wikiHow to Move to Korea to Teach English

You've got a bachelor's degree and you want to travel but you have no money... why not move to Korea and get a job as an English teacher?


  1. Image titled Move to Korea to Teach English Step 1
    Find a reliable recruiter to help you get a job. You could also apply directly to schools. This may allow you to make sure of what you'll be doing and whereas you can look up the schools website.
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    Tell the recruiter what you want, and be precise. If you like mountains and small cities, don't tell your recruiter you are fine living in a big city. Korea is made up of tons of small cities and a few enormous ones. If you like huge cities and crowds, move to Seoul or Pusan. If you are interested in smaller cities (less than 500,000) tell your recruiter to place you somewhere smaller. Do not take their word for it! Do some research on the geography of Korea. It is easy for a recruiter to say, "sure, it's close to Seoul" and then have you 2 hours out of Seoul.
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    Order two copies of official transcripts from your university (Be sure there is a university stamp or signature across the back of the envelope.), and make sure you have your original degree (or 2 notarized copies with and apostille or Korean Consulate notarization for Canadians), (as you will need to send it to the school in Korea). You also need to get a vulnerable sector check and police check done (Americans can still get a local criminal check). The visa offices can help direct you how to do this. The criminal check must be notarized and have an apostille or Korea Consulate notarization for Canadians. Keep up to date with the visa process [1]
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    Ace your phone interview. This part is easy. Show your future boss that you are an intelligent and flexible person with a knack for kids, and you're in. Emphasize your interest in Korean culture and talk about your experiences with kids. Consider everything you have done involving kids and teaching... be it tutoring, doing a play, or just spending time with children. Your employer wants to know you're competent and you understand that kids are kids.
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    Read your contract. You nailed the interview and now they want to hire you. The contract is probably for one year and everything you need to know is written in it. You will learn what your apartment is like, and what you will be paying for (likely heat/water/telephone/internet/apartment management -- all of which will be less than $100 a month). Korean schools pay for your apartment, so there's no rent to worry about (Not all, as some have housing allowances and key money). Also, your rate of pay will be in the contract. Don't go for a job offering less than 1.8 million won per month. New teachers can be paid up to 2.2 million won per month. Check for hours worked, holidays and conditions of the contract. You shouldn't work more than 30 hours a week and you should get at least 10 days paid holiday. Standard overtime pay is 22,000 won per hour.
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    Send your new boss a hello email. OK, so you got the job. Now your boss is shelling out 2 million won to fly you to Korea, so you should be courteous and write him/her an email. Tell the boss that you're excited about coming to Korea and you're looking forward to starting work. Also, Koreans use this character ^^ instead of :) so putting a little ^^ at the end is friendly.
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    Get your visa. Take your up-to-date passport to the Korean Embassy in your city (in Toronto the embassy is on Avenue Road) and fill out the application for your working visa. Also bring $70 bucks in cash with you. Follow your boss' instructions and you will have a visa in 2-3 days.
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    Pack. So you've got a job and an apartment waiting for you. Now you just need to get yourself organized and pack your suitcase. Bring your usual comforts, but don't over-do-it. Once you arrive you will be buying lots of clothes and things with your new-found wealth, so packing shouldn't be too stressful. It is recommended that you bring one good towel, and maybe bring some deodorant if you want to (A year supply of deodorant as it is still hard to find in Korea). Bring your multi-vitamins and some good books. English bookstores are rare and usually overpriced. And of course bring a warm jacket and mitts, as it can get a little cold in the winter, especially if you go up to the mountains. Also, if you feel inclined, bring a little of your favorite spices as it is hard to find curry/basil/oregano. I would say forget it and embrace the new ways of eating, but you might want to be able to cook your way. Packing is really a rather personal thing, just really don't go overboard.
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    Catch your flight. Go early to the airport and leave about 3 hours for checking in at the right gate and bags and visas and immigration. The lines are extremely long so give yourself lots of time. You'll also want time to say goodbye to your parents/siblings/friends/pets etc.. so plan ahead. The actual flight from Toronto to Seoul is about 13 hours, but it goes fast when you're watching movies.
  10. Image titled Appear to Be a Vampire Step 5
    Relax. You've arrived and now your new boss wants to take you out for dinner. Enjoy yourself. The restaurants are different and you sit on the floor.. and you eat with chopsticks and you might even start drinking on the first night. Just go with the flow and appear keen and agreeable. Your boss is just as nervous as you are.
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    Chill out at work. They're just kids. They want to have fun just as much as you do.. so don't take the whole thing too seriously and try to get to know them a little bit. Most kids will be sweet if you show them some friendliness, so just stay focused and be nice.


  • Practice a little Korean before you arrive and it will really impress your boss. "Hello" is "Anyung ha se yo" and "Thank you" is "Kam sa ham nida".
  • In your phone interview, remember that you are interviewing your boss just as much as they are interviewing you. English teachers are very valuable here, and there are tons of jobs, so if the interviewer sounds sketchy or lame, don't be scared not to accept the job. There will be another job for you in a matter of days.
  • It's very easy to learn how to read Hangul, (the written form of Korean), so pick up a how-to book before you arrive.
  • Life for vegetarians is delicious and sometimes confusing in Korea. There is a ton of food that is authentically vegetarian, but it is often tricky to actually order it. There are many dishes with vegetables and rice, the most famous is "bibimbap", and then there are many soups, called "jigay" (but sometimes you'll find they are fish-based). Be prepared to eat some fish-based soups occasionally, or find a little pork in your tofu and kimchi.


  • The whole process usually takes about two months. There is a constant demand for teachers here in Korea, so begin your search about two-three months before you want to start teaching.
  • Some Korean foods are really, really spicy.
  • Many schools have Korean teachers as well as English teachers, so ask about your school's system. It might be easier to work at an all-English school than working in a school where kids are taught by both Koreans and English speakers.
  • Abandon all hope of changing the lives of your students, most days your students will be playing around and uninspired. Occasionally you will have a moment where you really blow a kid's mind, and it's a great feeling, but it is rare (which probably also helps it to remain a special feeling).

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