Why should you teach in South Korea?
If you want to travel, this is one of the easiest ways to do so. South Korea specifically is a great option because they pay quite well, the cost of living in Korea is very low, and you don’t have to worry about finding housing as it’s provided for you (along with your plane ticket to get there and back). There also isn’t a lot you need to teach in South Korea (more on that later).
Korea is also a well-developed country, in general, and a democracy (unlike some higher paying countries).
What You Need to Teach in South Korea
All you need is an undergraduate degree (in any field) and a TEFL certificate. TEFL certificates are easy to get/cheap and I’ll have a post on which one you should go with for different situations in a bit.
There are several different ways to apply to teach in Korea. The most prestigious is through the Fulbright program, but you have to have good grades and can only apply 2-3 years after graduation (But here’s a post on it). The other way is through the EPIK program, which you can apply to directly or through a recruiter (And here’s a post on that!). You can also apply to individual schools, but I would recommend only doing that after having taught in Korea for at least a year.
Types of Schools
There are two main types of school systems in Korea, the public/regular schools. This is what EPIK and the Fulbright are going to place you in. The other option is a hagwan – a private after school system. The hours are going to be later, but sometimes they’re a bit more flexible. You can, potentially, make slightly more money through these. However, they are also rife with problems. Sometimes you can get a good one, but other people find that their paychecks are late, the school may suddenly close down, etc. etc. It’s generally much safer to start out in a public school.
Through the public school system of EPIK you can be sent anywhere in Korea. You can give your general area preference, but more well-known areas are going to be more competitive. If you’re sent somewhere very rural, you’re compensated with an extra 100,000 won a month (equal to about $88 US). You can try to apply through a recruiter to GEPIK, which is just the general Seoul and nearby areas. This program is fading away, but through recruiters like Korvia, it’s technically still possible.
I’m in the process of applying through a recruiter for both GEPIK and EPIK, and directly to EPIK, simply to maximize my chances. I, personally, would like to go to Seoul because of the close airport. There’s also the fact that I’d like to be more comfortable before potentially moving on to a more rural area. But, this is a bit backwards to how they usually want things (Rural first, then renew in a larger city). If I get the timing right I should still have an OK chance. Either way I’m not at all worried and I’m sure I’ll have fun either way (it’s hard to be far from Seoul, the entire country is about 4 hours across by car). Anyways, this is what you need to teach in South Korea!
I’m going to continue this series!