If you have a passion for teaching, love explaining the complexities of English plurals, and an addiction to KBBQ, then taking TEFL courses in Seoul will light a fire in your soul hotter than the spicy pork! Seoul is a sprawling metropolis full of skyscrapers, high-tech gadgets, and a burst of futuristic architecture. But, you can experience Seoul even deeper by exploring the Dongdaemun Design Plaza or a class trip to the Namsan Mountain for some peaceful nature vibes. Getting certified to teach English abroad in a country full of hustle and bustle, in a city with contrasting natural landscapes, will definitely give you a different kind of starry night.
If you think back to a typical classroom in your home country, what does it look like? You’re probably envisioning multiple desks, chairs, a whiteboard, and a few other classroom supplies. Well, imagine this: a classroom full of people from all over the world, eating traditional Korean foods, like kimchi, and windows that provide views of temples, large shopping districts, and peaceful lakes all at once. If this classroom sounds more appealing than the first (which we hope it does), then you may want earn TEFL certification in Seoul.
Newly certified ESL teachers in Seoul will have the opportunity to share the power of knowing a foreign language. English teaching is a fairly large job market in South Korea, so there are plenty of folks like you going there to get TEFL certified AND get the leg-up in the job hunt. TEFL courses in Seoul will be a lot of fun, too. Who knows, maybe you’ll bump into a few of your TEFL classmates (or teacher! #awkward!) as you’re exploring the Jogyesa Temple or wandering around Bukhansan National Park; just don’t forget to say “hello!”
TEFL programs in Seoul run year-round and can be flexible to your schedule and availability. Keep in mind the academic calendar in Seoul divided up into either quarters or semesters, and the school year either goes from September to June or from August to May; try to get the timing of your certification aligned with the start of a school year to hop on any job op’s.
Traveling to a foreign country is already an anxious, yet exciting journey on its own. However, living in a foreign country for months, or even years at a time, is something that will come with culture shocks and road bumps as time goes on. To feel more prepared, you should read up on living in Seoul as much as you can; how else would you know that chicken feet is considered a delicacy and not something you push to the side of your plate?
Life in Seoul is extremely fast paced. From its delivery to appointments to people to the internet, everything is “go, go, go.” It is said that the internet speed in Seoul is 10 times faster than in most other countries. You’ll never have the urge to punch your laptop screen ever again (#sweetfreedom!). The only thing that isn’t fast paced, though, is the traffic. It’s best not to own a car because you’re guaranteed to get to your destination faster by walking or by biking. The traffic is heavily congested in Seoul, and most people get around with alternative forms of transportation.
If you want to live in Seoul, be sure you have an adventurous appetite, because chicken feet isn’t the only interesting delicacy available. Korean food, in general, is full of delicious flavors and spices, and gives off an alluring aroma everywhere you turn. Aside from the typical and traditional dishes, you’ll also find foods like raw crab, fermented skate, and dead body soup (don’t worry, the dead body soup got its name from the foul smell it gives off, not from the actual ingredients).
Depending on the TEFL program in Seoul you choose, housing is typically included. The most common forms of housing for TEFL students in Seoul are apartments and houses. Just think how nice it’ll be to have a place of your own to kick back and put your feet up after a long day of learning and teaching.
In addition to a passport, a work visa is required if you plan to become a TEFL teacher in Seoul and get a contract that lasts for more than 90 days. Obtaining a visa is a process and will require a multitude of documents, but if you plan and prepare ahead of time, you’ll soon find yourself in your natural habitat: a classroom, of course! For the latest information about visas, please refer to GoAbroad’s Korean Embassy Directory.
Beyond the high speed internet and extremely congested traffic, there are a few more benefits and challenges of earning TEFL certification in Seoul that you should be aware of.
If you’re worried about the type of housing you’ll be faced with, you could take those worries and throw them away, because almost all apartments and houses in Seoul are equipped with many appliances. You’ll have full access to a dishwasher, air conditioning, and extra safety aspects (such as multiple locks and gates); these may seem like basic necessities, but for those who have traveled before, we all know that not all accommodations come with these luxuries.
Since the road traffic is so heavily congested, many locals rely on their scooters for transportation, and tend to use the sidewalks if the traffic on the road is slowing them down. This could cause potential accidents and reckless driving, so just be sure to stay alert and pay attention at all times. Text and walk on the sidewalk at your own risk!
Don’t let the traffic hold you back. Participating in a TEFL program in Seoul may be the greatest mind opening, learning experience you’ll ever have. Not only will you have the opportunity to enrich young lives with the power of English, but you’ll also be doing tons of learning of your own. Maybe you’ll even be a Taekwondo master by the end of it!