Should I teach English in Korea?

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So you want to teach English in Korea! Fantastic! You really should! First of all, please check my overall guide to teaching English abroad to fund your travels! There are lots of tips and advice in there which will really help you. When you’re in the know with that, read on to find out the specifics of how to teach English in Korea!

Should I Teach English In Korea?

Korea is and always will remain my most favourite country to teach in. If you love…


Amazing healthy spicy food

24 hour parties


The easiest alphabet ever invented


this is the place for you. I lived in Busan: an absolute triple-bonus city for me. You have the mountains, beach and city all rolled into one. What more could you ask for? I hike so much too and Korea is 70% mountains! Bingo!

South Korea
Next stop after Japan: South Korea?!

I started teaching in Korea in 2010

I began working for the EPIK programme first, which was the best experience I could ever have hoped for. I taught elementary (primary) school children for 1.5 years with them and they provided

an orientation with hundreds of peeps when I arrived (and these are friends for life)

a free furnished apartment

a welcome and completion bonus

great holidays

a paid return flight to the UK

It gave me the teaching experience I needed to work my way up the ladder but times have changed in EPIK. I entered with only with my Psychology BSc University degree, sheer enthusiasm, a lovely smile and a jam of Marmite in my suitcase for homesick emergencies.

You now need a TEFL certificate to apply. There is nothing wrong with that and you really should get one

Get a TEFL certificate

MyTEFL provide a convenient and comprehensive 120 hour online course and they have been kind enough to give all TeacakeTravel’s readers 35% off because they’re that kickass! Just remember to type in TEA35 when you sign up here to make sure you save your precious money!

A word of advice about EPIK

I had a great experience but some people didn’t.  It is a little bit of the luck of the draw. When you arrive, you know which area you’re gonna be teaching in but you don’t know with what specific school, who with and how well that government school actually runs. Nine times out of ten it’s totally OK but for some, it wasn’t what they expected.

I quickly cottoned on that teaching English in University is the best job in Korea

This is the job that every teacher hopes to get in Korea if they want to stay here. I was teaching at a University for 14 hours a week, had a lovely furnished apartment, looooong holidays to travel in and the pay was around £1500 a month. Not bad at all!

Everyone I knew said there was no way I would get a University job. I was told that you needed to know someone who worked at one, that you needed to have taught for at least 2 years, that you needed to be superhuman etc but I threw caution to the wind, applied anyway, got an interview and before I knew it, I had changed jobs and was a University teacher. My friends said I got the job for having blonde hair and looking ‘western’ (O.K…maybe that’s 10% true) but if you don’t ask, you don’t get in this world. You have to just throw your hands up, say ‘screw that’ and ask for what you want. People admire that.

Are Universities still the best jobs in Korea?

Yes, but it’s much tougher to get into them these days.  You either need a Masters or a University degree with 4 years University teaching experience: Ouch!  If you’ve got this, you lucky person you, go ahead and apply! If not, go study / get more experience and come back to this at a later point me thinks!

Where can I find the best jobs in Korea?

Koreabridge is hands down my favourite job website and Dave’s ESL Cafe has some excellent jobs too.

The only reason I ever left Korea was because I knew I’d stay there forever if I didn’t leave.  I had bigger fish to fry and had achieved everything I had wanted to. My next stop was Thailand!

Related Reading

The Ultimate Guide to Teaching English Online

How to teach English without a degree

10 Mistakes to Avoid when Teaching in China

Pin This Info For Later!
South Korea not for you?

How about teaching in ChinaVietnamThailand or Europe?

Any other questions?  Contact me in the comments box below and I’ll be happy to help you!

Should I teach English in Korea

6 thoughts on “Should I teach English in Korea?”

  1. I love this! This is exactly what I want to do in a year or two (stopping home for a year after I graduate this summer to do my uk teacher training) and I cannot wait. After visiting Korea twice and going to countless restaurants and cooking countless dishes and spending countless hours trying to (extremely slowly) study the language I’m still not sick of it and am so excited to actually get there for real. I hope I enjoy living there as much as I’ve enjoyed my two trips.

  2. Loved reading this post. Apart from your English teaching experience, I just loved the pics. they are so colourful… mind blowing.

  3. Hi!
    I love all of your posts. Always super helpful and inspiring!
    I’m thinking of teaching English in South Korea. Is the pay really that good – some websites say that the cost of living is so low, one is able to save $500-1000 USD per month. Was it relatively easy to save money?
    Thanks so much!

    • Hey Naomi. Firstly, I’m super excited you’re considering teaching in South Korea. I love this country and am always thinking of going back. You definitely can earn this amount of money. You admittedly can save MORE money in other countries. China was prosperous for me and the highest paid jobs are in the Middle East (but these jobs are nicknamed the ‘golden handcuffs’ in the TEFL world – that high wage comes at a price – i.e. little freedom – especially if you’re a chick). I personally recommend the Middle East for couples who are married and have someone to keep them sane >< Every job is every country is going to be different. You just need to find what is right for you. Hunt hard and don't settle for anything less than what you want. Just keep in mind what qualifications and experience you have in mind and you can take it from there. Any other not hesitate to ask!


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