Megan found out about teaching English in South Korea from her boyfriend’s cousin. His cousin had been teaching in Korea for over a year. After hearing about all of his amazing experiences Megan decided that she had to get in on the action. Here’s how her story unfolded.
How long is your contract?
I have been teaching here for 5 months. My contract is for one year, but I plan on coming back to teach for an additional year.
What was the salary like?
The average teacher makes around 2.2million won per month, which includes housing. The won has not been doing so great these days so English teachers have seen a drop in their salary. However, I came here to experience a new culture and meet new people, which is exactly what I have been doing. I am still able to send money back to the states, pay off college loans, and still have spending money in South Korea.
Would you recommend teaching abroad?
Teaching English abroad is definitely the way to go. It is a great way to explore the world, meet amazing people, and get real world experience all while getting paid to do it. It is the perfect job for recent graduates, or anyone for that matter, who don’t know what career path they want to pursue.
Do you need to get a TEFL qualification to teach in South Korea?
The only thing you need to teach English in Korea is a 4-year degree. You do not need a TEFL qualification to teach in South Korea. However, those with TEFL qualifications, education degrees, or experience with teaching will receive a higher salary.
How did you prepare for teaching in the classroom?
I went to my college professors for help. All of my professors were extremely excited about my opportunity and eager to share their advice. I still keep in touch with them and continue to get advice from them. Once you are here, it is also helpful to ask your English-speaking co-workers for any advice they may have.
What was your day-to-day routine?
The usual schedule for English teachers is 3-10pm or 4-11pm with an hour lunch break. My school has four, 70 minute class periods per day. I spend the beginning of my day prepping for each class. The rest of the day I am in the classroom or enjoying a break period.
What’s the nightlife like?
The nightlife in Seoul is absolutely crazy! It is a 24-hour city with people up at all hours of the day and night. There are tons of foreign districts filled with people from all over the world who are simply enjoying life. You meet so many people who are teaching English, so it is great to know that you have a common bond with someone wherever you go.
What activities did you get up to outside of teaching?
My favourite activity is hiking on the weekends. I also enjoy visiting the many temples and other various sites around Korea. The ocean is really close, so it is always fun to take a weekend trip and soak up some sun. Shopping is huge here so I obviously go shopping as often as possible!
Is there much opportunity to travel?
It is possible to travel to other countries, but you have to do careful planning and make sure you give your employer plenty of notice before you travel. Most teachers receive 10 paid vacation days. There are also a lot of Korean holidays on Friday or Monday, which free up your weekend for any type of trip.
What was the highlight of your experiences?
My best times have been meeting all of the amazing people and eating the delicious Korean food! I love living in such a diverse city with so much action. Every day is a new experience for me.
Were there any difficulties teaching in South Korea?
Teaching has definitely been the easiest job I have ever had. The first couple of days can be quite challenging as you are adjusting to a new culture as well as a new job. You have so many people to go to for help and advice. Prior to this, I had no teaching experience, and I have been doing just fine!
What qualities do you think someone needs to teach in South Korea?
Most people think that you have to have an education degree to be a good teacher, but I do not agree with that. Some of the most important aspects of a great teacher are having an open mind and one who enjoys being around children. Korean children are so eager to learn from a foreign teacher that it really makes teaching so much easier and enjoyable.
How can they apply?
I am actually a recruiter so you can e-mail me at email@example.com. You can also check out the website at www.eslpia.com where you can fill out an application and get additional information on teaching in South Korea.