Teaching English in South Korea: Teaching Abroad

Teaching English in South Korea can be a wonderful experience, both personally and professionally.

Not only do you have the opportunity to live and work in the Land of the Morning Calm, where the demand for English educators is through the roof. You will also be able to help students learn a new language and help them broaden their horizons. This country is serious about education, and they’ll stop at nothing to become fluent in the language of Shakespeare and Beyoncé.

So why not join the ranks of English educators and help some dedicated students achieve their language goals? If you are considering teaching English in Korea, there are a few things you should know before making the leap.

Requirements for Teaching English in South Korea

Firstly, it’s recommended that you have a bachelor’s degree and a TEFL certificate, because let’s face it—nobody wants to be taught English by someone who barely passed high school and can’t even get their verb tenses right.

Most schools in Korea require their English tutors to have a teaching certificate, such as a TESOL or CELTA. Programs like these will give you the necessary skills and knowledge to be a successful English instructor.

Along with that, if you have any prior teaching experience, even better! This will show your future employer that you’re not completely clueless when it comes to standing in front of a group of people and pretending to know what you’re talking about.

Don’t have any teaching experience? No problem! You can list that one time you taught your little cousin how to say “onomatopoeia” and boom, you’re qualified.

Apply for Work Opportunities to Teach English in South Korea

Next, it’s time to hunt down those job openings like a tiger stalking its prey.

You’ll have the exciting opportunity to choose between a public or private school. Public schools follow the national curriculum, which means you’ll have plenty of students to keep you on your toes.

On the flip side, private schools offer a more laid-back learning environment, with smaller class sizes and a more relaxed curriculum.

To apply for jobs, you have several options at your disposal—scouring online job boards, using recruiters as your trusty bloodhounds, or enrolling in a Korean language institute and hoping they’ll throw you a bone (a job, that is).

Advice Before You Start Teaching English in South Koreaa​

This includes things like:

  • how much you’ll be paid (in actual money, not just compliments and pats on the back)
  • what hours you’ll be expected to work (even on holidays and weekends)
  • how much time off you’ll get (which, let’s be real, will probably be none).
  • And don’t forget to check for any extra perks, like free housing or a plane ticket to Korea.

Be fluent in It

You’ve fulfilled your academic requirements and have landed a job, now you’ll need to brush up on some basic Korean language skills that you would be using for day-to-day communication. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it seems.

Just remember: “Annyeonghaseyo” means hello, “Kamsahamnida” means thank you, and “sillyehabnida” means excuse me.

Pro-tip: try to use these phrases as often as possible to show off your language skills.

Trust me, your students will be impressed if you can greet them in their native language. Plus, it shows that you’re trying to immerse yourself in their culture. While you’re at it, be prepared to get your lesson planning skills in check also.

Fly to Teaching English in South Korea

It’s time to start packing for teaching English in South Korea!

Don’t worry about overloading your suitcase with unnecessary items – you’ll be able to buy all the Korean skincare and spicy chicken you can handle once you arrive.

Just make sure to bring your passport and a healthy sense of adventure.

Once you land in Seoul, and in case you weren’t able to land a job before arrival, you’ll want to make a beeline for the nearest hagwon (private English academy).

Don’t be shy – these institutions are always looking for native English speakers to join their ranks.

And that's it! You're now officially an English educator in South Korea.

Becoming an English instructor in South Korea is a thrilling and fulfilling adventure that is within reach for anyone that has a passion for teaching and a willingness to embrace new cultures.

With a bit of preparation and an open mind, you too can trade in your average life for an amazing experience in one of the best foreign countries to live and work in.

Just be sure to watch out for those mischievous ajummas (Korean grandmas) – they may look cute, but they can be fierce when it comes to bargaining for souvenirs.

So start packing your bags, book that flight ticket, go forth and impart your linguistic wisdom upon the masses and be the best English instructor Korea has ever seen!

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