Can I teach PT in Korea and get my own apartment?
I don’t want to teach 30–40 hours per week in Korea. Is it possible to find a hagwon job that will contract me for just 20 hours a week, and I’ll get my own apartment?
It’s rare to find teaching jobs working less than 30 hours per week. The issue is visa sponsorship. It’s not worth the school’s investment in you as a teacher, if you don’t earn the school a handsome profit.
The school has to pay for your visa, flight, severance, pension, medical, etc, so you must be their workhorse.
The majority of teaching contracts are for 30 teaching hours per week, but you might be able to negotiate fewer hours with them for less pay (obviously).
If the school starts removing some of the contracts benefits mentioned above to save costs which could allow you to only work 20 hours per week, they are breaking Korean labour laws.
Sure, you might accept fewer benefits to get fewer hours, but you are entering an illegal teaching zone.
If you’re a higher value teacher (education, experience, professionalism) and can teach at a university, corporation, or SAT, TOEIC or TOEFL at a test prep academy the school may give you fewer hours, because you have to perform at a higher standard in class than a typical kids hagwon job.
In “higher quality” learning centres hours are fewer, because they prefer quality over quantity instruction to their higher paying, more demanding students.
If you want your own apartment in Korea, you’ll need key money. This is usually 5-10 M KRW that you give to the landlord prior to moving into your place. When your apartment lease is up (usually a 2 year contract) you’ll receive your key deposit back.
Most foreigners don’t have 10M sitting in a Korean bank account to use for key money, though.
The other option is to look for an apartment where another foreigner is looking for a room-mate. That way you don’t need to put down a key deposit, rather just pay monthly rent to him. In all likelihood, the foreigner is subleasing to you and already paid the key deposit to the Korean landlord. This is clearly and cheaper and more convenient option for you.
Check out a teacher’s apartment tour in Korea video