Most schools in Korea provide their western teaching staff with single studio style apartments, sometimes referred to as bachelor style apartments in the West. Due to the limited landmass and mountainous terrain, housing developments in Korea are primarily high rise apartment complexes which consist of 5 – 20 buildings per development. Although apartment architecture has improved over the past decade, the majority of apartments in Korea still have a uniform look and feel. Recent estimates show that more than 80% of the Korean population live in apartment buildings ranging from 5 to 35 stories.
Homes and apartments in South Korea are measured in pyeong (wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyeong). One pyeong translates into roughly 35 square feet or 4 square meters. In most instances, teachers will receive a single studio apartment that is around 9 pyeong, or 300 square feet; although apartment sizes do vary based on location. Larger cities such as Seoul, Busan and Incheon generally have smaller apartments, while less populated areas usually have slightly larger apartments.
Most of the apartments that Korean schools provide will come with the following furnishings:
Korean bathrooms are noticeably different than western bathrooms. All teacher apartments will contain a western style toilette; however, the shower is usually the bathroom area itself – not a bathtub or shower stall with curtains or glass walls. Due to the limited size of apartments in Korea, bathrooms are usually configured with a shower head that comes directly out of the wall. The floor will be angled towards a drainage unit and when the shower is on, you’re essentially using the bathroom itself as a showering stall; meaning, when you take a shower your entire bathroom gets soaked. It’s nothing to worry about though, the bathrooms are completely waterproof and getting the walls, floor and evening the sealing wet is perfectly fine!
Never walk into someone’s home with your shoes on, it’s incredibly rude in Korean culture. You will notice that most apartments in Korea will have a wall unit in the entrance area. The wall unit is NOT a bookcase, it’s a storage space for shoes and hosts will expect you to use it.
Schools provide teachers with rent free accommodations; however, utility bills are the teachers’ responsibility. You can expect to pay for heat, hydro and wi-fi each month. Monthly utility bills usually amount to 150,000 KRW – 250,000 KRW. Worth noting: It’s not uncommon for apartment buildings in Korea to charge each unit with a monthly building maintenance fee. If the building you live in has a maintenance fee (it wouldn’t be much), you’ll likely be expected to pay for it.
In order to make people think twice about wasting energy, the cost of energy in Korea increases with usage. For example; you would be charged 1000 KRW per kilowatt for the first 10 hours of usage, then 1025 KRW per kilowatt for the next ten, so on and so on. The same billing system also applies to natural gas usage. Assuming you want to avoid excessive energy bills each month, in addition to being a better environmental ambassador, remember to turn off your aircon in the summer, and heat in the winter while you’re at work or away from your apartment for extended hours.
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Gone2Korea is your connection to full-time teaching jobs in South Korea. Western graduates, primarily from the US, Canada, UK, and Australia, use our services to secure jobs with trusted Korean schools, and schools use our services to find and hire enthusiastic teachers from the West.
Worth noting: We’re not a job ‘sourcing’ agency or recruiter that finds new schools on the fly. On the contrary, we work with a select group of schools and programs that we know and trust.
In addition to helping you land a job, we’ll also be helping you with your work visa, departure, arrival, and offering support for the entirety of your contracted term.
Prior teaching experience and related degrees are NOT prerequisites for teaching in Korea. Here’s what you’ll need in order to qualify.
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