While I’ve written before about what to think about while you’re waiting for your paperwork to go through, think of this post as even more basic than that. This is more for those of you who stumble across this site after a panicky search of the Internet for ways to pay off your student loans.
So you’ve taught English in Korea, huh.
Yes. For about two years.
Did you like it?
Yeah, it was pretty fun.
I don’t mean to pry, but how did you get paid, yo.
About $24,000 a year. Think of that as your basic rate, though. That also depends on the exchange rate, which fluctuates. You can make more if you get part time “privates” taught in homes. It’s illegal though and I wouldn’t suggest you do privates without taking a deep breath and weighing the consequences. Like getting fined and or deported.
I see. What’s the cost of living, though. I got mad bills I got to pay back home, dude.
Typically, you could send back at least $1,000 home a month. Although there is a cap of $10,000 a year. After that you have to get permission from the government to send cash back. Please take note — if you have all those “mad bills” to pay, the money doesn’t just pour in right away. It takes about two months for you to get a full pay check because of the expenses of setting up shop in Korea.
Ok, what’s the social scene like. I like to have fun and don’t know if I can survive being away from home for a whole year away from my friends.
It all depends. In the major cities like Seoul and Busan, there is a happening social scene with lots of live music. If you live out in the sticks, be prepared to learn a lot more about how to entertain yourself. You might have to learn a lot more Korean than you would otherwise.
Say, how hard is it to learn Korean by the way?
I found it very hard. I only a know a little and I was there for a total of five years. (Koreans are so busy learning English that they don’t mind if you don’t learn Korean. They often think it’s silly to hear a Westerner try to speak Korean.)
Tell me about the children.
Teaching children in general is a pain in the butt at times, but it can also be really rewarding. Liking children is a key to being successful in the teaching business, regardless of where you are. If you don’t like children — or can’t fake it, I don’t suggest you go to Korea to teach English. And kids can sense if you don’t like them. Trust me.
Ok, I’m still interested in teaching in Korea, what do I need to go?
This is what I understand you need as of right now. Things keep changing, so talk to your recruiter about exactly what you need. If you’re coming from the States, you’re going to need an apostilled FBI background check, a certified copy of your diploma and a lot of time. Doing those two things takes about three or more months. You get your apostille from the State Department. The last thing I heard was you might need two copies, not one of these documents. Once you get to Korea, you’re going to have to take a drug test and get a health checkup as well.
You mentioned a “recruiter.”
Yeah, you’re going to need someone to act as a go between with you and the school. They are notorious for being shady and saying anything to get you into a position. But there are some really good ones out there, as well, just be careful.
How exactly do I get the job?
Your best bet is to post your resume on Dave’s ESL Cafe and wait. There are other sites as well, obviously, but Dave’s ESL Cafe is the best known. You should get a dozen or so job offers within 48 hours if you’re lucky. It helps if you’re good looking, young and a woman, but there are plenty of ugly old male teachers in Korea.
Thanks for the info, man.