Posts Tagged ‘south korea’

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(image from The Coveted)

That is the question…

As some of you may be aware, native English speakers are somewhat a commodity in the international education world. Public and private schools in countries like China and Japan, even Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Russia are looking for bachelors degree educated English speakers to teach classes for elementary school kids on up (check out Dave’s ESL Cafe to see the variety of job postings!).

South Korea is a particularly enticing option for people hoping to teach overseas because the pay is good (even offering a month severance for a completed one year contract) and the cost of living is relatively low. Teachers are expected to have some experience with children but are often not required to have any kind of Education degree — although this type of experience does tend to reflect itself as an increase your monthly salary. Getting a Teaching English as a Second/Foreign Language (TESL) certificate is an excellent way to make yourself more competitive and increase your salary as well.

The best perk of South Korea compared to other places is that most schools around the country provide an apartment to their foreign teachers — and couples are often able to live together. Needless to say, this allows someone to do much in the way of either paying off student/credit card debt or saving money for further travel and investment all while having an amazing overseas living experience.

I have a couple of close friends who successfully completed a year in Busan and then used their savings to spend six months traveling before returning to the States. As I write this, I have one friend, Chris, who is loving Seoul so much he’s just begun his second year contract, and two other friends who are just beginning their first year and finding it challenging but exciting (here’s Elena’s account!).

As you may have guessed by now, I am currently in the middle of this huge decision: is teaching overseas in my destiny?! I long to go for a multitude of reasons, as does Rami. However, I have several distinct challenges mucking up my decision to teach in Seoul (the New York City of SOK).

  1. I adopted two kitties last summer. They will be a year old in April and I love the little punks so much I can not bear to think of our bond being interrupted by a year+ of separation so soon! Not to mention, who will babysit?!
  2. Can I justify keeping myself out of the US design job market for that long? If I spend a year doing only self-initiated work how will it contribute to making me a competitive professional when I come home? Is it possible I can find some professional communication arts or web development work while I’m over there? Maybe I’ll discover design is not nearly as satisfying as teaching? Who knows…
  3. Perhaps more importantly, can I really justify NOT going if it means paying off some debt burden, having an amazing teaching experience, traveling the world, and still coming home with upwards of $10k in savings — all before I turn 30? 🙂

What would you do!?

Some of my favorite links concerning Seoul around the web so far:
Street Food Scenes from Seoul via Baking Bites
Heart and Seoul via The Coveted
Seoul Transforms a Freeway Into A River and Public Park via Inhabitat
Seoul Ranks #1 in terms of Internet Connectivity?! via Daily Wireless
Seoul Design Festival
Bring Pets to South Korea (perhaps my kittahs and I need not be separated after all?)

UPDATE: I do believe I may be attempting the “insane;” plans have been put into place to take the kitties overseas. Surely this will serve to make them the envy of their playmates, as they will emit worldliness with every swish of their tails.

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(the kittahs: Egon and Gustav)

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