Teaching English in Korea is definitely an experience worth trying if you are looking for a way to live abroad and save money at the same time.
You can easily live comfortably as your rent is fully covered by your school.
To be honest, I never expected to try teaching or live in South Korea but I am so glad I gave it a go.
I personally heard about teaching English in Korea through my Korean friend who recommended it to me as a good way to travel and save money.
I never seriously considered it until I was laid off from my previous job due to the company closing.
I knew I wanted to pursue a master’s degree abroad but needed more funds so, I decided to apply for several jobs and ended up finding a great role at a Kindergarten just outside of Seoul.
I want to admit that I was extremely lucky in finding such a great school to work at considering the sheer amount of horror stories I’ve heard online and through friends.
Therefore, I want to share how you can find a great school so you can fully enjoy your time teaching and living in Korea.
Here I will walk you through how to find the best teaching job suited for you in Korea as well as the pros & cons of working as a teacher in South Korea.
When you first look into teaching abroad in Korea you first must decide whether you want to teach at a Hagwon (private academy) or through EPIK (public school).
Hagwons offer more flexibility and choice as you can choose your location such as Seoul or Busan.
Also, you can apply at any time of the year but the majority of jobs tend to start in March or September.
Whereas with EPIK you cannot choose your location and can only apply for the fall or spring positions begining in either in March or August.
However, you do benefit from having a much longer vacation, fewer working hours, and the likelihood of a horror story experience is much less.
The application process is also vastly different, to get a job at a Hagwon you simply have to email your resume to job postings and recruiters, and then you will be asked for a short interview around 20 minutes or less.
After the interview, you will almost immediately receive a job offer.
The process of getting a job at a Hagwon is extremely simple but it is more complicated to find a good job and you often have to do multiple interviews before landing a good one.
Be wary of any jobs hiring immediately because it usually means an employee did a midnight run or quit due to mistreatment.
Once you post your resume several recruiters will reach out to you with job offers that may or may not match your requirements.
I recommend using several different recruiters to find a good job and if they are pushy or rude use a different recruiter.
You can also reply to direct postings by schools but usually if you are just starting out as a teacher using a recruiter is the easiest way to find a job and they help you with the visa process as well.
The EPIK application is much more lengthy in comparison to the Hagwon process.
For EPIK you must secure two letters of recommendation, create a mock lesson plan, and write several short essays on why you want to teach in Korea, and explain your teaching philosophy.
After applying if you are successful you will have an interview with EPIK which you must pass to be accepted into the program.
To prepare your application and documents, I recommend watching YouTube videos on applying to the EPIK program to hear tips from successful applicants as it can be a bit overwhelming.
You can also choose to use a recruiter for EPIK such as Korvia which is a free and reputable recruiter many people use to help them apply.
The interview process for both Hagwon and EPIK are fairly simple. I recommend treating it like any other job interview and dress nicely for a good first impression.
Along with having a nicely groomed appearance, make sure to ask as many questions as you have to get a sense of the school and work environment.
Remember that you are moving your whole life to another country for at least a year so, it’s important to find a good job so you will enjoy your time in Korea.
If you don’t feel comfortable asking some of the questions make sure to speak to at least 1 current foreign teacher and ask them as they will usually be honest about their experience working there.
Here are some of the questions I asked in my interview which helped me find a great position.
After your interview make sure to read your contract thoroughly and ask any questions/concerns you may have before signing.
Please make sure to not accept any positions offered for less than 2.1 Million Won and ensure that housing is included or a housing allowance as well as pension and 50% healthcare.
Most schools will also offer a flight allowance but you must stay at least 6 months or you have to pay it back.
After you signed your contract or even before begin collecting the documents needed for the E2 visa.
My best advice is once you decided you want to teach in Korea to prepare all the documents first, therefore as soon as you find a job you like you can accept it without being worried about if the required documents will be ready in-time.
These documents will be submitted to your closest Korean Consulate
After you submit your documents to the Korean consulate you will usually receive your passport back in 2 weeks.
Then you can finally book your flight and get ready for an adventure of a lifetime!