For many, the dream of becoming an English teacher in Korea begins far before it can become a reality. Once that reality comes true, it tends to be even more exciting and eye-opening than you would ever expect.

All of the research in the world simply does not compare to when you are actually living and teaching in Korea. It’s an experience that is truly life changing, but one that is different for each and every English teacher in Korea.

Watch below as Ana talks about her experience teaching in Korea. You can then read more below about the following topics Ana speaks about:

Finding a Teaching Job in Korea 

As Ana explains, the process of finding a teaching job in Korea can be done very quickly. This really depends on the teacher and how they prepare things on their end but also depends on which documents the teacher already has in their possession and which they are waiting on.

As an example, if you are looking to teach in Korea in August, but you will only receive the hard copy of your diploma in late July, you will have to look into positions in September or later.

However, if you have the main documents in hand (diploma, criminal background check, etc.), then the overall process to apply, be interviewed by your chosen recruiting agency, and then start the interviewing process with schools can happen within about a week or so.

Once you are then offered a job, the entire visa process usually takes about a month and a half to complete from that point.

Teaching English in Korea Programs 

travel and teach english in korea

There are many programs out there that will find you a teaching post in Korea. With so many options, it is really hard to choose the ‘right one’ but there certainly are some recruiters that you should be wary of, so make sure to do your research!

Here are some red flags to watch out for when doing your research on the best recruiting agencies:

Charging fees to place you in Korea:

All recruiting agencies receive a commission from the school where the teacher is placed. The services some companies charge for are the exact same ones that Travel and Teach provides for free. If you are asked to pay a fee, find another agency!

Agencies with few or no online reviews

There are so many cases where an English teacher and a Korean co-teacher team up together to start a recruiting ‘company’. They will lead you in the right direction to collect your documents and will walk you through the visa process, and they may even be able to find you a teaching position in Korea.

However, if the stuff were to hit the fan, the teacher will be the one to get the short end of the stick. The newer and smaller recruiting agencies will work with just about any school…and that puts the teacher at risk.

So do your research and make sure you can find some good reviews about the company you choose to find your job through.

Traveling Around Korea on Weekends 

Travel and Teach Recruiting

One of the things that people find really great about Korea is the amount of traveling you will do on the weekends while you’re teaching there. The public transportation in Korea is among the best in the world which allows you to hop on a bus or train and be in another city within an hour or two.

Click here to see a list of the most unique weekend trips in Korea.

As Ana points out, you can go from a bustling city like Seoul and experience markets, restaurants or just walk the streets with thousands of other people. You can then go to a city like Gwangju where it feels like you have entered a completely new world! Gwangju is pretty much the opposite of ‘modern city’ that is Seoul, being one of the historic cities in Korea.

A Typical Day Teaching English in Korea 

teach in korea with travel and teach

There are many comparisons to teaching English in Korea to a standard teaching job back home in the U.S or in Canada.  There are also many, many differences.

One of those differences is the almost ‘stardom’ that English teachers have in Korea. When you walk into your school, you will instantly be greeted by your students and other students at your school who will yell out, “Hello, teacher! How are you? I’m fine, thank you!”.

Korean students are absolutely enamored with westerners and having one as a teacher seems to always be a special treat to them.

Typical Teaching Hours in a Korean School 

As Ana talks about in the video above, she usually arrives at her school around 9:30 am and starts teaching at 10 am. She then has classes that lead her to her lunch hour. From there, she teaches until 5:30 pm and then finishes her day by prepping for the following day, which takes about an hour.

One of the main things that is  different from being a teacher in the U.S or in Canada compared to Korea is that teachers there do not have to take their work home with them.

It is very common for teachers in Western countries to have to grade tests or prepare curriculum for the next day, but life as an English teacher in Korea is much easier than that. The curriculum is already prepared for you, so you essentially only have to create a lesson plan for your upcoming classes around this. This usually takes around 1 hour to accomplish and is always done at the school.

How Teachers Spend their Free Time Outside of School 

taekwondo in Korea -Travel and Teach

As Ana says in the video, once she leaves the school, she is then free to do whatever she wants. This is yet another perk about teaching in Korea – you have so much free time!! Many teachers in Korea will join groups or clubs that range from sports to billiards to learning Korean.

With so much free time, some teachers get themselves into trouble by having a bit too much fun partying, so it is a good idea to keep yourself busy with other activities. Going out to dinner and having a few drinks is fine, but it shouldn’t become a daily habit.

Our advice is to join other teachers and be active. Go to the gym, take yoga classes or earn your black belt in Taekwondo!

Why You Shouldn’t Worry about North Korea 

When Mr. Trump became president of the United States, he took a hard stance on North Korea. This is something George W Bush did years back. Both presidents pushed but came up with the same result, where essentially nothing was changed.

During these times where the world was led to believe a nuclear war was about to happen, South Koreans simply went about their day and didn’t really give it a second thought. Why? Because the type of harsh talk that went on with the North Koreans wasn’t anything new – and more specifically – wasn’t anything that would be followed up with any sort of action.

Koreans are known to be hot-tempered and say things in the heat of the moment that they may not mean, so when the North is pushed, they of course will react in a heated manner. They just won’t necessarily follow through with their threats. South Koreans know this, as do teachers in Korea. So, as Ana states: there is nothing to worry about!

If you are ready to take the next steps, go ahead and complete the Travel and Teach application form found here. If you have any specific questions for us, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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Video Transcript

Ana Pena's Teaching Adventure in Daegu, South Korea

Finding a Job Teaching English in Korea 

Hey guys so if you’re watching this video you are considering moving to Korea and I suggest you do it.
So I decided to move to Korea at about February or March of this year by the time I found to Travel and Teach it was about March and in May I had multiple interviews in June I had multiple job offers and by August I was living in Korea.

Teach English in Korea Programs (Travel and Teach Recruiting Inc.)

I have now been here like I said three months and it has been amazing. Travel and Teaches is a great company to use. Honestly they didn’t charge me anything at all. The only thing I paid for was fees for like processing documents at the federal and state level to get help me to move abroad but other than that it is 100% free. And I was like no nothing’s free I’m not stupid I wasn’t born yesterday but it really is. They get paid commission from the school as you teach at and so you have zero expense which is fantastic.
So since I had zero expenses coming I was able to bring more money with me when I came to Korea and I was able to spend that pretty pretty liberally honestly and yeah.

Taking Weekend Trips Around Korea 

So I came to Korea and I have traveled quite a bit since being here. I have been to Busan now multiple times. I’m actually going to Busan this weekend which will be fun. Busan is like a little beach town which is awesome it’s about an hour and a half away from Daegu which is where I live and it’s really cool like really hip trendy fun.
And then Seoul is about four hours from me and I just hop on a bus and I’m there visiting one of my best friends who’s also teaching here. And that’s like a huge metropolitan city.
And then there’s also I’ve also been to Gyeongju which is like this traditional town which is super cute and like super green it’s like you can smell the freshness and the flowers in the air. And I’m I’m biking through there so it’s like you have all these different types of like like I don’t even know like cities that are just completely 180s from each other that you can see within like an hour bus ride.
So on my weekends I spent about every other weekend traveling and I’m just having an absolute blast so it’s really fun.

What a Typical Day Teaching English in Korea is Like 

Other than that things have been just going really well and my school is great I get to school at about 9:30 a.m. and I teach and start teaching at 10:00. I get an hour lunch from noon to 1:00 and then go back and teach until about 5:30 and then I have an hour like prep period and at 6:30 I’m off to do whatever I need to do for the rest of the night.
And it’s just been honestly really great and I’m super grateful that I stumbled upon Travel and Teach because they made my dreams – they made my dreams a reality. But really in all honesty they did – they simplified the process, they helped me they didn’t charge me and now I’m here making money and full-time general living abroad.

Why I Made This Video 

And it’s awesome if you get the opportunity to do this.  I am NOT making this video for any other reason then to honestly them helping me and me feeling guilt because there’s no way I can give back to my recruiter because he basically did everything for me and I didn’t do anything for him.
Other than like help him score commission but that doesn’t seem like enough so I felt like a video would help and pull people to do this.

About North Korea 

Also big big point you need to understand that in Korea people do not think twice about North Korea. They do not. The media in the US has – maybe I’m ignorant and I do watch tons of news in the US but the difference between the news in the US and in Korea is that the Koreans aren’t so worried about it the issue. There isn’t so much that Korea is gonna get into war with North Korea it’s that the U.S. might and the North or South Koreans are.
I’m really not scared about imminent war and they feel that if one was to hit it wouldn’t be their country so yeah that’s basically like nothing to worry about and no one thinks about it here so that’s something I wish someone would told me before coming.
And if you have any other questions you can find me a A underscore R underscore P E and a on Instagram and you can shoot me a direct message there and I can help you with any questions you might have a good one.
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