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Teach English in Korea

Admin - Oct 27 2015

Korea offers one of the best opportunities for people planning to teach English abroad. If you are an ESL, TESOL or TEFL practitioner, then Korea is among the most promising job markets in the Asia-Pacific region. Most positions offer free accommodations, round-trip airfare, and comparatively high wages.

As in all jobs that require you to move to another location, getting to know the place is of paramount importance. When Korea is mentioned, for example, people tend to harbor images of young musical performers that represent the phenomenon called K-pop in the music industry, or the actors and actresses in many Korean television series that have already gained a following across many countries in Asia and is likely to gain a global footprint as well. Most techies are also familiar with the Samsung trademark which finds its label on globally popular mobile phones and other digital devices which now strongly compete with counterparts from the U.S., Europe and Japan.

However, there are actually two Koreas — one in the North and another in the South — that have been politically divided by a demilitarized zone following a ceasefire in the 1950s. The Korea most people are familiar with, made even more popular by the YouTube K-pop sensation Gangnam Style, is South Korea, the capital city of which is Seoul. North Korea, on the other hand, is the reclusive country across the border, which is under communist rule. For people looking to teach English abroad, South Korea might be the only feasible option since North Korea offers scarce accommodations, facilities and infrastructure to support migrant workers.

South Korea is Asia’s fourth largest economy after China, Japan and India. It is also among the most technologically and culturally dynamic, with its cosmopolitan cities offering different career opportunities for both local and foreign professionals. In fact, the percentage of foreign nationals in the country has been expanding rapidly over the years. In 2009, foreigners accounted for roughly 2.7% of the total population, or about 1.1 million people. Since 2010, about 30,000 foreign-born residents apply for South Korean citizenship.

In addition to its close military, economic and political ties with the United States, South Korea’s increasing importance in the world stage has also highlighted the importance of English in its current and future development. Based on official records, there are about 43,000 English teachers from English-speaking countries that temporarily call South Korea their home. But more English teachers are needed to help the country’s population of about 50 million people develop their English skills. The demand is so critical that plans of designing and deploying English-teaching robots were announced in 2010, with robot language assistants expected to teach kids in preschools and kindergartens soon!

Of course, real human teachers will still far outclass their robotic counterparts in the foreseeable future. However, if you really intend to teach English in this country, getting to South Korea as soon as possible will help get familiar with its fascinating culture and establish a professional track record sooner. While your aim is to teach English, it wouldn’t hurt to know a few Korean words to get your journey started. “Hello” in Korean is anyoung haseyo. :-)

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