South Korea work · Working in South Korea
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Working in South Korea
Working in South Korea
Work as an English teacher is available through various companies, with the desired minimum level of education being a Bachelor's degree. Schools prefer native English speakers, and many prefer North American accents. In most instances, native English speakers from the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, and the UK are the only applicants that can be considered because the South Korean government usually (information has been inconsistent) just accepts those from the aforementioned pre-approved English-speaking countries.
Native speakers of English who have four-year university degrees may find it easy to obtain employment in one of Korea's many private academies (hagwon). These schools have proliferated in response to perceived failings of the public education system, although there are also hagwons aimed at adult instruction. Often, people interested in these teaching positions find them via professional recruiters. There are pros and cons to teaching ESL in the hagwon system. On the plus side, the money can be quite good. As of late 2005, the average monthly salary is approximately 2 million KRW, and housing is usually provided. It's possible to live comfortably on half of one's salary, and to save the rest. However, it is important to evaluate each prospective employer before accepting an offer; tales of unscrupulous academy owners and incompetent directors abound.
University employment is also possible. Those who have a graduate-level degree, preferably in TESOL (Teaching English as a Second or Other Language) may find professional opportunities at the postsecondary level preferable to teaching in private academies.
Caution: Korean employers tend to be more discriminatory towards people of color, especially Blacks and Indians. Korean job applications usually require you to attach a photo of yourself, along with other information usually considered private in the Western world, such as height, weight and marital status; if you are a person of color, your application will be more likely to be denied. Discrimination based on race, unfortunately, is still legal in Korea. Please be advised when looking for jobs. However, the public schools typically are more colorblind in regards to accepting applicants compared to hagwons.
Year-long public school positions are avaialble though the government-funded EPIK Programme in most provinces (now including Seoul as a subsidery) and the rapidly contracting GEPIK Programme in Gyeonggi, with a small number also handled by recruiter companies. Alternately, the TALK Programme runs 6-month rural public school positions for non-graduates.
See also Teaching English.
The Most Frequently Asked Travel Questions about South Korea
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South Korea Travel Guide from Wikitravel. Many thanks to all Wikitravel contributors. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0, images are available under various licenses, see each image for details.