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Many opportunities exist for TEFL jobs in Korea. It is also one of the more popular choices of destinations to teach English, because it’s one of the highest paid. A TEFL teacher willing to work overtime can earn $6000 US per month, and because the cost of living in this country is not that high, savings can be considerable.
TEFL jobs are available in state universities and private language schools (hagwons). There are thousands of hagwons throughout the country, and a large proportion of teachers find work at one of these in Seoul or Busan. But there are also lots of good employment opportunities in towns and smaller cities as well.
As long as you have a university degree, a well recognized TEFL certificate and you come from UK, Ireland, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada or South Africa, getting a TEFL job in South Korea should be no problem at all.
Many teachers find the working conditions in Korea not to their liking, while others feel that they are well remunerated and will overlook this. Korean culture is very different from western cultures. It will help if you can bring an open mind, tolerance of people’s differences and a sense of humor along with your teaching skills. For instance, contracts tend to be more an outline of general conditions which can change considerably. Therefore, be flexible and willing to negotiate.
This shouldn’t, however, preclude your need to research any given teaching situation as thoroughly as you can before accepting a position. You can talk to people in forums on the internet or teachers who have worked there or have heard about the school.
TEFL teachers often hang out together, so they will be a great source of information about employment opportunities in their location.
Make sure that you ask questions of the employer regarding salary or hourly pay rate, whether you’ll have to travel to your lessons and if you get compensated for this time and reimbursed for expenses, what kind of material resources the school has for lesson planning and teaching materials, what kind of administrative and collegial support you will have, whether a visa will be needed and if the school assists with that, is airfare covered, is there a housing allowance, what holidays do you get, etc. Also be sure that the contract you sign will accurately reflect these details. This will help to avoid any nasty surprises after you’ve already agreed to take the job.
Korea is a fascinating culture with a deep history and lots of beautiful scenery - a great place to teach English. Good luck with your job search and have a wonderful time.
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