Why Korea? Why Now?

Elementary English Class, Seoul

The number of American teachers in South Korea has nearly quadrupled since the start of the millennium—from 6,414 to 23,600!   Most arrive without any prior knowledge of the language or culture.  Most have no prior experience in the classroom.  Most come alone and have no friends or relatives to support them when they arrive.   What prompts them to take the brave leap and move to an unfamiliar place and, increasingly, what is prompting them to stay?

Most expats cite a mix of personal and financial incentives in their decision to live and work in South Korea.

  • High Salary
  • Fantastic Benefits (Accommodations, Airfare, and more!)
  • Travel
  • Learn Korean
  • Earn Valuable Experience Abroad

Korean Culture, based on traditional Confucian values, places considerable emphasis on education.   For a country with an outstanding reputation for rapid economic development, especially in the fields of telecommunications and information technology, the ability of its citizens to communicate effectively in an increasingly global marketplace is essential. For this reason, Koreans place great emphasis on ensuring that their children are well prepared to participate effectively in today’ s global economy.


These kids seem pretty excited about English Class!

Given the huge demand for English instruction, native speakers are offered generous compensation.  Today, over 23,000 native English-speaking teachers work in this land of 47 million.  Native English teachers work in private language schools, private corporations, universities, as well as public elementary, middle, and high schools.


Native English-Language Teachers are compensated very well in South Korea.

You will earn more in South Korea with just a Bachelor’s Degree than the average new teacher with a Master’s Degree would earn in the United States. The average expat teacher—fresh out of college, with no experience or special certification—earns between $2000 and $2500 per month in South Korea.   Most contracts include free round-trip airfare and free single occupancy accommodations.  Income tax just 3% and foreigners who work in South Korea are exempt from other taxes.  Moreover, basic necessities are much more affordable than in other developed nations.  A good meal can be had for $3.  A ride on the subway costs about $1.  Most teachers are able to save half of their income without pinching pennies along the way.  If you’ve accumulated a lot of debt, a year in South Korea is a great way to pay back those student loans.

Korea also measures up well compared to other popular ESL locations:


The non-financial benefits of a year abroad in South Korea are harder to quantify, but are just as vast.  It’s a great opportunity to see a new place, experience a new culture, learn a new language, acquire new skills, and meet new friends.

Gyeongbokgung Palace, Seoul

Skyline, Seoul

Seoul is the second largest metropolitan area in the world—even larger than New York!  All types can find much to appreciate in such a vibrant, modern, and international capital.  Busan, Daegu, Incheon, Daejeon, and Jeonju also have populations of over a million and much to offer.  Those who prefer peace and quiet can find positions outside of the cities, amidst picturesque mountains and beaches.  The South Korean National Park system is often cited as the best in the world!   Seems like a tough choice, huh?  Luckily, public transportation is efficient and cheap so no matter where you live, you can experience it all!

Haeundae Beach, Busan

Mountains at Dawn, Gangwondo

Foreigners are often surprised by the warm welcome they receive in South Korea.  You may have strangers approach you and strike up a conversation or offer to buy you food and drinks.   We were a bit suspicious at first, but have found that it’s most often sincere.   Koreans will be very curious to meet you and to learn about your experiences.  Most Koreans under the age of 30 speak some English and are eager for opportunities to use it.   You’ll also find that a few words of Korean will earn you a lot of respect.   In short, it’s easy to mingle with the local population.   However, if you’re afraid to approach that barrier, you won’t be lonely!  South Korea also has an extensive and vibrant expat scene.

Saturday Night, Hongdae (Seoul)

South Korea is an ideal place to fulfill your goals or get involved in something new.  Take a language class, join a pickup league, play in a band, direct a film, spend a weekend in a traditional temple… the possibilities are endless!  Consult our Korea Resources for more information on the opportunities that await you.

Finally, a year in Korea is a great way to increase your global awareness and boost your resume.  The insight and prospective you’ll gain from the experience will be a valuable asset in any career after you return home.  However, many teachers like it so much that they decide to stay.

Minnesota?  Nope!  Expat teachers at an LG Twins game!

Don’t delay.  Apply now!


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