FAQs About Teaching English in South Korea

I get asked an awful lot of questions about teaching English in South Korea and on this page, I have tried to compile my answers into a coherent list so that it helps people to get the job they want in South Korea. All of the advice from my How to Teach English Abroad is still applicable to South Korea and I highly recommend reading that post before you go into the specifics of applying for a job in South Korea. If there is anything missing below or my answers are incorrect, please contact me or comment at the end of the article and I will amend this page accordingly. I hope that you find it of some use.

I spent a year teaching at a hagwon in Daegu and all of my advice is based upon my own experiences. I got the job by applying directly to the school though an advertisement that I saw online.

How Can I Get a Job Teaching English in South Korea?

Read this post about finding teaching jobs in Korea.

How Did You Find a Job Teaching in Korea?

Read this post about finding teaching jobs in Korea.

Where Can I Find a Job Online Teaching English in South Korea?

Is it Better to Apply for a Job Directly or Use an Agency?

Is ketchup or mayonnaise better? Both have their benefits. If you apply for a job directly, you may be able to negotiate working conditions with the employer while if you apply through an agency, they do most of the hard work for you, but are less flexible. Try both, see which works out.

How Much Should I Hope to Get Paid Teaching English in South Korea?

As a first time teacher, try to aim for 2.1 million won a month (or more). I got 2.2 as a first timer with no teaching qualifications. If you also have a TEFL, aim for 2.3.

Is There an Agency That You Would Recommend?

I am currently working with this agency to help place potential teachers in Korean schools. Fill out the form or take a look around the web by searching on Google and then judge based on how efficient they are and how professional they seem.

Do I need to speak Korea to teach English in Korea?

No, not at all. If you want to learn Korean, it will help with your day to day life, but it is not necessary. Here is a Korean language course to help kick start your learning if you so choose.

How Do I Avoid Being Scammed by a School / Know That it is Reputable?

Search through forums online and see what other people say about it. Also ask if you can have the email addresses of previous teachers so that you can email them and ask about the school. If you can’t find any information online, it may be a dodgy deal. If it’s a chain, it will have a reputation to keep up and is likely to be reputable.

Is South Korea Dangerous?

South Korea is one of the safest countries I have ever been to (I don’t keep a list, but I move about a lot). Although I had two bikes stolen, I never felt threatened and as far as I am aware (I may be wrong), South Korea has a very low rate of violent crime.

How Much Money Can You Save in South Korea as an English Teacher?

This depends completely on your lifestyle and whether or not you teach extra private (illegal) classes. See my .pdf detailing pay for English teachers across the world and how much they can save. In summary, Korea is one of the best places to go to save money (THE best in my opinion if you don’t have teaching certificates and years of experience). Here’s a rough estimate: You get paid 2.2 M a year, plus a bonus of 2.2M upon completion of contract and your tax is around 3.5% (assuming you cancel your medical insurance and pension payments- note: get travel insurance to cover your medical expenses). Your apartment is free, as are your flights. That means you will earn around 27.6 M in a year (over £16,000 as of September 2013). You will save as much as you don’t spend on eating, drinking, and going places. How much beer and soju are you going to drink?

Will I get a Free Apartment?

Yes, you should. I wouldn’t take a job that doesn’t offer either a free apartment or a housing allowance (you may have to pay a large deposit if you sort the apartment out yourself).

Will the School Pay for My Airfare?

Yes (unless they aren’t worth working for). However, you may have to pay it in advance and they will refund you as you reach the 6 and 12 month marks. This stops people turning up for a week, deciding that they don’t like Korea, and then disappearing again.

Where is the Best Place to Live in South Korea?

Do you want chocolate or cheese with that?

Are There Many Other Foreign Teachers In South Korea?

Hundreds. Maybe thousands. In most towns, they are very easy to find (easier outside of Seoul which is MASSIVE).

I’m a Non-Native Speaker: Can I Get a Job Teaching English in South Korea?

With a lot of difficulty. The problem lies with the visa issuing office. Contact agencies and see what they say. This is a silly pre-requisite and I hope that it changes soon.

Can I Get a Job Teaching English in South Korea Without a Degree?

In short, I don’t think so. However, I know of one person who turned up at the age of nineteen, without a degree, and found work for a couple of months.

Will My Job Be Safe?

Do research about your company online. If you do this properly, you can find a safe company. Most people keep their jobs for the duration of their contracts although I had a few friends who were screwed over by their schools.

As I’m Only Signing a 12-Month Contract, Will I lose My Job in One Year?

Probably not. If everything is going well, they will offer you a new contract. However, most people choose to change schools every year for better working conditions or for variety.

Do I Need a Teaching Certificate to Teach English in South Korea?

No. But it helps (a little). I don’t have one and most people I knew in Korea didn’t have teaching certificates.

Do I Need a TEFL to Teach English in South Korea?

Yes and no. You need a TEFL to work for a government school, but you don’t need a TEFL to work for a private hagwon. However, having a TEFL might improve your chances of getting a job and increase your salary. I missed out on an extra $100 a week because I didn’t have a TEFL. You can get a TEFL here.

Should I Get a Job in Advance or Just Turn Up in Korea and Find One?

If you have the money, just turning up (while applying online) will offer you the best pay opportunities and working conditions as you will be in the country and can meet schools in person, so they will take you seriously… however it may take time to do and you may end up running out of money if you don’t have a good grounding. Applying in advance is the safer way to do it. If I had the cash and wanted to go back again, I would just turn up and use my friend network to find out about new potential jobs. Teacher community pages in SK on FB have some awesome people who might be willing to help you out.

When Is the Best Time to Apply for Teaching Jobs in South Korea?

If you want a government job (lower pay, but stable job), you have to apply through EPIK or GEPIK at the right time of the year. If you go for a hagwon (my preference), you can apply anytime as they take teachers on year round, depending on when the previous teachers leave.

Do Potential Employers Prioritise Younger Applicants Over Experience?

As far as I am aware, no, but most of the people teaching in Korea range from early twenties to thirty something. The demographic may simply be due to the lifestyle choice of moving half-way across the world to teach English suiting younger, ‘more adventurous’ people.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Job Teaching in South Korea?

It depends how lucky and picky you are. You could have a job within days if you’re flexible.

How Long does it Take to Get a Korean Visa?

When I had all the documentation (criminal checks, notorised degree, invitation from the school, etc), it took less than a week. These times may vary, so check with the Korean embassy in your part of the world.

I’m Vegetarian / Vegan: Will it be Difficult to Live in South Korea?

Yes. However, I am also a vegetarian and lived in Korea for a year without giving it up. Check out this really useful page about how to be vegetarian / vegan in South Korea.

Is There Anything That You Would Recommend Doing in South Korea?

Yes. Try this list of ten things to do in South Korea. If you go to Daegu, here are my favourite five things to do for free.

What Are the Benefits of Teaching English in South Korea?

They are so numerous that I wrote a whole separate article about them. Here is my selection of ten benefits of teaching English in South Korea.

Would You Go Back to Teach There Again?

No. My life has changed and I am pursing a different path. However, I did originally write an article titled Why I Will Never Go Back to Teach English in South Korea although my reasoning now is different: ‘I don’t want a regular, stable job’ now sums it up in the fewest possible words. UPDATE: I am going back to Korea (but not to teach).

Will I Get Taxed by Korea or My Home Country?

As you are granted a work visa, you are treated the same as everyone else in Korea so you pay Korean taxes. Typically this amounts to about 4-7% of your salary. Certain countries allow you to register as a non-resident and therefore become tax exempt, but I don’t know very much about this.

Can I Choose Which Currency I Get Paid In?

You are paid in Won, direct to your Korean bank account (which your school will help you set up when you arrive). To transfer it out of the country, you simply go to the bank and pay the transfer fee. With the bank I chose, I got charged about 30,000 Won each time I made a transfer and the money would take a few days to reach the UK.

Can you get me a job teaching English in South Korea?

No. I have lost count of how many people ask me this.

Should I go to South Korea to teach?

Only you can decide.

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I hope that this page has been of some use to you. Once again, if you feel that any of the above information is inaccurate or that there is something missing, please comment below. As I was only a teacher for one year in South Korea, my knowledge is limited.

If you are interested in learning more about teaching English in South Korea, you may also be interested in reading Steve Bass’ books about teaching English in Korea – Please note, I am not responsible for any of the content of these productions, I merely offer links to them as a resource in the hope that they answer questions and provide information that I cannot:

Teaching English in South Korea Warnings and Cautions – Pitfalls and Opportunities – Know Before You Go!, Guidelines for Conducting Background Investigations, Language Institute and University Employment Contracts. All 3 books are available for US$24.95 individually or together for a total of US$28.95

144 Comments

  • Hi Jamie

    As I mentioned in an earlier message, I lost my BA papers and transcripts. unfortunately, to make matters worse, my university in the UK cannot issue a replacement copy, as they cannot find my records. I graduated in the early 1990s before records were digitized. Now, I have finally managed to enroll for an MA program in education at a reputable online university. I also hold an F6 visa. Now, would I be able to find a teaching job in Korea using my letter of admissions and my F6 visa? I have nearly 12 years of teaching experience teaching ESL/IELTS/TOEFL at a reputable language school in Canada. Thanks Jorgen

    • Yes, that is most unfortunate. It seems ridiculous that a university can lose an individual’s records, but I suppose things were harder before we went digital. Unfortunately I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I saw you applied through the application form on my website – Joseph will be able to answer all your questions and hopefully help you out. Good luck!

  • Hi Jamie, thank you for all the information you have provided. I was wondering if i would be able to teach English in Korea legally if I am a US citizen with a 2 year associates degree, TEFL certificate, fluent in Korean and English, and holding a f4 visa? It is my understanding for a work visa you could need to have a BA, which I do not have. Thank you again!

  • Hi Jamie. Your blog is very informative. I am an Indian housewife living in busan. Can I have a chance to get a job. Please reply me.

    • Unfortunately for the visa you need to hold a passport from an English speaking country. If you already have entitlement to live and work in Korea, you may be able to find work however.

  • Hi Jamie,

    I want an adventure and I have the necessary degrees, but I only want to be abroad 6-8 months. Are one year contracts the only option for future teachers?

    • One year contracts are the norm. I met only one person in Korea who was on a six month contract compared to hundreds who were on twelve month contracts. If you are willing to look at other countries, you might find something. Good luck.

  • Excellent Blog Jamie !!! I have been searching for answers to a few questions: do I bring a laptop to teach English – will it make lesson planning easier?
    I am US passport, 40yo male, masters degree (in Chinese Medicine – and have taught at several universities in the US), and vegetarian – which is how I came upon your blog. I want to travel, and teach to stretch out my small bank account. the hurdle I am trying to get over is how to do the visa thing best. first is a few months in India – I will get this visa from USA. then, I wanted to visit and hope to teach in Taiwan, which I hear can be difficult, and requires a visa from abroad, as in I cannot get one while in country. I was thinking of going to South Korea for the ease of startup. and Japan is on the list too.

    This is just to keep options open, as I know plans can change when traveling. If I want to see a few places before committing to a job offer unseen, do I need to get all these visas from home? is it possible to get them from there? I know these questions are answered on the internet with some persistence, but we share some values, and I want your take. Do I spend hundreds of dollars (most of it waiting for visas in the US), or just go and hope that it will pan out? I don’t want to have to fly back to the US for a visa, but want to have open options in case political climates become less than favorable. any advice? thanks!

    • Hello, Andy. In my experience, you don’t need a laptop, although you can bring one if you wish. My school provided me with a laptop to use at school. I mostly used it for filling time and downloading the odd material to use in class – I did most of my lesson planning on paper.

      In terms of finance, South Korea is a great option – you can get a job lined up and when you arrive you have an apartment and job all set up for you. My knowledge of teaching in Japan or Taiwan is non-existent, so I can’t help there, sorry.

      As I understand it (and I might be wrong), you can get a Korean visa from any Korean embassy outside of Korea. However, you will need to make sure that you have all appropriate documentation (background checks, notorised degrees, transcripts, etc). For the correct answer please get in contact with Joseph here and he will be able to help you out as it is his job and he is very knowledgable.

      I hope it all works out and the best of luck with both your teaching and travelling.

    • Just found this: “In general, all new applicants must submit the E2 visa application to the Korean embassy/ consulate in their home country.” Once again though, please get in contact with Joseph using the previous link and he will be able to answer your question.

  • Hi
    I’m a highly experienced teacher from Canada. I’ve been teaching English in Europe and Canada for nearly 14 years. I taught IELTS/TOEFL as well as ESL at a highly reputable school in Toronto for over 8 years. Now, unfortunately, I have lost my university papers (BA) and my workplace also seems to have lost their copy during their office relocation. I contacted my university in the UK, but they say they do not have access to my records, as I graduated back in the early 90s. I need to add that my teaching qualifications are excellent (Based on my students’ feedback and my personal and professional evaluations). My classes have had a very high success rate. My wife, who is Korean, and I are planning on moving to South Korea, so I will hold an F6 visa. Now, I was wondering, considering my degree problem, would I be able to land a teaching job? Thanks.

  • Hi. I’m from America but I’m currently enrolled at Seoul National University. I heard that to teach English you have to have a degree from a country like America, England, and Australia, to teach English here. Is that true? Or can I teach with a degree from a Korean university?

    • For standard jobs I believe that you are correct with needing a degree from an English speaking country. There might be other ways to find employment in Korea with a degree from a Korean university – get in touch with Joseph here and hopefully he can help you out.

  • Hi Jamie, not sure if this has already been asked but I don’t have a 4 year degree. I dropped out a couple years ago to travel, but I do have my TEFL cert. I have heard conflicting information on whether i HAVE to have a degree to teach in South Korea or not. Can you help with the confusion?

    Vic

    • As far as I am aware, you need a degree equivalent to a Bachelor degree in order to be granted a work visa in South Korea. You can find jobs in China without one however. This apply for jobs page might help. Best of luck to you.

  • Hi Jamie,

    After reading your blog, it really got me excited at the prospect of moving overseas to teach in Korea. However, I do have some doubts that you may help to clarify. I am a Portuguese citizen who is finishing his’ masters from the university of Southampton and has been living in the UK since the age of 14, therefore I am eligible to ask for the British citizenship.Do you reckon that I would need to ask for the British citizenship to teach in Korea or that it would be fine considering my circumstances?

    kind regards,

    Joao Roque

    • Unfortunately I believe that you need a passport from an English speaking country in order to be granted a visa to work in South Korea. I do not know if there is a way around this, but you can apply through my contact, Joseph, by clicking here and he may be more helpful than I am because he knows more. Good luck.

  • I have an F4 visa and im a graduate student at Seoul University. If I am doing private lessons do I have to pay taxes on that? Is doing private lessons illegal? I make a lot of money doing it and the parents transfer the funds to my bank electronically. I was told if you are a student status private lessons do not have to be reported and not taxed.

    • I think every country requires that you declare an income, so I would presume that this is illegal. It is possible that you do not meet the minimum tax threshold, meaning you don’t have to pay tax, but I would believe (and I don’t know) that all income should be declared. Pretty much every teacher in Korea teaches illegally at some point though, so it isn’t a new thing. Just don’t tell the wrong people about it!

      • Hi Jamie,Hope you are well 🙂 I would like to try teach in Korea but I will only be available from August.I have already started applying though and did indicate that on my applications. Am I applying way too early?

        • Often schools don’t recruit too far in advance (whereas government jobs through EPIK do), but you can always get in contact with recruiters and see if there is anything currently on offer – they will also be able to advise you on when is best to apply. I see you have already applied through my application form – Joseph will get in contact with you soon and advise you. Good luck.

  • Hi Jamie,

    Thank you for taking the time to create this excellent source of information about moving to Korea, its incredibly helpful and informative.

    I just had one question that I can’t seem to find an answer for, and I appreciate that you aren’t the Korean government, so not to worry if you aren’t sure.

    My question is; I have a foundation degree, but decided to get into work instead of turning that into a bachelors degree, do you know if a foundation degree is an acceptable certificate to be accepted for teaching in Korea?

    I apologise if this has already been asked this.

    • I’m glad you find the information useful Pete. Unfortunately I don’t know about the degree, but if you go to this page and submit the application / contact form with your question, Joseph ( a recruiter) will get back to you with an answer.

    • hey pete I am in the same situation as you regarding the whole foundation degree thing. Did you ever find an answer for this question ?

  • Hi Jamie!

    Thank you for the helpful FAQ!
    As a quick self-introduction, I am a Korean American who plans to have a dual citizenship in the US and South Korea. I speak Korean as fluently as English and plan to have a Master’s Degree as well as a Secondary Teacher Certification specifically in Spanish (a bit random). My question to you is, would any of this help me get a permanent job as an English (possibly Spanish??) teacher in Korea? Would I have a better chance in getting a permanent job in a university setting or a international school setting? Will my salary be higher so that I can sustain my own living arrangements?

    • Read this post about how to get a job teaching English in Korea. Essentially all you need is a passport from an English speaking country and a degree. As a Korean passport holder and speaker, you might be able to get the dual-language jobs that seem quite good. It is easiest to get jobs in hagwons or public schools (if you have a teaching qualification). I am not sure about salaries for teachers who also speak Korean, but contact some agencies and see which jobs are most lucrative. Best of luck.

  • Hi Jamie! Thank you for writing your experience as a teacher in Korea.
    I, as well would like to teach in Korea for a few years, specially in hakwons. Although, I have a doubt that hopefully you could help me out. My passport is chilean, however, I´m a fluent english speaker. From my understanding, in my circumstance, it would be better considered to take an exam to prove that my english is well enough to teach in Korea. As you have mentioned before, there are a lot of english test-options to take. Apart from the Tefl, which one would you recommend me to take? I was debating in taking the Toefl, but my doubt in this is that because its purpose is for entering college (and each college has their score requirements), I don´t know what score would be considered good to teach in hakwons. The other one that I heard is Teps. Just writing you to see if you have any advice for me within my nationality situation. Thanks, hope to hear from you.

    • As I understand it, you can only get a job teaching English in Korea if you are a native speaker. It is a silly rule based upon which passport you hold, but there are many other countries that do not require you to be a native in order to teach. I hope you find something yo enjoy.

  • Hello Jamie !

    I’m actually from a non-native speaking country. I will soon be a holder of a bachelor in engineering and after completion of my degree, we receive a teaching licence but it’s kinda for my country. Will I be able to get a teaching job ? Also, does religion matter ?

    • Religion doesn’t matter, but unfortunately you need to be a passport holder of a country that speaks English to get the visa. It is a ridiculous rule, but sadly I don’t think that there is a way around it.

  • Hello! I have been reading your comments and you say, “being an English speaker and holding a degree are two key points.”. I am from the USA and a future undergraduate student. I plan to major in Nursing with a minor in Italian, however, I am really interested in staying Korea for a decent amount time. Can I get a job teaching English even though I don’t have a major or a minor in English? I have experience teaching, but as a swim teacher, haha. I know you’ve said in big cities you don’t have to know Korean, which is nice.
    If I can’t, do you know if I could get a job as a nurse there? That’d be really amazing, actually I would do that over teaching. I’m studying Italian and Croatian (actually spending a year in Croatia right now) and I’ve recently set my mind on learning Korean at some point. I think this would be a perfect opportunity!

    • The subject doesn’t matter for teaching English so you will be fine. As for nursing, I have no idea, but I would be extremely surprised if they offer a job to a nurse who is not totally fluent in Korean. I went into a couple of Korean hospitals and every member of staff I saw was Korean. You would have to pass the visa process of proving why they need you over Korean nurses, so if you have a specialisation of some sort, that might help, but it will be much easier to teach. [This is what I believe to be true, but I might be wrong]. Best of luck.

  • Dear sir!

    This is Yasir. I have done master in English language and literature. Now I am in South Korea from last 1 and half years. I am from Pakistan, but I want to teach here with full zeal and zest. Could it possible for you to give me your kind consideration in this regard.
    Thanks

  • Hi!
    My name Sara I’m from Pakistan I want to ask that is it necessary to be a citizen of an English speaking country?? I want to teach in Korea will it be difficult?? Please answer me

  • Hello Jamie!
    I read many of your articles and you have actually helped me a lot on the desicion I am about to make. I am 22 years old, I have been in the UK for 2 years now, I am from Greece and I have been studying English Language and Linguistics, although I haven’t finished my degree yet as I am not sure I am university material. I have taken a year off uni and I want to use this year to travel and teach either it’s volunteering or paid work. I have passed examinations during the years such us Cambridge Profficiency Degree and IELTS, and I have been working for a Linguistics company doing face to face interpreting and translation of legal documents. I was wondering if you still believe that since I am not a native English speaker I might face difficulties getting a teaching placement even with the experience I have?

    • Unfortunately Korea only grants visas to holders of passports from UK and other English speaking countries. There are many other places in the world that you can teach however.

  • Hey there,

    I’m getting my BA in English. To teach in Korea, do I also need a BA in Education, or is it enough to have a BA in English with a teaching certificate? Thanks.

    • You only need a BA in any subject and a passport showing that you are a native English speaker. No teaching qualifications are required unless you want to work for a government school.

      • Would it be better for me to go to college in America or Korea? My tuition is all covered it’s just a matter of where I should go to college for it to look better for me.
        Also I am half Korean, my mother is Korean. Would it be easier to get a dual citizenship and if you know how?

  • Hi Jamie… Thanks a lot for your post.

    I was wondering if you’d be able to answer my question. I’m currently studying at university in the UK and I’m about to go into my final year of study – so I’ll be starting that in September 2015 and graduating in June 2016. Do you think it would be possible for me to start teaching in Korea in September 2016? I’ve heard I would need to apply around February to start in September, and at that point I wouldn’t have my degree yet. Thanks again for the post 🙂

    • If you are going through a private school / language academy such as I did, the whole process can be very quick and from applying to getting a job can be almost instant – however, you will need your documentation to speed things through as quickly as possible, as upon receiving a job offer, you must then wait for your visa to be granted. This might be the stumbling block for you as a visa cannot be granted without a notarised copy of the degree, so you might have to apply as soon as you get your certificate. If you were to get your certificate in June and you had everything else ready (police check etc) you should be ready to go in September. Best of luck to you.

    • Hi Jamie.. Thanks for your post!
      I will be graduating from High school on May 2016, and going directly to college. What classes do you recommend me to take! I would like to start teaching in Korea asap! 🙂

      • Hello Cindy,

        It doesn’t matter what you study with regards to teaching in Korea. All they care about is your passport and that you hold a BA / BSc (minimum).

  • Hi Jamie,

    I just want to find out if it would be at all possible for myself to study, while teaching English in South Korea? My current plan is to get a Language related Degree in my home country, then go teach English in South Korea. If I could then study for another Degree, which my heart is really set on – Animation – it would actually save a lot of time, in terms of years. I’m from South Africa, if that changes anything.

    Looking forward to your reply!

    • Once you have a degree, you can get a job and what you do in your spare time is up to you. I had a South African friend who studied for a second degree while teaching in Korea, so yes, it must be possible. Good luck, Jamie

  • Hey Jamie,..
    thanks a lot for ur post…i am not a native english speaker..im from India, i hold a bachelor degree..and i WANT TO TEACH ENGLISH IN SKOREA… Can it work out?

    • Unfortunately I think not. Silly Korean laws only grant visas to native English speakers despite the fact that there are many non natives who speak excellent English. There are many other countries that you can teach in however.

  • Hi Jamie,

    I am very interested in teaching abroad in South Korea as an avenue to gain experience before I move to another country with stricter requirements for experienced teachers. I am very interested in the CIEE teach abroad program, as I studied abroad with them during my undergrad years. Did you meet anyone or hear of anyone who participated in the CIEE program? Would you recommend it? (FYI- CIEE stands for Center for International Education Exchange). I look forward to your reply. Thank you!

    • I have never heard to CIEE, but I just looked them up and they charge $1,300 to get a job in Korea (and for the ‘support’). That, to me, seems outrageous – paying money to get a job. I would recommend reading this post about getting a job in Korea – I hope that you find it useful. Looking at the ‘Program Highlights’ on the CIEE website, pretty much everything they list is standard with the exception of the weekend orientation in Seoul, travel insurance, and ‘support.’ If you want the security of CIEE’s support, go for it, but I think it would be better to apply in a different way. When you apply through an agency, the agency gets paid by the school for successfully recruiting a teacher – it seems CIEE are charging the teacher instead of the school although I suspect they will also get paid by the school which seems a bit fishy.

  • If I have a Canadian or UK passport does it matter where in the world my degree is from? Like could it be from Germany or New Zealand. Or does the degree have to be from an English as a first language country only?

    • That is a very interesting question. I hope someone who knows can provide a decent answer. Maybe also try posting in the forum to see if anyone will respond.

  • James if you don’t have a job lined up when you arrive I suggest looking up Guest houses and trading a few hours (usually about 15hrs) a week of ‘work’ (maning the front desk, light house keeping type stuff) for free lodging(they are like hostal/B&B/hotel). This will save your budget hundreds in renting a place! Food is pretty cheap even of you eat out so personally I found that rent was my greatest expense. I wish I had known these tips (and this website!) for my impromptu month long visit to Seoul this pass March 2015. Also there are free learn korean language classes available around Seoul. A good hing about a guesthouse is they can help you out in english with local information. I don’t speak korean but it wasn’t a problem at all. People are very helpful and you pick up what you need easu enough. I’d suggest learning to read hangeul before hand if possible. I youtube’d some lessons while I was there. I’m Canadian/f/black btw. Sorry if that was a jumble of stuff, but hopefully it helps.

  • Hi Jamie,

    I am 54 years old/young and from South Africa and have lots of business and training experience. I have traveled a lot in Europe and Africa. I do not have a degree however lots of experience. Would my age be a disqualifying factor or perhaps an advantage? SK would be a nice challenge. Thank you for this informative blog. One of my challenges was cycling solo from Cape Town through 12 African countries to Israel in 2011(15 000 km-I was 50 years old)

    • What an incredible ride, wow! You are make me conjure up images of Africa and bicycles and now my feet are itching. As for Korea, I don’t think your age is a problem, but not having a degree is. As far as I am aware (when I was there, several years ago), Korean immigration requires a degree to issue a work visa. Try contacting agencies and see if this is still the case. Best of luck to you.

  • Hi Jamie, I am looking to teach English in South Korea over the next year but I am hoping to do a Masters degree in England next september so won’t be able to stay in Korea for a whole year, do you know if it is possible to teach English in South Korea on a 6 month contract rather than 12?

    • Six month contracts exist, but they are MUCH harder to find. I did meet one person (out of hundreds) on a six month contract when I was there. Try asking agencies or searching job forums. Good luck.

  • Hi Jamie,

    Your post was really informative! I am moving to Korea for a working holiday visa in 3 weeks time. Originally my job (I work in hotels, I’m currently studying a Bachelor of Business Commerce but decided to take a break) was going to transfer me, but I only just have been told due to my limited Korean ability, no property in our chain will offer me a role. My question is this, I know teaching English in an elementary or high school is a breach of the working holiday visa laws, but could I still teach at a language academy or tutoring? If not, do you know any other job agencies or websites I could start looking at for alternative jobs? I’m starting to get cold feet a little bit now haha, even though it’s too late to change my mind as I’ve committed all my resources to the move. Any advice or information would really help!

    • I’m sorry, but I don’t know the answer to this and I don’t want to offer bad advice. All teachers I met were on the E2 or F2 visas. Try asking agencies and see what they come up with. I hope you find something. Failing that, you can always do private classes, one on one tutoring and such.

  • Thank you so much for your blog, Jamie. I can’t even begin to describe how helpful it is!

    When you first arrived in Korea, you didn’t have much teaching experience so how did you know how to get started? Did the school give you a syllabus to follow? And what methods did you use to teach?

    • You mostly just get thrown into the classroom and pick it up along the way. Each school is different, so in public schools you have a set teaching program to follow, but in my school I was given free reign to teach what I liked, as long as we did a few pages of the book each day. It was a little daunting at first, but after a few weeks, I appreciated the freedom and feel that my teaching helped the kids in a positive way.

  • Your blog is so informative!
    I think I speak for many people when I say thanks for the information.
    Quick question:
    What are the opportunities like to teach in South Korea permanently?
    I plan to try it out no matter what, but if I find I love it there, I’d like to know if there is a way to stay.
    Is there any kind of upward mobility or job security for a foreign teacher?
    I am from the US, with a BA and some teaching experience.

    Thanks!

    • Contracts in Korea only last for one year, so you have to keep signing a new contract each year. If demand continues, this should be easy. Also, if you work for the government (EPIK / GEPIK), this shouldn’t be a problem. As for upward mobility, you might become the head of foreign teachers if you teach in a large private school, but this is rare and brings few extra benefits. You can get better job with higher wages (especially university jobs), but most the jobs are pretty even.

  • Hi Jamie, a very informative blog. My son now teaches in Cheong-ju and is very happy, plays rugby all over Korea and meets lots of new friends. However it did not start all well, about ten months ago he left South Africa with a contract at a school in Iksan, with the group Avalon. In short he had to struggle each month for his salary, with all kind of excuses and lies. After seven months they said they can no longer afford him, he must look for another job. He lost his air fare, 13th pay and still short on salary. The Iksan school is only an agency of Avalon and is privately owned. I would not advise anybody to even consider dealing with them.

    • I am sorry to hear that, it sounds like he got very unlucky. There are some bad organisations around, but I am happy to hear that everything is better for your son now and I hope that it continues this way.

  • HI Jamie…Really appreciate your blog…it is really informative!……Quick question..I hold a Bachelor of Arts degree in Community Youth Work which I obtained last summer after 3 years of study in college…My concern is that I am unsure weather it is Internationally reconigsed!…
    .Is this a must to teach in S.Korea for visa purposes etc??..or will the fact that I have a Bachelor degree be sufficient enough?
    Thanks in advance (:

  • Hi Jamie,

    Nice website. Looks of useful information!

    I happen to have arrived in South Korea now, after going through South East Asia from Australia. I am from the UK, have a degree and obtained a TEFL certificate whilst I was in Australia.

    I have experience mentoring design students & interns in an old design job back in the UK, but no formal teaching English experience. Would this be an issue? Teaching would be a new adventure here in South Korea for a year or so.

    Being from the UK, did you find that South Korean schools/academies preferred North American teachers? (was being from the UK ever a problem with an accent that South Korean students aren’t as used to?).

    Also, how did you find the Hagwon route? I have heard of some great and some horror experiences through Hagwons. I do think I’m more suited to Hagwons like yourself, and am interested to hear what your thoughts are on finding a good Hagwon? Is getting a job around Seoul too competitive?

    Apologies for the many questions ha. Thanks in advance!

    • Hello Rich,

      A UK passport and a degree allow you to teach in Korea – no experience is necessary. Your TEFL will also enable you to get a government job if you want one. I chose to work privately for a hagwon and if I was to go back, I would do the same again – it suited me. Koreans love America, but I didn’t find being from the UK was a problem with my teaching – I have quite a neutral British accent, so that might have helped too.

      As for the hagwons, they are so very varied. I recommend researching online using forums like ESL Cafe and TEFL dot com. Also, ask to speak to past teachers via email and ask about their experiences. It is a bit of a game of chance, but the vast majority of teachers have no problems. Try asking around, other teachers will know what’s good and what’s not. There are lots of jobs in Seoul, although lots of people want to go there – I’m out of the loop now though, so you’ll just have to apply and see what you can find. If I was to choose somewhere in Korea to live, I would say Jeju is the best place.

      Good luck.

  • Most research I do says you need a bachelors degree just to get your work visa. I know there must be a way around that or you wouldn’t be able to teach without a degree which you said was possible, though difficult. I have an associates and am looking to start teaching at the end of the summer. How or where should I apply for my work visa? Or should I just apply for jobs and they’ll take care of it?

    • I don’t think we have associates degrees in the UK, so I’m not entirely sure what one is, but try applying for jobs or contacting recruiters and see what they say. You sort the visa with the company that you will work for after you get the job. It is very difficult to get a visa without a job (I think). Good luck.

  • Hello,

    I’m a degree holder, a BS Mathematics graduate here at the Philippines is it possible that I can apply for a work directly at South Korea?
    Because for I know, they require you to take and pass the EPS-Topic Exam.

    Thank you

    • I don’t know what the exam is that you talked about. Try applying for jobs and see what the recruiters say, although it might not be possible to get a visa with the silly laws. Good luck.

  • Hello again! 😀

    Would you recommend any certain British BA/BSc degrees to study in order to get the best teaching salaries in SK? I know that any Bachelors degree is fine to teach English there, but I want to know what the higher end jobs require please.
    I’m lost between taking a languages degree or a natural sciences degree.

    Thank you again!

    • If you are thinking of teaching around the world permanently, do some sort of teaching degree. There are qualifications specific to teaching English as a second language. However, if you just want to do it for a few years, do whatever you want, because as far as I can tell, it doesn’t make much difference for most jobs – ESPECIALLY in South Korea. If I was to go back, I would choose to do a degree for which I had a passion, something that excited me when I had to study it. Good luck.

  • Hi Jamie. I’m living in Canada and I just got accepted into College for Early Childhood Education for 2 years. My dream is to go to Korea to teach English. After my 2 years, I’m planning on going to university so I’ll be able to have my diploma and degree. Would that be okay to still be able to teach English? I heard that they want you to be in university for 4 years, is that true?

    • As far as I am aware, you simply need something that is considered a full time degree. In England, that is only three years. After you have your degree, I am sure that you will be able to teach there, but I don’t know if you can teach in Korea with the diploma alone. Try contacting Korean recruitment agencies and see what they say. Good luck.

      • Thanks for the information Jamie,
        Since I know that I won’t be prepared to go and teach in Korea in just 2 more years, I decided that doing both College and University would be a better so I will obtain both a Diploma and a Degree.
        I also now found out that my second cousin actually lives in Busan with his Korean wife teaching English still. Would having these connections make any difference when schools are looking for English teachers?

        • I doubt it would make any difference. Finding a job shouldn’t be a problem though if you get your qualification and security check. It’s simply a matter of sending out applications to roles you like, then waiting for the response. Good luck.

  • Hi
    I am a Korean teacher living near Seoul. (I’m not sure if I may write this here…..;;) I’m currently working as a teacher in Korean high school. I’d like to meet some native english teachers who would like to share teaching experience or teaching methods. I can learn English language from them while they can learn cultural knoweldge of Korea or some tips to understand and teach Korean students. It will be meaningful conversation. Where can I meet such people?

    • Try connecting with local teachers through groups and forums on Couch Surfing, Dave’s ESL Cafe, and TEFL.com. There are also some good groups on Facebook full of English teachers in different cities. Just search for ‘English teachers Seoul’ or something similar. Good luck.

  • Hi Jamie

    Because of the competition that is increasing for the jobs, as well as the cutting of the number of foreign teachers in SK, would you say that maybe after 5 years it will become more difficult to land a good teaching job there?
    I am worried that when I finally graduate, it’ll be too late to try XD

    Also, what was the visa process like? I’m also from the UK and most of the info I find online is either for Canadians or Americans.

    Thanks a lot!

    • As is the same with all industries, as supply meets demand, it becomes harder to find a job, however, there is still a good level of demand at the moment. In five years, it may be that little bit more difficult, but if you want it enough, I am sure you will find work in Korea. The visa process is super easy – when you get offered a job, your employer will help you sort everything and do all the hard work. You just have to visit the embassy (or post the documents) with your passport, police check, and notorised university transcripts.

  • Hi Jaime,
    I’ll start with a thank you because your blog is one of the most informative onI have visited. I do have a question I was planning to apply for a teaching position in South Korea but I am not a what you call native speaker but I do have a US passport and been leaving in the US for about 15 year, is possible to still get a teaching job there.

    Thank you

    • Thank you Patty, I am glad you have found the site useful. As far as I am aware, Korea classify someone as native if they hold a passport from an English speaking country (such as the US), so you will be just fine. Good luck.

  • Hey
    I already have a place to work and a apartment that goes with that, but I do not have a degree yet as I am still studying through correspondence. For what visa do I apply and what are the requirements?

    Thank you!

    • You place of work should help you with that. If they haven’t, check it out immediately because it might be a con.

  • Hi Jamie, I thank you for the informative blogs you’ve posted here. I have a few questions for you: I’m been seriously considering applying to the TaLK program to teach English part-time in SK, do you know about it? I don’t have a degree, but I do have a Higher National Diploma in Computing. (AFAIK, it’s equivalent to 2 years completed of a Bachelor’s degree). Do you think I would have problems being accepted with this?

    As far as financing goes, I started saving in September 2014, and so far I’ve saved £2k. I plan to arrive in Korea August 2015 and I’ll hopefully have close to £5k then. Of course depending on the kind of visa I get, how long do you think I could survive in SK (outside of Seoul) with £5k? My ultimate goal is to get my Korean skills up to a professional standard so I can become a freelance translator/interpreter. Hopefully after a few years living in Korea I’ll be able to start my own business with the savings. Even if I can’t find a job teaching in Korea, I might just do a 3-month holiday stint and just practice Korean all day everyday. What do you think?

    • I don’t know that program James, so the best people to speak to would be the ones who offer it. They will be able to help you with what you need. The general need of a degree is for Korean visa immigration and I know little of the specifics, sorry. When I went out to Korea, I went with a couple of hundred pounds. My apartment was free and living is cheap. Heading out there without a job to teach privates is possible and I met several people who did so, but all of them did it illegally. Check out Numbeo for some pretty good estimates on the cost of living. Good luck!

  • I am a 21 year old currently living in Japan on a Working-Holiday Visa, with no degree. I want to stay in Japan but it is impossible with no degree or no experience. Recently I was told that it is possible to work in South Korea with no degree or experience at all.

    After reading this I came up with a plan to go to Korea for 3-4 years, and gather some teaching experience, and then perhaps doors would open up to me in Japan (assuming I didn’t want to leave Korea by this point).

    I have been talking to a Korean friend of mine that says it is illegal to teach without a degree, but schools will still hire you and pay you much less.. is this true? Obviously the experience gained while working an illegal job would be irrelevant and best left unmentioned at all.

    So, two questions, firstly: have you ever heard of someone playing this crazy game to get into another country? And two: Is it true that it is illegal? Thanks!

    • As far as I am aware, you need a degree to legally work in Korea as a requirement of immigration. I did meet a couple of people who taught illegally in Korea, but if you get caught, you will be deported or fined. Saying that however, almost every teacher I have ever met in Korea teaches private classes illegally.

  • Hi Jamie,

    I am Canadian and have a Pharmacy Technician certificate (it is only a 1 yr course) and no TEFL or whatever these things are..

    I realized I was good and really enjoyed teaching English to kids when I was Au Pairing in Germany and Sweden the last two years.

    I don’t know if a certificate is as good as a degree.. I did not go to University, simply College for the one year. Does it look optimistic in my hands to being able to teach in South Korea?

    Thanks in advance!
    Tara-lee

    • I’d love to help, but you are best to contact some Korean job agencies as they will know much more than I do. Good luck.

  • Hi. I found the information very useful but I do have an issue. I live in the UK and possess a British Passport. I’ve always wanted to teach but I also don’t want to stay in London. I was planning on teaching English in South Korea in my university gap year but I saw that you said it’s near impossible without a degree. What if my qualifications are A*AA at A-Levels? Is it still highly unlikely? Is it worth a try?

    • Unfortunately I believe that Korean immigration require a degree to grant an E-2 work visa. I might be wrong, so it is worth contacting agencies, but that is how it was when I was in Korea. There might however, be some part time student-teaching programmes that you can find online. Best of luck.

  • Hi Jamie,

    I’ve just graduated this year and after months of of unsuccessful job hunting here in the UK, I’m seriously contemplating teaching english over in South Korea, it’s by no means a last resort as its something I’ve always contemplated and i’ve looked into it before, particularly in Japan but after reading some of your other posts South Korea is a more financially viable option, plus theres still every opportunity to travel elsewhere in Asia through cheap travel…. Anyways my question is about money, how much do you need to initially take over there with you to get set up and live before you start receiving an income from teaching? this includes flights, visa, food, travel everything haha, did you go over with fair amount before the first pay check?

    On a side note your blog has been so unbelievably useful, and you’ve given me a bit of a kick up the arse to stop dreaming about it and start living it, so thanks for that!

    Cheers, Callum.

    • Thanks Callum, I’m glad you like it. I went to Korea with hardly anything. I actually borrowed money for my flight and had to wait for a month until I got my first paycheck so that I could afford to do more things – and pay back some of the money I owed! Life is cheap in Korea and you could survive on a couple of pounds a day if needed (especially with a free house), but if you go out with a couple of hundred pounds, that will be useful. Some companies pay your flights in advance, but I got mine refunded at 6 and 12 months through my contract. If you go, I hope you like it. Check out Jeju, it’s a good place – especially to live.

  • Hey, thanks for this very useful blog.

    I am very eager and determined to teach English in South Korea in the near future.
    It will be my first time to hunt a job abroad.
    In this case, can I look for a teaching job in Korea using only tourist visa and once employed, can they just process my working visa?

    thanks in advance! 🙂

    • If you do this, I believe that upon finding a job, you will have to leave the country and reenter to get your work visa. Someone once mentioned a ‘looking for work visa’ that lasts six months, but I never looked into it myself. Best of luck to you.

      • How about in your case Jamie, who processed your work visa to teach English there?

        On the other hand, how many percentage is the chance to succeed if I will consider to apply as private tutor or a teacher in a tutorial center in Korea?

        Hope to hear from u.

        Thanks much and More Power !!

        • My school did all the visa work on the Korea side – I had to give stuff to the Korean embassy in the UK before I went though – I think this is standard practice. I think (although I might be wrong) that trying to teach privates in Korea is almost impossible to do legally as a first timer because you won’t be granted a visa. The people I met who did that had been in Korea a long time – and the privates were still illegal. The easiest way to start is to go with a school. I hope you find something that works for you.

  • Hi, Jamie. Thank you for the invaluable insight. I am a black South African male teacher with vast teaching experience and numerous university degrees(including an English major degree) and would like to teach in South Korea for a short stint – probably a year or two. I have read numerous testimonies( all of them positive) concerning teaching in Korea. However, none of those testimonials is by a black Africa/South African person. In your experience in Korea, have you ever come across an African(blacks), not African-Americans?

    • One of my best friends in Korea was from the Congo and he got on fine (he did have a British passport because he moved to England when he was a teenager). As far as I am aware, you shouldn’t have any difficulties. Be aware however, Koreans sometimes react differently to people who are not Korean, but generally the response is of interest and is not negative at all – I did find it curious at first when I was walking down the street, that people would come and say hello for no reason other than that I was foreign. One funny flashback – my Congolese / British friend and I were sitting at a bar, drinking a quiet beer during the IAAF World Championships in Daegu, when a guy came over and asked to interview him because he thought that he was Usain Bolt.

      • Hello,

        I am a Mexican citizen and a resident in the United States. English was my first language because I was brought here at 2 years old. Would I be able to teach english in Korea? I have 2 years left until I receive my masters in business.

  • Hi! I do really want to be a teacher of English in Korea in the near future. But the thing is I’m not a native speaker. I’m from Philippines and of course I’m a Filipina. For me it’s so irony that Koreans want a native speakers for infact there are many Koreans here in our country, who are studying English. I somehow feel degraded coz of it. My question is, is there any possibility of me teaching english in Korea by 2017 or 2018? I am looking forward to your great response! Thank you!

    • As far as I am aware, you need a passport from US, UK, Ir, Oz, NZ, SA, or Ca. It’s a silly visa rule and I hope it changes in the future. Try contacting some agencies and see if they can help you get around this.

  • Hey Jamie, I was just curious about the degree situation. Im working on my Associates degree currently and would like to start working in Korea once I get my AA. I read that you dont have to have a degree at all so im curious if that is true? Im having a hard time with college and I hope to be finished once i get my AA. So basically, would any school in Korea hire me if i have an AA and can speak fluent Korean? Oh and im a native English speaker also. Another question i had was if i go directly to the school to get hired, will they offer me paid housing?

    • As a student in the UK, I don’t know what an AA is – sorry. However, I do know that for Korean immigration you need a degree (check with agencies to see if an AA counts as I don’t know) and a passport from an English speaking country. Most jobs don’t require any Korean (unless you get a Korean citizen visa) and every job I ever came across offers you free housing or a sum of money to cover your housing. Best of luck finding something.

  • I get the understanding that you need to be native speaker of English before you get a job as English teacher; is that the case? I am a certified teacher with four years of teaching experience from Ghana. What are my chances of geting job as English teacher? Aside teaching, what other jobs are open to foreigners? Finally, is it possible to convert a tourist visa to resident visa without leaving the country?

  • Jamie, I’m wondering if you can give me some advice on the prosepct of actually staying on Jeju for a year teaching English. I applied through EPIK for Seoul. Originally it was me and my ex-girlfriend who were to go out there. We broke up almost 3 months ago and she has since already moved to Taiwan to teach English. It has been absolutely traumatic for me and still is, but I know that I need escape and foreign surroundings. Our breakup was one of those experiences which makes you doubt your entire existence. We were best friends in uni, and it wasn’t until we made our own hitchhiking/couchsurfing adventure in Central Europe last Summer that we realised how much we loved each other. Our relationship was born from the very same exciting situation which you experienced in your ebook. Anyway, since our break-up I was not successful in being placed in Seoul due to application delays, so, what I want to know is if there is a decent chance of building a network of friends in Jeju, I mean expats as I understand it is very difficult to make Korean friends. EPIK have given me two options: Jeju or Gangwon province. The problem with Gangwon is that they could place me anywhere after I have already flown out there: anything from a decent sized place with other expats, to a tiny village with no immediate contact with expats. As much as I would prefer to be in a large city, I do see the appeal of living in the countryside. Good opportunity to clear my head. But I can’t stand loneliness and don’t want to take the risk of finding myself on my own for a year. Although my plan is actually to save money so as to seek ESL jobs in other parts of Asia after my year in Korea, I don’t want to be completely alone, and so I’m in two minds regarding taking a gig in Jeju or Gangwon. So, from your point of view, and based on your experience of teaching in Korea, do you think that Jeju is large enough to find a decent enough English speaking community? I guess that the beauty of the place attracts me, but I am essentially deciding to shut myself from travel opportunities if I choose Jeju, as it’s unrealistic to fly out to the mainland too often if my goal is to save money. In that respect, do you feel that you would be restricted living there for a year? Exploration would be easy enough from Gangwondo, but EPIK could place me in a tiny village where I would find it very difficult to communicate with people during the week as I might be the only English teacher there. It’s a bit of a quandary, but I need to make a decision fast. Any advice you could give on Jeju would be much appreciated at this stage.

    • I am sorry to hear of you and your girlfriend. As for Jeju, I just left there a few weeks ago after being there for six months. Before I lived in Daegu for a year. Jeju was wonderful and I can’t recommend it enough. There are loads of foreigners (the main city has over 400,000 people – not where I lived fortunately) and there is so much to do outdoors. I was very happy not living in the main city, but being able to travel to it to meet my friends – there are so many very good people and events on that island, it is a different world from mainland Korea. Best of luck.

      • Brilliant, that’s just the kind of inside info I was looking for. I have extensively researched both but am so glad to actually hear from someone who has lived there for a significant period of time. It looks awesome! Scuba diving, hiking, learning Korean, making new friends…yep, just what I need. Thanks Jamie!

  • Thanks for the info. Am a Nigerian,I just finished high school. I would love to school and teach in Seoul, but I don’t have a degree, is that possible?

    • Unfortunately to teach English, the Korean embassy normally requires a degree from a university and a passport from a limited list of seven countries.

  • Hey guys, I want to teach english in korea, but I don’t want a year contract?
    If i decided to look for a job my myself and I’m already in korea, where do I look?

  • Heyyy thanks for the info! I was wondering about how easy it is to make friends or meet new people as an English teacher in South Korea. I don’t speak Korean (yet, fingers crossed!) and I am familiar with how language barriers can be quite the…barrier to blossoming friendships. So would it be rather difficult to make connections with people or find a solid group of buddies to explore Korea with? Is there any comradery or get-togethers between the English teachers in a particular school or company? Also, I’ve heard that Korea is a good place for introverts. Would you agree from your experience that those people who need alone time to recharge or can handle going a week without socialization would fare well in Korea? If this is accurate, it’s looking more and more like a good place for me, as I need my introvert bubble sometimes. Thanks! 🙂

    • As with any place, it depends how involved you are with meeting people. In big cities, there are generally large foreigner communities and many teachers never leave these. With the effort and time to learn Korean language and customs, you can also make Korean friends, but without either, it is a little tricky. As for being introverted, you can find time to spend alone, but Korean cities are generally big and busy. I have spent several months on Jeju (not the main city) and quite like the peace that I can find here when I want it.

  • I’m a non-native speaker. BUT I have lived in the USA for about 20 years now. Shouldn’t that be okay?

  • Hi,

    Thanks for this post, very useful! I do have a quick question, I’m guessing when you moved you didn’t know Korean, as in the language, how was it living with that for a year?

    • In the cities there are so many foreigners that you don’t need the language. In rural places, most foreigners learn Korean.

  • Dear Sir,

    Please send me list of schools and collages in South Korea for direct invitation to teach in korea

  • Does the school do some kind of on boarding? Without ever having taught English to kids, do they provide some kind of teaching agenda to follow?

    • Schools offer a free apartment or a monthly stipend that is enough to rent a house. As for teaching, each school is different. Some have very rigorous lesson plans in place, others offer you freedom.

  • Hey Jamie, awesome blog! I’d like to teach in Korea and I think I’ll apply through EPIK. As someone who has spent a lot of time in Korea, which cities/provinces would you recommend for someone who enjoys the great outdoors (scenic views, going on hikes, etc.) and wants to experience what the country has to offer?

    • Thanks. Hard to say, but EPIK have a lot of rural places, so maybe ask to be in a village. The only downside is that you might feel quite isolated if you don’t speak Korean. You could also try Jeju or Gyeongju: probably my favourite town in Korea due to it being easy to cycle out, pretty, and fairly tranquil.

  • Very helpful page brotha. I am hoping to go to S Korea to teach, can I expect to get them to pay my flight there?

    • Yes, they normally do. However, most companies reimburse your flights after 6 and 12 months, although some schools pay for the flights up-front.

  • Hey!

    So I’m currently teaching in Thailand. I enjoy it but I know that when my contract ends in Sept ’14 that I’ll be ready to go. Should I start applying to language schools and universities now?

    • It is possible to get a job very quickly (although there is still visa application time), however it doesn’t hurt to apply early, particularly if you want a government job (secure job, but longer hours and lower pay).

  • Thank you for the information! 🙂 Just to clarify; so, you don’t have to have a teaching degree or prior experience to land a job? It sounds relatively quick to find a job, would you say that’s true?

    • No teaching degree, but I had about a months experience teaching although this isn’t necessary. Being a native speaker and holding a degree are the two key points. If you’re flexible, finding a job shouldn’t take too long.

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