FAQs

The Ultimate Teach Korea Q&A List

 

  Gone2Korea Services

We help people, just like you, land full-time English teaching jobs with schools in South Korea.
Everything! We’ll be presenting you to Korean schools for job application purposes, setting up your interviews with the school hiring managers, helping you collect the proper documents, guiding you through the work visa application process, organizing your airfare and airport pickup arrangements and lots more. Plus we’ll be answering all your questions along the way.
You’ll be working with a dedicated, and highly experienced, Gone2Korea coordinator
Our services are forever free! As a candidate everything you receive from us is 100% free of charge. We attain our fees from the school you accept employment with ~ this is how the ESL job market works in Asia. Be weary of agencies who are ask you for a service fee.
Nope, everything we offer you is totally free, however, you’ll need to cover the costs of collecting the necessary documentation like your criminal record check and apostille authentications.
We have a phone number, obviously. The number was removed from our site because we were getting calls, non-stop, from people who don’t qualify for the services we offer. As a result we don’t offer phone details until the candidate has verified their eligibility. Note: You’ll have direct phone, email, Skype and WhatsApp contact with your respective Gone2Korea coordinator.

 

  Application Basics

Yes, having a BA is necessary for securing a teaching job and work visa in Korea. Any major (field of study) is acceptable. Note: Your degree must come from a college or university which resides in one of the 7 designated English speaking countries – as defined by the Korean Immigration Office (USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand).
No, sorry. Having a bachelors degree is the bare minimum for securing full-time employment in Korea as a foreign teacher.
Yes you can. However, our coordinators will need to know when you’ll receive your physical diploma before they start working on your application.
Not at all. Most of the teachers in Korea (over 10,000 foreigners are teaching there right now) started their new roles with zero classroom experience.
In most cases, yes. Being TEFL certified is a mandatory requirement with many schools and programs but not all of them. Either way, having a TEFL qualification is pretty standard these days and the credential will definitely make you more appealing to employers. Everything you need to know about TEFL for Korea purposes.
Yes. Being a native English speaker is a mandatory requirement. The schools and programs we deal with define a native English speaker as someone who completed all of their education in English, within one of the designated English speaking countries, from the start of grade 7 through the college/university level.
Unfortunately we can only place native English speaking candidates as defined in the above Q&A.
Yes. Korean Immigration will only grant English teaching visas to candidates who have a valid passport from the USA, Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, South Africa or New Zealand.
No. You will need a valid passport as defined in the above Q&A.

 

  Application Process

Not much! All we need is a completed online application form and your resume. Offering a photo is strongly recommended because most Korean schools require applicant photos. Check our Application Tips page for some useful pointers.
Just head over to our online application form and enter your information. It’s as simple as that!
In most cases we recommend applying 4-5 months before you desired starting date. Even earlier if you want public schools.
Unfortunately we can’t guarantee interviews for everything who applies. Only selected candidates will be contacted for job interviews.
Gone2Korea receives many applications annually and certain times of year are much busier than others. If we have job vacancies that match your credentials and requests, at the time of applying, you’ll likely hear from one of our coordinators in 1 to 5 days. If we don’t have matching vacancies then we will keep your application ‘active’ for up to 3 months.
It’s difficult to offer concrete timelines because every applicant is different. Some candidates generate lots of interest with Korean employers right away, others take more time, and some candidates fail to generate interest. Basically, the timeline is different for everyone.
Once your application generates interest with a school(s) your coordinator will send you the school details (i.e. the job description) to review. If you have a mutual interest in the job opening your Gone2Korea coordinator will setup an interview time/date between you and the school hiring manager. We work with lots of schools so interviewing formats differ. Many schools will conduct video interviews over Skype, others use WhatsApp and some use the good old fashioned phone line. Your coordinator will iron out the details with you before hand.
We will let you know, usually within a few hours, if your interview was successful or not. A successful interview means the school is interested in hiring you! At this point your coordinator will send you a copy of the school employment contract to review. If the interview wasn’t a success then we simply keep your application active and wait for the next interviewing opportunity to develop.
Of course. Assuming your interview was successful, your coordinator will put you in contact with one of the foreign teachers who is currently working at the school.
Most schools will give you 3-4 days to make a decision. The reason the schools can’t offer more time is because they need to start interviewing other candidates right away if you decide to decline the offer.

Is South Korea a safe place to live and work?
The official travel advisories of America, Canada and the UK have South Korea listed as a safe travel destination. Violent crime rates in Korea are lower than the US, UK and other highly developed countries. In short, Korea is an incredibly safe place for foreigners to live, work and travel. Safety is one of the reasons why 1000’s of foreigners choose Korea as their ‘go-to’ teaching destination.


 

  Work Visa

The large majority of people we work with need to acquire an E2 work visa; commonly known as the ‘English Teaching Visa’. Select candidates, such as Korean Americans, Korean Canadians, etc. may qualify for F4 visas.
You will need to submit a group of documents (visa application materials) to the Korean Immigration office for processing. Korean Immigration will process your request and provide you with a ‘visa issuance number’. Once you receive the issuance number you will need to send a final (smaller) group of documents to the Korean Consulate in your region to acquire the actual work visa. Don’t stress it, your Gone2Korea coordinator will be walking you through each step. Visit our Document Requirements page for details.
No. Korean Immigration will only grant visa issuance numbers to candidates with job contracts. Basically, you need a job offer from a Korean employer before you can apply for your visa.
It typically takes 4 weeks. Most of this time is spent waiting for the Immigration Office to process your application.
All English teaching visas expire after 12 months.
You can easily have your visa extended for another 12 months if you decide to stay. Having your visa extended is a simple procedure that can be completed from within Korea.
It is your responsibility to pay for the visa fee ~ roughly $50.

 

  About Jobs

You can apply for jobs in the private school sector or jobs in the public school sector.
Yes you can. However, having very specific location preferences will limit the amount of schools we’re able to present you to.
It depends on the school type. If you’re working for a private school employer then you will have numerous western co-teachers. Most of our private school clients employ 5 – 10 western teachers, some have more than 20! Public schools on the other hand only employ 1 foreign teacher, therefore, you’d be the only westerner.
Teacher duties vary from school to school. What and how you teach is determined by the English levels of your students (some classes will cater to advanced English-speaking students and others to basic levels). Either way, your primary responsibility is teaching English as a second language to your students.
Your work day will be in the 7 – 9 hour range but you’ll only be in the classroom for 24 – 30 hours per week. Your remaining time will be spent preparing in the teachers office doing things like lesson planning, marking and grading, teacher stuff!
Yes you can but it’s important to understand the job market in Korea. Most jobs in Korea, which are available for westerners, cater to kindergarten, elementary and middle school students. High school and adult teaching jobs are quite rare in comparison.

 

  Salary and Money

Salaries for first-time teachers with unrelated majors can expect to earn 2.1 – 2.3 million KRW per month. That’s roughly $2100 USD per month.
There’s opportunity to save a lot but how much depends on your lifestyle and habits. Your apartment will be provided rent free so your only ‘essential’ costs include food, utilities and transportation. Most teachers are able to save $10,000 USD in a year, some save substantially more while others save substantially less.
You will receive your salary once a month. Your school will deposit your salary directly into your Korean bank account.
Yes. You’ll be required, by law, to pay into certain programs as a foreign worker.
Income Tax: 3.5 – 7%
Medical Insurance: Roughly 50,000 KRW per month. This amount is matched by your employer (50/50 contributions).
Pension Plan: Some schools offer pension plan contributions. 4.5% of your monthly salary will be deducted and added to the plan and matched by your school (an equal contribution). American and Canadian teachers who pay into the scheme are entitled to a pension refund at the end of their contract term.
Overall these fees are quite small and your school will automatically deduct them from your monthly salary. Meaning, you don’t have to worry about filing with government agencies while you’re there.
You can setup a Korean bank account once you receive your alien registration card. You’ll get your alien card shortly after arriving. Your school manager, or a Korean co-teacher, will accompany you to the bank they use to help you setup the account, it’s a really quick and simple procedure. Once your account is setup you’ll have a bank card which you can use at any ATM machine.
Just go to any Korean exchange bank, these banks are everywhere, and tell them you want to transfer money to your account in your home country. You’ll need to show them your passport and alien card any time you wish to send money home. Plus they’ll require the banking details (account number, bank ID, address, etc.) of your home country bank.
Bringing $800 USD is necessary to get you through the first month (until your first pay day), but bringing $1000 is recommended if you can manage it.

 

  Vacation

Of course. You will be entitled to 2 weeks vacation (5 business days in the summer and another 5 in the winter), plus all national holidays, during the course of your 1 year contract. Note: Public school teachers have 2 weeks in the summer and winter.

 

  Housing

The school you sign the contract with will provide you with an apartment near the school.
It sure is! Your employer is responsible for covering the rent. In rare instances the school will offer a housing allowance as an alternative to the rent free apartment but this scenario isn’t very common.
Although your apartment will be rent free you’ll be responsible for paying the monthly utility charges. These expenses may include any of the following: hydro, electric, phone line, cable tv, internet, maintenance fee, other. Some of the utilities are optional (cable, internet, etc.) so it’s up to you to decide which services you want. Most teachers pay 140,000 – 180,000 KRW per month in utilities which is quite cheap compared to western countries.
It will have all the basics including a bed, dresser, fridge, table, chairs, tv, microwave, etc. You’ll likely want to add some knickknacks once you get settled to ‘make it your own’.

 

  Airfare and Arrival

The school or program you sign a contract with will pay for your airfare expense.
Airfare benefits as a private school teacher: Most private schools offer prepaid flights to Korea. Gone2Korea will take care of your travel arrangements (no expense to you) and your coordinator will send you an e-ticket by email.  Note: A small number of  schools offer an airfare reimbursement which you’d receive shortly after arriving.  At the end of your contract term you’ll get another e-ticket for your flight home, or money that’s equal to the cost of a flight home. Note: Some schools in Seoul only offer free flights to Korea. 
Airfare benefits as a public school teacher: Public schools do not offer prepaid flights. Alternatively they provide an ‘Entrance Allowance’ of 1.3 million KRW which you’ll receive 2-6 weeks after arriving. At the end of your contract you’ll receive an ‘Exit Allowance’, for another 1.3 million KRW which you can use to purchase your flight home.
We’ll plan your arrival details with you before you depart – obviously. Depending where you’re landing in Korea, we’ll have someone from the school pick you up or we’ll organize an airport pickup service (someone will be waiting for you at the arrivals gate).

 

  Medical

Yes. Korean law requires all Korean schools to provide their foreign staff with basic medical insurance. Medical insurance plans are split 50/50 with the employer, which means you’ll be paying for 50% of the monthly premium and your school covers the remaining 50%. Note: Your medical insurance is limited to doctor visits, hospital visits or emergency care within Korea. If you travel outside of Korea during vacation you will NOT have this medical coverage.
Korean Immigration requires all foreign teachers to get a medical check within their first 90 days in the country. Most schools and programs will make you complete this check within the first week or two.  The test involves a blood sample, urine sample, chest x-ray and Q&A with the respective doctor.
Although South Korea is a very safe country with limited natural threats it’s always smart to speak with a travel doctor before going abroad for extended periods of time.

 

  Joint Applicants (Couples or Friends)

Yes you can but just to be clear, applying as a couple means both parties are interested in working as teachers. If only one of you plans on working then the other will fall into the ‘dependent’ category – more info about dependents below.  Please visit our Joint Applications page for detailed information on this topic.
Of course. However, it’s sometimes difficult to coordinate jobs for two people if they have very specific requests. Also, if one of you is really qualified and the other isn’t, it can be problematic to find 2 suitable positions at the same school or nearby. In most cases we advise people who are applying with a friend to offer some level of flexibility.

 

  Dependents (Spouse or Child)

A dependent is someone you want to bring to Korea but would not be working; your spouse, child or both. Their visa status would be directly tied to yours (F3 visa).

Generally speaking, Korean employers view candidates who have dependents (non-working spouse and/or children) as high risk. We apologize for the discouraging news but as recruiters we can only present schools and programs with applicants to consider; it’s the Korean employers and hiring managers who make the actual job offers. Note: We’re not saying it’s impossible to find employment in Korea if you have dependents; it’s just difficult when you’re competing against many other applicants who are applying as individuals – which schools tend to prefer.

Private schools tend to view people that are coming with non-working family members as ‘high risk’ because they’re always worried that if your spouse or child can’t adjust to Korean culture, get sick, can’t find suitable education facilities, etc. then chances are you’ll leave the country before your contract term has been completed. Therefore, when a private school has the choice between an individual teacher, or someone with dependents, they usually choose the individual. Furthermore, most schools have housing contracts for ‘studio style’ apartments which aren’t suitable for families.

Public schools allow teachers with dependents to apply but they will need a signed ‘Statement of Intent’ before a job offer is presented. The statement of intent requires applicants to state what their dependent(s) plan on doing for the full year; what your spouse will do if he/she isn’t working, where and how your children will continue their education, etc. Accommodations are also problematic because public schools do not offer housing assistance for families, therefore, candidates would need to find suitable housing on their own.

Can my children attend the school I will be working at?
In most cases this scenario isn’t possible unless the teacher is working at an international school that’s willing to offer free enrollment. Public schools teach all subjects in Korean (aside from their English class) and foreigners are not allowed to attend these schools unless they’re registered citizens or have the proper type of visa which is very hard to obtain if you’re only on a 12 month E2 visa. Private schools on the other hand are essentially English language institutes; meaning, they don’t teach math, science, geography, etc. so your child wouldn’t receive the education they require.

Summary
It’s usually quite difficult for our coordinators to find suitable placements for applicants with dependents. We do our best to accommodate people when we can but the final decisions ultimately come from the schools so our influence is limited. If you plan on bringing dependents to Korea then we advise contacting multiple recruiting agents in order to maximize your chances.

 


 

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