How to Live in South Korea- Living in Korea as a Foreigner- Moving to Asia and Teaching English
South Korea has become a popular spot for millennials seeking adventure in far away lands- moving to Asia and teaching English is now very common. Finding an English teaching job in Korea can be very lucrative, and requires little in the way of credentials or experience. The pay is decent and the cost of living is VERY low. How low? So low. Your employer will typically pay you in the range of 2.1-2.5 million won a month, and will cover such expenses as airfare to and from Korea, as well as your housing. At the end of your contract you’ll probably even receive a severance bonus equal to an entire month’s pay! This is why many English teachers are able to save money, pay off debts, AND travel and it makes moving to Asia and teaching English a key prospect.
The easiest way to get a job is to surf the Korea Job Board on Dave’s ESL Cafe (eslcafe.com). There are lots of jobs listed, including jobs for couples looking to get hired together. Believe it or not, lots of schools would love to hire a couple because they can save money on housing that way. Lots of folks get hired through a recruiter, but we found that recruiters don’t really care about helping you get a job as much as they care about collecting their fee from your school once you’re hired. More on that later.
Getting your documents in order is easily the most difficult part of the process. It depends on your country of origin, so you’ll have to check with the South Korean Consulate in your country for details. As an American, I had to produce multiple apostiled copies of my university diploma, transcripts, and FBI background check. The background check alone takes a few weeks to process and required a trip to the local police station for fingerprinting. These requirements change frequently, so be sure to check online for the actual requirements. Here’s where the recruiters come into play. Most recruiters won’t even talk to you until you’ve gotten all of these documents in hand, that’s when they’ll start looking to place you into a school. I highly recommend finding tefl jobs in Asia on your own, that way you’ll have more control over where you’ll end up.
Next you’ll just need to pack your bags! Before we left the country, we binge-watched most of the old videos on eatyourkimchi.com. These guys have become internet sensations, but if you end up falling in love with them, like we did, it’ll be fun to go back and check out their old stuff. They cover so many topics on life in Korea, including what to pack in your suitcase, and what to leave out and help you understand what living in korea as a foreigner is like.
Transitioning to life as an English teacher in Korea may not be easy. There will definitely be days when you long for the comfort and simplicity of home. Some days you’ll love your students, other days you’ll swear they were spawned from one of Voldemort’s left over horcruxes. Your boss won’t always be as nice as they seemed at first, and you’re bound to have some communication struggles. One of the best parts will be making long lasting friends with other foreigners living in Korea who share your interests. Remember, these people also left their homes in search of adventure and took on the challenge of moving to Korea. The key to a successful year is to keep a positive outlook, enjoy the unique experience, and realize that the whole trip is a waste if you spend the entire time bitching about this or that.