Are you ready to teach abroad in the big time? With some 25 million people living in Seoul’s metropolitan area, comprising over half of South Korea’s population at large, Seoul has emerged in recent decades as one of the most important global cities on our planet. Equally enriching for its ancient roots (Seoul boasts 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sights) as for its futuristic modern identity (it is also the most “wired” city on the planet), you’ll become immersed in what has become widely regarded as Asia’s most livable city while you teach abroad in Seoul.
Teaching Positions in Seoul
The market for ESL teachers is big across South Korea, and the capital city is no exception. Applying for a position teaching English at one of the city’s hundreds of public schools, private schools, or language academies is typically the most accessible way to get your foot in the door to teach abroad in Seoul. You will typically be expected to be TEFL certified in order to teach English abroad in Seoul, a process which requires roughly a month’s training, and many schools may require additional training or a further education degree on top of this.
If you’re wanting to teach abroad in Seoul in a different subject area such as math or science, then you might also look into applying for a position in one of the city’s many international schools. Seoul has an expat population which is close to 1 million people, so there is a large market for international educators to teach at these academic institutions where English is the medium of education.
Whereas many positions teaching English are offered on a temporary basis, employment at an international school is usually long-term, and therefore can be more competitive. Most schools begin hiring a few months before the start of a new school year, making early spring the best time to go out looking for teaching jobs in Seoul.
Life in Seoul
Simply put, there’s a lot going on in Seoul. One of the world’s most progressive, futuristic, and dynamic cities, South Korea’s capital is home to a huge array of entertainment and culturally enriching opportunities. From ancient monuments such as the Changdeok Palace and Hwaseong Fortress to modern wonders such as the N Seoul Tower and Dongdaemun Design Plaza, you could spend many long weekends getting lost in dreamlike exploration while you teach abroad in Seoul.
Seoul is also famous for being the world’s most “wired” city, meaning that it is more technologically advanced than any other on the planet. The city is interconnected seamlessly by the KTX high-speed rail and Seoul subway, both offering Wi-Fi and other technical services. It is also connected by express train to the Incheon International Airport, which perennially ranks as the best in the world. So more good news: getting around town is a breeze.
All this fast-moving commotion might seem like a bit much when you first arrive to teach abroad in Seoul, and especially if you cannot speak Korean, then culture shock will undoubtedly require an adjustment period. Soon enough however, you will be fully immersed in the flow of the city, and likely wondering how you could have ever lived anywhere else!
Salaries & Costs
International educators are compensated well to teach abroad in Seoul. Typically you will be offered a salary ranging between $1,500 and $2,500 per month, and many schools may offer additional perks such as free housing as well. Take into account that Seoul is much more affordable than many other global hubs out there (for example nearby Tokyo), and you’ll be sitting pretty with a meaningful job and disposable income in arguably the world’s most exciting emerging city.
Accommodation & Visas
A major perk of teaching abroad in Seoul is that many host schools will offer to secure free housing in exchange for your services. You might be expected to pay for nominal monthly maintenance fees, but this added value can be a huge load off, both because you won’t have to find housing yourself and you won’t have to pay rent. Be sure to take these housing perks into account while researching and applying to teaching openings in the city.
Your host school or program provider will also have to endorse you for a visa in order to teach abroad in Seoul. An E2 visa, for example, will be required if you are teaching English abroad in the country. For more information on South Korea’s visa requirements regarding your individual circumstances, be sure to check out our Embassy Directory.
Benefits & Challenges
History. Especially if travelling from the West, many English teachers may be entirely unfamiliar with Korean and regional history. Nowhere is a better place to learn than in the capital city, which has been an important hub of East Asia for literally thousands of years.
Present. Seoul is home to over a dozen Fortune 500 Global companies, has the fourth largest metropolitan GDP in the world, and is quickly climbing the ranks of leading global cities. While you teach abroad in Seoul, you will be part of something much larger.
Future. Seoul has a reputation in the international community as being a quasi-futuristic city, and rightfully so. With its high-tech integration, bright lighting, and advanced infrastructure, you’ll sometimes feel like you’re in a sci-fi movie while you teach abroad in Seoul.
Landing a teaching job in Seoul is a great way to immerse yourself in one of the world’s most impressive and important leading cities. Get ready for one great adventure.