Teach English in Korea! Everything you need to know.
Teach in Korea: Part 1 - What do I pack
Try to pack just the essentials. Remember, airlines charge for excess baggage. After the school books your ticket, contact your airline to find out their size and weight restrictions. You are usually allowed four bags: 2 large bags that you check in, and 2 small carry-on bags.
If you exceed your bag limit, or the bags are too heavy, you will have to pay extra fees. This comes out of your pocket, so please be aware.
If you absolutely need more stuff, consider shipping it directly to the school. However, this is expensive. Plus the school might be shocked to see tons of boxes arriving, so please be reasonable. You are only going for a year!
Pack clothes for 4 seasons. You will need casual wear for different occasions and activities, just like at home, so bring shorts, pants, t-shirts, shirts, sweaters, etc.
But while in the classroom, you must dress in business style clothes, and look professional at all times! So make sure you have enough of these outfits to get you through your week.
I hire for private schools, and the students’ parents are successful professionals like doctors, lawyers, dentists, etc. They expect you to look and act like a professional as well.
Of course you can always add to your wardrobe while in Korea, but it may be hard to find clothing that fits you because Asians are generally smaller than Westerners. So, I recommend you bring enough clothes to last you the year.
And don't forget footwear! Finding shoes that fit in Korea is especially hard. Asians have smaller feet. Bring what you need for all occasions/seasons.
You should also bring bed sheets. Bring at least one queen sized set. If your bed is smaller, they will still fit. You don’t need to pack pillows or blankets. Those will be provided.
If you have favourite products that you can’t live without, bring them with you. You may not be able to find them in Korea, and if you do they will be expensive since they are imported.
Teach English Korea: Part 2 - Bring money with you
You need to have access to at least $500 for your first month in Korea. You won’t get paid until the end of your first month so you need enough money to support yourself during this period. Your rent will be free, but you will have to pay for your utilities, food and any entertainment.
Teach in Korea: Part 3 - Vaccinations you will need
Go to your local health care center and find out what vaccinations you need. Get them. And plan ahead because it can take a few weeks to get them all done. Don’t be scared, it won't hurt. Much.
Teach in Korea: Part 4 - Should I sign up TEFL?
While waiting to leave for Korea, consider doing what many of our teachers have done: obtain TEFL certification. Directors appreciate the added skills TEFL graduates bring to the classroom.
The 120 hour TEFL course is our most popular course. This certification allows you to teach at public schools in Korea. This is great if you decide to continue teaching in Korea, and want to advance your career. To sign up for online TEFL certification, click here.
Teach in Korea: Part 5 - Bringing pets with you
Some directors allow pets in their apartments, but in general bringing your pet with you is a bad idea. It's extremely complicated and expensive. And initially your pet will be kept in quarantine.
However, it is not impossible. If you would like more information on this, click here.
Teach in Korea: Part 6 - Bringing your partner to Korea
It will be difficult to bring a partner with you if they don't have a work visa. Schools prefer to hire single candidates or working couples.
If you took a job for couples, then of course there is no problem.
Teach English in Korea: Part 7 - Booking your Flight
The school you are working for will pay for your flight upfront. They will book your flight once your visa is processed. They will confirm the date/time with you before booking your flight. You can pick which airport you would like to depart from, but of course it has to be an international airport.
It’s a long flight to Korea so sit back and relax. Bring something to read, or watch. You definitely need something to kill the time. Every wanted to write a book? Now would be a good time.
The pressure changes on the flights might bother your ears so bring some hard candies with you.
Sucking on a candy helps your ears “pop”.
Teach English in Korea: Part 8 - Arriving in Korea
Make sure you have some Korean money with you when you arrive. I recommend bringing at least 100,000 won in cash, so you will have money to buy a drink at the airport, make a phone call, or pay for a bus or taxi if needed.
If someone is picking you up, make sure you have their name and phone number in case there is a mix-up at the airport.
Teach English in Korea: Part 9 - Your first day in Korea
On your first day you will meet your director. The director may take you to a restaurant to get to know you a bit better. Dress appropriately.
The director will take you to your school, and your apartment. You will be introduced to the staff.
The director will take you to open a Korean bank account where your money will get deposited every month. You can send your money back home by using Western Union which is located in each bank.
You can sign up for online banking to pay any bills you have from back home.
You will be tired from traveling, so don’t be afraid to say you would like to go to bed. You need to be refreshed for your first day of teaching.
Teach English in Korea: Part 10 - Your apartment
Your apartment will be located near the school, and should be ready for you to move into. You're rent is free, but you will pay for utilities and food.
You may have to pay a damage deposit on your apartment, but you will get all of that money back at the end of your contract.
Your apartment will be completely furnished--including cooking utensils.
You will have a washing machine in your apartment, and you will hang your clothes to dry.
You will have a western style bed, but Koreans sleep on a padded blanket on the floor. Usually when they wake up, they roll up their bed and put it in the corner so it is out of the way.
To read the next part, click here.