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Do I need a teacher’s license to teach in Korea?

No, a university degree is enough to get a job teaching in Korea.  That being said, a teaching license and/or previous teaching experience will give you a competitive edge for a higher salary and sought after schools and locations.

How much money will I need to bring to Korea?

You should consider bringing up to $1000 with you to tide you over before your first paycheck.  It is usually possible to get an advance from your employer most of the time, if you need it.

Do I need to learn how to speak Korean?

While living in a non-English speaking country takes some getting used to, learning Korean is not expected for teachers.  At your school it is not required to understand or speak Korean to perform your job.  Many signs and information is available in English.  English is spoken to some degree by younger Koreans and many older Koreans.  It helps to learn key phrases to be polite and make simple transactions easier.

Can I save money while working in Korea?

Yes, Korea can be a great place to save money since the cost of living and taxes are lower than in most western nations.  A major attraction for teaching in Korea is to pay off student loans.  While South Korea is a modern country the cost of transportation and going out is often much cheaper than in most teachers’ home countries.

What should I bring to Korea with me?

While everybody has different needs, most of what you will likely need you can buy in South Korea.  Many people find that the style of deodorants they are used to are harder to find.  Power outlets in Korea are in the European “C-type”, so bring some plug converters if this does not match the plugs on your electronics and appliances.  Large sized towels are harder to find.  If you require plus sized clothing, it will be easier for you to buy it at home and bring it to Korea.  You will likely want to bring some reminders of home to make you feel comfortable while you are there.

Can I travel across Korea easily?

Korea has cheap, fast, and modern public transportation.  It is easy to buy tickets to travel on trains and buses.  South Korea is a modestly sized country and it is possible to travel to anywhere in the nation over a holiday or the weekend.  KTX trains travel up to 300 km an hour between most major cities if you need to save even more time.

Do I need to get travel insurance to work in Korea?

While you will get health insurance from your employer in Korea it is a good idea to get travel insurance to cover you while you are travelling to other countries on vacation, or need additional medical help.

What will my accommodation be like?

South Koreans are used to living in smaller space than most Westerners.  Your apartment will likely be fairly small but will include kitchen space, bathrooms, and will be furnished with basics like beds and refrigerators.  It is a good idea to ask your potential employer about apartment specifics and see if you can get a picture since apartments vary from school to school.

What is the cost of apartment utilities?

Utilities are fairly cheap by western standards, especially electricity.  Often heating, electricity, cable, internet, and maintenance fees come to less than $100 a month total.

Will I be able to access the internet easily?

South Korea prides itself on having the fastest internet in the world.  PC rooms are everywhere, and will allow you to use lightning fast computers for a dollar or two an hour.  Wifi is available in some public spaces and all cafes.  Korea is a very internet focused nation.

Do I need immunization shots to teach in Korea?

South Korea does not normally pose a risk of catching a major disease.  It makes sense to get your normal shots for Hepatitis.  You will be able to get immunization shots while you are in Korea if you are planning on travelling outside the country.

Can I teach without a TEFL or TESL?

Yes you can.  While people with TEFL or TESL may be able to be more competitive in applying for jobs, most teachers in Korea do not arrive with TEFL or TESL qualifications.  It may be a good idea to get your qualifications to get better pay and have a better idea of teaching ESL.

How much time will it take to process my visa?

It can take more time depending on which country you are from and their current processing times.  Most of the time will come from getting your documents in order, which can take several months depending on your country.  The visa process aside from documents takes a few weeks, depending on your country.  Some employers are looking for someone to start right away and some are preparing months in advance, but it makes sense to get started on this ASAP.

Can I apply before graduating university?

Yes, this is possible.  You can get prepared with your other documentation while you wait for your degree.  Certification of your degree is needed before you can get your visa however.

Do I need to pay you fees?

No, there is no fee charged to teachers from Teaching Jobs in Korea and you should not give payments to any subsequent recruiters either.  Recruiters are paid by the schools directly.

How long are the teaching contracts?

Normally contracts are for one full year, with an option to renew at the end.  Many teachers choose to stay at their schools for another year, while others choose to change schools while they are in Korea and have finished their contracts.

What happens if I break my contract?

If you choose to break your contract before it finishes, penalties could include: not receiving a free flight home,  having to pay back some of your arrival flight, and your Korean working visa being revoked.  It is advisable not to break contracts as a courtesy to your school and to ensure a good reference.

Who pays for my ticket to Korea?

Teachers are usually compensated tickets to and from South Korea. This being said, as a precaution many schools compensate teachers their ticket after the teachers have arrived and started working, and return flights are paid for on completion of a contract term.

Will I be able to learn to read the Korean Language?

Yes, compared to Chinese and Japanese, the Korean written language is very simple to learn to read.  Many people can start to get a grip on it in a day or a week.  Luckily Korea uses a western numbering system.  English signage is very common, especially in the larger cities.

What counts as an officially processed transcript?

Transcripts can be ordered from your University’s registrar office and should remain unopened in their envelopes. With a stamp or seal on the seal of the envelope.  Transcripts should have a stamp, signature, and date on the document.

What is the weather like in Korea?

Koreans pride themselves on having four distinct seasons.  Most of the country;s weather is comparable to an area like New York City.  Korea has some geographical variations in weather with southern cities being warmer on average than the northern cities.  Summers are hot and winters hover around the freezing point.

What are working hours in Korea?

Different schools have different working hours.  Usually schools follow an eight hour workday.  Working at an English Academy (hagwon) start times vary from 10 am to 2 pm and can finish as late as 10 pm.

What will my benefits be like?

There are several benefits provided such as paid for accommodation, a medical plan split between the teacher and their employer, visa sponsorship, and a bonus package of one additional month’s pay at the end of the contract term.