The Perfect Other Job for a Photographer in Korea

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As I briefly mentioned before, I teach English at a university here in Korea. This job is well suited for creatives and photographer who are working abroad and need to balance work life with their photo life. I say this because many of us are not quite pro yet and need a visa in order to work in Korea. After spending 10 years here in Korea and working up from hogwans to public school, and now at a university I feel that I can finally take advantage of my days. However, the question that I get a lot is “how did I get this job?”

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Before I get into that, let’s look at why this job is so well suited for a photographer. The first  thing that we must consider are the hours. When I was working at a middle school I would almost cry sometimes as I would be stuck in my mandatory after-school class, looking out the window at an epic sunset. Then the salt in the wounds would come as I would see the shots of people who were lucky enough to get out. Typically, most university jobs have working hours from 12 to 18 hours a week. Compared to public schools with an enforced minimum of 22 hours and hogwans ranging anywhere from 25 to 33 hours (approx.) This is the better deal, in my opinion. Not to mention that when you are finished classes you can leave most days, if you don’t have office hours or prior commitments.

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I like to shoot either early mornings or in the evening. Having a job where I am off by lunch most days is a real bonus. While I do have night classes, this allows me time to write and prep for upcoming shoots. Not to mention actually catching up on some reading too.

Working at a university means you have increased vacation time. While vacation lengths differ from school to school due to how they handle summer sessions and whatnot, it is usually in the ballpark of 6 to 8 weeks, split between summer and winter. This is where the real benefit comes in. Having that time to travel and visit locations outside of Korea is worth its weight in gold and I am really looking forward to the summer.

a student studies for his midterms at BUFS

a student studies for his midterms at BUFS

There are some downsides to working at a university that you should also be aware of. First is that the average wage maybe less than what you could make at a hogwan or public school position. While posts may boast about higher wages, unless you have a phd or a masters with a lot of university experience then you probably won’t get those wages. However, if you look at the amount of time that you are working compared to your wage it does pay off in the end. Also note that most universities require a masters degree in order to work full time.

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So now, how did I get this job? Well, let’s start with where I was looking. I found my job through Profs Abroad which is probably the best resource for university job not just here in Korea but around the world. Before I found them I was searching through posts on different sites and using my connections but after all that work I got only one interview. With Profs Abroad I got a lot of advice and access to a ton of job posts. I would sit down every morning and send out resumes which eventually lead me to getting a job at Busan University of Foreign Studies.

You have to pay for access but given the fact that you get a ton of fresh posts daily that I was never able to find on my own it was worth it. The time that I saved meant that I had more time to shoot and to prep my resume. To me, my time was worth more than the price of access. Also these jobs are direct to the universities. Most of the other posts I found were through recruiters and most universities prefer to deal directly with teachers, in my opinion. Also for those that do not have a masters yet, Profs Abroad looks into which universities, both in Korea and internationally, require and do not require masters degrees.

Using Profs Abroad combined with a good resume and a suit should get you through the door at least. Having all your documents ready is also a plus. Many of the Universities I applied to were waiting to find the right person and some waited a little too long. Being ready to start could get you the job beyond any of your competitors qualifications.

So if you have noticed an increase in posts recently this is why. I love my job and I thought that I would give some insight into how I got it incase you are looking for a job where you can balance your time between photography. If you have any questions please click the link below to Profs Abroad and find out more.

Click here for information on Profs Abroad

 


surprises aplenty
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Joined: 03/11/2010
Re: The Perfect Other Job for a Photographer in Korea

There is nothing objectively wrong in your post and I even agree with what you are saying but it really bugs me to read that the thing people most love about my job is how little there is to do in it.

I have no reason to doubt you are a good teacher (...scans to make sure the double negative is correct); I just hope that people choose to work at university primarily for the real opportunity to actually teach in ways they see fit.

And man, do I love having all that extra time to do what I choose to do.


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