What it’s like to apply for a teaching job in South Korea

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If you’re an English major and are anything like me, after graduating from college your resume probably says something along the lines of…

I eat crayons

My first two years out of school were an uphill battle of scrubbing dishes, bussing tables, and of course, being shamelessly sexually harassed by various shift supervisors. None of my employers took me or my education seriously. And I was broke all the time.

But thankfully, many South Korean ESL companies specifically look for English majors! (!!!!!)  I also have to note that, unfortunately, South Korean ESL companies also show a strong preference for hiring white females. It’s likely that my race and gender helped me get the job.

Anyway, here’s a breakdown of how much time, effort, and money went into my application and hiring process.

  1. Research a company, contact a recruiter, and schedule an interview. 
    • Since I’d already been to Korea and have a close friend who spent a year over there working for a great company, I already knew where I wanted to apply.
  2. Interview with the recruiter. 
    • This process took about 45 minutes. The interview was easy. I’m pretty sure just having an English degree was enough for the recruiter to advance me to the next step in the hiring process. Never thought I’d say that!
  3. Email a headshot, resume, introduction video, passport photocopy, college diploma copy, and official application to the recruiter. 
    • My video introduction was a simple and low-tech photobooth clip. I was self-conscious about how poorly made my video was but what matters most is content and charisma.
    • You also have to pay $15 to Aclipse for them to verify your degree.
  4. Congratulations! You’re hired!
  5. Now, apply for a criminal background check.
    • Before you apply for a criminal background check (CBC), you need to get fingerprinted which costs about $20. CBC’s cost $18 each and you need two. I had to pay $90 to get my CBC apostilled. I had to pay for shipping twice on the CBC’s: first I sent my fingerprints to the FBI in West Virginia and then I sent the fingerprints and CBC to Newton, Mass where the recruiting office is located. This whole process was a little stressful.
  6. Get your college degree translated, notarized, and apostilled. 
    • I printed out my degree translation from Wellesley’s website and got it notarized for $10 and apostilled for another $10. 
  7. Apply for your visa.
    • $45 plus shipping (you have to send your visa application to the nearest Korean consulate and include postage for it to get sent back to you)
  8. Purchase your plane ticket.
    • Mine will cost about $650 and I’ll be reimbursed for it after I pass training. You can’t buy your plane ticket until you receive your visa.

Total cost (without shipping and printing fees) of applying to a job in South Korea: $876 (not including the plane ticket: $226) !! You’ll also need about $1000 for your first living expenses. Plane ticket prices won’t be reimbursed until after you pass training. South Korea here I come….!

Korea here I come!


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