Fiona Thomson

Teach Enrich Empower

Teaching in South-korea

After graduating from University of Brighton I decided to move to London and get the big job which I thought would come easily, and everything else would fall into place.

I think everyone should try it at least one time in their life!

However the reality of it was, living with 8 other people, only working a few days a week (struggling to find much else) and feeling uninspired with what to do with my life! Having grown up very close to London it just did not excite me like it used to, I also found it way more expensive to live and work there than I had anticipated.

My manager at the time had told me about his brother who was travelling the world on his bike with some friends and teaching English along the way. He would just stop when he needed money and in every country he could find work as TEFL teacher. This sounded so exciting to me!

I started researching TEFL jobs and seeing where I could go and what different contracts I could get. I liked the sound of South Korea, I saw that a lot of employers paid for your flights, accommodation and the cost of living was relatively low. I was worried I didn’t have any teaching experience but this isn’t something you need as a first time TEFL teacher.

The next step for me was finding a course, I had read that in South Korea they ask for a 120 hour TEFL course and after researching all the different providers I noticed The TEFL Academy had an offer on, so I signed up immediately! The course was great, the weekend training gave me a fantastic insight into teaching and I felt raring to go once the 2 days had finished.

I found a job in Seoul about 7 weeks after completing the course and before I knew it I was on a plane headed to Incheon airport! I had found a position at a Hagwon (private school) , which can have a bit of a bad reputation but I researched into the school and talked to former tutors so knew I had made a good decision.

My flat was in Hongdae which is a great place to go out and have fun in Seoul, the nightlife was a lot better than I had expected! My journey to work was roughly 30 mins on the tube and I worked regular hours from Monday –Friday.

Going into the school the first thing I noticed was how well behaved and adorable all my students were, I must admit I was really nervous going into a classroom for the first time but I was teaching  5-11 years olds and I quickly became a thing of fascination to them. I got the name yellow teacher in my first week! I got on really well with the kids and loved teaching, it was really rewarding to see their English improve over the year.

I had a great year teaching and made some amazing memories and friends for life. There were a few other foreign teachers at my school so we would all go out and socialise at the weekend.  In my first summer there, a couple of us went to a Korean music festival – I will never forget dancing in the rain to a Korean Beatles cover band!  I also got to explore a completely new country and try some crazy unknown foods! It was the best thing I could have done and even though it felt daunting, I think everyone should try it at least one time in their life! I felt very lucky to have an opportunity to teach, travel and save money at the same time.

I think everyone should try it at least one time in their life!

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