This post was written by Ralph Starks, a blogger and traveler who enjoys exploring the world in the best ways possible.
South Korea is a popular option for TEFL teachers new and old. In South Korea, you can earn good wages and enjoy a nice standard of living, even if you’re a less experienced teacher. In South Korea, you can explore many historic places, visit stunning beaches, and indulge in some amazing cuisine. When choosing where to live in South Korea, most people will immediately think of Seoul, but there are plenty of other choices, too. If you want to know how to do teach English in South Korea and how to implement it, take a look at our recommendations.
Why Teach English in South Korea?
South Korea is a popular choice for TEFL teachers in Asia, especially those with more experience under their belts who can aim for the highly-paid university roles. As well as good wages and an abundance of teaching work, there are plenty of reasons why you might want to head to South Korea. Read on to discover the eight best cities for teaching English in South Korea.
The most popular destination in South Korea for TEFL teachers, Seoul isn’t for the faint-hearted. A bustling, frenetic city with a never-ceasing pulse of entertainment, socializing and nightlife, Seoul is a heady destination where fun is certainly on the menu. But like all capital cities, expect crowds at every attraction, public transport filled to bursting, and not much time to catch some peace and quiet! If you want to know about some of the top places to visit while in Seoul, have a look at this list.
Cosmopolitan, fashionable, and popular with tourists, Busan is a good choice if you want to live in a bustling city. Home to the world’s largest department store, Busan is the second biggest city in South Korea. As a port city, enjoy those harbor views at sunset after a busy day at the Hagwon.
If you’re looking for a city with buzzing nightlife and a geographical location that means you’re close to plenty of epic tourist spots, look no further than Daegu. The stone Buddha atop Palgongsan Mountain is the most popular tourist spot, but there are plenty of other things to see and do, including traditional villages, markets, and botanical gardens.
Asia’s ‘Silicon Valley’, Daejeon is a top pick for the technologically minded. There are plenty of museums, but don’t rule it out if you’d rather be spending your free time in nature – Daejeon is great for hiking, mountain climbing, and lake swimming, too.
There’s a lot of industry in Pohang (such as the steel mills) which means lots of employees who are looking to learn English, especially as this is often supported through their companies. This seaside town is scenic with plenty of places to go for a hike and enjoy your surroundings.
While most TEFL teachers in South Korea consider Jeju Island as a tourist destination, there are plenty of teachers who decide to make this location their home. With a population of nearly 700,000 people, don’t imagine this as an uninhabited island – there are plenty of locals who want to learn English, particularly those working in the tourist industry who want to cater for visitors to their tropical home.
With plenty of tourists flocking to this region, many people in Jeonju are keen to learn English so that they can interact with the foreigners they meet in their daily work. A foodie destination, Jeonju is also the birthplace of one of the most famous South Korean dishes, bi-bim-bap, making it a great place to go if you want to experience some authentic South Korean cuisine.
If you don’t fancy being right in the heart of Seoul but still want to be near the action, Incheon is a great choice. Not only are you close to Seoul, but being close by to Korea’s largest international airport means that a weekend away in China or Japan is totally possible from this location. While still a big city, Incheon has been designed with green spaces in mind, giving it a more relaxed vibe than cities of a similar size.
If you’ve decided you want to teach English in South Korea, you’ll need a TEFL certificate to help you get a good job. TEFL courses can be online, in person, or a combination. Generally, employers look for candidates who have courses that are at least 140 hours (120 hours of online material and 20 hours of in-person practice) as a minimum standard. There are also specializations you can do such as teaching young learners, teaching business English, or teaching for academic purposes.
TEFL Jobs in South Korea
There is great variety when looking for a TEFL job in South Korea. Some teachers choose to sign up to government-sponsored programs that put native English speakers into public schools. This kind of role offers good job security, and you won’t have to work as many hours per week as you do in other roles. The pay is pretty good, but you might find it isolating if you’re the only foreigner in your school. If you’re experienced as a TEFL teacher, you can probably find work at a university, where the pay is good but working hours are lower. Many teachers find work at a Hagwon, which is a private language school where students go for lessons in their free time. There are plenty of established Hagwon’s you can apply to, and the roles will vary depending on the company, so do your research since English is know as The Universal Language.
South Korea is so much more than Seoul, and while we’ve highlighted eight great cities to choose from when teaching English in South Korea, you’ll soon find there are even more options. With many cities being well placed for travel, TEFL teachers in South Korea find it hard to stick to their local area. Exploring different cities is one of the best ways to get to know a country, and maybe even discover new places to live while you teach English abroad.