If you’ve done any searching for teaching jobs in Korea, you’ve probably seen a lot of postings that say, “No Experience Required!” Sounds too good to be true right? It’s not. The truth is that, while teaching experience is always a valuable asset, most of the time it is not a requirement.
If you choose a full time job teaching English in Korea, your employer will generally cover your housing costs for the year. Great, right? But what, exactly, does an entry-level contract with a hagwon or public school get you in terms of an apartment? The answer is both a lot and, well… not a lot.
But first, let’s see some pictures of what you can expect. (Excuse the mess, you caught is in the middle of moving out!)
Are you worried about arriving in South Korea without a car? Relax. Depending on where you live in South Korea, there are a ton of efficient ways to get around. Although plenty of Koreans may own cars, this is simply not necessary, especially in the major urban areas of Korea. Here are the best ways to navigate these parts:
Korean Subway System
What do recruiters do?
Recruiters act as a liaison between you and employers in South Korea. They can help you get job interviews, negotiate your contract and remind you which documents you need for your visa.
Why are there so many negative things about recruiters online?
Recruiters tend to get a bad rap on forums like Dave’s ESL Cafe. There are a few reasons for this—some good, some bad. Many of the vitriolic posts you can find truly reflect a poster’s bad experience with a certain recruiter. However, at lot of this animosity is either directed towards specific recruiters who can simply be avoided, or predates the recent rise of small, honest recruiting firms.
Peterson and I are a bit “crunchy” (read: granola eating, nature lovers). And in South Korea, we were in good company: hiking is practically a national sport. Even if you don’t like hiking, there are still plenty of pictaresque views to take in while living and teaching South Korea. Although we chose to live in Seoul, a concrete jungle in many respects, it certainly DID NOT limit our nature possibilities. Here’s why:
- South Korea is 80 percent mountainous
- There are 20 National Parks in South Korea
- South Korea has an awesome public transportation system, which makes weekend getaways a must
Regardless of where you end up living in South Korea, there are oodles of nature spots to check out. Here are some of our favorites:
There are two types of acceptable UK criminal background checks: the Subject Access Check issued by your local police headquarters, and the Basic Disclosure from Disclosure Scotland. You do not need the advanced check performed by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). It’s up to you which one you choose, but our advice is to start this step right away!
Subject Access Check
1. Call your Local Police to make sure they have a Data Protection Office.
2. Visit the Police Station and ask for a Subject Access Form.
- Bring numerous forms of ID, such as passport, drivers license, bills mailed to you, etc.
- On the form, check the box for the National Police Computer check.
- Pay the processing fee.
- Fill out the forms at the office, or return them to the same place.
Basic Disclosure Check
1. Apply online at the Disclosure Scotland website.
Get your New Zealand background check done by applying in writing to the Criminal Records Unit of the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry website claims that all applications are processed within 20 days, but we have heard reports of it taking considerably longer. So we recommend doing this step first in your visa process. The following may look complicated, but take heart—NZ has the simplest process for obtaining a CBC of any of the countries on our list. Lucky you!
1. Print and complete the PRIV/F1 application form.
2. Attach a signed photocopy of your passport or driver’s license.
3. Attach a cover sheet stating the following:
To apply for a Korean visa, you need to obtain a National Police Clearance Certificate from the Australian Federal Police in Canberra. You do not need a fingerprint background check for the Korean visa. Lucky you—the estimated turn around for an Australian CBC is only 15 days! Follows these steps to apply for the clearance certificate:
1. Complete and print the application form.
2. Attach a signed photocopy of your driver’s license or passport.
3. Include a check or money order for $45 made out to “Australian Federal Police.”
4. Send off your application, photocopy of photo ID and payment to:
Australian Federal Police
8550 CANBERRA CITY ACT 2601F
Follow these steps to obtain a Police Clearance Certificate from the South African Police Services
1. Have your fingerprints taken at your local police station.
2. Draft a request letter with thefollowing information:
- Surname and/or maiden name
- Given names
- Date and place of birth
- South African ID number (if applicable)
- Last residential address in South Africa
- Last SA employer’s address & phone #
- Date and signature
- Mailing address, zip/postal code
- Telephone number
3. Make a request in your letter for a Police Clearance Certificate with a sex-offender registry check.
4. Also request that the completed certificate be forwarded to the Department of Foreign Affairs – Legalization Section for apostille before being returnedto you.
5. Add the following things
The proper background check for South Korea is called a Police Certificate of Character. You can obtain one for FREE (lucky you!) from the Superintendent of your district’s Garda Police Station. When you apply for a certificate, make sure to request a sex-offender registry check as well. Follow these steps to get a certificate:
1. Locate the address for the superintendent of your district.
2. Write a letter to your superintendentwith the following info: