Teachers Share their Experiences While Living Abroad!

From Ireland to South Korea to Teach English

Posted on Tue, May 27, 2014 @ 06:39 PM

Why Korea?:

When I was in my final year of university in Ireland I had decided that I would like to travel. I wanted to see Asia in particular, as I had not been there before. I wanted to see as many countries as possible, for as long as possible. So I thought, what better way to travel than Teach English. Then I saw an advert on my university notice board advertising an English Teaching job in South Korea.  South Korea, I had never even thought about visiting South Korea when I was looking into travelling, I’d looked at Thailand, China, Japan and even Malaysia but not South Korea. One year on I can honestly say it’s been one of the best decisions I have made in my life. South Korea is an amazing country, not only is it an ideal location to teach English, but because of  its location you can travel to almost anywhere in Asia with ease, something I have taken full advantage of this past year. This blog will give a brief summary of some of the best thing about being an English Teacher (from Ireland) in South Korea.

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Cost of Living:


Compared to Ireland, almost every country is cheaper to live in; however, South Korea is ridiculously cheap. Not only is grocery shopping cheaper, but utilities such as internet, electricity, gas and mobile phones are all so much cheaper compared to Ireland. On average my electricity bills are around €7 per month, my gas bill is usually €15 - €20 per month and my phone is around €22 euro (which includes the price of the phone Samsung Galaxy s5 data, texts, and phone calls). This means that you can have a good standard of living in South Korea while teaching English and still save money or pay off those student loans.

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The food here in South Korea is amazing. There is so much choice to choose from and most if it, thankfully is really good for you. Which is surprising as it also tastes really good – from the Kimchi to the mandu (traditional Korean dumplings). Koreans, like Irish people love soups and there are many varieties here. They usually always contain meat and are often spicy, which I love. They have a soup here called Gamchatang, it’s very like Irish stew, it contains pork back bone, potatoes and lots of vegetables, but unlike Irish stew it’s accompanied by a bowl of rice. One very popular snack in South Korea is fried chicken, it’s everywhere. It comes in many flavours from soy sauce to garlic to sweet chilly and you will be drawn into its delicious finger-lick'n-goodness if you come to South Korea to Teach English, whether at a baseball game or for an after work snack. Then you have the Korean BBQ. In Korea they love barbequing and they have many different meats to choose from, the most popular is pork and they usually cook the meat for you at your table – it’s a great experience, and something that will also become part of normal life when teaching English in South Korea. I really don’t know why we don’t have BBQ places like these in Ireland.  


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One thing I was worried about when coming to South Korea to teach English was the culture shock. My friends and family all joked with me about how different life was going to be. Well, one year on I can honestly say I am still waiting on this “culture shock”.  From the moment I arrived in South Korea I felt at ease. Yes the language was different, and sure the food was not the same, but Korean people are so caring and so nice that I felt at home here. In fact there are many similarities between Korean and Irish people. Both populations are kind, warm hearted, and both populations like to feed you.  My Korean friends are always giving me delicious food. Something that I thought was unique to Ireland, the nation of feeders. Korean people are very polite and gentle but shy at the same time. Age is really respected here, regardless of social stature, once a person is older than you; they are given the utmost respect.  It’s no surprise that I’ve heard it said Korea is the Ireland of Asia.

Teaching English:

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The teaching itself is amazing. I work 27 hours per week and I get just over one month vacation each year. My work hours are 4pm – 10pm and sometimes 4pm – 7pm I teach on average 5 – 6 hours per day. Each class lasts three hours. Which, surprisingly makes the day goes by fast. Obviously this differs from school to school, some teachers will only work 24 hours, while others will work 30 hours. This is still less than the average 42 hour full-time job you would have in Ireland, and still you make enough money to have fun and still save.

If you are thinking of Teaching English in Asia, I would highly recommend South Korea. Not only is this country amazing, but the culture, the people and the quality of life over here is unbeatable. In addition, as an Irish person, the application process is very straightforward. Why not apply today to Teach English in South Korea.

Teach in Korea!

John May grew up in Dublin, Ireland where he is from & went to Trinity College – one of Irelands best known universities. He graduated from here in November 2012 with a B.A. (Mod) in Geography & Sociology. John has always had a passion for travelling and having been to most of Europe, he decided to explore Asia after Uni. He has always wanted to teach and thought what better way to travel than teaching English on the way. John is currently teaching English for CDI in Daegu, South Korea a position he found through Aclipse; John felt nervous before his departure, but now that he is in Korea he loves every minute of it. For more information follow his blog.

Tags: teaching in Korea, a year in Korea, advice, applying to teach English, abroad, Activities to do in Korea, benefits of living in Korea

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