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Old 08-22-2007, 06:27 PM
Location: the midwest
492 posts, read 2,150,171 times
Reputation: 262


Hello all, I just graduated from college and right now my life is pretty much up in the air. I've been considering different job opportunities, some traditional, some not so traditional. Here is one that I'm seriously considering that I wanted to see if anyone had thoughts on or experience with: teaching English in South Korea. I think it would be a great way to really experience another culture and an opportunity for personal growth. However, I've also been reading horror stories about Americans that have been conned into going to Korea and have had to work in poor conditions with horrid coworkers and bosses. Some have even had to flee from their bad situations in the middle of the night because their bosses were basically spying on them and withholding their paycheck to keep them from running.

If anyone has any knowledge of conditions for English teachers in South Korea, I would love to hear from them!

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Old 08-23-2007, 12:02 AM
Location: Bronx, NY
2,806 posts, read 15,211,113 times
Reputation: 1076
Have you checked out that webpage about teaching english abroad? They have their own forum that is pretty good. I think its called something like Dave's ESL cafe or something like that.

I have had friends who have done taught english abroad, so I have heard both the good and the bad. I've lived abroad, but never taught English overseas thoguh.

Specifically with South Korea you should be able to save up a good deal of money if you budget properly. They generally pay the english teachers a good salary and the cost of living can be quite low. South Korea is probably the best country to do ESL if you are looking to save up some cash.
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Old 08-23-2007, 01:31 PM
6,351 posts, read 19,362,012 times
Reputation: 9919
Served in the military in South Korea instead of teaching English there. But I still enjoyed my time in South Korea. Good luck!
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Old 08-23-2007, 03:45 PM
13,290 posts, read 17,810,012 times
Reputation: 19967
Talk to some of the moderators on usingenglish.com.
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Old 08-23-2007, 04:04 PM
Location: the midwest
492 posts, read 2,150,171 times
Reputation: 262
Thanks for all the ideas!
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Old 09-03-2007, 10:32 PM
2 posts, read 25,388 times
Reputation: 14
Default Find something else

I have actually taught in Korea for a year now and I can tell you that if I could do it all again, I wouldn't have come. Sure the pay is good, but that's about it. Don't expect the same quality of life you enjoy back home. The water isn't safe to drink and the air pollution is punishing. To add insult to injury during the spring sandstorms carrying pollution from Chinese factories suffocate the sky. Western food or any food other than Korean food is pretty much not available unless you pay $30 to eat at Outback Steakhouse. As for working conditions you will probably work 9-10 hours a day. They dont' consider time you aren't in the classroom as teaching. I have to ride the bus with the kids everyday and do prepwork without being paid for it. Not to mention that your boss and pretty much all Koreans will treat you with zero respect. The cultural heritage here isn't all that amazing either, at least compared with Japan, which has numerous amazing castles.

upsides to korea include cheap transportation, cheap hotels, cheap rent, beautiful girls, and good pay. It's your choice. Personally I'd stay at home.
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Old 09-03-2007, 10:58 PM
Location: In exile, plotting my coup
2,408 posts, read 13,367,117 times
Reputation: 1792
I heavily researched teaching English abroad, and still haven't ruled out doing so at some point in the future, and one thing that struck me while researching it was the fact that South Korea was almost universally panned by all those who taught there, for many of the reasons that Dinosaur stated. It seemed moreso than any other country, people's experiences in South Korea were profoundly negative. The only upside I heard was the pay. Japan tended to pay well, but the cost of living was so high that at the end of their service, teachers didn't have much money left in the bank. In China and other Asian countries, the pay permitted a good standard of living while within the country, but they would lose a huge chunk of pay in the exchange rate, so rather than take the hit, many opted to stay on after their service and go on backpacking trips throughout Asia, basically blowing most all of their cash. Korea on the other hand is somewhere in the middle. Decent pay and you don't "lose it" when you come back home.
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Old 09-17-2007, 10:56 AM
Location: Macao
15,951 posts, read 36,201,625 times
Reputation: 9489
Korean Job Discussion Forums :: Index

I'm there with the same user name.

There are positives and negatives.

When I first came here and worked at a language institue, it was a challenge. The culture and people are really different. But they you adjust and make a life here.

Now I've been here off and on since 1996. I went and got a TESL certificate and a Masters Degree. Now I'm teaching at a university in Seoul with 5 months of paid vacation. I only work 12 hours a week. So, yeah, life is real good here for me.

Everyone has different experiences, and most people find that one year for the adventure was good enough for them. There are quite a few others who end up here LONG-TERM, marry locals, get better and better jobs, learn the language, etc., just like anywhere else in the world.

I think if I had it all to do again, I wish I would have chosen Japan instead. But my university job is so much better all the way around then uni jobs there, and I really love the paid vacations more than anything. Japan attracts a lot more interested in their culture, and jobs can be very competitive, and they make it not quite as lucrative as Korea.

In Korea, they pay your airfare and give you free housing. Plus the cost-of-living is quite low, you don't need a car to get around - great transportation system, everything is open 24 hours and you can walk everywhere. In other words, you have very little expenses and most of your pay just goes towards savings.
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:18 AM
Location: the midwest
492 posts, read 2,150,171 times
Reputation: 262
Thank you all very much for the detailed posts! I was afraid that I was going to get negative responses... I've actually already applied to schools in South Korea. I hope I'm not making a mistake that I will regret. I must admit that I'd rather be going to some place in South America or Europe, as some of my friends are doing this year. But they will literally be making pennies--something I can't afford to do with my student loans knocking at my door.

I have a teaching license and went through student teaching, so I am very familiar with the whole teach for 7 hours, but then spend 4 more planning... And all that without getting paid one cent, not to mention no respect and no support... It sucked... So in a way, I think I'm ready for it. Been there. Done that. Survived... But then the other little voice inside me says "Why the hell would you put yourself throught that again!!!???"

Decisions, decisions...

But thanks again for all the replies! Really appreciated!
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Old 11-06-2011, 01:36 AM
29 posts, read 59,126 times
Reputation: 15
We need more English teachers in Korea! Welcome all of you!
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