There are many exciting things that can happen to you when you go to Korea. Some of the things are really new to you. Strange perhaps but it is part of the things you can experience over there.
You become used of them after few months of being there.
Most ESL school owners will give you a written contract. However their verbal word seems to carry more weight than the written contract. Written contracts can be changed as time goes on and conditions change in the ESL school. The written contract is not written in stone. It is more fluid and open to change as deemed necessary by the administration.
Students are polite. Some of the students vary from grade school to adults. Some will give you gifts at the end of the school term or sometimes the parents will. It is sort of a gesture for them to thank you for a job well done. I think children are extremely disciplined. If a child is being annoying and will not listen to the teacher a teacher can slap the child. I saw it myself... I was shocked that a Korean teacher slapped the child so hard that it left a hand-mark on the student’s cheek.
ESL schools will provide teaching materials for you. Sometimes they made the books that you are going to use. Sometimes they have horrible sentences (i.e. I will Kill you) but don't criticize it. The administration does not like being criticized.
The school will give you paid holidays. You can even go out of Korea for a while when the holiday is long enough without classes.
Public Days Off
These are given by the "Ordinance Concerning the Holidays of Government and Public Offices" (관공서의 공휴일에 관한 규정). Originally this applied only to government and other offices, but individual business offices follow suit.
Dates in Solar Calendar of Korean New Year's Day, Buddha's Birthday, and Mid autumn Festival
Year 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Korean New Year's Day January 31 February 19 February 8 January 28 February 16
Buddha's Birthday May 6 May 25 May 14 May 3 May 22
Mid autumn Festival September 8 September 27 September 15 October 4 September 24
Most of the schools that hire ESL teachers give free and furnished housing. If not they are going to give you a higher salary to compensate for your housing expenses. If they are only giving you housing and no furnishings go to the recycling area, you can get all kinds of furniture. Some furniture is fairly new.
Different ESL schools will offer different health insurance policies. Most will let you pay half of it a few may pay the full price for you. The standard seems to be a 50/50 split.
The food in Korea can be categorized in two groups. Hot and hotter. They are all spicy even their mild one is spicy hot! However there is an abundance of many types of food from all over. Western food is readily available in the larger cities. For more about food in Korea see my Korean food blog.
The school will pay for your flight. Some schools will send you the money to buy a ticket up front while other schools will reimburse you once you arrive.
When you go alone I will not lie, it could be very lonely for you to go there alone. Some schools have only a few English teachers. Sometimes there are two or only you that teaches English in one school. It depends on how big the ESL school is. When it is a large school they will hire many teachers. Sometimes the experience could be frustrating. The size of the school and the number of English teachers should be considered when you are making your decision as well as the conditions mentioned above.