There aren’t many countries that can be equally ultra-modern and charmingly traditional: South Korea is one of them. To highlight its stable balance between advanced infrastructure, in cities like Seoul, and strong cultural and natural values, represented by its rich and varied countryside, South Korea has been nicknamed ‘the Land of Morning Calm’. With a name that evokes wisdom and serenity, it’s not surprising that South Korea seems to have honed an effective parenting style to raise successful and responsible children.
Living and teaching in South Korea
Although it might not be the first country that springs to mind when you think about Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), you might be surprised to know that South Korea offers among the highest teaching salaries in the world, between $1,350 and $3,100 depending on the type of institution in which you work.
Every year, the South Korean government allocates a limited number of placements for international English teachers. They offer consistent work throughout the year and a stable income. These schools usually hire their international teachers through government-led programs, such as EPIK (English Program In Korea), GEPIK (Gyeonggi English Program in Korea), and SMOE (Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education), if you want to be located specifically in the capital.
These are primary or secondary (often private) schools that follow a western curriculum and the lessons are usually taught in English. The salary here is higher than in public schools, but securing a job here is quite difficult: the number of roles is limited and the competition is harsh.
These private language schools, known as ‘hagwons’, provide English lessons to students of all ages. Academies can choose their own staff and salary range without any input from the government. Teaching hours are flexible in hagwons, and salaries are competitive.
As is often the case, university teaching roles are the most sought-after among international teachers, offering the highest salaries, keen students, and four months of holiday a year. With around 400 universities in South Korea, there is plenty to choose from, but it’s a competitive environment.
Experiencing South Korea online
If you don’t think moving abroad is for you, you can still make the most of teaching English to South Korean learners by doing so online. South Korean students are disciplined and hardworking, who understand the importance of speaking English fluently and confidently in today’s economy. Therefore, they invest a lot of time, money and effort in studying English through online platforms.
Among many established English language platforms online, there are a few that stand out which focus on the South Korean market. In order to choose the best platform for you, have a close look at each company mentioned below, as they will have different requirements.
- Global LT English focuses on teaching business professionals. Because of this, they are very selective with their teachers: you need to have a minimum of 2 years teaching experience and a bachelor’s degree. This is a company that evaluates level of experience and education in order to calculate the most suitable pay rate for each teacher.
- Tutoring offers one-to-one lessons for adults and children. It offers a very flexible schedule but you need to commit to teaching a minimum of one hour per week. To be considered for the role, you should hold a bachelor’s degree as a minimum (or be working towards it) and have some teaching experience under your belt. They pay between $10-$14 per hour/lesson.
- Ringle boasts a very flexible schedule for your lessons without commitment to a minimum of teaching hours. Each lesson is 40 minutes, which requires an extra 10 minutes before the lesson for prep time and a further 10 minutes after the lesson for feedback. Most students on this platform are business professionals from a wide range of industries. There aren’t any specific requirements and the pay is between $15-$20 per hour.
- Englishunt is a language learning platform that is currently expanding beyond South Korea, to Japan and China, as well as doubling as an educational publisher. It offers lessons to a wide range of students and teachers who work for this platform should be prepared to teach all ages, with a starting rate of $14 an hour.
- Other companies are Classo, GMNY, Bok Tutors, Carrot Global, and Skybel.
The bottom line
Living and working abroad in fascinating countries such as South Korea is an incredible and fulfilling experience that allows you to learn about different cultures and earn some money, but moving abroad is not always possible.
You can still learn about South Korean culture and learn directly from the locals about their beautiful country during your online English classes. It will be an exciting and rewarding experience for both the teacher and the learners.