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Japanese Woman

What’s it like teaching kids and their English levels in Japan versus Korea?

I taught English in Korea for one year and  English in Japan for three years…

There are different benefits of working in both countries I’ll share a few of them…

When I taught  in Japan it wasn’t in the big city. It was in the countryside near the coast.

 I taught at several different schools and we didn’t have a lot of teaching resources.

Then when I move into a larger centre in Japan I taught at the primary school. The challenge was I still didn’t have many teaching resources for my classes I had to create flashcards picture books, lesson plans etc.

During my time in Japan I bought a lot of books and teaching resources.

In Korea the resources were much better. They relied on technology more than Japan so I could put my lessons on PowerPoint the school had an Internet connection, we had SMART boards…

The school I was teaching at in Korea had a lot of books, flashcards, puppet, balls etc. so I had plenty of resources to leverage. Of course my students enjoyed classes more.

Another difference between Japan and Korea is this…

The students, English levels in Japan seemed lower than in Korea. Even at the middle school level.

They were still motivated to learn English and they wanted to learn about foreign cultures and my life.

However, whenever I had to plan my lessons with my Japanese c0- teacher we did it in Japanese language and of course my Japanese wasn’t very good but we would prepare our lessons not in English but in Japanese.

In Korea I could have basic conversations in English with my upper elementary school students in grade 3 and 4, my Korean co-teachers could speak English well and even staff.

Many of the lessons I planned in Japan for grade 3 to 4 could be used by grade 1 or 2 grade level students in Korea.

So there were distinct differences in English levels between my experience teaching in Japan versus Korea, but overall my students, the kids were just adorable in both countries.


Conan O'Brian Learns KoreanWhat Should I Know Before Coming To Korea To Teach?

April 5, 2017

Many teachers think they should buy souvenirs or gifts from their home countries to give to their co-teachers, hagwon manager, or students before coming to Korea. If you want to bring anything… buy some cheap but nice fridge magnets with your country’s symbol, map. or famous place, key chains or even vitamins to give to students. Supplements are expensive in Korea and Koreans are crazy about their health these days. Funny enough but my Korean recruiter asked me to bring a specific kind of cheese as it was hard to find and more expensive back in 1998 when I went over there for the first time Read More…



Should I teach in Korea or Taiwan?

April 5, 2017

I spent a few years in Taiwan…. and a couple of years in Korea…. To qualify to teach in both countries you’ll need to be a native speaker with a 4 year degree.. You’ll work longer hours in Korea, but you’ll earn more than Taiwan…In Taiwan you’ll teach from 2 until 9 pm or 3 until 8 pm.  There are also a lot more jobs in Korea. There are fewer public school teaching jobs in Korea these days. Read More


Teaching English First Time

First Time Teaching

Teaching For The Very First Time
You guys probably get this a lot, but I just finished up my bachelor’s degree and I’m planning on teaching English in South Korea. I have very little experience, but I’m currently volunteering for the ESL class being taught at…

Read all comments on ESL Cafe


FBI Apostille USA

FBI Apostille

Used an expedited FBI background service. They sent me the FBI check online and was supposed to mail me it as well. Should have arrived by now. Worrying it was lost in the mail. Anyone know if the one they send you online would work if printed out for the apostle?

Read all comments on the Facebook Page Every Expat In Korea


Gate Woosong University Daejeon South KoreaDoes anyone have info on teaching at Woosong University and is willing to share?

“You can email myself or Scott Walters. Contact info is on the website…”
“I have heard terrible things from teachers there. Unless you are absolutely desperate, move on…”

Read all comments on the Facebook Page Foreign Professors and University English Teachers in Korea


UK Students in Korea school

School Swap Korea

3 UK Teens Attend Korean School. Can They Hack It?

March 18, 2017

South Korea boasts one of the best education systems in the world, but it’s NOT without sacrifice.

Curious about how Korea does it, 3 Welsh teenagers swap their classrooms, teachers and parents back home for a school in Seoul…

For three days the Welsh teens try to survive Korea’s pressure cooker school system to see if they can succeed.

Here’s a glance of what you’ll learn in this “School Swap” video:

  • Who will Sara, Tommy and stay with?
  • You’ll drool over the incredible lunch 1 Korean mom prepares.
  • You’ll see 1 Korean teen with amazing piano skills
  • Why the Korean education system is the toughest in the world.
  • What a typical day looks like for Korean students and just how long it is
  • How long a teacher can take hour cell phone from you for certain reasons
  • What the punishment is for being late for school at the school Tommy is attending
  • Where Korean students must place their cell phones when they get to class
  • The single reason Sara is so popular at the Korean girl’s school
  • What’s the drop out rate of Korean students compared to Welsh students
  • What 1 Buddhist temple asks visitors to do so Korean students can get good exam results
  • What religious rituals Korean mothers will participate in so their children can get good college entrance exam scores
  • What the literacy rate was in Korea 60 years ago compared to now
  • How well the Korean male students did on the Welsh GCSE math exam
  • How many students in the class found the test difficult or easy
  • How Koreans rank in Math compared to the rest of the world
  • What makes Korean students so smart in certain subjects
  • What the 1 similarity there is between South Korean and Welsh schools
  • What 3 foods make the Korean school dinners so healthy
  • Why the Korean principal of 1 Korean school introduced a “sports day”.
  • How many hours a typical school day is for this one boys school (shocking!)
  • What drives Korean students to study such long hours in school, public libraries and hagwons (institutes)
  • What sacrifices Korean parents make for their children so they can get a private education
  • Why Tommy knows very little about English grammar compared to Korean students

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Teaching Private lessons Korea

Starbucks Korea

The 1/3 Private Teaching Rule in Korea?

March 16, 2017

Question: My hagwon contract states 30 hours per week. My recruiter said I can only teach a maximum of 10 extra hours (1/3) at a second part time job. Anybody heard of this rule?

Answer: I’ve never heard of the 1/3 rule. I suppose it could be true.

However, the bigger concern is that since your E2 visa is sponsored by a hagwon, then you aren’t legally allowed to teach part time lessons (regardless of # of hours) unless these are classes being offered by the hagwon sponsoring you.

I’ve heard that if your E2 sponsoring hagwon agrees to sign an official permission document and you take it to Korean immigration then you can get permission to work at a second location or school. However it’s doubtful, your hagwon would want you taking a second job. You are their “work-horse” not some else’s.

Teaching privately is illegal in Korea and it could get you arrested, put in jail and deported, not necessarily in that order.

Having said that… a lot of ESL teachers in Korea teach privately and fly under the radar. Totally your call if you think it’s worth the risk versus reward.

Here’s a more in depth Q&A about the pay rate for private ESL lessons in Korea. 

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Teach with Market Leader

Market Leader Book

What are some good English conversation courses for teaching adult students?

March 15, 2017

If you’re teaching business people then I’d suggest the Market Leader course.

It contains student books, teacher’s manual, audio, video and online supplements. There are 4 levels of business conversation.

These include Beginner, Pre-Intermediate, Intermediate and Upper Intermediate. So, you’ve got continuity once your students complete once book they can move to the next level.

Of course, with any English conversation course, you’ll have to change things up a bit as the students will get tired of using only a textbook.

I’ve developed some compelling English conversation lessons with surveys and discussion activities that get even the most shy students talking.

There are two levels for adults. Simply adult conversation topics and business topics.

Give them a try and let me know how they go…

Topics include: hiking, drinking wine, childhood memories, daily routines, managing finances and more…

They’re all free to use. Adult Conversation ESL Speaking Lessons For ESL Learners

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EPIK ESL Program South Korea

EPIK Teachers

Do teachers drop out of the EPIK program?

March 15, 2017

It’s not likely that a teacher would drop out of the EPIK program once they get hired and have already been teaching in the program for a few months.

This is because once they’ve already invested a few months into their 1 year contract it would be financial suicide to drop out early (unless an absolute emergency).

If they WERE to drop out, for whatever reason, they’d lose their contract completion exit bonus of $1,700 USD (approx.) and possibly their apartment security deposit of about $500.

Also, they could be delayed collecting their pension contributions. It may be hard collecting them as an American or Canadian who qualify for pension reimbursements if they didn’t fulfill a 12 month EPIK contract.

I think drop-outs are rare.

Having said most hagwons will give you 10 vacation days per year (1/2 of EPIK) + Korean holidays which include Lunar New year and Chusok (Korean thanksgiving). All in all, this gives you 3 times per year to get out of Korea and go on short hops to South East Asia, for example. Make sure you book at least 6-9 months early to get cheaper flights.

I’d rather find a job at a good hagwon, take 2 mini vacations (during Chusok and Lunar New Year) and then take a 1 month break at the end of my 12 month contract.

And besides that… teaching in the EPIK program with a Korean teacher partner could get old and routine fast.

It’s much better to have 100% control of your classroom at a hagwon to teach what you want and how you want. You might consider adults where you can have real conversations.

Not saying EPIK can’t be fun, it’s just that there are other options.

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How to rent an apartment in South Korea

Renting In Korea

How Do I Rent An Apartment In Korea?

March 14, 2017

So you’re looking for a place to live in Korea… Guess what? There are at least 6 standard options and a wide range of rental rates to choose from. What you first need to know is the rental system in Korea is, well a little different than what you’re used to. They have different terms and different rental agreements based on how much money you have for rent. Watch this 4 minute video to get up to speed on the Korean rental market terms, types of places to rent, and which one works for you.

Here’s a glance of what you’ll learn in this 4 minute video:

  • How likely can you own a property in Korea, your options, and what can you get with your money
  • What’s a Bu-Dong-San and what they can and can’t do for you
  • What is Chon-Sey and what you need to know
  • What is Bo-Jeung-Keum and how is it different from Chon-Sey
  • What are the pros and cons of Chon-Sey versus Bo-Jeung-Keum
  • What’s the price range for Bo-Jeung-Keum
  • Should you rent a house, apartment, 3, 2, 1 bedroom, office-tel, house shares, or go-shi-won

Watch Video


Prof Kelly and Korean Family

Prof Kelly & Family

Back In The News: Busan Professor & Family (Full Interview)

March 15, 2017

Busan University Professor, Robert E Kelly is back on BBC News to chat about his unexpected viral fame last week. No doubt you’ve seen the amusing video where his children barged in on his live BBC TV interview to the laughter of millions of people. Prof Kelly, an expert on South Korea, was joined in the follow-up video with his wife and kids..


Here’s a glance of what you’ll learn about Prof Kelly and his family in this 9 minute video:

  • How did Kelly respond to all the attention from his viral news interview
  • Do his children have Korean or English names
  • What Kelly and his wife were most worried about after the viral BBC interview
  • What was Kelly’s wife actually doing while the kids stormed into his office
  • Who’s fault it was that the two children got into Kelly’s home office
  • Who did most viewers of the clip mistakenly think Kelly’s wife was and how did Kelly feel about it
  • How soon did Prof Kelly know his daughter had entered the room (without him turning around)
  • What did Kelly hope his daughter would do when she barged into his room
  • When did Kelly know that he was BUSTED on live TV
  • Was Professor Kelly even wearing pants during the interview
  • Did viewers actually asked Kelly if the interview was staged, or not
  • What Kelly has to say about his home office policy with his kids
  • What 1 viewer suggested Prof Kelly do for his wife

Watch Video


How To Get an E2 Teaching Visa For Korea

E2 Visa Process

How To Get Your E2 Teaching Visa For Korea (If You’re Canadian)

March 14, 2017

So, you’ve decided to teach English in Korea. While applying for jobs and doing interviews is a big chunk of the work, getting the correct documents, filling them out accurately, with the right stamps and correct number of copies in a timely manner is critical. This video walks you through what you need to know about processing your E2 visa paperwork with some time and money saving tips during each stage of the process.

Here’s a glance of what you’ll learn in this 5 minute video:

  • What documents you’ll need to prepare for your E2 teaching visa
  • Some tips for Canadians who are applying for their E2 visa
  • Why you need to get your E2 visa done as quickly as possible
  • What you need for your criminal records check and how long the CRC takes
  • What you need to know about the vulnerable records check and notarization
  • What you need to know about preparing and sending your university transcripts
  • The process for getting your  university degree notarized and key points to remember
  • Where to get your Korea health check form and what to do with it
  • What you should know about your passport, and how many photos and sizes you’ll need
  • When and how to send your E2 visa documents and the costs for postage and paperwork
  • What you need to know about your E2 visa issuance number
  • What documents you’ll need for your E2 visa issuance number and proof of residency
  • How long it takes to get your visa for Korea so you can leave

Watch Video


Things you might hate about South korea

5 Things I Hate About Korea

5 Things I Hate About Korea!

March 13, 2017 – Living in Korea can be awesome!  But just like any country in the world… the ROK is NOT without flaws. Don’t get me wrong, the majority of foreigners living in Korea have life enriching experiences and most take the good with the bad. But for the purposes of this 8 minute video you’ll hear about 5 things 1 foreigner dislikes about Korea and why.

Here’s a glance of what you’ll learn in this 8 minute video:

  • What you need to know about getting baking ingredients in Korea and where to find them
  • How the pressure to be pretty in Korea is everywhere even among younger students
  • Learn the reasons why some Korean kids think they are ugly
  • What the dating culture is like in Korea for Koreans and foreigners
  • What types of guys you’ll run into in Korea and how to find a true gem
  • The challenges finding a Korean guy who will date a foreign woman
  • The problems getting imported products in Korea such as your favourite comfort foods and snacks
  • The ridiculous prices of imported foods in Korea
  • The pressure Korean society puts on school children and the intense hagwon culture in Korea
  • What kinds of pressures Korean high school students must deal with on a daily basis and why
  • The impact of school pressure and pressure to get a job in Korea and its dark side

Watch Video


Why English teachers get bitter in Korea

Bitter English Teachers

Why Do English Teachers In Korea Become Bitter?

March 12, 2017

What makes adventurous, free-spirited foreign English teachers get bitter teaching and living in Korea? If you’re coming to Korea be prepared to meet some of these people. When you arrive in Korea you’ll be in the honeymoon stage where everything is great. But soon, you’ll start to go through the stages of culture shock. If you’re new to Korea or you’ve been here for a while, you can understand the psychology of why certain teachers get bitter.

Here’s a glance of what you’ll learn in David Woodworth’s video:

  • How familiarity of your culture back home leads you to Korea
  • Why an “everything is new” lifestyle in Korea is so exciting for a while
  • What ends up happening in Korea when things get familiar
  • How making cause and effect relationships in Korea leads to familiarity and bitterness
  • How living on auto-pilot in Korea creates a bubble for you and leads to bitterness
  • How language learning impacts your attitude in Korea
  • Why moving to a new place doesn’t change who you are
  • How NOT learning the Korean culture deeply leads to jaded teachers
  • How falling into routine habits affects your happiness in Korea

Watch Video


How to save money in Korea

Save Korean Won

How To Save Money While Teaching English In South Korea

March 12, 2017

This 8 minute video discusses the strategies and tactics you need to use if you want to save a big chunk of cash while teaching in Korea through the EPIK program.  By watching your expenses you can pay down student debts, travel around Southeast Asia and sock some cash away for a rainy day.

There are upfront and back end payouts you’ll receive as an English teacher in Korea through EPIK and this video explains them. Remember, that a year goes by quickly while teaching in Korea. And, you want to be ahead financially after 12 months later.

Here’s a glance of what you’ll learn in in this video:

  • What kind of reimbursements will you get through the EPIK program
  • How much money you get for your settlement allowance
  • What kind of apartment to expect in the EPIK program
  • What’s your monthly pay with the EPIK program
  • What expenses will you incur while living in Korea for food, bills, Internet, utilities, shopping, etc
  • What your priority expenses are living in South Korea
  • How much you can expect to pay for transportation fees per month in Korea
  • How to use a transportation card and what’s great about them
  • What kind of traveling you can do in Korea that’s affordable
  • Learn about a money tracking mobile application you can use to track your budget
  • What are the back end lump sum payments will you get in Korea when you’re done your contract
  • The dollar breakdown on your final pay-check, security deposit, exit allowance and pension refund.
  • Who qualifies for the pension refund and who doesn’t
  • How much money can you expect to leave Korea with once you’ve finished 12 months of teaching
  • How you can still save a lot of money in Korea while at the same time paying down your student loan
  • Why you should come to Korea and a summary of the benefits

Watch Video


8 things You Don't Know about Korea

8 ? About Korea

8 Things About Living and Teaching in South Korea (You Don’t Know)

March 11, 2017

Planning to move to Korea? Melody has been there for a year and a half and here’s her list of the top 8 things she was NOT ready for. Hope these help you adapt to a new culture, language and lifestyle in the ROK.

Here’s a glance of what you’ll learn in Melody’s video:

  • Know what to do with your tissue while in Korea
  • How Koreans use any teeny tiny little bit of extra space they have
  • What kind of backhanded comments to expect from Koreans and how to handle them
  • Things to know if you choose to eat alone in Korea
  • Strategies for dealing with conflicts in Korea and how to be a mind reader
  • Why are certain foods sweet in Korea when they aren’t supposed to be
  • What’s with these Korean bathroom bells
  • The toothbrushing habits that Koreans have that are taboo in America

Watch Video


Learn about the EPIK Korea program

EPIK – Good & Bad

EPIK Korea – What’s Good & Bad?

March 11, 2017

Here’s a video that talks about the pros and cons of teaching in the EPIK Program in Korea. EPIK stands for English Program In Korea. It’s an English language education program sponsored by the Korean government. Foreign teachers from English speaking countries who meet the right qualifications are hired to teach with a Korean public school teacher in Korean public schools. It’s considered better than teaching in private language schools in Korea. However, this video points out the good and the bad of the EPIK program. Before you apply to EPIK, watch this 12 minute video.

Here are the questions answered by Sharon in her video:


  • What’s it like living and teaching with EPIK in Chungju, Korea
  • What makes the EPIK program reputable compared with sketchy private schools/recruiters
  • What happens during the EPIK orientations in Busan and Daejeon
  • Why this one week orientation is important if it’s your first time in Korea
  • What an EPIK teaching contract looks like for English teachers
  • How many sick days and vacation days to expect if you join EPIK
  • What type of teaching hours you’ll get if you teach with EPIK
  • Will you get paid over time teaching with EPIK
  • What other benefits you can expect as part of the program
  • Why you can sleep comfortably at night if you choose EPIK
  • What recruiter you should use if you choose EPIK


  • Will you know where you’ll be placed with EPIK and do you have a choice
  • How soon will you find out about your placement
  • What ages will you’l be teaching in the public schools and does it matter
  • Will you be teaching boys or girls in Korean public schools
  • How to deal with the random procedure of EPIK
  • What the difference is between a POE and an MOE
  • Are you prepared to work in  some EPIK remote location with few if any foreign friends around
  • Why the pros outweigh the cons of EPIK

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Koreans thoughts on Foreigners


What Do Koreans Think Of Foreigners (In Korea)

March 11, 2017

The number of foreigners visiting Korea to travel, live or work has increased. In the past 10 years this number has gone up massively due to a fascination with ALL THINGS Korean. Things like English teaching jobs, language learning at Korean universities, and of course K-Pop, food and fashion are incredibly popular. In this video a cameraman walks around Seoul and asks Koreans what they think about the growing influx of foreigners in their country. 

Here are the questions answered in this video:

  • The ways that Koreans think foreigners are different from them
  • How Koreans feel about foreigners attitudes towards littering
  • What Koreans have learned about how foreigners act while abroad
  • What Koreans say about the manners of foreigners – The Canada example
  • What Koreans have learned from foreigners about the art of decision making
  • How foreigners can do things alone while Koreans struggle with it.
  • How foreigners greet, smile and make friends compared with Koreans – The Elevator example
  • How foreigners see ideas and skills more broadly than Koreans do
  • Hear about the experience Koreans have had with foreigners and in foreign countries
  • What being sorry or polite means for foreigners versus Koreans – in public situations
  • How foreigners act a bit differently when drinking in public versus Koreans
  • Koreans versus Foreigners attitudes towards smoking
  • What prejudice Koreans have experienced from foreigners
  • The differences Koreans perceive between Americans and Canadians
  • What are Koreans’ thoughts on international couples
  • How Koreans feel about the growing diversity in their country
  • What message Koreans have for foreigners who plan to come to Korea

Watch Video


7 day trip to North Korea

7 Days In North Korea

What’s it like to spend 7 days in North Korea?

March 11, 2017

North Korea is the most mysterious country in the world. Jacob Laukaitis spent 7 days in the hermit Kingdom. He took a tour but he couldn’t choose where to go, what to do, or when to see it. Every day was a surprise!  There are 21 things you’ll learn in this 14 minute video about 7 days in North Korea.

Here’s a glance of what you’ll learn in Jacob’s video:

  • Are you allowed to travel alone in North Korea
  • What happens to your passport when you arrive there
  • What pictures, if any are you allowed to take in North Korea
  • How are you to treat pictures and statues of the God-like leaders of North Korea
  • How should you behave at North Korean hotels
  • Take a ride on the North Korean subway
  • Do people make eye contract with foreigners in North Korea
  • Visit a cinema in North Korea
  • See what the Pyongyang marathon is like
  • See breathtaking views of Pyongyang
  • Visit a North Korean kindergarten
  • You’ll find a dragon in North Korea
  • See the waitresses sing songs and dance with foreigners in North Korea
  • Watch amazing middle school music and athletic performers in North Korean schools
  • Take tram ride around Pyongyang to learn the local way of North Korean life
  • Learn what these colourful notes are all around Pyongyang
  • Go out for pizza in Pyongyang and have a chocolate bar and rice drink for desert
  • Attend the birthday party of Kim Il Sung
  • See North Korean women dance in the streets and visit an amusement park in the capital city
  • Have fun in a park with locals in North Korea, but can you speak with them
  • There’s one last surprise Jacob will share about his 7 day trip in North Korea

Watch Video…


Americans Try Korean McDonalds

Ordering Korean

What do these Americans think of Korean McDonald’s?

Evan Chang and a few of his American friends arrive in Seoul Korea to try Korean McDonalds. This video got over 2.5 Million views in just 4 days. Here’s what the boys have to say about these 4 special Korean fast foods from McDonalds’.. Watch Video…



Why do Korean women have such great skin?

Skin Massage

Why do many South Korean women have good skin?

It’s no secret that Korean women desire flawless, porcelain skin. In fact, they’ll go to great lengths to get it. Here’s how:

Korean Women Are Anti-Sun

On sweltering summer day in Seoul you’ll often see young and middle aged Korean women walking down the sidewalk with umbrellas.

These umbrellas shield them from the sun’s harmful UV rays. It’s an odd site, since their is no rain, but as a foreigner, you’ll quickly realize their purpose.

These sun- umbrellas are technically called Parasols. Parasols are “sun shades” or anti-uv umbrellas.” You can buy them on Amazon if your sun adverse. Read More…


Getting back tattoos to avoid military service in Korea

Military Service Korea

8 Crazy Facts About South Korea

1. Korean women are pregnant 10 months NOT 9.

Say what?

If you ever heard a pregnant Korean women saying she is 10 months pregnant, don’t be confused.

Here’s the explanation:

When the mother first learns she is pregnant, the baby is already 1 month old. Usually a Korean woman (or any woman for that matter) usually doesn’t learn she’s pregnant until the baby has already started growing 30 days in her womb.

Koreans count age differently than people from how western countries would… Read 7 More…


Private plane of Kim Jong-Un North Korea

Private Jet of KJU

How rich is Kim Jong-Un (North Korean Dictator)

As of February, 2017 it was estimated by “Celebrity Net Worth” that the North Korean dictator has a net worth of 5 Billion USD. It has also been said that he acquired it all by the age of 33. Kim was born in 1984.

Kim apparently holds assets in more than 200 foreign banks all over the world. These accounts are primarily in Central America, Austria, Singapore, Switzerland, China, Luxembourg, Lichtenstein and of course Russia.

The majority of these foreign bank accounts have been alleged to have been opened up under different names. Money laundering has supposedly taken place in Russia.

So, how does a 33-year-old dictator spend his riches?

You would think that his first priority would be buying-off government officials in his party to gain their loyalty.

And of course he doesn’t neglect his wife. It was reported that Kim’s wife Ri Sol-Ju was photographed with a Dior handbag worth $1,500 USD. While this is not an exorbitant sum for a luxury handbag (some handbags are priced at $5K, $10K, or even north of $20,000 USD) the Dior hadbag does carry significance. Why? Because in North Korea the average yearly salary is a paultry $1,500 USD.

The Dictator has also been known to have spent huge sums of cash on properties, toys and recreation. He has a beach resort near the North Korean coastal city of Wonsan. It includes all the luxuries. He also had a ski resort built so he can enjoy the finest ski slopes in the country.

Kim obviously travels with a huge motorcade of security officers, but it seems he prefers to fly to his meetings and events. He has his own private jet as well as yacht.

As for the finer things in life….

Kim collects leather goods and expensive watches and booze. It’s rumoured that he spends about $65 million dollars per year on such items.

And let’s not forget how much he “blows up” on nuclear missile testing… I couldn’t find a figure, but I’m sure it’s HUGE!

Sadly, this leaves very little left over to share with North Korean citizens…

Please note: Nobody really knows what Kim is worth exactly. The above are simply speculations curated from the WEB of what he has supposedly bought and how he earns and spends his money on.

If you’re interested in the BIG EARNERS in South Korea… here’s a related post below.

It talks about how Korea’s top English teachers make $500,000 USD per year teaching Korean young adults how to get top English scores – so they can get good job and into US colleges…English teacher who earns $500k – BBC News • Teach English in Korea

Posted February 25, 2017     Leave a comment


NPS Korea Pension Refund

National Pension Service

Should I be concerned if my hagwon does not include national pension in my teaching contract?

First of all, it is illegal for a hagwon NOT to make at least 50% of your monthly pension contributions. They normally withhold 4.5% from your monthly salary and they will match the other 4.5%.

When you finish your teaching contract and just before you leave Korea permanently you can apply to the Korean government for your pension refund, but this depends on your country of nationality.

Teachers from Canada, the US, and Australia get a lump sum payment when they leave Korea.

If you’re from a different English speaking country such as the UK or Ireland you’ll have to wait until your 65 to obtain your pension refund. The reason they do this is because there is a reciprocal pension treaty for Koreans who work in these countries as well.

These pension deductions should show up on your monthly pay statement from your school.

The only way you might not see these pension contributions is if your hagwon registered you as a “contractor”.

If they classify you as a contractor as opposed to a permanent employee, then they aren’t required to make pension contributions. Some hagwons get around the pension contributions by classifying teachers as “contractors”.

What’s important to remember is that in order to qualify for an E2 visa, you must be classified as a “permanent employee” with a approximately 30 hours of teaching per week written into your contract. If you’re full-time, the school can’t assign “contractor” status to a teacher since full-time  = E2 visa.

To sum up, if you’re an American, Canadian, or Australian, the pension contributions seem worth it because you’r school will save 4.5% of your monthly income which you can get back once you leave Korea. This could be after just one year or however many years you decide to teach in Korea. It really adds up to because your employer matches the 4.5% for a total of 9% per year.

Now if you’re from the UK or Ireland then the pension scheme isn’t too attractive, because you’re paying into a plan that you won’t receive until your 65. That’s a long ways away! Unless that rule has changed, your 4.5% monthly pension contributions are more like a tax which you will probably forget to collect when you’re old and grey, most likely living in another country.

To learn about the pension agreement between your country and Korea, visit NPS Korea and click on your country’s flag.

Posted February 25, 2017     Leave a comment


Teach At SNT English

SNT Debate Class

 Anybody taught at SNT English in Gangnam, Seoul?

SNT English academy is in Daechi-dong (part of Gangnam).

The school claims to teach the smartest students in Gangnam, which is a very affluent part of Seoul.

Most of their classes focus on teaching students TOEFL, essay writing and debate. TOEFL stands for the Test of English as a Foreign Language.

If you want to get hired you should have experience teaching the TOEFL reading, writing and speaking sections. Korean students take the TOEFL so they can get into a US or Canadian University.

To date, no online teacher review or testimonials can even be found on SNT English academy in Daechi-Dong.

Posted on February 25, 2017   Leave a review


Teach in Korea ESL Starter

Public School Classroom

What are the requirements to teach English in Korea?

First, you must be a citizen a country where English is the official language.For example, the United States, Canada, the UK (Ireland, Scotland, Whales), Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.While some teachers may NOT have been born in one of the countries mentioned above, but immigrated and eventually became a permanent resident or citizen, they will have at least needed to have studied from Grade 7… Read Full Answer…


options for ESL teachers overseas

Comfort Zone or Magic

2 options for teaching English overseas?

When you teach overseas, there are 2 paths available:

1. You can dumb down your ESL job search and your expectations, and apply to the “McJobs” by country of choice. You can blast out your resume, do the Skype interviews, gather your docs, get your visa, and start paying down your student loans… Let’s call this Checkers.

2. Or, you can wise up, get qualified, and find better. Even if the job means more heavy lifting and responsibility. Let’s call this Chess.

The fact that dumb down is the path of least resistance, while wise up translates to demanding students, extra lesson prep, and intrusive performance appraisals, makes most overseas ESL teachers hit the “let me think about that” button.

But the very idea of stepping out of your comfort zone to find a better job, can open up life changing opportunities.

Wasn’t this a similar motivation that took most of us abroad to teach English in the first place?

Checkers or Chess? It’s your MOVE…

Posted February 18, 2017     Leave a comment


Sticks and stones break your bones

Sticks & Stones

The young learner strategy

Most native English teachers in Korea don’t get upset when a young learner walks up and says, “you look tired”, or “your nose is big”, and even “why are you so fat?”

This is because most of us just accept this type of comment as part of the “appearances driven” culture our students live in. We get the feeling that they are saying these things without malice. So, getting upset with them doesn’t do much good, because they’re not likely going to change anytime soon— if ever.

Couldn’t the same be said for your friends and family who guilt us without knowing any better, when they ask, “why don’t you come visit us?”, or “you can’t stay abroad forever”.

It’s hardly productive to ruin your day trying to explain the reasons “why you do what you do” or “who you are”, is it?

Better, I think to treat your family/friends like your ESL students, tell them you love them, and change the conversation.

Posted February 18, 2017     Leave a comment



Edutainment Anyone?

Maybe Your Students Aren’t Trying To learn English

Perhaps they want play or edutainment instead.

NOT just another class, but an event that’s fun and memorable.

If they’re salarymen, they want something to distract them from their marathon days at the office and authoritarian bosses.

If they’re schoolchildren, they seek respite from the academic pressure from their parents and teachers.

The positive interactions you have with your students in the moment are your upmost priority.

A stale textbook is the last refuge for the ESL teacher who lacks the imagination or determination to deliver a compelling English lesson.

Posted on February 17, 2017   Leave a comment


A Magic wand for EFL teachers

Magic Wand

A Magic Wand For An English As A Second Language Teacher

It would be fun to see what an ESL teacher would do if he/she had a magic wand.

Maybe with a wave, such a wand could whisk you out of class for an hour (or two) to you favourite beach in Thailand, or back home for a Sunday night dinner with the folks.

They do sell “Harry Potter” magic wands on Amazon. And it might be a fun prop to liven up your next English class.

But seriously…

If you don’t believe in magic wands, a better question might be…

What are you sooooooo looking forward to seeing/doing/achieving this year while living abroad that you’re prepared get up early or teach late to just to earn the money or time to do it?

Posted February 16, 2017     Leave a comment


How long can I realistically live abroadHow Long Can You Realistically Teach English Overseas?

After your first, second, or even third year teaching English in Asia, you need to ask yourself:

Is an EFL career for me? How far can I go with it? What skills have I acquired that I can add to my resume, how much am I earning, saving? Who am I missing back home?

Pause, reflect, and give it some serious thought.

You might conclude that you’re living abroad because you’re seeking to create a life free of cultural conformity and commitments, or to escape the drudgery of the 9-5 office cubicle.

But soon, slowly, you find your newfound freedom pill losing its efficacy as it gets replaced with you accepting more overtime hours at your school, adopting the local business wardrobe to fit in, and getting sucked into school politics.

The longer you stay in your host country, the more your learn to accept what you can’t change so you bend and blend. If you don’t you’ll crack…

The more roots you plant abroad, the harder it becomes to leave.

Few teachers/expats will stay abroad indefinitely.

Maybe their shelf life is 10 or 20 years — but at some point, for whatever reason, maybe even against their will, they’ll eventually return home.

The best time to plan for your return is right now. And the worst time to re-visit this plan is when there’s a lot of pressure to leave.

Posted February 15, 2017     Leave a comment


Teach for free

Pro Bono Teaching

When is it “okay” to teach English for Free?

Elementary, middle, high school, university and corporate ESL teachers—there’s always a chance to teach more private classes.

There are hundreds of eager English learners that would gladly buy you a cup of coffee in exchange for a free English lesson.

While most of us can easily command high hourly rates for teaching English privately abroad, having a conversation (in English) with a student isn’t always about making a fast buck.

In some cases, pro-bono teaching makes perfect sense. You might be friends with a student, or a parent of a student, maybe you’re volunteering at an orphanage, or even offering extracurricular help to a student who’s writing an essay or studying for a test.

And.. just because you’re teaching “for free” doesn’t mean you should ignore the upsides.

Consider your student’s circle of friends, family, or colleagues. Helping one of them means the opportunity to expand your network, or leverage them for support. Especially, when you need help with one of the many challenges that arise while living in a foreign country.

Now, more than ever, you need to build a support system of local friends. If you have a crisis, it’s they who can help you, not your fellow foreign colleagues.

Here’s the reality: you’re an alien living alone in your host country.  The network you build tomorrow will be the direct result of the number of locals (students or non -students) you influence today.

Pay it forward. Because you can’t always slap on a price for helping others.

Posted February 14, 2017     Leave a comment


Showing vs. Telling

How we Remember

Showing vs. Telling Your Students

All the definitions, descriptions, and explanations you give your EFL students to aid their understanding pale in comparison with what you can actually “show them”.

Too often, English teachers feel that a daily ritual of spoon-feeding students new vocabulary and expressions is of upmost necessity. Maybe we subconsciously do it to justify our existence.

Do students really need to know the latest/greatest English idiom or buzz word to attain fluency?

Words are forgotten while pictures are remembered. Use them generously in class.

Posted February 13, 2017     Leave a comment


Raising the bar for ESL teachers

ESL Teacher Credentials

Could they be raising the bar on ESL teacher requirements?

We’ve all been through the back-checking, of course.

Degree verification, TEFL certification and the criminal records checks. Checks that immigration requires. All, so we aliens can get our teaching visas.

The ESL teacher market for the “good jobs” is competitive!

Will schools soon demand foreign instructors have greater knowledge, skills, and abilities as the demand for  the one size fits all Native English teacher shrinks in certain countries.

Students need teachers who are listeners and correctors, not “talking heads.”Language institutes need educators, with “relevant degrees” not working holiday college grads. Universities demand post-graduate degree holders with “multiple years” of proven work experience.

These are skills you’ll need if you want a shot at the premium ESL jobs.

If you’re serious about teaching overseas (for years to come) up-skilling now is a lot cheaper than it’s going to cost you later.

Unless you’re planning a career change… (But how much will that set you back?)

Posted February 12, 2017     Leave a comment


Being overweight in Korea

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts

Am I too fat to teach English in Korea?

I’m applying for the EPIK teaching program in Korea. Could I fail the medical check in Korea because I’m classified by my doctor as obese?

It’s not about how fat you are, it’s about how healthy you are. Sure you could be overweight but your cholesterol, heart, and blood pressure may all be normal.If your doctor didn’t flag anything wrong when you were checked, then it shouldn’t be an issue getting accepted into the EPIK program. That is, if you passed all the other tests – criminal background check, drug test, etc. Read Full Answer…


Apartments in Busan Korea

Korean Villa

Can I teach part-time 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. Read Full Answer…


Hagwon salary

Korean hagwon

How much can I earn teaching English in Korea?

A typical salary teaching English in Korea at private or public schools in your first one to two years is between 2.2 – 2.6 M KRW per month.If you’re at the lower end or 2.2 M KRW per month you can expect to get airfare, a single furnished apartment, pension, severance and a 1 month contract completion bonus equal to one month’s salary. You’ll receive your severance after you complete a 12 month Read Full Answer…


Korean hagwons

Too Many Hagwons

Too late to abort my hagwon contract? (5 answers)

I signed off on a hagwon contract but realized after reading several ESL threads that there is some verbiage in the agreement that I’m very uncomfortable with. I won’t go into details, but some of the terms and conditions seem a bit dodgy to me. I haven’t sent my original degree, transcripts or CBC yet (just copies) and the  job doesn’t start until February. Is it too late to get out of this contract and if I don’t take the job will it impact my chances of getting hired by another hagwon for the next 12 months?

“They don’ have your original docs, so you have nothing to worry about. Immigration won’t process an E-2 teaching visa without your official documents. Too much fraud from fake degree holders and such…. Move on!”

“You’re free to do whatever you want because as mentioned above, they don’t have your originals yet. No teaching visa means no job. Go find a new job with fairer contract conditions.”

“Just email or call them and tell them you’ve either changed your mind about going to Korea (if you’re not in country), or tell them you’ve found a better contract, or just be truthful and say you’re not comfortable with certain contract clauses. Who knows they might be able to explain it or change it to make it acceptable to you.”

“You have every right to jam out on the contract. It’s a two-way street. Hagwons have been known to lay off  teachers a couple of months into their teaching contracts or tell them they can’t hire them even after their E2 visa gets immigration approval. Don’t stress and find a new job.

“Whatever you do, don’t listen to any threats the recruiter might make towards you. They have no control over you, since they can’t get you a teaching visa. If you had started teaching in Korea and decided to quit early, then that’s another issue entirely.  Luckily you reviewed the contract early.”


ESL TEACHING CONTRACT QUESTIONSDon’t sign a teaching contract in Korea until you get these 31 questions answered.

Here’s the full list of 31 questions to ask BEFORE you sign an ESL teaching contract overseas. Hope these help! Read Full Answer…



Korea teaching marketIs the Korean teaching market getting worse? (9 Answers)

I’m graduating college in April and really want to teach overseas. I’ve looked at China, Korea and Japan and it’s hard to make up my mind. Each country has their own unique qualities. Of course, money and comfort are also a consideration, so I’m leaning towards Korea. I’ve heard that the market is competitive and saturated with ESL teachers. I’ve also heard that most of the job offers are crappy and out in the countryside. Would you still suggest Korea? Read Full Answer…


unigwon KoreaShould I teach English at a Unigwon?  (13 Answers)

I have a Master’s degree in History, one year of teaching experience at a kids hagwon, and a 120 hour TEFL Certificate. What are my chances of getting a university job anywhere in Korea? Most universities ask for 2 years of college or university EFL teaching experience. Does this count me out? Should I just apply for a unigwon job to get college student teaching experience and then apply to a university after? Read Full Answer…


Teaching ESL Abroad while parents ageTeaching English Abroad (while parents grow old without us)

If you’ve been teaching English abroad for several years already, the reality of watching your parents getting up in years  (from afar) can be a tough one. And one question may cross your mind: “Should I return home to spend more time with my parents (who aren’t getting younger)? Read Full Answer…



Teaching 30 hours a week KoreaIs 30 Hours A Week Teaching In Korea Too Much? (14 Answers)

I was offered a job at a hagwon in Korea for 30 hours of teaching per week. It’s the first offer I’ve had since I started applying about a month ago. I’ve probably sent 15 applications in total to different ESL recruiters. Given that an average work week in the US is 40 hours, 30 hours seems fair, no? Read Full Answer…



Drug testing teachers in Korea

Drug Testing For Teachers In Korea (9 Answers)

I’m applying for the EPIK program in Korea in the January or February of 2017. How soon after I land in Korea, will I be drug tested. I’ve smoked marijuana in the past, but will have to quit when I get to the ROK (obviously). Any insight? Read Full Answer…



Sick days Korean hagwonNo Sick Days And 60 day Notice to Hagwon? (10 Answers)

I’ve been offered an ESL teaching contract at a school in Seoul. The contract looks normal except I don’t see any sick days included. What it does say is if I take a sick day they will take it from my pay. Is this legal. Also, if I quit, want to be notified 60 days before I do so. Are these two clauses fair? Read Full Answer…


start up costs teaching in koreaWhat are the start up costs for your first month as an English teacher in Korea? (5 Answers)

Read Full Answer…




EPIK health check and tatoosApplying to teach at EPIK with tattoos (6 Answers)

In my EPIK application to teach in Korea it asks if I have “visible” tattoos, so I said “no”. But I do have one tattoo on my back, which can’t be seen unless I take off my shirt and turn around or wear a bikini. When I get my health check will I have to remove my shirt and will the nurse will see it? Will they make a note of it in the health report and will EPIK find out? Am paranoid or what? Read Full Answer…


Bail on ESL teaching contract KoreaAm I in “too deep” to quit this hagwon job? (19 Answers)

My current hagwon contract ends February 1, 2017. So, I started applying for new teaching jobs and have been offered what appeared to be a great job in Incheon from a decent recruiter. Last week the recruiter sent me the contract which I immediately signed. But after signing I’ve had second thoughts. Incheon doesn’t seem like such a great place to live and work. There are many factories = pollution and it’s further out of Seoul than I realized. According to Google maps, it’s two hours from Incheon to Itaewon during peak traffic. Since I signed the agreement and submitted all of my paper work, is it too late for me to back out of  it? The recruiter confirmed she took my docs down to immigration for E2 visa processing already. Am I in too deep to quit now? Read Full Answer…


Living with girlfriend EPIK housingMy girlfriend will teach with EPIK. Will the school “freak out” if I live with her? (11 Answers)

My partner has been hired to teach English in Korea with the EPIK public school program. We are both Canadians. They have given her an apartment (not sure of the size). I plan to go with her to Korea for a year and we’ll live together.  I don’t have a university degree, so obviously I can’t teach there. Will EPIK object to me living with her in her employer sponsored housing? Read Full Answer…


What's life like for teachers in Osan KoreaWhat’s it “really” like teaching and living in Osan, Korea? (21 Answers)

Hard to find info about teaching English in Osan. I know the US airforce base is there. Are there any decent hagwons and foreign teachers working in the area to hang with? Read Full Answer…




Do Korean Hagwons still offer return flights?Are Korean hagwons no longer offering return flights?

Are prepaid return flights to Korea for one year teaching contracts slowly being phased out? And, are foreign teachers willing to come to Korea on their own dime now? Read Full Answer…

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