Teach English in Korea – Frequently Asked Questions
UPDATED OCTOBER 2021
We have attempted to cover as much as possible in our Teach English in Korea FAQS. If you have a question which is not covered below, we have an easy solution for you: Ask us!
Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How much will I be paid?
The average rate for first year teachers is 2.1 to 2.7 million won per month. Obviously, the higher rate of pay requires you to teach more hours.
What qualifications do I need to be a teacher in South Korea?
If you’re applying to the EPIK or SMOE program, please look at the requirements here.
For private school positions, you must have a university degree and a TEFL certificate is a good idea if you would like to work at a good hagwon.
You are more than welcome to complete an application form now if you don’t have a TEFL certificate, however, we do need confirmation of enrollment from you to prove that you are willing to get a TEFL certificate for teaching positions in Korea. For more information, please visit our Reach To Teach TEFL page.
Should I get a TEFL qualification? Can you recommend a good course?
Yes! Most of our teach abroad programs are now requiring teachers to have a TEFL certification. In addition, many schools offer higher salaries to TEFL qualified teachers (as long as the course is 120 hours or more). Please refer to our TEFL Directory for examples of courses that are recommended by our schools and by our teachers.
Can you tell me more about locations within Korea?
That’s a great question and this link will provide you with some useful information!
I want to live in a specific area of Korea. Can I request a preference?
With the EPIK and SMOE programs location preference on a first come, first served basis, so the earlier you apply the better your chances of getting your preferred location. With private schools (hagwons) we have many locations that you can choose from.
Will my school pay for my airfare?
Yes. However, please be aware that many schools will require you to purchase your flight up front. The cost of your flight will be reimbursed within your first month paycheck after arriving in Korea.
Will my school pay for my housing?
Yes, your school will pay for your accommodation. Like any apartment you will still need to provide a down payment (a deposit against damage) and you will be responsible for your utility bills (gas, water, electricity, internet, etc).
Can you send me photos of my apartment?
We are unable to send photos as every apartment is different! However, rest assured you will be quite satisfied with your apartment. Teachers are generally very happy as apartments tend to be new and modern with plenty of amenities. Most apartments include a bed, a desk, a range, a refrigerator and a washing machine.
How much money should I bring with me to Korea?
You should have at least US$1,500 in savings, above and beyond the cost of your plane ticket. This could be a combination of cash or money via ATM. We suggest you bring the majority in cash in case there are any unexpected problems with your ATM card.
If you have an ATM / credit card, call the card company and let them know you will be living in Korea. If you don’t they may think your card has been stolen and cancel it.
I have a student loan and bills that I pay regularly. How can I do this in Korea?
Your school will help you open a Korean bank account when you arrive, and your school will then pay your salary into that account. To send money home you simply transfer the money from your Korean account to another account anywhere in the world. You will need to provide this information:
- Bank name:
- Bank address:
- Account name:
- Account number:
- Swift Code/ International Code:
What types of things should I bring with me?
A few thoughts to help you pack:
– Bring a range or clothes for work, play and the seasons. Summer = hot and humid! Winter = snow and ice!
– Most Koreans are quite slim and are generally of smaller frame size than Westerners. If you are of slim to regular build you will be able to buy clothes and shoes in Korea. Larger sized people will have more limited choices.
– If you run out of stuff or forget anything, it can always be sent to you!
Do I need to get an international cell phone?
No. You can get a phone and SIM card in Korea. You can purchase a pre-paid plan or you can opt in for a yearly plan. For calls to your home country, there are lots of free apps like Facebook, Line, Whats App, and Skype.
Do I need an international driver’s license?
Few teachers drive cars in Korea and most Koreans use trains, buses and subways to get around. There is no need to bring an international license.
Should I get vaccinations before I come to Korea?
Please check with your physician.
Another consideration is that you might decide to go on vacation while you are in Asia. Make sure you check the health advisory boards for information on the countries that you are visiting as you’ll want to be vaccinated against some of the diseases that are present in specific regions. You can also get all necessary vaccinations in Korea before you travel on vacation.
What about tax?
We are not tax specialists, so please check all information with your tax office. Tax rules can change and they can also be specific to individuals or certain situations. Generally speaking, teachers pay tax in Korea and are exempt from paying tax again when they return to their home country (providing they completed all the required paperwork). Again, please check with your government tax office before coming to Korea. More Information About Taxes for US Citizens Abroad.
When is my vacation time? I need to go home to attend an event during my year in Korea.
Vacation time is decided by your school and usually set within the school calendar. Vacations are common around August and January.
My family is very concerned about me living in South Korea. Do you have any advice?
It’s important to discuss any worries or concerns that your friends and family may have about your plan to teach in South Korea. Here are a few notes to help you with such a conversation:
Safe place to live:
Extremely low crime rates, a real sense of society and respect for others. The people of this region are not looking for conflict.
There are literally tens of thousands of English teachers in South Korea right now! Check online teacher discussion boards or blogs to see their feelings about living and working in Korea. You won’t see panic or worry. You’ll just see people getting on with their lives and loving their experience in South Korea!
Things in Korea are not new. It’s been with us for decades. In fact, it’s the same for Taiwan and China. The Western media hypes stories ‘breaking news’ but in reality it’s just the same old politics year after year. Heated but toothless politics seems to be part of everyday life in Asia!
If you ask the people of South Korea if they think conflict is coming they almost always say ‘NO’. They have lived their lives seeing the same political back and forth and it has never led to anything serious; and it’s not likely to change.
When you get to Korea you can register with your Embassy to say you have arrived and are working as a teacher. That way, if there is any reason why you should leave Korea (natural disaster, unexpected changes, etc) your embassy can locate you and plan your safe departure.
We hope you found our Teach English in Korea FAQS page helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at the email address listed above.