You just graduated from college and have student loans to pay off
You want to experience something new while being financially responsible
You want to start your teaching ESL career
If any of the above describe you, teaching English in Korea might be a great option for you. Since the mid-1990s the Korean government has made the push nationally for top-tier English education.
Korea not only offers some of the widest and most lucrative benefits to ESL teachers, but also has a large number of great positions available each year.
Here are reasons why choosing Korea as your next ESL destination might just work for you:
Take a Stab at Student Loans
A Competitive Salary
Korea has some of the most competitive salaries in the ESL market. With a starting salary of around $2,000 a month, Korean ESL teachers make twice that of teachers in Thailand and Vietnam, 20% more than teachers in Taiwan, and 30% more than teachers in China. While Japan is known for having some of the highest ESL salaries in Eastern Asia, after deducting taxes, insurances, and housing, net earnings are almost identical to Korea.
Therefore if you’re looking to save money, Korea is one of the best ESL destinations. In fact many sites such as the International TEFL Academy, GoOveraseas, and TripBase have listed Korea as one of the best ESL opportunities in the world for saving money.
Your Own Space
A single-occupancy apartment is standard benefit offered with almost all contracts in Korea. Most apartments are also fully-furnished. All you have to do is personalize it to make it your own! Apartment types range from school to school, but teachers will usually be provided with a single studio, a trendy officetel, or a standard apartment.
Housing is not just pre-arranged, it’s paid for by the school. This means that you don’t have to worry about rent being subtracted from your paycheck each month or being late to pay the rent!
There’s also a lot of cool cities besides the capital to teach in! Check out this video showcasing just some of the great places you can teach in in Korea!
Travel Across Asia
The Hub Factor & Vacation Time
Korea is often considered one of the best hub cities for traveling in Asia. Korea’s very own Incheon International Airport is also consistently ranked as one of the best airports in the world. As South Korea is relatively small, airport access is easy and the trip to the airport can be done in a matter of hours from anywhere in the country.
Check out these average travel flight times to popular destinations from Korea:
Japan: 1 hour to Osaka
China: 2 hours to Shanghai & 3 hours to Hong Kong
Thailand: 5 hours to Bangkok
Vietnam: 5 hours to Ho Chi Minh
Philippines: 4 hours to Manila
Singapore: 6 hours to Changi
Public school teachers in Korea receive on average 2-4 weeks of vacation a year, making it the perfect amount of time to travel and experience destinations you want to cross off your bucket-list.
Little Financial Burden
Allowances & Bonuses
Starting a new life anywhere can require an investment. Schools in Korea provide reimbursement for your flights to and from South Korea. Some schools will reimburse you for the exact amount while programs like GEPIK will provide you with an allowance of around $1,500 each way no matter what your plane ticket costs! Flight reimbursements are paid back to you after your first month in Korea.
Some schools will also provide a bonus called a Settlement Allowance to help teachers buy the things they need for their new apartment. Those teaching with public school programs like EPIK, GEPIK, & SMOE will be given a settlement allowance of around $300 during their first month to help them make settling in a little bit easier.
Be Taken Care of
Insurance & Pension Contributions
As mandated by Korean law, schools provide and pay for 50% of your national health insurance plan. This insurance includes basic doctor visits, vision, and dental. Since Korean national health insurance is mandatory, all residents are automatically enrolled once they register for their ARC card. This takes away the worry of having to hunt down and sign up for such programs on your own.
Those teaching at public schools in South Korea are also eligible to be income tax-exempt for their first two years in Korea. While this exemption is only available to US, UK, South African, Australian, & New Zealand citizens, it’s a great way to save some extra money to send home!
Pension contributions are also provided by each school in accordance with Korean law. Each month a lump-sum will be deducted from your paycheck and be matched by your school. As the year progresses, the amount will continually add up. Then once you leave Korea to return home, the full amount will be distributed back to you at the airport. It makes for a nice bonus when returning home!
Options for Everyone
Public, Private, & International? Oh My!
From public schools, to kindergartens, private academies, and international schools, Korea has options all with different working environments and hours that can match different people’s’ schedules and preferences.
Do you prefer to sleep-in late and not begin work until the afternoon? Private Academies might be the best route for you.
Prefer to lead an active lifestyle in the evening and at night? Public schools might be the way for you.
Want to have extended vacation times? With 2 months of vacation a year, private schools are your best bet.
Taking the first step and beginning your new life in South Korea has never been easier! Korvia is an English Teacher Placement Agency designed to help applicants from around the world find an ESL job in South Korea. To get started today, please apply via the Online Application. Or take a stroll around Korvia.com to learn more about the various programs and positions in Korea!