Teaching English in Korea: Private vs. Public Schools, What's Better?

Those interested in teaching English in Korea will need to decide whether they want to teach in a public school or in a private school (private language schools in Korea are often referred to as hogwans).  Many positions are similar in that they involve teaching English to school children and teachers in both private and public schools can expect excellent benefits, including free furnished housing, reimbursed airfare, paid vacation and salaries that enable the teacher to save $800 - $1,000 a month after expenses (sometimes even more).

What is there to do for fun while teaching English in Korea?

From stunning natural beauty, dynamic cities and thousands of years history and culture, to fantastic cuisine and world class nightlife, Korea offers foreign English teachers a wealth of new and fun experiences.  Whether you enjoy hiking, going to baseball games, or playing jazz in a funk bank, Korea offers something for everybody.  Here are just some of the attractions you can look forward to when you embark on your adventure of teaching English in Korea.

What will I eat when I teach English abroad in Korea?

(And will I be able to find American/Western-style food?) 

One of the great perks of going abroad to teach English is the opportunity to try new types of food and drink, and certainly Korea offers a wide array of culinary treats for you to sample. As in many Asian cultures, Korean meals typically incorporate rice, noodles, a soup or stew, meat or fish, and an assortment of great vegetarian side-dishes. These vegetarian dishes, known as banchan, often feature vegetables that have been pickled or marinated in a variety of seasonings and sauces – some mild and sweet, others pungent and savory. The most famous is the legendary pickled cabbage known as kimchi, which comes in hundreds of varieties and is so highly venerated as to be the subject of its own national festivals.  

How much money can I make teaching English in South Korea?

South Korea offers some of the best salaries and benefits to foreign English teachers in the world. Here is a brief outline of what foreign English teachers can expect to earn teaching in Korea.  Keep in mind that English teachers in Korea typically receive airfare and housing, the cost of living is modest and exchange rates are such that most teachers will be able to save up to 50 % of their salary after expenses, which can range from the equivalent of $800 - $1,200 a month. Salaries are typically paid in Korea won (KRW).

Will my school provide free airfare when I teach English in Korea?

YES — It is standard for schools to provide airfare (and housing) to foreigners hired to teach English in Korea. However, there will be conditions and stipulations attached to the provision of your airfare that will be outlined in the contract that you sign, and remember that contracts do vary.  Here are some points to remember regarding airfare for English teachers in Korea.