The kids will always and forever be the best part about the job and your experience. I taught Korean 7 year olds, they were the sweetest, happiest, most adorable, hard working kids I have ever known. So many times it would be a Wednesday morning and I would be struggling to feel motivated, but once that first kid walked into the classroom looking excited, happy, and smiling I was magically energized and motivated again. It’s amazing how much you will learn from them. They will steal your heart and become your best friends.
When people think about Asia they immediately think of China or Japan but South Korea has its own unique culture and history. South Korea is also a good intro to the rest of Asia. If you have never been traveling or been to Asia, this is a great place to start. Korea may be a bit of a culture shock for some, but not as much as other places in Asia can be. It is unique in so many ways…the food is delicious and spicy (BBQ and Tteokbokki are my favorites), there is a lot of fashion and trends that are constantly changing, face and beauty shops are everywhere (snail mucus face masks!!), K-pop is super catchy (G-dragon and Shinee), and selfies are always encouraged. Seoul, Busan, or Daegu are great locations to start/teach in.
Korea is a small country but has a lot to see, so going to other areas in Korea and exploring them is easy. It is a beautiful country with beautiful mountains, national parks, and beaches (Seoraksan was my favorite weekend trip). Even though it’s small, there is still a ton to see and do. Korea is also in a great location with super short/cheap flights to Japan or China. Also, it is pretty close to Hong Kong and Taiwan (about 3 hr flights).
Korea has a great health care system, and depending on your contract with the school, most will pay for a one way ticket there, your rent every month, and a bonus (extra months pay) after completing your year. The bonus gives you a nice boost at the end, and not paying rent really helped me manage to save and still see / do things while living in Korea. Now, after teaching for a year, I’m traveling around Asia for several months with what I was able to save.
Korea is probably one of the safest places you could live, especially as a single female. If this is your first time traveling, moving, or living in a foreign country, Korea is perfect. You could walk home late at night and not be bothered. If you leave your phone and money on a table at a cafe while going to the bathroom, no one will touch it. Lose a credit card at a music festival, chances are someone turns it in and you’ll get it back. I’ve lived in several different cities in the US and none compare to how safe I felt in Seoul.