The city of Busan provides teachers with the perfect blend of city life and countryside feel. From mountains to beaches, South Korea’s second largest city is perfect for those who love city life with fewer crowds. The people of Busan have a strong desire to develop their English language speaking skills, and therefore wonderful opportunities to teach English in Busan are created for those who chose to come help fill this need. With the government in full support of this nationwide initiative, now is one of the greatest times to teach English in Busan.
Teaching Positions in Busan
Those looking to teach English in Busan are expected to hold at least a bachelors degree in education or a related field. The application process can be extensive, however employers will be largely helpful in this process. Be prepared to submit a background check, resume, and letters of reference. Korean schools are looking to hire passionate and creative ESL teachers, especially public schools, and hiring committees take experience and educational background seriously.
Teachers are asked to participate in weekly meetings with other faculty to develop community and support. Foreign teachers are in many circumstances given a native Korean co-teacher to help with adjustment. Teaching responsibilities include but are not limited to teaching grammar, leading role plays, and leading extracurricular activities. English speaking natives are highly admired and respected in this culture and knowledge of Korean typically isn’t a requirement and in fact, desired in order to help students learn. While certain aspects of teaching jobs in Busan may be overwhelming at times, teachers are highly supported.
Life in Busan
Busan is bursting with natural beauty from mountains to the sea. With abundant adventure opportunities, the locals can be described as active. While there is a lot of joy in the outdoors, there is an equal amount of joy in shopping and luxury services. Daily life begins with eating and shopping and ends the same way. All of this leads to the fact that, there is never a dull moment in this diverse, rapidly developing city.
Teachers disguised as beach bums should plan for a few trips to South Korea’s most famous beach, Haeundae. Aside from the ample views of skyscrapers available while soaking in some rays, during peak season teachers can be joined by thousands of other waterfront fanatics from around the world. In addition, history buffs can't miss the opportunity to experience Seokbulsa Temple. This marvel carved into stone will leave teachers more informed on South Korea’s history and longing to know more.
For a well deserved break while teaching English in Busan, and time for self care, Shinsegae is an absolute must. This 5.5 million square foot shopping center sets a world record and will not only allow teachers to shop their hearts out, but also to spend some much needed relaxation time. Ice skating, sushi in the park, and massages are a few of the many activities it offers!
Expats, students, teachers, and enthusiastic locals alike find Busan to be less chaotic than South Korea’s capital, Seoul. Loved by all who visit, Busan is always full of energy and living every moment to the fullest.
Salaries & Costs
One of the benefits of teaching English in Busan is the rare opportunity hardly found anywhere else, an all inclusive package. Based on the high need of native English speakers, the government has made it their responsibility to assure that those coming to teach English in Busan are well cared for. While each school offers varied salaries, the average salary is $20,000 to $30,000 for a 30 hour per week schedule. These packages not only include pay but many benefits as well. Teaching packages also typically include a food stipend, health insurance, and paid holidays.
While costs are required for a majority of travel abroad programs, nearly all teaching jobs in Busan are cost free. Some employers may ask incoming teachers to cover their travel expenses, however most teaching jobs in Busan will cover that cost as well.
The cost of living in Busan can be considered higher than in other Asian countries, yet comparable to Western nations. The average cost of a cappuccino is $4.50, bottle water comes in around $1, and a movie ticket is around $10. It isn’t difficult for a teacher to live on a budget within the means of their salary. For some, bringing additional funds along allows for more flexible shopping and traveling during breaks. While there are countless benefits of teaching English in Busan, the financial packages alone are remarkable.
Accommodation & Visas
Nearly all teaching positions in Busan offer foreign staff living arrangements, typically in the form of a small apartment or studio. For many, these are right on the school’s premises so that travel to work is not necessary. In most of scenarios, furniture and household needs are included too. Be sure to read the fine print in your teaching contract to understand what you’ll be getting before signing on.
If you are considering teaching in Busan, you are amongst the privileged few. The visa process in South Korea is considerably more straightforward than many of the surrounding countries. If you are pursuing a teaching job in Busan that lasts less than 90 days, a travel visa can be received upon arrival. However, if your teaching position in Busan will be longer than 90 days, a work visa will be necessary.
This longer term visa can be obtained through the Korean Consulate in your home country. Work visas are administered for a one year period and can easily be extended in South Korea if you decide to teach English in Busan for a longer time period. Upon submission, be prepared to show the original copies of education documentation (i.e., diplomas, transcripts), photo copies are not acceptable as a way to prevent fraud. Only a passport will be needed to make the initial transition. While the application process for teaching positions in Busan is not difficult, aspiring teachers should apply at least three months prior to departure to ensure a smooth transition.
For those teaching abroad in Busan for 90 days or longer a document called an alien registration card is needed. This process is also easy to navigate and the card can be processed at an immigration office once on the ground in South Korea.
Benefits & Challenges
- Safety. While Busan is considered a large city, safety is not seen as a prevalent threat. Teachers are expected to use basic safety precautions, however, no drastic lifestyle changes need to take place. Many incoming foreigners question the relationship with North Korea. While it is currently a civil scenario, one would be advised to know where the embassy is located and have a basic plan of how to respond in case there is a period of unrest.
- Food. Often food costs are moderate, which is a highlight of teaching English in Busan for Asian cuisine fanatics. However, foreign food is seen as pricey and not easily accessible. For those who have a hard time adapting to new foods, it is advised that the adjustment process begin prior to arrival. While this is not necessarily associated with teaching abroad in Busan, it is a part of daily life and a consideration to make before committing.
- Expat Community. Teaching English in Busan comes with daily rewards and challenges. The good news is that while teaching in Busan, teachers will not be alone in this process. With the rise in English education and need for foreign teachers comes a large expat community. Teachers and tourists alike will find that there are organizations and activities to gather this community, develop friendships, and make the transition a whole lot easier.