So you’ve decided to teach abroad. Excellent. This is a wonderful choice that will enrich your life. But there are a few things you should keep in mind before you board the plane. The following is a series of posts on things to keep in mind while you choose your destination. It’s a series of posts to avoid TLDR, so you can get all the information you need when you want it.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.-Lao Tzu
If you’re a fresh college graduate, you probably have more debt than work experience. You need a job, you need an income, and you need to start filling out your resume. As a first-timer, you’re probably considering China, South Korea, Japan, or Taiwan.
My first stop was South Korea. I was broke. I arrived at Incheon airport with only $5 to exchange. Pathetic. But they’d flown me over and an apartment was waiting. I don’t recommend being as unprepared as I was, but I survived.
You can make a decent salary in South Korea and accommodations will be provided. (A great resource for teaching jobs in South Korea can be found here). My first year was hard, and, to be honest, I didn’t want to stay on for a second year. Training is likely minimal, and salaries stagnated (I was making the same money when I returned to South Korea 8 years later). What’s more, it is becoming more common to only offer one-way airfare, as opposed to the previously offered round-trip.
Those who want to maximize their earnings offer private lessons outside of work. But this is illegal in Korea. Yes, it is illegal for you to work harder and teach more people English. If you decide to do this, tell no one and be very careful.
All that aside, it’s a great place to begin your career, and there are so many great things about the food. It’s an elegant writing system, and the food is amazing. If you’re absolutely strapped for cash and need to send a $1000 home every month, this could be your option.
If you already have an advanced degree or some experience, you could try for a university job. For more in-depth and practical advice on that, check this out.
I’m presently in China. If you are looking to get an ESL certification while having international experience, check this out. I already had a Master’s degree and international teaching experience, and I chose this TESOL diploma program to set me up here.
If you’re just looking around, be sure to check out Dave’s ESL Cafe – it’s a wealth of information and resources at your fingertips.