diversity abroad

Seoul, South Korea English Teaching Q and A with Delia Nugent

Seoul, South Korea English Teaching Q and A with Delia Nugent
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What is your citizenship? 

United States

What city and state are you from?  

Long Island, NY

How old are you?


What is your education level and background?       

Bachelor's Degree

Have you traveled abroad in the past?       

Some international travel with friends, family, business, etc.

If you have traveled abroad in the past, where have you been?        

France, Spain, Britain, Caribbean, Canada

What sparked your interest in going to teach English abroad?              

I wanted to combine my desire to travel with my passion for teaching.

Teach English in South Korea TEFL


Why did you decide to get TEFL certified and choose International TEFL Academy?

I wanted to give myself the best chance of finding a great job oversees and knew that being TEFL certified would help. International TEFL Academy had a great reputation, was recommended by friends, and seemed to have strong alumni support that I knew I wanted once the course was over.

Which TEFL certification course did you take?         

Online TEFL Class

How did you like the course?

The online TEFL course was good. It gave me insight on the differences I would encounter between teaching in my home country and teaching abroad.

The instructor was helpful, always willing and able to talk about my assignments both before and after they were due. I really appreciate her feedback.

How has your TEFL training helped you in your current teaching position?       

It helped me to be better prepared to address the needs of students learning a second language. 


Which country did you decide to teach English in and why?

I teach English in South Korea, I've never been to Asia, and Korea has some of the best to offer in terms of benefits, culture, tradition, beauty, and people.

How long have you been in this country and how long do you plan to stay?      

I've been here 5 months, and plan to stay for at least 18 months.

How did you secure your English teaching job?       

I worked with a Coordinator from Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education.

How did you get your work visa? If you didn't get a work visa, please elaborate on working under the table without a work visa.         

The work visa came after I secured a contract with SMOE. I visited the local Korean Embassy and processed my paperwork. It was an easy process, just had to make sure I had all my paperwork and money in order.

Tell us about your English teaching job!

I work 22 hours a week with 3rd-6th graders and 2 adult classes. The pay is pretty good and I'm able to save quite a bit after paying bills.

I'm in a small public school that values English education, so my work environment is pleasant. The principal and Korean teachers expect great teaching from me and treat me with respect.

My vacation time is 21 days, split between Winter and Summer months. After teaching either winter or summer camp, I can take up to 2 weeks off for each.

I love working overseas. It gives me the chance to make good money, save and still enjoy life by traveling and experiencing a different country, culture and people.

How did you find somewhere to live and what is it like? Do you have roommates?   

The school I work for rents the apartment I live in. I do not have any roommates but there are many English teachers also in my building.


Please explain the cultural aspects, public transportation, nightlife, social activities, food, expat community, dating scene, travel opportunities, etc. about your country:

I'm used to my car taking me everywhere I go and back home, seldom used the train system and never used the bus system, so taking public transportation initially was a large adjustment. The great thing is public transportation is easy to navigate. There are apps for smartphones and maps everywhere. It only took me a few days to get the hang of how to get around.

There's so much to do!  Every weekend for the past 5 months, I've done something different from going dancing to karaoke to ice skating to mountain climbing to music festivals to historical tours of palaces, there's never a dull moment (unless you choose it to be). There are so many expats here, it's easy to meet new people and form friendships. Many of the people I've met through other people and we always have a few people we know in common. There are a lot of us here, but not many degrees of separation which is nice.

If you like a little adventure and enjoy doing new things, meeting new people then teaching abroad is for you. Even when I just want stay home and relax, I'm still in South Korea, so it's all good!
Teach English South Korea


What are your monthly expenses?

The school I work for pays the rent for my apartment, however I am responsible for all fees and utilities which is less than $200 a month combined.

I pay for all my food, cell phone bill, travel and transportation myself. If you're going to be out a lot and visit many places, transportation will add up but it's nothing compared to what you'd spend in gas a month. I usually load my transit card with $100 every month which hasn't run out.

Cell phones are simple but you want to be careful about entering into a contract if you don't plan on being here that long. I was able to take over a contract from someone who was leaving. I found them on Craig's List but be careful of scams. It might be best to take your co-teacher or someone who speaks the native language with you.

How would you describe your standard of living?   


In your opinion, how much does someone need to earn in order to live comfortably?   

Varies on where you live but at least 2 million won.


What advice would you give someone planning or considering teaching abroad? Would you recommend teaching in your country?

I absolutely recommend teaching in Korea. Try to find Facebook groups of people in the country you're looking to go to and try to talk to people who are currently there. Recruiters and coordinators will only tell you but so much. It really helps to find someone who's living there and can give you all the insider details.

I knew 2 people in Korea before I came and I would email them every question I could think of and more. They told me things, I wouldn't have even known to ask and really helped me prepare to live abroad.

Posted In: Teach English in South Korea, Teach English in Asia, Diversity Abroad, Seoul

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