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The future of ESL in Korea.
« on: July 25, 2021, 10:49:54 am »
First of all, I tried posting this on reddits Korea and Teaching In Korea sub reddit but they were deleted by mods for some reason  :laugh: :laugh: oh well. So  this is a copy and paste here. Sorry if this is in the wrong section.

Hi everyone, just here more out of curiosity than anything else. I have always entertained the idea of doing ESL in Korea via EPIK - preferably by trying to get into SMOE but that's not really important to the rest of this post - however I've been put off in recent years as I've heard rather mixed things in relation to job security, the standard ESL wages no longer being comparable with local wages and the inflation. I've also heard the cost of living has gone up rapidly compared to near by places.

So my questions are targeted for ESL teachers in mainly Seoul but would really like to hear experiences from Busan or other smaller cities too. Also these questions are asked by someone who just holds a Bachelors degree in a tech field from the UK and nothing related to education except a TEFL and teaching experience in Asia for context.

- What is the quality of life like these days for ESL teachers?
- Can you see the quality of life remaining the same in the future for ESL teachers?

- Is ~2.3 million won liveable?
I guess as a single person that's fine, but what if you have a family and kids in the future?

- What are the long term prospects of ESL teachers in Korea?
For example, is this a dead end job that will never see pay rises and will continue to edge towards
the minimum wage?

- Is there a big job market outside the ESL sector for foreigners to move into?
My experience here in Taiwan has been there are tech jobs if you can learn Mandarin but the
salary is lower here than that of ESL jobs, so I turned it down.

- How easy is it to achieve a permanent resident status with open work rights in Korea?
In Taiwan it is effectively only working in Taiwan for 5 consecutive years and with the final year
making at least double the minimum wage. What are the Korean requirement for this?

I probably won't move to Korea at this point in my life anyway, as I am happily living in Taiwan. I would maybe consider the idea if something major happens here in Taiwan but I'm feeling it's unlikely. If I did move out of Taiwan however I would look for somewhere I can stay for a long period/permanently and Korea would be a place I would consider.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.


  • waygo0k
  • The Legend

    • 4503

    • September 27, 2011, 11:51:01 am
    • Chungnam
Re: The future of ESL in Korea.
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2021, 09:11:59 am »
2.3 is livable for a single person with a low maintenance lifestyle. For a family, that's borderline poverty wage in Korea.

ESL is practically a minimum wage now in Korea (minimum wage is now 1.8-1.9 per month). Some people will try to say "but you get a free apartment", so do many people on minimum wage...it is very common for Koreans to live in the family home as adults until they get married. ESL salaries will not be increasing anytime soon, if ever...in fact, expect further stagnation of wages in the face of inflation and the further deterioration of benefits.

There is a non-esl job market of sorts for foreigners, but many if these jobs only pay esl-level wages or slightly higher. Some even pay lower! Unless you're a high level expert with years of verifiable experience that will allow you to work for one of the big companies, you'd mostly be doing these jobs for the experience. Korean ability is preferred, but not essential.

The other thing about theses jobs is that most companies don't know how to secure the necessary visa for you (E-7) as the process can be tedious and time consuming...so most companies would rather hire someone whose visa they won't have to sponsor.

Permanent residency is achievable in Korea. There are several ways to do it, but every few years immigration moves the goalposts and makes things harder. The most recent one was when they decided to screw a lot of people over...thatbwas one of the final straws for me and why I decided to nope my way out of ESL and out of Korea - https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=307481

If permanent residency is your goal, Taiwan is an infinitely better prospect than Korea.


Re: The future of ESL in Korea.
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2021, 12:50:54 pm »
2.3 is livable for a single person with a low maintenance lifestyle. For a family, that's borderline poverty wage in Korea.

ESL is practically a minimum wage now in Korea (minimum wage is now 1.8-1.9 per month). Some people will try to say "but you get a free apartment", so do many people on minimum wage...it is very common for Koreans to live in the family home as adults until they get married. ESL salaries will not be increasing anytime soon, if ever...in fact, expect further stagnation of wages in the face of inflation and the further deterioration of benefits.

There is a non-esl job market of sorts for foreigners, but many if these jobs only pay esl-level wages or slightly higher. Some even pay lower! Unless you're a high level expert with years of verifiable experience that will allow you to work for one of the big companies, you'd mostly be doing these jobs for the experience. Korean ability is preferred, but not essential.

The other thing about theses jobs is that most companies don't know how to secure the necessary visa for you (E-7) as the process can be tedious and time consuming...so most companies would rather hire someone whose visa they won't have to sponsor.

Permanent residency is achievable in Korea. There are several ways to do it, but every few years immigration moves the goalposts and makes things harder. The most recent one was when they decided to screw a lot of people over...thatbwas one of the final straws for me and why I decided to nope my way out of ESL and out of Korea - https://m.koreatimes.co.kr/pages/article.asp?newsIdx=307481

If permanent residency is your goal, Taiwan is an infinitely better prospect than Korea.


If permanent residency in Korea is a primary concern, get that F6 visa, get a Korean spouse, go take those KIIP Korean classes ( learn the language and about Korean society), basically think of the things that immigrants who come to the Western countries try to do to become successful and do them if you really want to be successful here. I think the wages and opportunities for the E-2 visa holders will continue to stagnate or even to go down... but for those on F6 visas with fluent Korean abilities and understanding of Culture and society... there might be some great opportunities. The E-2 ESL jobs here are more like very luxurious internship positions for young adults (not long-term jobs or careers).


Re: The future of ESL in Korea.
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2021, 01:04:17 pm »
First of all, I tried posting this on reddits Korea and Teaching In Korea sub reddit but they were deleted by mods for some reason  :laugh: :laugh: oh well. So  this is a copy and paste here. Sorry if this is in the wrong section.

Hi everyone, just here more out of curiosity than anything else. I have always entertained the idea of doing ESL in Korea via EPIK - preferably by trying to get into SMOE but that's not really important to the rest of this post - however I've been put off in recent years as I've heard rather mixed things in relation to job security, the standard ESL wages no longer being comparable with local wages and the inflation. I've also heard the cost of living has gone up rapidly compared to near by places.

So my questions are targeted for ESL teachers in mainly Seoul but would really like to hear experiences from Busan or other smaller cities too. Also these questions are asked by someone who just holds a Bachelors degree in a tech field from the UK and nothing related to education except a TEFL and teaching experience in Asia for context.

- What is the quality of life like these days for ESL teachers?
- Can you see the quality of life remaining the same in the future for ESL teachers?

- Is ~2.3 million won liveable?
I guess as a single person that's fine, but what if you have a family and kids in the future?

- What are the long term prospects of ESL teachers in Korea?
For example, is this a dead end job that will never see pay rises and will continue to edge towards
the minimum wage?

- Is there a big job market outside the ESL sector for foreigners to move into?
My experience here in Taiwan has been there are tech jobs if you can learn Mandarin but the
salary is lower here than that of ESL jobs, so I turned it down.

- How easy is it to achieve a permanent resident status with open work rights in Korea?
In Taiwan it is effectively only working in Taiwan for 5 consecutive years and with the final year
making at least double the minimum wage. What are the Korean requirement for this?

I probably won't move to Korea at this point in my life anyway, as I am happily living in Taiwan. I would maybe consider the idea if something major happens here in Taiwan but I'm feeling it's unlikely. If I did move out of Taiwan however I would look for somewhere I can stay for a long period/permanently and Korea would be a place I would consider.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.


If you've been living well in Taiwan, just invest in an online teacher's license that would allow you to be a certified teacher back home and move up to teaching ESL at an international school there.
Then you can try to switch over to an international school in Korea after you have 2 or more years of experience working as an international school teacher.


  • SPQR
  • Expert Waygook

    • 923

    • March 08, 2018, 07:04:54 pm
    • Sierra Leone
Re: The future of ESL in Korea.
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2021, 01:35:33 pm »
- What is the quality of life like these days for ESL teachers?

For people in their twenties with parents to return to, it is livable.

- Can you see the quality of life remaining the same in the future for ESL teachers?

No. Korea has the lowest birthrate in the OECD. No kids, no students. Simple as that.

- Is ~2.3 million won liveable?

2.3M is laughable if you want to buy property or support a family.

- What are the long term prospects of ESL teachers in Korea?

Grim.

- Is there a big job market outside the ESL sector for foreigners to move into?

Almost zero. About 99% of English speakers  are employed in the ESL business.

- How easy is it to achieve a permanent resident status with open work rights in Korea?

Almost impossible and getting worse.


Re: The future of ESL in Korea.
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2021, 03:26:06 pm »
- What is the quality of life like these days for ESL teachers?

For people in their twenties with parents to return to, it is livable.

- Can you see the quality of life remaining the same in the future for ESL teachers?

No. Korea has the lowest birthrate in the OECD. No kids, no students. Simple as that.

- Is ~2.3 million won liveable?

2.3M is laughable if you want to buy property or support a family.

- What are the long term prospects of ESL teachers in Korea?

Grim.

- Is there a big job market outside the ESL sector for foreigners to move into?

Almost zero. About 99% of English speakers  are employed in the ESL business.

- How easy is it to achieve a permanent resident status with open work rights in Korea?

Almost impossible and getting worse.

This pretty much sums up life in Korea for the ESL industry here.
Like I mentioned elsewhere on this thread, ESL in Korea is quickly becoming  a "luxurious internship position" which gives you excellent unheard of benefits for interns that the Westen countries don't have
and many opportunities to explore and travel! In the near future, the foreigners that will be able to stay here and live comfortably are those who are married to a local and fluent in Korean.


Re: The future of ESL in Korea.
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2021, 03:38:40 pm »
DO YOU KNOW ITAEWON?









  • hangook77
  • The Legend

    • 4125

    • September 14, 2017, 09:10:12 am
    • Near Busan
Re: The future of ESL in Korea.
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2021, 05:02:23 pm »
First of all, I tried posting this on reddits Korea and Teaching In Korea sub reddit but they were deleted by mods for some reason  :laugh: :laugh: oh well. So  this is a copy and paste here. Sorry if this is in the wrong section.

Hi everyone, just here more out of curiosity than anything else. I have always entertained the idea of doing ESL in Korea via EPIK - preferably by trying to get into SMOE but that's not really important to the rest of this post - however I've been put off in recent years as I've heard rather mixed things in relation to job security, the standard ESL wages no longer being comparable with local wages and the inflation. I've also heard the cost of living has gone up rapidly compared to near by places.

So my questions are targeted for ESL teachers in mainly Seoul but would really like to hear experiences from Busan or other smaller cities too. Also these questions are asked by someone who just holds a Bachelors degree in a tech field from the UK and nothing related to education except a TEFL and teaching experience in Asia for context.

- What is the quality of life like these days for ESL teachers?
- Can you see the quality of life remaining the same in the future for ESL teachers?

- Is ~2.3 million won liveable?
I guess as a single person that's fine, but what if you have a family and kids in the future?

- What are the long term prospects of ESL teachers in Korea?
For example, is this a dead end job that will never see pay rises and will continue to edge towards
the minimum wage?

- Is there a big job market outside the ESL sector for foreigners to move into?
My experience here in Taiwan has been there are tech jobs if you can learn Mandarin but the
salary is lower here than that of ESL jobs, so I turned it down.

- How easy is it to achieve a permanent resident status with open work rights in Korea?
In Taiwan it is effectively only working in Taiwan for 5 consecutive years and with the final year
making at least double the minimum wage. What are the Korean requirement for this?

I probably won't move to Korea at this point in my life anyway, as I am happily living in Taiwan. I would maybe consider the idea if something major happens here in Taiwan but I'm feeling it's unlikely. If I did move out of Taiwan however I would look for somewhere I can stay for a long period/permanently and Korea would be a place I would consider.

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

You will not make double the minimum wage here as a teacher unless you own your own school.  But that takes the right visa and saving up a lot of money to start your school.  Korea, like Taiwan and Japan are the past.  Look to the emerging markets if you want to make money in ESL. 


https://pandabuddy.net/teach-english-in-japan-vs-korea-vs-china/

https://notatravelclub.com/taiwan-vs-japan/

I tried to find some YouTube videos that I had seen before but now can't find them.  The gists seemed to be some folks taught in China and then in Taiwan.  They hated Taiwan and left shortly after to go back to China.  You can teach whichever countries you wish, but China, and after that Vietnam are the up and comers. 


  • SPQR
  • Expert Waygook

    • 923

    • March 08, 2018, 07:04:54 pm
    • Sierra Leone
Re: The future of ESL in Korea.
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2021, 06:33:21 pm »
I read this article by some girl named, Caitlin McCollum-Martinez.

https://www.gooverseas.com/blog/top-10-places-to-teach-abroad

She thinks the ESL industry in Korea is expanding and flourishing and
the place "to be" in 2022.  I sent her an email saying she doesn't know
what she is talking about. She replied that I must be a male and I was
mansplaining!!! Whatever. Her email is at the bottom of the article.

cbmm260@gmail.com


Re: The future of ESL in Korea.
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2021, 07:53:28 pm »
I read this article by some girl named, Caitlin McCollum-Martinez.

https://www.gooverseas.com/blog/top-10-places-to-teach-abroad

She thinks the ESL industry in Korea is expanding and flourishing and
the place "to be" in 2022.  I sent her an email saying she doesn't know
what she is talking about. She replied that I must be a male and I was
mansplaining!!! Whatever. Her email is at the bottom of the article.

cbmm260@gmail.com

She, or the other person writing about salaries in S Korea obviously don't know what they're talking about. She says in the intro that the average salary range in Korea for ESL teachers in Korea is $1,100 to $4,400 a month , but in the section where they mention the different jobs you can get, the highest salary listed is 3100$ at a university (it isn't) .  Also what full time job provides 1,100$ dollars? None. She/they also say international schools pay up to 2.8 mil or 2500$ a month whereas if you check the salary scales for international schools online you can see they go up to around 7 million.  It's riddled with errors.


Re: The future of ESL in Korea.
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2021, 08:41:53 pm »
Yeah, who ever posted this has no idea. She is giving out false info, for the most part.
I don't know, but maybe there is a reason, or incentive, that she would fling this out on a blog.
Whatever, stupid if you believe this without other research.


  • gogators!
  • The Legend

    • 4993

    • March 16, 2016, 04:35:48 pm
    • Seoul
Re: The future of ESL in Korea.
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2021, 05:42:46 am »
Days of future passed.