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Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Korea

Ultimate Guide to Teaching English in Korea

Contents

Written by Drew Binsky

I taught English in South Korea for 18 months, from August 2013 to February 2015, and it was hands down the best experience of my life.

This article is 25 minute read, but it will give you EVERYTHING you need to know about teaching English in South Korea and adjusting to Korean culture.

I was originally going to make this an eBook and charge $20, but I decided to share everything for free because I love you guys and I want you ALL to have an enlightening experience teaching English abroad.

If you want to give back, please purchase your TEFL class on this link, and I’ll make a small commission at no additional cost to you. The class is produced by myTEFL, and I can assure you that it’s the best and most affordable TEFL class you can find online. My commission goes directly to making my content better.

Use the discount code “DREW” and get 35% off, so the course will cost you about $195!

Intro

Teaching English in South Korea was the best decision of my life. It’s one of the most adventurous and unique experiences anyone can have. Beyond teaching, the lifestyle in Korea is an eye-opening world by itself. There is so much to learn when you’re immersed in a fast-paced, tech-savvy East Asian culture like Korea.

But how can I teach in Korea? What are the requirements? Is the job difficult? Can I make enough money to travel Asia?

This guide will answer all of your questions and more so you can make the most out of your experience.I use a combination of personal knowledge and online research to give you a complete rundown from start to finish.

I moved to Korea 2 months after I graduated from the University of Wisconsin, when my friend told me about the job opportunity. I immediately applied and was accepted the following week. I always knew I wanted to travel around Asia, and this job was the perfect gateway to make my dreams come true.

Be aware that the Korean government has been cutting teaching jobs like wildfire over the last decade. While there is still a big demand for native English-speaking teachers, the government seemingly caught on to the overly generous benefits and awesome lifestyle that young foreigners (like myself) were having in Korea. That being said, there are still many sources that will help you find a teaching job if you meet the requirements, so don’t worry!

Let’s get started.

13 categories I’ll cover in this article:

1. Public Schools vs. Private Schools

2. Job Eligibility & Requirements

3. How to Find a Job

4. Contracts, Benefits & Payments

5. How to Plan Lessons

6. Upon Arrival in Korea

7. My Personal Experience

8. Life in Korea

9. Korean Culture

10. Nightlife in Seoul

11. Resources

12. My Advice to You

13. What to Pack?

1. Public vs. Private Schools

Teaching at a public school is completely different than teaching at a private school… So listen carefully!

Public school jobs are MUCH BETTER than private school jobs!

What’s the difference?

Private schools (called hagwans in Korean) are privately owned and managed academies. They typically have classes of 5 to 15 students, and you will be accompanied by several other foreign teachers.

Public schools are owned by the government, and are similar to any public school in the U.S. Typical class sizes are 30 to 40 kids. Public schools generally hire only 1 native English speaker to teach at the entire school.

Private schools have stricter rules, worse benefits, longer hours, shorter holidays, and a much larger workload as opposed to public school gigs. But the starting salary for both private and public is about the same.

I have met hundreds of English teachers since I taught in Korea, and I have never met a single person who fully enjoys working at a private school. On the flip side, mostly everyone I’ve met at public schools, absolutely loves it!

Every public school job varies from one another depending on how strict your principal and faculty members are. Some schools will give you extra classes to teach, some will let you have more vacation days, and some will make you complete more lesson planning. It’s sort of luck of the draw, but generally speaking, the benefits are the same and always better than at private schools.

In addition, most people who I meet at hagwans (private) are only there because they didn’t know the difference between the two jobs when they originally applied. Don’t be one of those clueless people! You’ve now been warned.

2. Job Eligibility & Requirements

To teach at a public school in South Korea, you must meet 3 basic requirements:

– Carry a passport from an English-speaking country

– Hold a Bachelor’s degree from a 3+ year university

– Obtain a TEFL certificate to be a certified teacher

That’s it.

You are not required to speak any Korean or have any previous teaching experience.

Although, learning Korean is a really good idea. I nearly became fluent and it was a huge benefit to my lifestyle in Korea. I recommend using Beeline Language to learn Korean — it’s a great online course that’s both affordable and intuitive!

Next, I will explain each requirement in detail:

a) Carry a passport from an English-speaking country

These countries include: USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Northern Ireland, South Africa, Nigeria and any other country where English is the first language.

Unfortunately, even if you are 100% fluent in English but you do not carry a passport from one of these countries, then you cannot get a contract job at a public school. However, there are several other opportunities to teach in Korea, such as being a private tutor or working after-school gigs. These jobs are more risky, because you’ll have to find your own clients, arrange housing on your own, and find a way to get a working visa. But you can charge up to $60 USD per hour as a private tutor, and end up making even more money than at a public school.

b) Hold a Bachelor’s degree from a 3+ year university

It’s as simple as that. You must prove that you have a bachelor’s degree from a 3+ year University to be eligible. Any bachelor’s degree works! My degree was in economics…

If you have an English or a teaching degree, then you may be exempt from obtaining a TEFL Certificate. 

c) Obtain a 100+ hour TEFL Certificate.

TEFL = Teach English as a Foreign Language. You must have one of these certificates to be eligible to teach, and it can be acquired by taking an online class which provides you with the necessary skills and training to be an effective teacher and to find a position.

The TEFL class costs anywhere from $1,500 to $1,200 USD. The class must be labeled as 100 (or more) hours, so it will take a few weeks to finish. Even though it’s labeled as 100 hours, the amount of work is realistically more like 50 hours.

The TEFL class is extremely easy if English is your mother tongue or if you’re fluent. You’ll read chapters about grammar, sentence structure, vocabulary, etc., and take mini quizzes at the end. You’ll also be required to write essays at the end of each chapter and submit them to a TA who will grade your work and provide feedback.

There are a lot of sketchy TEFL companies online that will rip you off. So, I highly recommend checking out a company called myTEFL – they offer a very affordable TEFL certificate and it’s one of the most reputable classes that you can find online! Help me out by purchasing your course through this link!

3. How to Find a Job

In my personal case, I was lucky that my University (Wisconsin) has an affiliate program with a recruiter in Korea, so I just applied directly through my school. But I am guessing that most of you don’t have this option from your University, so you will have to use an alternative method for finding jobs.

Below, I will lay out all the ways in which you can find a job at a public school.

a) EPIK & GEPIK

EPIK & GEPIK are the two biggest recruiters for public school jobs in Korea. Your priority should be to score a job with them, because they are the best!

E.P.I.K. stands for English Program In Korea, and G.E.P.I.K. means Gyeonggi-do English Program In Korea.

The two companies have virtually the same contract. The only difference is that they offer jobs in different areas of Korea.

EPIK provides teaching opportunities in 15 metropolitan cities and provinces in Korea, including Seoul, Busan, Daegu, Incheon, Gwangju, Daejeon, Ulsan, Jeju and Gangwondo.

GEPIK provides jobs ONLY in the Gyeonggi-do Province, which is the most populous province in Korea with 13 million people. It’s located on the outskirts of Seoul. My old job was provided by GEPIK.

With both EPIK and GEPIK contracts, you are not allowed to choose which grade that you will teach (Elementary, Middle, or High School). You can request your top choice, but it’s not a guarantee that you’ll get it.

The same goes with the city or school that you’ll be placed in. You may suggest your top choices to live in and teach, but it’s not a guarantee because if there is only one spot open, they will fill that job with you. But don’t worry — public transportation in Korea is the most efficient in the world so you can get around.

b) Private Recruiters

There are tons of private recruiters that can hook you up with jobs in Korea. Word on the street is they are cutting more jobs every year, but think optimistically because there’s always a way it can work out!

The most popular and reliable private recruiters that I’m familiar with are Teach ESL, Korvia, Gone 2 Korea, Hands Korea, Work N Play, and Morgan Recruiting Services. If you apply to all of them, then I guarantee you’ll find a job opening.

There is also a thread on Dave’s ESL Cafe, where people post job openings all over Korea and you can apply directly.

c) Word of Mouth

If you already know a teacher who is currently teaching and is about to leave, then you can usually arrange to take over their position.

d) Facebook Groups

There are tons of Facebook groups that deal specifically with teaching English in Korea. Post a question on there, and get instant feedback!

Here are some good groups to post in:

Public Jobs in Gyeonggi-do

English Teachers in South Korea

Korvia GEPIK

GEPIK Teachers

Teach ESL Korea

e) Talk to Me!

As a last resort, contact me and I can probably put you in touch with the right person. Remember, I am always here to help and that is my chief motive.

4. Contracts, Benefits & Payments

Ah, the moment you’ve all been waiting for!

What’s inside your contract? How much do you get paid? What are all of these amazing benefits that you can get? Tell me more!

a) Contract

This is what sets Korea apart from the rest of the world when it comes to teaching English. The pay + benefits of teaching in Korea is unmatched. There are some countries in the Middle East that pay more than Korea (Saudi Arabia, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar), but the benefits and lifestyle of living in a remote Middle Eastern city is nothing compared to living in Korea.

In Korea, most starting public school contracts have the same pay and benefits. The contacts are all about 50 pages long, with writing in both Korean and English. You will need to sign the bottom of every page, acknowledging that you understand and accept all of the information.

Every contract is 365 days. No more and no less. If you want to stay longer and your school likes you, then you’ll have the chance to re-sign at the end of your term. You might get lucky if your school offers you a 6 month extension (it happened to me), but it’s not very common.

All contracts assure that you have a Korean co-teacher by your side at all times in the classroom. They are there to help with discipline, safety, and translation whenever necessary. I had 4 different co-teachers who taught different classes with me. Some were helpful and others didn’t say a word in class. It all depends.

Also, your students will likely view your English class as a “bonus class,” because they already take a normal English class with a Korean teacher. So luckily, you are never expected to prepare tests or grade homework. But the bad news is that the kids tend to goof around more in your class because it’s fun, so you will have to deal with more disciplinary issues.

b) Benefits
  • Flight reimbursements to and from Korea
  • 18 to 25 Paid Vacation days per year
  • Free Rent at a fully furnished place within walking distance to your school
  • No taxes (at least for American citizens)
  • Year end Bonus (equivalent to one paycheck)
  • Health insurance
  • Pensions
  • Visa to live and work in Korea
  • 10 Paid Sick Days (varies)
  • Free lunches (some schools take out $1-2 per meal from your paycheck)

Some benefits depend on your school. My school was lenient when it came to vacation time, but other people I know had a stricter schedule. But generally speaking, you will be entitled to all of these benefits.

c) Payments

The starting salary for most public school jobs is just shy of $2,000 USD per month. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but keep in mind that this is a solid $2,000 that goes into your pocket every month, because you have virtually ZERO expenses. You are tax free, have a place to live and flights, and the standard of living in Korea is relatively cheap. You can live like a king (or queen) with this money.

In my first year of teaching, I had enough money to eat out 5 days a week, party at clubs in Gangnam every weekend, and travel to 12 new countries. I didn’t save much, but this money was derived 100% from my paycheck.

Some people come to Korea with the intention to save money and some come to travel the world. I know some people who saved $14K in one year by living extremely frugally and not leaving Korea. But this was not the call for me.

When you think about it, a salary of $24K teaching in Korea is just as good or better than your friends who are making $60K working corporate jobs in NYC or London, and are paying $1,500 for monthly rent and $15 for a cocktail at a bar.   And their lifestyle isn’t comparable to what yours will be like.

Believe me on this one!

5. How to Plan Lessons

Some public schools will give you a textbook to follow, and others (like my school) will expect you to come up with your own lessons from scratch. Both have their own pros and cons.

For textbooks, I can’t give you any advice, because you must follow what the book says. But if you make your own lessons (which many of you will), then there are some great resources online where all English teachers in Korea post ideas and share their materials.

The website that saved my life is called Waygook.org. It’s a forum-based website where all teachers in Korea upload their lesson plans – like PowerPoints, worksheets, game templates, and ideas. It’s a place to collaborate and share ideas with other teachers. You can even post questions and you’ll get answers immediately. I downloaded 75% of my PowerPoints and materials on this site, and my teachers were thoroughly impressed by the “work” that I put into lesson planning. It’s an essential resource.

6. Upon Arrival in Korea

When you arrive at Incheon International Airport, you will be greeted by your co-teacher and they will take you to your new home. You will be given an allowance of about $300 USD to get settled into your new place. Sweet!

Within the first few days upon arrival, you are required to get a health check and a drug test at a nearby hospital. So yes, that means you must stop smoking weed about 3ish weeks before you come to Korea, so you don’t fail the drug test and get sent back home. Make sure to research your program’s COVID policies.

After a few days of getting over jet lag and culture shock, you will show up at school and start teaching. The first week is intimidating because everything is so new, but I promise that you’ll settle in quickly and get into the rhythm.

7. My Personal Experience

I’ll admit that I got a bit lucky by my school. All of the teachers were extremely friendly and the school was really lenient on my vacation days. I was able to travel to 17 new countries during my time teaching over 18 months, and I took 7 sick days without ever needing a doctor’s note.

My school – Yangjin Middle School – was located in the rural area of Anseong, about 70 kilometers south of Seoul in Gyeonggi-do province. I had approximately 700 students, and I was the only foreigner at my entire school and one of the only foreigners in my town.

I taught 18 different classes of 35+ students. I taught each class once a week, so I saw every student in the school exactly one time per week.

The hardest part about teaching was adjusting to the English level of each class. In one class, I would have kids who could have a full conversation with me, and others who couldn’t read the alphabet. Some students attend a private academy (hagwan) after school everyday to study more English, while others don’t practice outside of school.

So, it was hard to find the “median” English level to make sure that all kids were learning something. I usually just played games, showed them videos, and tried to entertain them as much as possible. Yes, the job was as easy as it sounds.

The majority of my students were adorable and respectful. I made a personal connection with many of them and they really looked up to me as a role model.   It was a very special feeling.

I realized that my job wasn’t just to teach English, but to help them understand what life is like outside of Korean borders. Most of my kids had never met a foreigner before, so they looked up to me and asked questions about America.

My town was very rural and I was one of the only foreigners in my neighborhood. Everyone at the local restaurants and supermarkets knew me. I was literally a celebrity in my town because every time I left my house, I would run into students and they would scream across the street, “HELLO DREW TEACHER!”

My students were so adorable that they all wrote letters and drew pictures of me during my last week teaching.

8. Life in Korea

South Korea is a very friendly country to live in for foreigners. It’s also extremely safe. So safe that the police don’t carry guns, and big crimes like murders, shootings, and robberies are unheard of.

Everything you hear about North Korea on the news is false, and it’s just the media trying to gain attention and make a story. Things easily get blown out of proportion. Nobody in South Korea speaks about their neighbors to the North because they know that it’s a joke, and nobody feels threatened by them. Whenever I asked my students about Kim Jong Un, they just started laughing and making fun of him.

South Korea is a densely populated country. The entire country is the size of Mississippi, home to 50 million people. Take the entire population of California and New York, and throw them all into Mississippi, and that is Korea.

At first, you will feel overwhelmed (especially in Seoul) because there is SO much happening at once. But it’s just a matter of time until you settle in and call Korea your new home. For me, this took about a month.

Most of my friends were local Koreans because I made the effort to meet them. You will realize that many Koreans are shy and difficult to approach, but those are typically the ones who can’t speak English. Those who can speak English are more outgoing. I also dated a few Korean girls during my time.

Public Transportation in Korea is the most efficient in the world. It’s crazy how easy it is to get around.

There are 5 types of transportation systems:

a) KTX trains – These are known as “bullet trains.” They are the fastest and most expensive trains in Korea. You can get from Seoul in the north to Busan in the south in 3 hours. The round trip is about $60 USD. Not every big city has a KTX station, so you must check to see.

b) Regular trains – These are common and much cheaper than the KTX. They connect every city in Korea. From my city, it took 40 minutes to get to Seoul and it’s only $3.50 USD.

c) Metro – The Seoul metro is one of the most extensive metro systems in the world, covering more than 1,000 kilometers. There are 22 different lines, 302 stations, and it carries nearly 2 billion people annually. You can take this to get everywhere in the Seoul Metropolitan Area, but it gets REALLY CROWDED during peak hours.

d) Buses – Don’t underestimate the buses in Korea. They are amazing! I used buses more than trains to get around. All highways in Korea have a “bus lane” which is traffic free. Also, buses are much more comfortable than trains and usually cheaper.

e) Taxis – Taxis are everywhere in Seoul and they are really cheap. And quick! It costs about $5 to 7 for a 15 to 20 minute ride. If you have more than one person, take a taxi to avoid the crowded metro.

To book train tickets and view routes in English, see this website.

You can buy a metrocard called “T-Money,” which you can swipe for the Seoul Metro and taxis. Carry it in your wallet with you at all times, and just add money inside the metro station or at a convenient store like 7/11.

9. Korean Culture

It will take some time to adjust to Korean culture because it’s very unique.

You may feel uncomfortable in the first few days upon arrival because things won’t be like you are used to. For 18 months, I learned something new every day about the Korean way of life.

The first thing to know about Korean culture is that family is sacred. Family-time always comes before play-time. Along the same lines, Koreans value showing respect to other people, specifically their elders.

The Korean Language has a different dialect and verb conjugations when speaking to your friends vs. speaking to someone older.

When you greet someone older than you, it is necessary to bow (the older the person, the deeper the bow).

If someone older than you offers you a shot or some food, you must take it.

If you give or take something from a person that’s older than you, use two hands.

If you take a shot with someone older, turn your back and face the other way.

K-Pop (Korean pop music) dominates the music scene, and all teenagers and young adults are obsessed with the songs.

Traditional Korean restaurants have no chairs. You must sit on the ground and eat. This is also true in many Korean houses. Always take off your shoes.

Many Korean couples will wear the same clothes, like matching jackets, shoes, socks, backpacks, etc.

Koreans are afraid of the sun and they want to be as pale as possible. People will take out umbrellas on a sunny day to protect themselves.

Koreans have good style and they like to dress nice, even if they are just going shopping. Korean girls always wear high heels.

Koreans have different manners like dramatically spitting in public streets and loudly slurping up noodles.

It is nearly impossible to find a trash can in Korea (don’t ask me why).

Yes, Koreans do eat bizarre foods like dog meat, live octopus, bugs, cow blood soup and chicken feet. I’ve tried them all. Check out this video of me eating a live octopus in Seoul in one bite!

10. Nightlife in Seoul

My favorite section in this entire article!

Every weekend during my 18 months in Korea, I went to Seoul to party my ass off. When the sun goes down in Seoul, the city becomes electric. Neon signs populate every building (it’s like Vegas on steroids), and soju bottles pop off in restaurants and bars.

Soju is a very popular rice liquor in Korea that is the most consumed alcoholic beverage in the world. It tastes like watered down vodka, and it comes in a glass green bottle. The best part? It only costs $1 USD!

There are 5 major areas for nightlife in Seoul, including Itaewon, Hongdae, Sincheon, Apgujeong, and Gangnam.

As made famous by Psy’s “Gangnam Style” music video, Gangnam is the number one district for Seoul’s luxurious, posh nightclubs that are absolutely insane. Dozens of multi-leveled clubs with massive dance floors, balconies, and top-notch sound systems can be found on every block. Gangnam is compared to the Beverly Hills of Los Angeles because of its wealth and fashion. This is where all of the celebrities hang out and spend ridiculous amounts of money, but it is beginning to trend for young 20-somethings who want to party until the sun rises.

If you want to do some serious clubbing in Seoul, then definitely go to Gangnam! To read more about nightlife in other areas and in general, check out my SEOUL NIGHTLIFE GUIDE.

11. Resources

I will share with you some important resources that you can use for meeting people and finding out things to do in Korea.

a) Popular Blogs in Korea

Eat Your Kimchi – Simon and Martina, a Canadian couple, moved to Korea in 2008 to teach English and have been blogging about it ever since. On their website, they share awesome things about Korean culture from the best eats to the hottest K-Pop songs and everything in between.

Seoulistic – Seoulistic is a very informative culture and travel site for people who are coming to Korea and looking for things to do and places to explore.

Seoul Searching – My friend Mimsie, an American expat who’s been living in Seoul for 6+ years, covers everything related to Korean culture and her experience. She has phenomenal travel guides to nearly every big city in Korea. What sets her apart from the rest is her creativity and perspective.

A Fat Girls Food Guide – My friend Gemma writes about all the best non-Korean foods to eat in Seoul! Her mouth-watering reviews cover Thai to Indian restaurants and everything in between.

The Soul of Seoul – This blog is written by an American expat named Hallie, who is married to a Korean rockstar and who has been living in Korea for 8 years. Her blog is very informative and she writes a lot about festivals, food, and events in Korea.

Zen Kimchi – Joe has been entertaining the world since 2004 with his humorous exploration of Korean food and sharing survival tips for foreigners already there.

Seoul Eats – Dan provides excellent info on finding the best local foods in Seoul, and organizes cooking events and walking tours around the city.

b) Learning Korean

I cannot tell you how important it is to learn Korean, at least the basics. I am conversationally fluent and my experience would not have been the same if I never tried to learn the language. It will make life SO much easier.

You can learn Hangul – the Korean alphabet – in just a few hours. There are 14 consonants and 10 vowels. It’s a phonetic language, meaning each letter/vowel always makes the same sound. Korean is much easier than its neighbors like Chinese and Japanese.

I started learning the Korean alphabet on my own by watching YouTube. I also paid for lessons on a website called Beeline Languages and it was really helpful.   I was able to read, write, and speak basic conversation before I ever stepped foot on Korean soil.

When I lived in Korea, I practiced speaking with my Korean friends and I always pushed myself to read the signs around me. I used Korean everyday and made a strong effort to communicate and understand life around me. I also dated a Korean girl who didn’t speak any English, so that helped me a lot as well.

The best websites that I recommend for learning Korean are:

Beeline Languages

Talk to Me in Korean

Korean Class 101

c) Meeting People

The best way to meet people is to go into Seoul and hop around the bars and clubs. I met new faces every weekend that I was in Seoul, and my network of friends kept growing bigger every weekend.

But if partying isn’t your thing, then you should look into specific groups on MeetUp.com. You can find Meetups for anything you’re interested in, from sightseeing, dating, food, partying, hiking, language exchanges, painting, rollerblading, rock climbing, entrepreneurship and more.

There are also a number of Facebook Groups that you should become a part of. My favorites were Every Expat in Korea, Seoul Expats and Nightlife in Seoul. In these groups, there are always people posting meetups around Seoul!

12. My Advice to You

I have a lot of advice to give you before you move to Korea, so listen closely. Half the people I’ve met who come to Korea LOVE IT, and the rest HATES IT. If you take my advice, then I can guarantee that you’ll love it as much as I did.

Step Out of Your Comfort Zone

What do I mean?

I mean doing things out of the ordinary. Things that made me feel uncomfortable. Things that felt awkward to me.

But guess what? You’ve already done the hardest part, which is choosing to come to Korea in the first place. This is the biggest step out of your comfort zone, so it is essential to maintain this mindset throughout your time here.

I trained to be a black belt in Taekwondo. I partied in Seoul every weekend. I met hundreds of new people. I became conversationally fluent in Korean. I traveled to dozens of cities.

I constantly kept myself busy and that’s why I loved Korea so much.

If you just go to school and then go home and lock yourself in your room, then you are going to be miserable. If you don’t go out of your way to make friends, if you don’t get yourself involved in clubs and activities, then you will be counting down the days to leave.

You must understand that Korean culture is not similar to any other culture that you’re used to. Everyday, you will be wondering what the hell is happening around you but you must be able to adjust and go with the flow. Korean culture can be intimidating if you don’t make an effort to step out of your comfort zone.

Learn Korean

If I haven’t made it clear enough, it is so important to learn Korean. This can make or break your experience. Even if you suck at languages, you should still learn how to read and write, and learn basic phrases like, “How much is this?” or “Where is the bathroom?” or “My Name is Drew.”

Here is my farewell speech to my entire school, only speaking in Korean.

Have a Side Project to Work On

You will have LOTS of free time outside of your job. I’m talking about several hours everyday to sit on your computer.

Instead of watching every season of Breaking Bad, make better use of your time by working on side projects like:

STARTING A BLOG!

I started my travel blog the day I moved to Seoul, and fully committed myself since day 1. I started making money from my blog to fund other travels, and now, I have visited every country in the world and have 3 million YouTube subscribers.

It does take a tremendous amount of work to make this happen. If you commit and put in the hours, and heart, you can absolutely do this too and become a professional blogger during your time in Korea. 

Be Flexible

Korean culture might drive you crazy sometimes.

Your co-teachers will never warn you of changes until the last minute. My co-teachers would tell me minutes before school ended that I had to teach an after-school class that day. But this can also work out in your favor too, like when my teachers told me school was canceled the night before.

Don’t freak out when you’ve turned in your papers to teach English but you don’t get placed at a school until weeks before you arrive. Koreans do everything last minute.

The best way to handle this is to have an open mind from the start, and prepare for everything. Learn to make adjustments when someone throws a curveball at you, because it will happen quite often.

13. What to Pack?

Summers in Korea are really hot, and winters are brutally cold. All four seasons are prominent. You must pack clothes to prepare for all weather types.

For school attire, you can generally keep it casual. Although during your first week at school, you should make a good impression by dressing up nicely. I wore a button down and slacks. By the end of my term, I was wearing jeans and a V-neck.

You can find almost ALL toiletries and accessories in Korea, so don’t worry about bringing all of your cosmetics. But you should stock up on deodorant and any personal medications you may need. I don’t know why Koreans don’t wear deodorant, so bring enough to last you for one year. I’ve been told that Koreans don’t use normal tampons, so girls might want to do some research.

Don’t overpack. If you forget something at home, then you can find it at one of the many Giant Shopping Malls in Korea. I only packed a big suitcase and a 40 liter travel backpack for my trip.

If you are planning to go on backpacking trips around Asia, then you are definitely going to need a travel backpack. I use the Osprey Porter 40 Liter and it’s great!

I did my best to tell you everything I know about teaching in Korea and adjusting to the Korean lifestyle. I hope that you all will make the right decision to teach and live in this amazing country. Don’t forget to buy your TEFL class on this link!

Thank you for reading this guide!

Remember, I am just an email away.

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Newly Developed - Full-frame 24.2MP Back-Illuminated Exmor R CMOS Image Sensor with Evolved Image Processing
Wide ISO range - of 100 - 51200 (expandable to ISO 50 - 204800 for still images) and 15-Stop Dynamic Range at low sensitivities
World Class AF system - featuring 693 phase-detection AF points covering 93% of image area, 425 contrast AF points and fast and reliable Eye AF
Continuous Shooting - at up to 10 fps with either Mechanical Shutter or Silent Shooting and full Auto Focus/Auto Exposure tracking
Details

2021 Apple MacBook Pro (14-inch, Apple M1 Max chip with 10‑core CPU and 32‑core GPU, 64GB RAM, 1TB SSD) - Space Gray - Z15H00109

10-core - CPU, 32-core GPU
64GB - Memory
1TB - Storage
Details

TEVA Men's Hurricane Xlt2 Sandals with EVA Foam Midsole and Rugged Durabrasion Rubber Outsole

Quick-dry webbing - made from recycled plastic using traceable, verifiable REPREVE polyester yarn by Unifi supports your foot and stands up to abuse
Injection-molded strap - ends for quick and easy grip and adjustability, Easy hook-and-loop closure comes on and off quickly and gets the fit just right
Robust EVA footbed - for enhanced comfort built for all-day wear
Nylon shank - stabilizes and supports your foot on uneven terrain
Best for - day hikes, light hikes
Details

Sea to Summit Ultra-SIL Stuff Sack 3-Piece Set (2.5L, 4L, and 6.5L Ultralight Stuff Sacks)

Set of three ultralight - water-resistant stuff sacks for organizing gear and clothing in a backpack or bag, for any outdoor or travel adventure
Manufactured - from lightweight 30D Ultra-Sil Cordura nylon; slippery finish makes it easy to slide bags into tight spaces for better packing
Drawcord top opening - with durable pull tab for quick and easy access to bag contents
Round base - has a reinforced webbing pull handle for easy carry; stress points are bartacked and seams are double stitched for durability
Includes three stuff sacks - 2.5 liter (open dimensions: 4 x 10 inches, weight: 0.5 ounces), 4 liter (open dimensions: 5 x 12 inches, weight: 0.5 ounces), 6.5 liter (open dimensions: 6.5 x 13 inches, weight: 0.6 ounces)
Details

LaCie Rugged USB-C 4TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD & Rugged Mini 2TB External Hard Drive Portable HDD - USB 3.0 USB 2.0 Compatible, Drop Shock Dust Rain Resistant Shuttle Drive, Orange

Product 1: - Quickly and easily connect to the latest Windows and Mac computers with Rugged’s reversible USB-C cable, or legacy computers using the included USB 3.0 adapter
Product 1: - Enjoy fast USB-C 5Gb/s file transfers, backups, and image browsing
Product 1: - Confidently tackle any terrain with drop, crush, and rain resistance
Product 1: - Take advantage of a complimentary one-month membership to the Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps Plan for access to awesome photo and video editing apps
Product 2: - Shock, drops up to 4 feet, dust and water resistant for all-terrain use
Product 2: - For Mac compatibility this Hard Drive requires reformatting. Refer to Application Guide for more details
Product 2: - Password protection built in
Product 2: - Uses USB 3.0 which is up to 4 times faster than USB 2.0 (USB 2.0 compatible)
Details

OlimpiaFit Quick Dry Towel - 3 Size Pack of Lightweight Microfiber Travel Towels w/ Bag - Fast Drying Towel Set for Camping, Beach, Gym, Backpacking, Sports, Yoga & Swim Use

COMPACT DESIGN - This sports towel set is packable for the gym, beach, and anywhere else you need them. They can easily be condensed in size 4x smaller than a camping towel of the same size.
FAST DRYING - Made with fibers that are much thinner than a standard microfiber towel, our quick dry towels have 4x as much surface area, allowing them to absorb more water and dry up to 3x as fast.
MULTIPURPOSE - Each set includes 3 lightweight travel towels in the sizes 50"x30", 30"x15", and 15"x15". Use them as swim towels to dry off, gym towels during a workout, or small beach towels on vacation.
HIGH QUALITY - Every microfiber travel towel is made with premium material that shares the same smooth qualities as satin. They're also super absorbent, odor-resistant, and won't smell after drying.
SOFT - If you're looking for a packable beach towel or swim towel, give this one a go! It has a slip-resistant surface and extra plush microfiber that is oh-so-gentle on your face, body, and skin.
Details

GoPro HERO10 Black

More Power. More Clarity - More Stability. Revolutionary Processor: Faster. Smoother. Better. The powerful new GP2 engine changes the game—snappy performance, responsive touch controls and double the frame rate for amazingly smooth footage. Designed specifically for the demanding nature of the GoPro, the GP2 “system on a chip” is by far our fastest ever.
MORE STABILITY - Groundbreaking HyperSmooth 4.0 is our most advanced stabilization ever. 8X SLO-MO. - HERO10 Black captures up to 240 frames per second for astonishing 8x slo-mo. MORE ACCELERATION. - Record mesmerizing time-lapse videos with LIVEBURST - Record 1.5 seconds before and after your shot. Find the best pic or share it as a short video.
KEY SPECIFICATIONS - SCREEN SIZE - 23MP GP2 Chip with Improved Performance - 5.3K60/4K120/2.7K240 Video, 23MP Photos - New Front Display/Rear Touchscreen - Cloud Connected, 1080p Live Streaming - Enhanced Low-Light Performance - HyperSmooth 4.0 Image Stabilization - 33' Waterproof without a Housing - Time-Lapse & Night-Lapse, 8x Slo-Mo - Built-In Flip-Out 2-Prong Mount - 1720mAh Capacity Battery
Night-Lapse Video - In-Camera Horizon Leveling; Live View Front Display & Intuitive Rear Touchscreen; Webcam Mode & 1080p HD Live Streaming. Standard, Activity, Cinematic, Slo-Mo & Custom Presets; Voice Control; Portrait Orientation; RAW Photo Mode; Built-In Mounting
Bundle Includes – 1 x GoPro HERO10 Black - Waterproof Action Camera with Front LCD and Touch Rear Screens, 5.3K HD Video, 23MP Photos, 1080p Live Streaming, Stabilization | 1 x Compatible Rechargeable Li-Ion Battery | 1 x Extreme Pro 64gb microSDXC Card | 1 x 6AVE Electronics TM Microfiber Cloth
Details

Osprey Porter 46 Travel Backpack

Meets carry-on size - restrictions for most domestic airlines - Dimensions 21.5h x 14w x 9d IN.
U-zip - zip access to main compartment with lockable zippers on main and laptop compartments - 46L total volume
Shoulder straps - and hipbelt can be tucked away when the bag is checked
Protected rear - panel zip laptop sleeve and front panel vertical zippered pocket for books or other documents
Tuckaway web loops - to attach a shoulder strap (sold separately)
StraightJacket compression - straps compress the bag to a smaller size when it isn’t full
Dual internal zippered - organization side pockets and front panel organization with zippered pocket and key clip
Reinforced cord loops - to attach an Osprey Daylite daypack (sold separately)
Details

Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones for Apple devices - Black (Wired 3.5mm)

Apple compatible devices - Applies to: QC 25 noise cancelling headphones Apple devices The remote and mic are compatible with the following Apple devices: iPhone 3GS or later iPad iPod touch 2nd generation or later iPod classic 120GB, 160GB iPod nano 4th generation or later
Deep, powerful sound - for the music you love
Lightweight, comfortable around - ear fit you can wear all day long
Control your music - and calls on Apple devices with inline mic/remote
Details

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Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.