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21 years old looking for advice about teaching abroad.
« on: September 17, 2020, 02:56:22 am »
 ;D hello everyone!
I am 21 year old british girl who has just recently graduated university! I graduated in Theology and Religious Studies with a 2:1, and I am currently undertaking my PGCE at university in primary education ages 3/7. I just want some advice for if this qualification is enough to teach abroad in South Korea. I was aiming to go for next year, September time, and my post graduate certificate in education will also leave me with 1/3 of a masters and also a newly qualified teacher status. Will this be enough or will I need a TEFL status? Also Id love some general advice on if I am suitable for this? I love children and Id love to travel and cant see myself settling down in the U.K. so young. Any feedback would be enough! Thanks!


  • stoat
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1708

    • March 05, 2019, 06:36:13 pm
    • seoul
Re: 21 years old looking for advice about teaching abroad.
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2020, 06:56:27 am »
I think most people would advise you to get some teaching experience in the UK first and then apply to legitimate international schools in Korea. If you come to Korea immediately after qualifying you probably won't be able to land a job at one of the aforementioned places and will end up working at a hagwan or public school along with unqualified people on lower salaries.  Those people tend to go back to their home countries after a year or two and get out of teaching, while you have already chosen it as a career.


Re: 21 years old looking for advice about teaching abroad.
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2020, 07:15:35 am »
I would definitely advise doing 3 years at home first. Your NQT year + 2 for experience.  You don't have to settle, just wait a bit.

Once you've done that if you want to travel and take your foot off the gas you can do TEFL in Korea or elsewhere.  Having the experience will mean that if you decide the travel life is for you but TEFL pay is poor and you want to be a career teacher or a teacher with responsibility, you will have opportunities with international schools. 

You will also then be able to return home with UK experience if you decide that's the best option and you won't be competing with fresh graduates who may have  more up to date teaching methods.


  • thunderlips
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1988

    • June 07, 2012, 10:01:55 am
    • South Korea
Re: 21 years old looking for advice about teaching abroad.
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2020, 07:39:02 am »
I think most people would advise you to get some teaching experience in the UK first and then apply to legitimate international schools in Korea. If you come to Korea immediately after qualifying you probably won't be able to land a job at one of the aforementioned places and will end up working at a hagwan or public school along with unqualified people on lower salaries.  Those people tend to go back to their home countries after a year or two and get out of teaching, while you have already chosen it as a career.

+1 Get experience first if you want to work at legitimate international schools, which is what you should be aiming for. Some good international schools; https://www.kis.or.kr/
https://www.chadwickinternational.org/
https://www.siskorea.org/


**If you are just curious about living/working in Korea look into the TALK program, if it is still alive.  http://www.talk.go.kr/talk/talk_new/intro.jsp


  • theman3285
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1019

    • June 16, 2017, 09:01:06 am
Re: 21 years old looking for advice about teaching abroad.
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2020, 08:01:43 am »
I agree with the above posters. I'm 35 and trying to make the switch from ESL to international schools. There's nothing wrong with teaching ESL and gaining a bit of life experience, but it won't help you later down the line. You'll just be delaying the inevitable (working at home for two years before branching back out).

As for me, gaining experience in South Africa post-PGCE is not an option, especially with a family to support. So I'm hoping to find some 3rd tier shit-hole of an international school willing to take a chance on me. My five years of teaching ESL in Korean public schools will count for naught, essentially :/


  • Liechtenstein
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1020

    • February 15, 2019, 04:39:00 pm
    • NE Hemisphere
Re: 21 years old looking for advice about teaching abroad.
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2020, 12:21:03 pm »
Take a look at SE Asia. Schools here are all scrambling for teachers. International schools start at around $1500-$2000 a month. The cost of living is lower and the food is way better and less expensive by a mile, especially fresh fruit and veggies. Nicer weather and friendlier people too.



  • theman3285
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1019

    • June 16, 2017, 09:01:06 am
Re: 21 years old looking for advice about teaching abroad.
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2020, 01:05:14 pm »
International schools start at around $1500-$2000 a month
Seriously? Christ alive. I might as well stay in Korea


  • OnNut81
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1309

    • April 01, 2011, 03:01:41 pm
    • Anyang
Re: 21 years old looking for advice about teaching abroad.
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2020, 01:25:29 pm »
Take a look at SE Asia. Schools here are all scrambling for teachers. International schools start at around $1500-$2000 a month. The cost of living is lower and the food is way better and less expensive by a mile, especially fresh fruit and veggies. Nicer weather and friendlier people too.



Where in SE Asia?  When I lived in Phuket I was friends with a Brit who taught math at the main international school in Phuket and he said he was paid the same as if he were in England but dealing with a Thai cost of living.  A close friend taught at the Taiwan-Thai International school in Samut Prakan (outskirts of Bangkok) and he was making the equivalent of around 4 million won a month in his first year.  He said the tier 1 school teachers made a lot more, like at Bangkok International School.  A hell of a lot easier to find housing down there as well. 


  • waygo0k
  • The Legend

    • 4213

    • September 27, 2011, 11:51:01 am
    • Chungnam
Re: 21 years old looking for advice about teaching abroad.
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2020, 01:37:00 pm »
Seriously? Christ alive. I might as well stay in Korea

A good number of international schools pay that...but a good number also pay $4000-7000 per month in the same country. It really depends on your qualifications, experience and where you apply to.

I want to do a year or two in Thailand at one of the latter salaries if I can...the earnings/savings ration don't get much better than that, unless you have a job that also covers your living expenses. Plus the fact that it's Thailand!


  • hangook77
  • The Legend

    • 2023

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: 21 years old looking for advice about teaching abroad.
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2020, 02:57:40 pm »
Just tell them you want something in the middle like say 3000 US.  I'd say you'd live well there on that amount? 


  • waygo0k
  • The Legend

    • 4213

    • September 27, 2011, 11:51:01 am
    • Chungnam
Re: 21 years old looking for advice about teaching abroad.
« Reply #10 on: September 22, 2020, 03:19:59 pm »
PROPER INT'L SCHOOLS DO NOT PAY $1500-2000 PER MONTH!!!! Well, some of them do, but they are the lowest tier ones (think hagwons).

Whatever you do, DO NOT APPLY TO THOSE SCHOOLS. The minimum you should expect from an accredited int'l school in is $3000-$3500 per month.

Finish your PGCE, do 1-2 years in your subject...join Search Associates and ISS Schrole (pay for their memberships), and apply away.


  • NorthStar
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1364

    • July 05, 2017, 10:54:06 am
    • Mouseville
Re: 21 years old looking for advice about teaching abroad.
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2020, 01:24:40 am »
OP, just avoid recruiters and agencies in Korea.  In fact, try to avoid Korea altogether . It has a bad reputation, for many reasons. 

Finish your PGCE, indeed.  Then, go from there. 


  • theman3285
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1019

    • June 16, 2017, 09:01:06 am
Re: 21 years old looking for advice about teaching abroad.
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2020, 09:27:46 am »
Finish your PGCE, do 1-2 years in your subject...join Search Associates and ISS Schrole (pay for their memberships), and apply away.
Yeah it's the 1-2 years that worries me most. South African teacher salaries can barely support a single person, let alone a family of three. I'll have to hustle and hope I find something, somewhere in the world. I told my wife we might be in for a bit of a bumpy ride initially.


Re: 21 years old looking for advice about teaching abroad.
« Reply #13 on: September 23, 2020, 12:15:12 pm »
You've got a few very good things going for you.

1 - You're British, the reality is that you're going to have a bit of an edge over a Saffer.
2 - You're young and are on your way to getting properly certified
3 - Being female can definitely count when it comes to the job market for positions teaching younger kids

A TEFL course (not online) can be done over a weekend, it's nothing and it's always worth having. Some employers will nitpick about it, just get it done and put it on your C.V. A CELTA might be another option, but probably redundant and expensive, particularly if you have a PGCE.

You can certainly get a job right now, with your current qualifications, but I'd advise against it. Let's say you decide to apply for a job in Korea today. You get it and fly out next month (hypothetically). You work for a year, have a nasty experience with your hagwon and/or find an offer for a better job. Sadly, you don't have the qualifications so you have to fly home and finish your PGCE. I'd finish the PGCE now. That way, you've always got the opportunity to land a better job and you'll probably be presented with more options after arriving.


  • waygo0k
  • The Legend

    • 4213

    • September 27, 2011, 11:51:01 am
    • Chungnam
Re: 21 years old looking for advice about teaching abroad.
« Reply #14 on: September 23, 2020, 12:32:19 pm »
Yeah it's the 1-2 years that worries me most. South African teacher salaries can barely support a single person, let alone a family of three. I'll have to hustle and hope I find something, somewhere in the world. I told my wife we might be in for a bit of a bumpy ride initially.

It's still possible to get employment post PGCE without the 1-2 years' experience...but probably at second tier schools, which still put EFL salaries to shame. You'd have plenty of schools in China to choose from, but you'd also have to be careful with where you end up.

UAE also has options for newly certified teachers with no post certification experience...not many, but these options are there.

Once you have your 2 years at an accredited school (that's what I'm doing now), more doors should open at top tier schools...at least that's how the theory goes.