Living & Working in South Korea

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FIRST WEEK LIVING IN SOUTH KOREA - week in my life vlog

However, besides Seoul, there are many other places to find work as an English teacher in South Korea. The English Program is a scheme run by the South Korean government and places foreign teachers into schools across the country to work as English language instructors. This program is one of the largest teaching programs of its kind and extremely popular among new and experienced teachers alike.


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EPIK offers a competitive salary, a good range of extra benefits, and the chance to experience living and working in a unique cultural environment. When teaching English in South Korea, you can choose between an urban metropolis, a rural paradise, or a mix of both! Wherever you end up teaching, you will have the experience of a lifetime!

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There are different types of schools that hire English language teachers in South Korea, and each type has its advantages and disadvantages. When choosing the right school, it all comes down to the individual teacher, their experiences, and personal preferences. Most commonly, an English teacher in South Korea works either at a public school or at a private English language institute. Teacher salaries in South Korea are very competitive, meaning that teachers usually earn enough to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle and are able to save a substantial amount of their salary.

The cost of living in South Korea is lower than in Japan, for instance, but higher compared to China. English teachers in South Korea earn between 1. Universities and international schools, however, often pay more than that and teachers there can earn up to 3.


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Seoul is crowded, and living quarters are small compared to Western accommodations. But connectivity is high; the country has one of the fastest Internet networks in the world. The infrastructure is advanced. Schools are outstanding.

What are the dark sides of living in Korea?

Health care is excellent, and cultural opportunities abound. Those who like traditional Korean food find prices a lot easier to swallow; a meal at an inexpensive Korean restaurant in Seoul can cost about 6 USD. A great way to save money on food is to eat local foods and cook at home. Clothing is expensive, particularly Western-style clothes. But Seoul rents, although high, are roughly half of those in New York. Note, however, that prices in Seoul are a good deal higher than in the rest of South Korea.

Living in South Korea

Housing is much more affordable in outlying areas of Seoul. In general, housing in Korea is less expensive than in the US. The quality, selection, and availability of housing in Korea are limited. Some areas popular with foreign families such as Itaewon, Ichon-dong, and Pyeongchang-dong offer single-family houses, high-quality educational facilities, easy access to businesses and comfortable living.

Outside the major cities and in rural areas, there are fewer housing options for foreign residents.

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Housing in neighborhoods with fewer foreign residents is usually more affordable than areas with large concentrations of them. Most Koreans live in apartments; in Seoul, these are typically high-rise apartments. In neighborhoods geared to foreigners, high-rises may have fitness centers, playgrounds for children and other amenities. Low-rise accommodations, called villas, are also available. The farther away from the city an expat moves, the more spacious accommodation becomes.

In addition, apartments are almost exclusively built in bulk, with little to no architectural variation.

Top 10 Facts about Living Conditions in South Korea | The Borgen Project

Despite this, rentals, especially in Seoul, will cost a lot for a space much smaller than expats may be used to. In addition, deposits are typically much steeper than in other countries. There are very low crime rates throughout South Korea. While expats still need to use common sense, crime won't be a serious concern for them. While North Korea and South Korea haven't engaged in open hostilities since the ceasefire of the Korean War, they are still technically at war with each other. The fierce competition also means lower prices and a quality Korean meal is always affordable.

More exotic, foreign cuisine options are hard to come by outside the city, and oftentimes of disappointing quality.

In Seoul especially, there are many expat meet-ups and parties with the aim of bringing foreigners together. In smaller cities, the groups may meet up regularly and are generally very welcoming of newcomers. Expats should anticipate being stared at while in public.

Older Koreans especially will not be shy about watching foreigners. South Koreans are often unable to speak any English or are too shy to attempt it for fear of making a mistake. Koreans value their interpersonal relationships with coworkers and will make it a priority to get to know each other. Koreans will often make last-minute adjustments and expats will need a certain degree of flexibility to accommodate to this.