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Monday, 10 July 2006

How we ended up choosing Korea to teach English.

Out of all the countries in the world to teach English as a Second Language (ESL), you're probably wondering how we ended up with Korea, are you? Let's put it this way...there are jobs available in Japan, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, the UK, South America, etc., the list goes on!

We looked into Japan, Taiwan and China at first. We wanted to teach limited class sizes (under 30 kids would be nice) and we also wanted accomodation and airfare covered by the employer. Most places in Japan did not cover housing. That meant finding a place on your own, paying key money (which is not returned) and dealing with other little details too. Airfare was not covered, so that meant forking out $1500 on a flight to Asia from Canada. China was similar, but they provided housing and some places also paid for your flight. Taiwan was different though. No housing OR airfare! That would mean starting out with money coming from your own pocket, which isn't difficult but why shell out the cash when it could be covered?

ANYWAYS, to make a long story short we did our homework and ended up finding a nice company in Korea that paid for furnished accomodation (free rent, w00t!), airfare (thank you) and accomodated for couples. Don't forget the healthcare package and being placed in Seoul. To get what you want is really important I believe. Remember, most of these countries are in HIGH demand right now for English teachers. These companies NEED native speaking foreigners from Canada, USA, the United Kingdom, Australia and other countries as well. They need us! So don't be afraid to try and negotiate your contract. For example, wages, housing furnishings, holidays, etc. These things are important if you want to start out with a good expat experience.

All in all, we are happy with our decision as everything so far has worked out. There was a bit of paper work to fill out regarding the Korean visa, but so far it's been smooth sailing. So get out there and start looking for job postings because they are all over the web! Until next time!



Unknown said...

I visit Hongkong every year with my family. Definitely one of my favorite places in the world, I feel very at home and comfortable and happy there.
Isnt it nice when you get a bargain on fresh fruit =D I have a question tho: Why is EVERYTHING so damn expensive in Korea? ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi Gdog,
Just started reading your blog. We also have an apartment in Mokdong. (paragon towers) But we live in Westwood, CA full time. About the fashion in Korea... I never understood it myself. It's an odd thing. I am sure you noticed that women wear alot of make up as well. YUCK! I miss Korea for one thing and it's the food. Not fancy places but street vender food. When I was in College I did an exchange program with Korea university for a year and I used to enjoy going out to eat with my friends late at night. Soju I can do without though. I don't know if you had to do the night club thing but that's another monster all on it's own with the booking crap. Keep up the great work. ;o)

Anonymous said...

Hi Gdog,
My friend and I will be moving to Seoul in August to teach and were facing a big decision of what type of contract we want with out company. With one, airfare and housing is provided and with the other we would have to pay for our housing and half our airfare. If you don't mind me asking, where do you work and how did you come across it?

Gary said...

dmily: thanks for the visit. I would suggest having your airfare/housing paid for as it's much easier that way. Unless you are getting a very lucrative starting salary, having airfare/housing taken care of definitely the way to go. You can email me at teachenglishseoul@gmail.com if you want to know where I work. Cheers.

Anonymous said...

In our experience Korea is only expensive if you want to live there like you never left home! Western housing and hotels, Western food, Western booze, Western ANYTHING is expensive.

Live like a Korean and you can live cheaply. A decent restaurant meal will cost you less than US$5. Groceries at the traditional market or even from the street vendors are very reasonable. Even in Seoul, taxicab, subway, and bus rides are cheaper than in most major cities in Europe and North America.

Stay away from the department stores and shop the traditional markets and street vendors. You can buy the same clothes sold in the western chain stores for about the same price, or less.

True, luxury goods such as high end electronics can be pricey. But how badly do you really need that stuff anyway?

If you know how to live, Korea is one of the world's most reasonable places to live. They don't call it Asia's Mexico for nothing!

More on our (now somewhat dated) teaching in Korea website, http://www.atesk.org/

Anonymous said...

Hi Gdog, I've been following your blog for awhile now, and i'm getting more and more fascinated with the idea of teaching English in Korea. I've got some questions though, and i hope you will be able to help me out.

I am not a native English speaker, but English is my first language. We speak English fairly much in Malaysia. I'm hoping my BA and a TEFL cert would suffice.

However, my biggest question is how safe is it for an Asian women to travel/stay in Korea alone?


Gary said...

kai: Thanks for reading my blog! :)

Anyways, to answer your question...I think since English is your first language, plus you have a BA and a TEFL certificate, that will improve your chances of getting a job.

Also, Korea is safe for women to travel alone. We both felt very safe there. But of course, common sense is also a big part, don't wander down dark alleys at night alone!! :)

Good luck!

aljensen said...

I always liked going to Samchongdong.

Dongdaemun was nice too.

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