Teaching in Korea: FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find the most common questions submitted by our applicants. Still wondering about something? Share your questions with us using our support form.

Do I need teaching experience to teach in Korea?
While teaching experience is not a requirement for some schools in Korea, most look very favorably on applicants who have some experience with teaching or with kids in general. If you do not have ESL teaching experience, it is a very good idea to get yourself TEFL certified. For more information and to enroll in a TEFL course, visit our TEFL page.
How much money do I need to bring to teach abroad?
It’s a good idea to bring money with you to Korea as you will receive your first paycheck at the end of the first working month. $500-700 is plenty and should hold you over until you get paid. Schools will often not mind giving you an advance on your pay for the first month, should you need one.
How will I communicate if no one speaks English?
If you have never lived abroad in a non-English speaking country, you may find it a little difficult to communicate with people at first. However, in no time at all, you’ll figure out ways to get your points across, enabling you to buy things, get where you want to go, etc. It is a good idea to make an effort to learn simple Korean words that will get you out of certain situations that may arise. To start learning conversational Korean fast, take a look at Beeline Language Korea, an online video series that teaches you everything you need to know to read, write and communicate in Korean.
Is it possible to save a lot of money teaching in Korea?
Definitely. One of the reasons why a lot of people go to teach in Korea is to save money or pay off student loans. However, money should not be your sole objective; schools in Korea are very serious about the education of their students, and expect dedicated teachers who enjoy teaching and who commit themselves to their job. In comparison to most Western countries, Korea is very easy on your wallet: eating, transportation and recreation all come at costs much lower than what you’re used to at home. It is also important to note that smaller cities cost a lot less to live in over larger cities.
What do I need to bring with me?
It’s a good idea to bring respectable working clothes (dress shirts, slacks, blouses, skirts, etc.), even if it’s not required by your school. Shaving cream, razors, hair products, etc. can be found everywhere. Deodorant is sometimes a tough thing to find, so bring extra. To give you a taste of home, we advise you bring plenty of comfort items such as music, movies and some foods you don’t think you will be able to find. Most of all – and it’s not just a cliché – bring an open mind and a positive attitude.
Is it easy to travel around South Korea?
Yes, it’s very easy and inexpensive to travel around Korea. Trains, buses and taxis are very affordable and run at all hours. There is plenty to see and weekend getaways to anywhere in the country are possible as Korea is not very large geographically.
Do I need travel insurance to teach overseas?
It’s an excellent idea to get traveler’s insurance to teach in Korea. It’s very inexpensive and something that will cover you during your time in Korea and other countries you may visit while in Asia. Your school will assist with your health insurance but this only covers reduced fees on medication and doctor’s visits, so it’s very limited.
What will my apartment in Korea be like?
Schools want you to be as comfortable as possible. Accommodations are generally spacious and will include all the amenities that you’re accustomed to back home.
Will I have access to a computer and the internet?
PC rooms are abundant in Korea. Did you know Korea has the fastest and most populated online community in the world? It’s really cheap (about a dollar an hour) too. You can also pay to have internet access in your apartment, if it is not already provided for you.
Do I need immunization shots to teach in Korea?
Possibly. There is little risk of catching anything while you are teaching in Korea; however you should get a Hepatitis shot if you are not up to date. Check with your doctor and/or the Korean Embassy. If you plan on going to other countries from Korea, it is easier and much less costly to get additional immunization shots while you’re there.
Do I need to have TESL or TEFL certification to teach English in Korea?
As competition for teaching jobs in Korea is constantly rising, schools are now looking for people with higher teaching qualifications. While a lot of schools prefer to hire people with degrees in Education, most will accept those with a TEFL/TESL certification. We recommend TEFL Online, an accredited online course that is the largest provider of TEFL courses in the United States. TEFL Online offers 4 courses, but keep in mind that the industry standard is 100 hours or greater.
How long will it take to process my application?
You should ideally give yourself 3-4 months to prepare, as delays in this process are somewhat unavoidable. If you have the necessary documents at your disposal, the entire visa process takes about 4-6 weeks. It is also important to note that there will be further delays with the Korean consulates as well as the immigration offices in Korea during the summer when we receive the largest number of applicants.
What if I have not graduated yet? Is it still possible for me to apply for teaching jobs a few months in advance?
Definitely. With the visa process taking longer than it used to, we are asking that our teachers take more time in order to prepare everything that they need in advance. If you have not graduated, that isn’t a problem; you will need your university degree in order to get a visa, but you can certainly prepare everything else while you are waiting. Send us your application anytime – we will get right back to you to arrange a phone consultation so that you are fully informed about this opportunity as well as what you need to do to get yourself to Korea.
How much is your service?
100% free! We don’t charge our teachers anything for our services, as we get compensated by our schools in South Korea…so there really is nothing for you to lose, but a lot to gain.
Why use a recruiting agency?
There are many positives that you can gain from working with an honest recruiting agency. To start, we inform you of everything that we feel you need to know about teaching in Korea, as well as how your life is going to be there. We don’t sugar-coat or skip over details just to get you to sign a contract; conversely, we are straight with you as to what you can expect during your time in Korea. We also guide you through the entire hiring and visa process so that you are fully aware of what you need to do. When your visa is complete, we will arrange your plane ticket for you as well as get you from Incheon Airport in Korea to your school. Finally, we will assist you and answer any questions that you may have at any point during your entire contract. Again, all of this comes at no cost to you. To put it simply, we base our business on honesty, which we believe is the most important factor in this industry.
How long are teaching contracts in Korea? Can I go for less than a year?
Contracts for ESL teaching jobs in Korea are all one year in length. While we have been able to offer 6 month contracts in the past, this is no longer possible. The reasoning behind this is that teachers and students develop relationships, which is important to their learning and confidence; it is therefore important that teachers aren’t coming and going every few months. Teachers sometimes think that they would never be able to last an entire year teaching abroad, but after a short while gone, they wonder if they will ever return home!
Who pays for my flight to and from Korea?
In the past, directors always bought tickets for teachers in advance. Unfortunately, some people abused this and went through the entire visa process only to get a free ticket to Korea, leaving the school without a teacher for their students. These days, to ensure that this doesn’t happen, teachers are responsible for buying their ticket to Korea, but are reimbursed the entire amount of their ticket one to two weeks after they arrive. We will make all of the necessary arrangements for you through an excellent travel agency that we use. We will also make all of the arrangements to get you from the airport to your apartment once you arrive in Korea. When you are planning on leaving Korea, your school will pay for your ticket home or the equivalent amount if you choose to go somewhere else.
Can a friend come with me to teach English in Korea?
Sure! If you are going with your boyfriend or girlfriend and you would like to live together, keep in mind that couple positions are harder to find. While this is certainly possible, it usually takes a little bit longer to arrange these types of positions. Placing two friends in separate schools is also possible but will depend on the positions that are open at the time the teachers are looking to go to Korea.
How long does it take to get an E2 visa to start teaching in Korea?
From the time that you have all of your documents ready to be sent to Korea, (please check required documents), it will take 3-5 business days to get to Korea, and about another week to two for the processing to be done there. Once the first part of the process is completed, you then take or send your documents to the Korean consulate. Completing the visa from this point usually takes 3-5 days. Since none of these offices can guarantee exactly how long they will take to process documents, we usually tell our teachers to start getting prepared 3-4 months in advance to be safe. Don’t worry if this sounds complicated – we’re here to help you each step of the way.
What are 'Officially Processed' transcripts and where do I get them?
Transcripts are required to authenticate your degree. Officially processed transcripts are required by Korean immigration so as to avoid anyone from acquiring a visa with fake documents. These transcripts can be ordered from the registrar office at your university and need to be in a sealed envelope, with the stamp, seal or crest of the university covering the seal of the envelope to show that it has not been opened. Beside this stamp, there needs to be a signature and a date from the person in the registrar office who is issuing these to you. Any deviation from this will result in your application not being processed by immigration.
What is the cost of living like in Korea?
To put it simply: cheap. One of the main reasons why Korea is such a popular destination to teach ESL is because you are paid a lot of money, which you are able to save because of the inexpensive cost of living and because you don’t have to pay for your rent. Eating, drinking and traveling all come at prices far less than you would pay in western countries. To go out to a full Korean barbecue, including beer or other alcohol for example, will only set you back less than $20; to buy a lunch, you’re looking at $3-5. The cost of living will range with personal taste, but in general, Korea gives you the potential to earn and save more money than any other country in Asia.
What is the weather like in Korea?
Korea has four seasons. The summer is generally hot and humid, will the winter is cold but not overly cold, never really going too far below zero. Spring and fall are the two seasons that are recognized as the most pleasant seasons, as the temperature and colors are both quite appealing.

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