Frequently Asked Questions
No. You are only required to have at least a bachelor’s degree from a 3-4 year program at a recognized university or college. Teaching experience, education degree and teaching certificates such as TESOL or TEFL etc. may improve your chances for a better paying position, but they are not mandatory. From our extensive experience, what is really required is an open mind to new experiences and culture, a sense of adventure for trying something new, and a genuine fondness for teaching (passion) and being with your students (compassion). We see the teacher as an ambassador of their country who is proud to share his or her language and culture with the students of Korea, and we have found that individuals with these qualities make the best instructors and not the schools or the majors.
With thousands of ESL schools and institutes, practically any time is right for applying to Korea. However, we recommend that you apply at least 2 months in advance before your intended departure date to Korea to secure the time needed for E-2 visa process, and for ESLNOMAD to screen and secure the ideal position for you. For recent graduates, remember that the original diploma and sealed official transcripts are necessary for the visa application. Therefore, recent graduates should take into account when the actual diploma can be issued by their university or college, prior to selecting a departure date to Korea. However, they can also acquire a letter from the their registrar confirming they have attained the necessary credits to graduate. This can save some time. For detailed E-2 application process, please refer to the HOW IT WORKS link.
We always try to accommodate preferences, consult and make suggestions, as is our job. A happy teacher and happy school is the name of the game. We work with a number of different schools and locations, and will provide the applicant with the relevant information and consulting prior to making the final decision. This has been very successful in ensuring that our new teachers enjoy the area where they are placed to live and work while in Korea. The country also has an extensive public transportation network, allowing one to easily travel across the peninsula.
The average salary and perks package at most language institutes which comprise the bulk of ESL jobs in Korea includes: monthly salary of 2.1~2.4 million Korean Won (approx. $2000~$2330 USD) and higher based on experience and qualifications for 100~120 teaching hours; rent-paid fully furnished housing; medical coverage and Korean pension plan 50% paid for by employer; round-trip airfare to and from Korea back home; and contract completion bonus (also called severance pay) equal to one month’s salary at end of one-year contract.
The cost of living can be low or high depending on the habits of the individual. In terms of food, it is quite cheap to eat out at about 5000 won (about 5 dollars) for most regular meals. Starbucks and McDonald’s prices are about the same as you’d find back home, and clothing and regular hygiene products may cost less. Transportation is very cheap with subways and buses costing between one to two dollars and taxis starting from about two dollars. Overall, cost of living should not be a problem and if you budget accordingly to save, many instructors have been able to take back a sizable sum of money home.
Most standard contracts in Korea, with a few rare exceptions, includes fully-furnished accommodations provided by the employer, with the teacher paying the utilities usually between $30-$70 USD per month depending on seasonal usage. The accommodation is usually in the form of a single studio or one-bedroom apartment.
Most schools do not follow a rigid dress code requiring a suit and tie. In most cases, smart casual should suffice such as clean slacks, khakis and button down shirts or clean t-shirts. Be careful not to wear clothes that are torn or ripped excessively, or bearing offensive language or design. Clean jeans should also be adequate in most cases, while intimidating tattoos or piercing may be asked to be covered or removed during class times by the school. Shorts are not recommended in most schools as with revealing clothing. You may also wish to ask the particular school about their dress code if any. For more ideas, read the FAQ “What should I bring to Korea?”
Koreans are generally friendly towards foreigners and will go out of their way to accommodate or assist them. Many foreign teachers will attest to the highly friendly nature of Koreans, but by culture, Koreans are more reserved with displays of affection until formally introduced or acquainted. Smiling upon eye contact, as is common in the Western societies, is not as common as Koreans think it is rude to look someone in the eye when speaking. Once acquainted, however, most find that Koreans are very engaging and sincere. The level of English is generally better among the younger generation from teens to university students, who are used to the western food and concepts over the past decade.
We recommend at least $300 to $500 USD or equivalent upon arriving in Korea to exchange at the airport. This money is to tide you over until your first payday, and perhaps prepare for unforeseen circumstances or any little items you may wish to purchase shortly upon arrival.
Almost guaranteed, you will have others like yourself at your school. As a rule, we like to work with schools that employ more than one foreign teacher at a time. This makes for a smoother transition for the new teacher.
Although Koreans tend to eat a lot of vegetables and rice, eliminating meat from their diet is not common here. Therefore, you must be conscious of choosing the foods you buy.
Yes you can but it’s important to understand the job market in Korea. Most jobs in Korea, which are available for westerners, cater to kindergarten, elementary and middle school students. High school and adult teaching jobs are quite rare in comparison.Generally, he two options are kinder/elementary (day shift), elementary/middle school (aft/evening), the former being much more common.
Generally, saving 1000/mth is very doable if you live a conservatively. It ultimately depends on your motivation for being in Korea.
Generally, schools don’t prefer to hire friends, as it can be seen as a liability. We usually try to accommodate you by placing friends in relatively close proximity to each other.
Yes, sometimes we do. In this case, schools would provide a larger apartment to accommodate the couple.