Teaching in South Korea | Wanderers Collection
Updated: Sep 29, 2019
Blythe studied ESL English as a Second Language, in her undergrad and didn’t love it at the time. In this article Blythe shares some of her story on her teaching abroad experience in South Korea.
I decided to teach in South Korea after I graduated to give it a chance. I was located in Wasu-Ri and Gangneung and I was excited to experience life overseas! During my two years of working abroad, through self-discovery, I decided that teaching really wasn't for me. I absolutely loved the cultural experience and am so thankful that I had the chance to learn that teaching isn't actually my calling in life. This was my first full-time teaching job, though I had taught English online before commencing my role as a homeroom teacher.
I currently teach via an online method to kids in China to supplement my income using a company called VipKid. I chose to go into education because of the opportunities it unlocks and the experience you can gain abroad. Even though it's not my long-term focus; it's reassuring to know that I could end up anywhere in the world to teach English!
In Korea, I went on mini road trips all the time. I bought a car and visited my friends from work who were placed in schools all over my province. We'd eat tons of Korean food and the local barbecue was the favourite! You can drink outside of convenience stores, a Korean pastime and simply explore the city. I love to hike and be outdoors and this destination has tons of beautiful mountains and trails to explore. If that isn't your thing you can hit up the beach; the east coast is Asia's best-kept secret. On the weekend, you can visit some of Korea's crazy festivals and celebrate a variety of wonderful things like cherry blossoms or cultural holidays!
My advice to anyone wanting to teach abroad is to take a Teach English as a Foreign Language Course also called a TEFL or TESOL course! You'll feel more confident and will be able to apply for more jobs. In regard to the public school system in Korea, you must complete a TEFL, TESOL or CELTA course prior to submitting a teaching application if your field of study is unrelated to Education. This is a recent requirement, so please do your research if you are job searching in this area. Research is important as each school is different and the private sector varies from the public.
The average salary in this area for an English Teacher is around $2000 US per month, including free accommodation and other benefits such as a flight home at the end of the contract, insurance, bonus pay and at times a renewal opportunity or promotion. Teaching here is a good way to save money and see a new country whilst being completely immersed in the local culture. You will meet other teachers from all over the world and have a supportive team to assist you with your new working life in a new city! You can choose to live in the city or out in the rural towns, coastal areas are also popular; it is a personal choice!
Teaching is a wonderful way to extend your travel plans and gain a comprehensive understanding of the local culture and community. Education, especially the English language, will have a lasting impact on the student's you teach and shape their future career. This kind of work will often take you out of your comfort zone; working as an ESL teacher will mean you make lifelong friends in wonderful places!
There are many destinations in Asia where expats make a great living by working as a language teacher, however, this location is often over-looked for popular places such as China or Thailand. Working in either the city of the countryside of South Korea will surely be an incredible experience and you will have kind and enthusiastic students. Many organisations offer in-country TESOL courses so if you are totally new to this field of work that may be an option for you to build further confidence and network with other expats. If you have any questions about teaching in South Korea you can find me on my blog and social media! I have since worked and studied in other destinations so please check out my site.
Check out some photos of my travels below and be sure to follow me on Instagram.
Travel For Change would like to thank Blythe for contributing her personal experience to the blog. Blythe is currently working in the field of Food & Cultural Tourism Development located in West Virginia, USA. You can visit Blythe's Instagram & travel blog Chaos and Crickets