Teaching English abroad is an unbelievable opportunity to travel, experience different cultures, meet people, and ultimately discover things about yourself. But as great as these benefits are, life can be expensive – bills, university debt, insurance, plane tickets and more. So, while living in Korea sure seems like an amazing experience, can I actually save money teaching in Korea?
In a word – YES!!
Free Rent, Low Taxes and Cheap Cost of Living in Korea
To start with, Korea’s income taxes are very low. Depending on the city you end up in, the tax rate for teacher’s salaries is between 3.3-5%. The second biggest benefit is that you’re apartment is free. Yes, you do not pay any rent! On top of that, the utilities that you pay are cheap. So that means that of your salary, the only thing that you really must buy each month is food! Don’t worry about that, though, because eating out in Korea will not break the bank. If you’re a fan of Korean food (who isn’t?), a typical meal out costs $5 or $6. Moreover, there is no tipping in Korea – it’s considered to be a rude gesture.
(To give a regional comparison, Seoul’s restaurant prices are 36.6% lower than Tokyo’s and its consumer prices are 19.6% lower!)
Travel Around Korea on a Shoestring
In addition to the low cost of food, public transportation is also cheap and efficient. Most of the major cities have fantastic metro systems. For farther travel, a few hours on a bus or train will get you to the opposite side of the country! Traveling on the weekend is inexpensive and there are endless options for weekend getaways, be it skiing or hiking mountains, relaxing on the beach, or exploring breathtaking temples!
Another big cost of traveling and teaching abroad in Korea is a plane ticket. Luckily in Korea, most schools will pay for your plane ticket there! Considering the majority of teachers are coming from North America, this means that you’ll save about $1,000. Just to recap – schools in Korea not only give you a place to stay, they’ll also fly you there for free! See! You can save money teaching in Korea!
Finally, if international travel is important to you, Korea’s location offers many fascinating destinations within just a few hours. And because you’re so close, the plane tickets are much cheaper than if you were coming all the way from North America. Just a few hours on a plane will get you to Japan, Taiwan, China, Mongolia, the Philippines and more!
In short, the experience of living in Korea – an exciting country rich with culture and only a short plane ride from some of the world’s most iconic destinations – should be enough to sell you! But if it’s not, just remember that you can enjoy all of those things and STILL save money teaching in Korea!
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