Updated November 10th, 2020

Travel plans for many have come to a halt. This is especially true for those that have just graduated university. However, some dreams were not wiped out with the Coronavirus, including the one to teach and live in Korea for a gap year. But many are still left asking the question: is it now safe to teach English in Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic? The answer is yes!

As countries around the world are dealing with their own ways to flatten the curve of Coronavirus/COVID-19, South Korea has been applauded for the measures they have taken to change the trajectory of this awful virus. Because of this, schools are up and running and life seems to be on its way back to normality.

With the extraordinary steps that South Korea as a nation has taken, the curve there is being flattened while many other countries around the world – including the U.S, Canada and especially the U.K – are holding their collective breaths. South Korea is therefore becoming one of the safest countries to live and work in during these troubled times.

Travel & Teach is still accepting applications for those looking to go to Korea in upcoming months. 

This article will run through what has transpired in South Korea thus far as well as how this affects teachers in or going to Korea.

We currently have a large number of teachers who are on their way to teach English in Korea.

Restrictions have been lessening with each passing month, but everything is being monitored very closely with regard to testing and tracing the virus. Everything is slowly returning to normal for the fall intake. If you have any inquiries, please feel free to contact us.

Korea has not closed its borders but are instead undertaking steps for welcoming foreigners, including English teachers.

Is It Safe to Teach English in Korea with the COVID-19 Pandemic? Videos from English Teachers Living Teaching in Korea

This question is best directed to the English teachers that are currently living and teaching in Korea. Here is an excellent synopsis from Jay, a Canadian who has been in Korea before and during the COVID-19 outbreak:

Some key points to take away from Jay’s video:

  • South Korea is handling this outbreak better than most countries in the entire world, making Korea a safer place to be than many people’s home country
  • Foreign English teachers who left Korea at the start of the outbreak are regretting their decision as their own governments are not treating the virus with the same level or seriousness as the Korean government has, putting their citizens at risk
  • Treatment for COVID-19 in Korea is FREE should you get diagnosed, which is not the case in many countries
  • The transparency from the Korean government scared many people into going back home who later discovered that the situation back home was the same or worse

Tyler and Abi are two Americans living in South Korea. Watch below as they explain how Korea has handled the outbreak of the Coronavirus:

Some key points to take away from Tyler and Abi’s video:

  • The speed at which South Korea started taking measures after the outbreak began has helped flatten the curve. Within days after the virus started, Korea took immediate action providing hand sanitizer bottles in public spaces and masks to citizens
  • The Korean government has been very transparent with its citizens throughout the entire outbreak, keeping everyone informed through the news, public street signs and cell phone alerts
  • A Korean university student created an app called ‘The Corona 100m app’ that alerts users if they are within a 100 metre radius of the whereabouts of the last tracked Coronavirus patient; the results have been overwhelmingly positive

Travel & Teach is still accepting applications for those looking to go to Korea in upcoming months. 

Teaching in Korea During the COVID-19 Coronavirus Crisis

For those on their way to Korea to teach English in the spring or summer months, there will be many questions as to what happens once arriving in Korea and then what will be covered when you are living there. Here are a few questions and answers:

Is South Korea allowing English Teachers to enter the country? 

Yes. Unlike many countries, Korea has not closed their borders to foreigners, which is due to the economic dependency Korea has with other countries.

They are however, taking extreme measures with anyone coming in the country, which includes a mandatory 14 day quarantine.

Are teachers still going to Korea to teach English during the COVID-19 crisis?

Yes! Travel & Teach is currently placing teachers in positions from December-March, 2020. We have just received a large number of positions from our schools who are hiring as usual for the March intake. We are currently conducting interviews as schools are looking to secure teachers for this period.

For those looking to work in Korea in the new year, it is very much encouraged to get started with your application now as collecting the required documents is taking a little bit longer than normal due to the COVID pandemic.

What happens once I enter Korea as an English teacher?

Upon entering Korea on a teaching visa, you will be taken to your apartment where you will need to be quarantined for a 14 day period.

In order to help teachers through this time of quarantine, our schools are fully stocking fridges and cupboards with food and supplies so that our teachers are as comfortable as they can be during this time of isolation.

We have found that our teachers who are prepared for this quarantine period have an easier time getting through it. You will have internet access, but it is best to also bring books and other activities to keep you busy.

To look at things in a positive manner, previous to these COVID days that we live in, you would be entering Korea on a weekend and then have to start your teacher training on the Monday. This doesn’t allow much time to get over jet lag, but with the quarantine period, you can take your time getting yourself adjusted.

Learning Korean when in 14 day Quarantine in Korea

One thing that a lot of teachers are spending their 14 day quarantine time doing is learning to speak Korean. It’s not often that you get the chance to not be able to do anything – think about it! What better way to spend your time than to learn how to speak the local language so that you are ready to hit the ground running when your quarantine time is up.

We recommend the Beeline Korean Video Program as it is the easiest way to learn how to speak conversational Korean. Learn a few Korean words or sign up for the whole three level program to learn how to speak, read and write Korean.

Use our coupon code TRAVELANDTEACH to save 50% on any of the program plans. 

Will I be covered by the Korean Health Care system as a foreigner?

Yes. The Korean government is still providing health care coverage for foreign English teachers. This, at a time where many insurance companies will no longer provide coverage.

Are English teachers being tested when entering Korea? 

Yes. The COVID-19 test is free to all citizens as well as anyone entering Korea, which includes English teachers.

This is great news to those from countries such as the U.S. where some people have reported being charged over $3000 to get tested.

What if I get COVID-19 when I’m in Korea? How will I be treated? 

Yes! For anyone who contracts COVID-19 in Korea – including English teachers – you will be treated for FREE!

Why South Korea is being Applauded Internationally for their Handling of the COVID-19 Crisis 

Many countries around the globe are looking to South Korea for answers as to how they have been able dampen the spread of the Coronavirus.

From drive-thru testing to their advanced diagnosis systems, South Korea was ready for this outbreak and are proving to be one of the most successful countries in the world at dealing with it.

Drive-thru Testing Centers in South Korea

Drive-thru testing has allowed 100,000’s of Koreans to be tested in their cars. This form of testing prevents exposing any health care workers to anyone who may have the virus.

Within 5-6 hours of testing, the person is notified as to whether or not they are carrying the virus. These tests are running at about 98% accuracy.

Praise for South Korea from Canada’s CBC News

The South Korean government has been transparent about the crisis since it’s onset.

At first this caused some panic around the globe, but not to the Korean people. Having been through similar situations before with SARS and MERS, South Koreans knew to trust in their government’s directions, which has been paying off.

How South Korea has Avoided Panic Buying

Unlike in many countries such as Canada, the U.K and the U.S, panic buying has not been a national problem. Here’s why:


If you were planning on teaching English in Korea this spring, summer or fall, feel free to get your application started now.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us.

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