Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Thinking about coming to Korea?

It seems like a lot of people who are thinking about coming to Korea to teach find their way to my blog through searches. I've had quite a few people emailing me over the years (I've been here for 4!) asking for some advice. Here is some basic info for you.

1. A recruiter is not necessarily the best way to find a job. They are not your friend, the school is the one who pays them, not you. However, this is mostly for hagwons. A recruiter should be fine if you're looking for a public school job. But, be careful that you're not doing an after-school program, but the actual 9-5 thing.

2. A good way to find a job is to come and do a one-month long winter or summer camp. Look on ESLCAFE for the job ads. While you're working, you can be applying for jobs and set up interviews for the week after you're done your camp. Plus, you'll have $2000 or 3000 in your pocket so you won't be desperate enough to take the first one that comes along. Go for the interviews, get a feel for the place, talk to the other foreigners, preferably outside the school setting.

3. Ask for references from the PREVIOUS foreigners who worked there. The current ones sometimes can't tell you the real deal, for fear of getting fired/money taken from the, etc, etc.

4. You probably won't get a uni job (the coveted position!) your first year, but do the hagwon or public school thing and always keeps your ears/eyes open for better stuff that comes along for your second year.

5. If you want to do the public school thing, SMOE is a good way to go if you want to be in Seoul. EPIK is a good way to go if you don't mind the countryside. As far as hagwons go, they're a bit of a crapshoot, but the best of the worst (from what I've heard!) are CDI and YES Youngdo. Best in terms of paying you, not screwing you, not necessarily hours, vacation, etc.

6. Paperwork takes a long time. You may have heard stories about people deciding to go to Korea, flying over, getting a visa and starting teaching all within a week. This is no longer the case with embassy interviews, Criminal Record Checks, transcripts, etc. It can take monthS, so check online about what paperwork you need and have it together before you even start applying for jobs.

Specific Questions? Please ask, and I'll put them into another post.


girlplusdog said...

Thanks for sending me the link!


girlplusdog said...

So can you tell me how to look for a job in a winter language camp? I think that is a great idea for an intro into teaching in Korea. I haven't been able to find any announcements on boards.

Jackie Bolen said...

It's much too early. You can look at for some of the summer ones to get an idea of what's out there.

The winter ads will come out in November and December.

Janice said...

What is an embassy interview? I taught in Korea in 2007 and dont remember this. What does it ential, specifically?

Jackie Bolen said...

Don't know about the interview. I came here before it was a requirement. And actually, I've heard lately that it's kind of fallen by the wayside in most countries and embassies.