Teaching English in Korea

About 3 1/2 months ago I came home to Detroit from my 2-year Peace Corps service in the Philippines.  In the months leading up to my service, I had planned to transfer to PC China and serve another 2 years, and then go to graduate school.  In the end, I wasn’t able to transfer to China and I had to do a little revision in my plans.

I want to go to graduate school to study social work and, eventually, continue doing development work.  However, at the time that I finished my PC service, I hadn’t prepared to go straight into school.  I needed to save up a bit of money to pay on my student loans, to start paying for graduate school and I needed time to make the appropriate preparations for going back to school.

Back in 2004, I took a TEFL course with the idea that it might someday be useful to me in terms of finding a teaching job abroad.  Some people may not know this, but there is a very large world-wide market for teaching English- particularly in Asia.  I narrowed my job search down to Japan and Korea, and, after talking to people who’ve taught in both places, I decided to try and get a year-long job contract teaching in South Korea.

My reasons for choosing Korea aren’t so much that I’m interested in Korea and Korean culture, but that it’s really the must lucrative and easy-to-navigate system that I found.  Teaching in Japan used to have this title, but times, they are a changin’.

In Korea:

  • The pay is the same or maybe higher than in Japan.
  • The cost of living in Korea is much lower than in Japan.
  • It’s easier finding a job in Korea- some people find that private schools in Japan are more discriminating toward people of size, color and/or an older age.
  • The perks are better.  Round-trip airfare and paid apartments are pretty much standard in contracts- in Japan, I saw a lot of variation in these things.

Anyway, I don’t want to make this a comparison of places to teach.  I want to make this a record of starting anew in a new place.

So now I’m off to the city of Daejeon, where I’m going to teach English in a public middle school.  I will update more about what it’s like  living and working in Korea.

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