So, you are thinking about teaching English abroad but you haven’t picked a destination yet. Well, after reading our five reasons below, we are pretty sure you will have made your mind up and you will be booking your flight to South Korea.
When it comes to food, South Korea has it all! For meat lovers there is the nation’s number 1 cuisine, Korean BBQ, where succulent pork and beef is grilled over a bbq, and then there is the uniquely popular combination of Fried Chicken and Beer. But don’t worry veggie lovers, there are plenty of healthier options such as Bibimbap, a dish which mixes fresh vegetables with rice, egg and chili paste, and in almost all restaurants meals are served with a plethora of small side dishes mostly made up of pickled veg like the famous Kimchi! It’s not just the variety and choice of food that is amazing, but also the price. The cost of dining out is very affordable, so you don’t have to always cook at home even when you are saving money and you should be able to enjoy eating at restaurants at least 3-4 times per week.
There aren’t many cities in the world that have both skyscrapers and mountains side by side. South Korea’s land is over 70% mountainous and so, as you would expect, the most popular sports activity is hiking. For fans of the outdoors you really are spoilt for choice in the different activities and sports available in Korea. With so many mountain ranges across the country, in the Winter, you can ski and snowboard with some resorts only 1.5hrs away from Seoul, and during the other seasons, you can go rafting in the rapids or waterskiing along the rivers. If mountains aren’t your thing though, you have plenty of coastline to explore with some great beaches available down in the south of the country. For people who prefer the indoors, don’t fret as Korea has so much to offer. From Board Game and VR cafes, to karaoke rooms and even Cat and Dog Cafes, Korea has something for everyone indoors. Korea is also perfect for cinema goers with a variety of cinema styles ranging from luxury beds to comfy sofas, and until recently, the country boasted the largest IMAX cinema screen in the world.
The average salary for an English teacher in Korea is around $2,000 per month. On top of the wage, most teachers are provided with free housing. The cost of living in cities across the country is quite low and a lot of teachers are able to live comfortably off around $1,000 per month and save the rest. Bills and utilities will on average be around $100-150 per month, which leaves over $200 per week to spend on other expenses. This will be enough to eat out a few times a week (meals can cost between $5-15) and have some money for a few drinks on the weekend (beer in a bar costs around $3-4). Seoul can be a little bit pricier than the rest of the country but still teachers are able to to save $10,000 or more during a year’s stay.
Korea’s unique popular culture has always had a strong fan base across the globe. In particular, their romantic TV dramas, dark movie thrillers, and colourful kpop music videos have captivated audiences not just in Asia but also in the west for many years. However, over the last decade there has been a meteoric rise in fandom for Korea’s pop culture, and one could easily attribute this to one person/thing – Psy and Gangnam Style. Ever since the release of this worldwide smash hit in 2012, Korean popstars have topped charts in the US and Europe, and TV dramas have been watched by millions across Southeast Asia. It is not just music and TV though, with Korea being the number one market outside America for Marvel comic movies, Korean actors are gaining popularity in Hollywood too now, as is shown with the recent announcement that Ma Dong-seok will star in Marvel studios new film “The Eternals” in 2020. While living in Korea as a teacher you will get the opportunity to fully embrace the pop culture and see many live concerts and tv shows.
Midway through the last century after the war on the Korean peninsula, South Korea was considered one of the poorest countries in the world. Since then, the nation’s economy has grown at an astonishing rate to become one of the largest in the world and this is mainly due to its innovation in technology. A leader in technology, South Korea has been reported to have the fastest internet speeds across the globe for the last 12 consecutive years, and earlier this year became the first country to officially launch a commercial 5G phone service. Having this super fast connectivity means that Korea has always been ahead of other countries in terms of on-demand services available at their fingertips. Koreans were paying for public transport, getting groceries and food delivered, and ordering taxis via their smart phones long before other countries. Who knows what new technology they will innovate next. Whatever it is you will can be sure that you will be able to experience in Korea before your friends around the rest of the world. Let’s just hope it isn’t robot teachers!