
- American toothpaste (Korean toothpaste does not   contain fluoride)
- Roll on/stick deodorant (Very hard to find for men)
- Herbal supplements / medicine or prescription   bottles (WARNING: bringing opiates or benzos can   be dangerous as most are against the law in Korea,   it's suggested that you contact the Korean   consulate to see what is permitted)