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  • KadinG
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    • 5

    • May 20, 2011, 12:41:55 pm
    • Montana
Help me decide where to teach
« on: May 20, 2011, 12:53:46 pm »
Hi, I am trying to figure out where I should try to get a job teaching ESL.  I hope it is ok to post this here.

I am a 26 year old male from the U.S.  I have a BA in Psychology but have no teaching experience and no certification.  I want to figure out where I want to teach before I take any certification so that I take one that is relevant to where I am going.

Anyways, these are the things important to me (from most important to least)... I would love some advice on where to go.

#1:  The people.  I would like to go somewhere where the people are friendly towards foreigners.  I would like to be able to make friends with the locals.

#2:  The size of city should be fairly small... I would prefer somewhere less than 500k people and I don't really mind if it is even 2k+.

#3:  The wage.  It would be nice to save up some moola.  I understand this will be hard the first year or two but if there is one place I can save up more than another place this certainly should be taken into consideration.

#4:  The environment.  It would be nice to be somewhere warm and by the ocean.... or really just any nature around... I like to spend my extra time exploring jungle or hiking in the mountains.

These are the most important things to me with #1 being the most important and #4 being the least.

Can anyone give me any advice?  If you can't give me any advice could you give me another website to try and get advice?  I tried to become a member at Dave's ESL Cafe but I guess that is not possible.

Thanks so much in advance,
KadinG




  • weirdgirlinkorea
  • Moderator - LVL 2

    • 2045

    • September 09, 2010, 06:00:18 pm
    • Seoul
    more
Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #1 on: May 20, 2011, 01:05:32 pm »
I don't know if you are looking for a place in (location wise) Korea or a specific country suggestion but...
Korea, out of the ESL countries you can work, fits all your criteria the best. You could, as a man, make more (much more) in an Arab country like UAE but as far as size and environment you may not find it. In Korea, you can work in a public school and get assigned to a small mountainous town. Believe me, the government will love you for it because so many people ask to be placed in cities.
The program here to apply to is EPIK (English Program in Korea) and place your preference for a small mountainous/rural area. You will make more money there and save more money too. I would say for what you want (criteria wise) stick with public and avoid private academies (Hagwons, they're called) because in a much smaller area like you want you may not find many Hagwons or if you do they may not be such a good idea. I hope this helps. Oh yeah and if you don't really have much debt or obesessions then you CAN save in the 1st year here.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2011, 01:11:06 pm by weirdgirlinkorea »
Ignoranţa este adesea o boală fatal şi cretin nu poate fi vindecata.


  • Jozigirl
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1045

    • May 03, 2011, 07:37:47 am
Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #2 on: May 20, 2011, 01:11:06 pm »
You've basically described Korea  AND you don't even need teaching experience to work here - just a degree :)

1.  The people here are among the kindest and most generous I've ever met.  I have more Korean friends than I do foreign friends in Korea and they're always keen to do things, help me out and expose me to things I would probably not do at all in Korea if I hadn't met some of them.  I'm constantly floored and left speechless by the generally friendliness and offers of help from Koreans on a daily basis. 

2.  A lot of people are only prepared to work in Seoul, Busan, Daegu or other big cities.  I live in Gunsan which has a population of around 300 000 - I still haven't met all of the foreigners who teach in my town and I've been here 8 months (guess I spend most of my time with my Korean friends instead).

3.  Depending on your qualifications and experience, EPIK pays between 2.1 million and 2.5 million won pm (approx US$2100 - US$2500) + a 400 000 won (US$400) housing allowance.  Cost of living here is low so it's possible to save a lot - it just depends on your lifestyle and what you do in your free time.  Put it this way: AFTER my bills, living expenses, concerts, doctors, shopping and eating out at least a dozen times (more than once on several days), I still have two thirds of last month's salary in my account which I'll send home after payday next Wednesday :)

4.  My town is a coastal town (although it's more industrial coast than beaches per se).  My apartment is next to a huge park (more like a nature reserve) with free gym equipment along the way and a huge lake.  The sea is on the other side of my apartment and there's a great beach about an hour from where I live.  I'm also only 2.5 hours from Seoul so it's a feasible day trip.  Summer temperatures are high with LOTS of humidity - my teachers like to paint me a very vivid picture of just how many times (and in many ways) I'm going to die during the summer.  Koreans love nature so you'll find lots of beautiful parks, national reserves and so on with lots of places to go walking/hiking.


  • weirdgirlinkorea
  • Moderator - LVL 2

    • 2045

    • September 09, 2010, 06:00:18 pm
    • Seoul
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Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #3 on: May 20, 2011, 01:16:41 pm »
I second everything sasez said. Well said.

You've basically described Korea  AND you don't even need teaching experience to work here - just a degree :)

1.  The people here are among the kindest and most generous I've ever met.  I have more Korean friends than I do foreign friends in Korea and they're always keen to do things, help me out and expose me to things I would probably not do at all in Korea if I hadn't met some of them.  I'm constantly floored and left speechless by the generally friendliness and offers of help from Koreans on a daily basis. 

2.  A lot of people are only prepared to work in Seoul, Busan, Daegu or other big cities.  I live in Gunsan which has a population of around 300 000 - I still haven't met all of the foreigners who teach in my town and I've been here 8 months (guess I spend most of my time with my Korean friends instead).

3.  Depending on your qualifications and experience, EPIK pays between 2.1 million and 2.5 million won pm (approx US$2100 - US$2500) + a 400 000 won (US$400) housing allowance.  Cost of living here is low so it's possible to save a lot - it just depends on your lifestyle and what you do in your free time.  Put it this way: AFTER my bills, living expenses, concerts, doctors, shopping and eating out at least a dozen times (more than once on several days), I still have two thirds of last month's salary in my account which I'll send home after payday next Wednesday :)

4.  My town is a coastal town (although it's more industrial coast than beaches per se).  My apartment is next to a huge park (more like a nature reserve) with free gym equipment along the way and a huge lake.  The sea is on the other side of my apartment and there's a great beach about an hour from where I live.  I'm also only 2.5 hours from Seoul so it's a feasible day trip.  Summer temperatures are high with LOTS of humidity - my teachers like to paint me a very vivid picture of just how many times (and in many ways) I'm going to die during the summer.  Koreans love nature so you'll find lots of beautiful parks, national reserves and so on with lots of places to go walking/hiking.
Ignoranţa este adesea o boală fatal şi cretin nu poate fi vindecata.


Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #4 on: May 20, 2011, 01:18:20 pm »
The other posts are right. Korea is your best option. Try to find a place in the southern part of Korea. It still isn't amazingly warm in the winters, but everything else fits exactly what you are looking for.


  • Ahimsa
  • Adventurer

    • 29

    • May 12, 2011, 06:20:37 am
    • Seoul
Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2011, 01:18:50 pm »
The other posters have made good points about why you should consider Korea.  But there is at least one other contender for you to think about.

I haven't ever taught there, but from what I've heard, it sounds like you might want to consider Taiwan as well.  You'll get ots of small towns, jungles and hiking, a decent salary and people who are (arguably) friendlier than Koreans.

That said, I'm going back to Korea.  I like the bustle and the hiking in Seoul.


  • Tpre022
  • Veteran

    • 147

    • November 10, 2010, 12:32:50 pm
    • Namhae island, South Korea
Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2011, 01:19:47 pm »
Yeah Korea is pretty good money-wise for those of us with just degrees! You'd certainly be able to save in your first year, saving half of what you earn or very roughly $1000 US a month is probably doable, depending on your hobbies.

About points 1 and 2 - I think this is generally a friendly country, and people in my rural area have certainly been friendly to me, but you should be aware that really small towns may well have hardly any English-speakers. Some of us end up just hanging around other foreigners because the language barrier is too much.


Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2011, 01:31:05 pm »
I don't know if you are looking for a place in (location wise) Korea or a specific country suggestion but...
Korea, out of the ESL countries you can work, fits all your criteria the best. You could, as a man, make more (much more) in an Arab country like UAE but as far as size and environment you may not find it. In Korea, you can work in a public school and get assigned to a small mountainous town. Believe me, the government will love you for it because so many people ask to be placed in cities.
The program here to apply to is EPIK (English Program in Korea) and place your preference for a small mountainous/rural area. You will make more money there and save more money too. I would say for what you want (criteria wise) stick with public and avoid private academies (Hagwons, they're called) because in a much smaller area like you want you may not find many Hagwons or if you do they may not be such a good idea. I hope this helps. Oh yeah and if you don't really have much debt or obesessions then you CAN save in the 1st year here.



Don't rule out the idea of working in a Hagwon,  You can get a really good job !!  I did.  most of the people who work at public schools will tell you not to work at Hagwons. But there are really good Hagwon jobs out there and there are bad ones too.  Just like there are good public schools and bad ones !!



  • weirdgirlinkorea
  • Moderator - LVL 2

    • 2045

    • September 09, 2010, 06:00:18 pm
    • Seoul
    more
Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2011, 01:40:02 pm »
I don't know if you are looking for a place in (location wise) Korea or a specific country suggestion but...
Korea, out of the ESL countries you can work, fits all your criteria the best. You could, as a man, make more (much more) in an Arab country like UAE but as far as size and environment you may not find it. In Korea, you can work in a public school and get assigned to a small mountainous town. Believe me, the government will love you for it because so many people ask to be placed in cities.
The program here to apply to is EPIK (English Program in Korea) and place your preference for a small mountainous/rural area. You will make more money there and save more money too. I would say for what you want (criteria wise) stick with public and avoid private academies (Hagwons, they're called) because in a much smaller area like you want you may not find many Hagwons or if you do they may not be such a good idea. I hope this helps. Oh yeah and if you don't really have much debt or obesessions then you CAN save in the 1st year here.



Don't rule out the idea of working in a Hagwon,  You can get a really good job !!  I did.  most of the people who work at public schools will tell you not to work at Hagwons. But there are really good Hagwon jobs out there and there are bad ones too.  Just like there are good public schools and bad ones !!

This is true and not true. Do I like hagwons? Absolutely not, but what I wrote was referring to the fact that the OP wants a very small community, and the smaller the place, the less likely you are to find a stable, reliable hagwon (that won't close up overnight and leave you stranded). That's all I meant by what I wrote about hagwons. I am willing to bet, Anthony, that you work in a much larger city in the hagwon you like.
Ignoranţa este adesea o boală fatal şi cretin nu poate fi vindecata.


  • Paul
  • Featured Contributor

    • 2055

    • September 21, 2010, 10:28:58 pm
    • Seoul
Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2011, 01:42:46 pm »
Only catch with your original list is that Korea's kinda short on the jungles. I've heard the Ullengdo off the eastern seaboard is perhaps an exception, but that's pretty remote. Lot's of mountains to make up for it however.

The people are generally friendly, however, the language barrier in Korea can be pretty great so be well warned. Korea is sadly not the easiest place to be a dead beginner at the local language. English education is big here, to the point where people will sometimes be very firm in their insistence on practising their basic English on you instead of even letting you attempt Korean. This is of course great at first, but it means your own learning gets hindered and it can be dead easy to get trapped in the perpetual cycle of being reliant on other peoples' abilities as to how far you can communicate.
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Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #10 on: May 20, 2011, 01:52:16 pm »
I will second Korea, it fits all of your criteria.  I would look into the city of Busan because that gives you a really nice beach.  It is also not a small or big city, I think it's just right.  Plenty of foreigners and locals that are friendly to meet.  If you do choose korea, I would recommend public school though, it gives you way more vacation days and while some people say that academies pay more, you will have plenty of time to make some extra cash.  And your job is more secure. 


  • atmosphere
  • Veteran

    • 82

    • April 12, 2011, 09:41:05 pm
    • Sanbon-dong, Gunpo-si, Gyeonggi-do
Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #11 on: May 20, 2011, 01:55:28 pm »
-Try to get a public school job.
-Avoid vocational schools.
-Get a job in Gyeonggi-do (biggest province in the country) or Seoul. Being on the Metro line is  8)

I imagine the people are friendlier and that there's lesson racism in the north-west since the people here are used to being around foreigners. There're a LOT of foreigners in Gyeonggi and Seoul.

The province is full of 'small' cities that're under 500k. Suwon's the only 'big' city (1m) here, though I, personally, don't consider a population of around 500k to be small.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2011, 01:58:51 pm by atmosphere »


  • DragonSheep
  • Waygookin

    • 17

    • October 08, 2010, 03:26:14 pm
    • South Korea - Samcheok
Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2011, 02:06:04 pm »
It all depends on what kind of surrounds you want for a year. If you are happy to live in a big city and travel to the smaller more remote places, where the culture is then I'd say do that. However if, like me, you need to be close the beach and enjoy hiking then in the middle of no where is the place for you. You can still go the bigger cities on the weekends. As far as schools then i totally recommend going with the public school. You get better holidays and better working hours. I understand the money is better in a private school but not enough to give up all those extra traveling days. Anyway I hope that helped, have fun!


Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2011, 02:08:41 pm »
We're from MN, been in Mokpo one month and we're loving it.  The city is around 200,000.  I can see the bay and the mountains from our apartment, life is affordable, people are friendly, and the climate is more temperate than MN.  Summers are still hot, winters are still cold, but not as extreme as MN.  You can read more of why we chose Mokpo on our blog that we keep for family http://jeollanamdosalad.wordpress.com/

One last thing, while we have communication problems, our neighbors are very friendly especially the local businesses.  They go out of their way to help us get what we are looking for.  They'll even call an English speaking friend on the phone and have them translate for us. 


  • Jozigirl
  • Hero of Waygookistan

    • 1045

    • May 03, 2011, 07:37:47 am
Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2011, 02:12:33 pm »
One last thing, while we have communication problems, our neighbors are very friendly especially the local businesses.  They go out of their way to help us get what we are looking for.  They'll even call an English speaking friend on the phone and have them translate for us.

Yep, I've had that experience on several ocassions!  I actually feel more invisible and unwanted in larger cities than I do in my little city.  The people are awesome and nothing ever seems to be too much trouble when you ask them for help.


  • jejusiii
  • Adventurer

    • 26

    • October 14, 2010, 12:30:48 pm
    • south korea
Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2011, 02:14:37 pm »
Look into Jeju... from what you want it sounds right on.  Been living here for almost a year and I love it.


  • loumac
  • Waygookin

    • 21

    • March 10, 2011, 12:55:03 pm
    • Yesan, Chungnam
Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2011, 02:36:12 pm »
I teach at three middle schools in Yesan County, which is considered to be pretty rural by Korean standards. I live in Yesan itself which has a population under 70,000 and like previous posts mentioned, you are usually made to feel very welcome by the locals in smaller towns and cities.

Unlike you, I have a Tesol, but you can still make good money working in public schools when you take the rural living allowance, multiple school allowance and other factors into account.

I'm close to the temples at Sudeoksa; national parks, beaches on the Chungnam coast and it's only 90 minutes south of Seoul.

There's loads of great opportunities for someone like you in Korea.
« Last Edit: May 20, 2011, 02:47:53 pm by loumac »


  • Ley_Druid
  • The Legend

    • 2468

    • February 17, 2011, 08:36:33 am
    • Shinan-Gun, Jeollanam-Do, South Korea
Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2011, 03:04:36 pm »
Hi, I am trying to figure out where I should try to get a job teaching ESL.  I hope it is ok to post this here.

I am a 26 year old male from the U.S.  I have a BA in Psychology but have no teaching experience and no certification.  I want to figure out where I want to teach before I take any certification so that I take one that is relevant to where I am going.

Anyways, these are the things important to me (from most important to least)... I would love some advice on where to go.

#1:  The people.  I would like to go somewhere where the people are friendly towards foreigners.  I would like to be able to make friends with the locals.

#2:  The size of city should be fairly small... I would prefer somewhere less than 500k people and I don't really mind if it is even 2k+.

#3:  The wage.  It would be nice to save up some moola.  I understand this will be hard the first year or two but if there is one place I can save up more than another place this certainly should be taken into consideration.

#4:  The environment.  It would be nice to be somewhere warm and by the ocean.... or really just any nature around... I like to spend my extra time exploring jungle or hiking in the mountains.

These are the most important things to me with #1 being the most important and #4 being the least.

Can anyone give me any advice?  If you can't give me any advice could you give me another website to try and get advice?  I tried to become a member at Dave's ESL Cafe but I guess that is not possible.

Thanks so much in advance,
KadinG

Sounds like the place for you is Jeju Island. The only serious drawback from living there is that if you need to get to Seoul or Busan, it is a bit expensive cause you'd have to fly or take the day long ferry.

I'd focus on Jeju, but check out other locations that jobs are offered by checking out wikipedia first. Figure out the city and then the province.

If you go for a larger city, but you don't want to live in a HUGE city, I'd recommend Daejeon because it is a lot cleaner than other cities. It was a planned city, and was supposed to be the new home of the capitol city of Korea, however, few people wanted to move there because property value is worth so much in Seoul.

If I was to make a personal preferance list, it would look like:

1. Jeju Island
2. Daejeon
3. Chuncheon
4. Gyeongju / Pohang
5. Mokpo

But that is just me. Personally, I like the big cities. Oh yeah, and in Korea, cities are way bigger than in the US. Usually, when we think of a city in the US, we think of the downtown area, but a city in Korea is more like a county. If you look on the map and look at the square miles, you will see that many Korean cities are HUGE by area. Also, I think if you got a job on the edge of a city, that would help a lot for finding people who won't hate you for being American and also being able to easily move about the country.


  • KadinG
  • Explorer

    • 5

    • May 20, 2011, 12:41:55 pm
    • Montana
Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2011, 03:10:04 pm »
I am absolutely stunned with how many great replies i just received.  You are all amazing.  I need to go to sleep now but I definitely read through these posts more carefully tomorrow.  So much great information.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!


Re: Help me decide where to teach
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2011, 03:15:45 pm »
No one has said Yeosu yet.

There's no way Korea could ever have a San Francisco, but if I had to pick, then it would be Yeosu. I don't think there are any beaches, but there are definitely ferries to islands with beaches.

And it's got the Expo in 2012.