Teaching ESL in South Korea is becoming a very popular route for many new graduates together with those ESL teachers who have a little more in the way of experience. The reasons are plentiful… the main one’s being;
* Very Low Cost Of Living
* Return Airfare Paid
* Free Accommodation
* High Savings Potential
* Low barriers to entry (in other words, you don’t need any qualifications to get a job!)
If you are looking to starting teaching ESL in South Korea, those are just a few of the benefits you can look forward to. The average ESL teacher in Korea gets a salary of around $2000 a month with free accommodation and flights. Whilst $2000 may not sound like much in your own country, it is A LOT of money in Korea and if you can’t comfortably save at least HALF of that then you are spending needlessly. It’s very easy to come to South Korea and leave after a year with $15,000 in savings… or student loans paid off… or whatever else it is you need the money for.
Of course, money isn’t the be all and end all for everyone. South Korea provides ESL teachers a great base for which to travel to Japan, China and South East Asia and to many ESL teachers it’s not about saving but about the chance to explore these fascinating corners of the globe and get paid for doing so!
However, whilst it all looks rosey from the outside, there is one major pitfall to teaching ESL in South Korea. That is the fact there are many “shady employers” who won’t bat an eyelid if you teach 40+ classes a week, live in sub standard accommodation and don’t get paid on time.
In fact, it’s quite common. For the ESL teacher that means you must do your own DUE DILLIGENCE before accepting a position to teach in the country. You must research online and find out if there are any horror stories about your potential school. Ask to talk to the current teachers via email or phone and get a feel for the place before signing the contract. If anything seems fishy, walk away and look for something else.
If, on the other hand, you are looking to work in the Public School system in a program such as EPIK or GEPIK then you can be pretty confident your chances of being screwed over are pretty slim. In fact, you can look forward to 22 classes a week and a lot of time to prepare for your classes.
The drawback of Public School ESL teaching in South Korea is the small fact that you are the only foreigner teaching at your school so you will be in a tough spot in terms of communicating with your co workers which can be a massive burden to carry.
Whichever option you choose, teaching ESL in South Korea can be a very rewarding experience. Financially and personally.
Just be careful which job you accept and be sure to do your own due dilligence before flying out!
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