TEACHING ESL IN KOREA: FAQ

I've got plenty of questions about teaching in Korea, so here is a blog post answering frequently asked questions I've received. 

 My kindergarden class prepares for their performance of "The Ugly Duckling" at their graduation!

My kindergarden class prepares for their performance of "The Ugly Duckling" at their graduation!

Where do I look for English teaching jobs in Korea?

Dave's ESL Cafe is an excellent resource. You can check it out here: http://www.eslcafe.com/

Personally, I applied for jobs through a recruiter called Korjob Canada, which you can check out here: http://www.korjobcanada.com/

What qualifications do you need to teach English in Korea?

Firstly, you need a bachelor's degree from a native English speaking country. For example, Canada, America, U.K, Australia and New Zealand. An education related degree (i.e bachelors of education) and/or TEFL/TESOL qualifications is preferred. The TEFL/TESOL certifications qualify you for teaching English abroad, however it is not necessarily mandatory. I do not have TEFL/TESOL qualifications and still got my job in Korea, so it really depends on your experience, and ultimately how you sell yourself in the interview.

How long are ESL teaching contracts?

Typically, they are one year in length. I've heard of 6 month contracts, but they are quite rare. Make sure you can commit to a full year, as you are in a binding contract. If you decide to break the contract early, you will likely have to pay a fee (i.e recruiter fee, airfare etc).

Do you need a visa to work in Korea?

Yes! Canadians need an E-2 visa, in which your employer will sponsor. Therefore, you cannot apply for an E-2 visa until you have an offer of employment. I will do a separate blog post on how to acquire an E-2 visa for Canadians, so check back soon!

What are the benefits of teaching ESL in Korea?

The main benefits that attract teachers to Korea are competitive salaries, free housing and free airfare to Korea from your home country. More importantly, it offers an opportunity to work abroad, gain experience in the field of education and gain cultural knowledge. For me, the best benefit is being able to relive my childhood through my students! 

What is the cost of living in Korea?

In comparison to Canada, the cost of living in Korea is quite low. I stick to a monthly budget of approximately 400,000 won/month on food, transportation, leisure and shopping. That is approximately $450 CAD/month. On average, Korean meals are about 2,000-8,000 won, depending on where you go. However, Western restaurants and Western fast food chains are typically more expensive than authentic Korean restaurants. 

Can you save money teaching ESL in Korea?

I'd be lying if I said the salary wasn't a large factor in my decision to work in South Korea. I can honestly say I am able to pay my student loan, travel, and save a good chunk of money while teaching in Korea. Buy a cute book, make a budget and plan out your finances. Don't underestimate your desire to travel, however. Be honest with yourself and set aside part of your salary for holiday trips and that potential backpacking trip you're planning at the end of your teaching contract.

Do you like Korea?

I LOVE KOREA. It is definitely one of the coolest countries I've travelled to, in terms of culture. Despite the language barrier, the culture is DOPE to say the least and it's never a dull moment. What excites me most about Korea is the abundance of mountainous views, hiking trails and, more importantly, the fashion! 

I hope this FAQ helps! If you have anymore questions, feel free to comment below and I'll be happy to answer them.

Peace, Love & Happy Travelling!

- Brady.