Question from a reader: summer camp jobs

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A reader writes in:

A reader writes in:

I am currently living in Canada, but I’m looking to teach in Korea for the summer. I have a 3-4 month break in my job, and would love to return to the Hermit Kingdom for a few months. Not exactly sure how this would work, but I thought I would just throw it out there. Perhaps someone is looking for a break from their job to return home for a few months? I used to work in Korea and really enjoyed my time there. I have friends who are currently working in Bundang, and I would love to be close to them also. I know it’s an unusual situation, but I was hoping you had some insight as to how this could possibly work for me. I would be willing to pay for my own flight over, as long as I made a few paychecks while I was there and was able to enjoy my summer. Breaking even would be worth it. Are summer camps an option?

[M.M]

I wrote about finding a summer camp job last year, but your question is different enough to merit revisiting the topic.

Summer camps are a great way to come to Korea temporarily, work with Korean kids and make some money in the process. The pay is decent for the work you’ll do, and you’ll likely leave with more money than you came in with. You’re unlikely to get rich off of teaching English in Korea, though.

One primary disadvantage with summer camp jobs is a lack of flexibility – some may not offer paid sick days, while others will require you to be present at every function related to the camp (eating with the kids, watching them leave or come in, etc. etc.). It’s sort of like being one of Santa’s reindeer – that one big night, there’s no excuses. Also, the amount of time you can call your own is smaller than you think – sometimes as little from Saturday afternoon to Sunday night. Between teaching duties, camp duties, babysitting duties, and other administrative duties, there’s rarely a free moment.

Even if you’re only working a summer camp, the usual contract rigmarole still applies – make sure you understand what you’re signing to, and make sure you get what you’re supposed to. If you’ve been to Korea before, you may have a rough idea of where a given place / city / province. Know before you come to avoid any surprises – and never accept the ‘Seoul area’ for an answer. That answer is a bit like saying something is ‘natural’ – it can easily mean one thing to one person and something completely different to someone else. Ask for the city or the gun (rural county, pronounced ‘goon’) Google Maps covers Korea quite well, in both English and Korean.

The good news is that there are summer camps all over the country – from Busan to Bundang, from northern Seoul to the southern coast. You can find them in many of the same ways you’d find a longer teaching job – hearing from friends or looking online. A few sites to get you started:

Or just google ‘summer camp jobs korea’ for quite a few more options.

Readers: any summer camps or short-term programs you’ve had a good experience with? Comments are open.

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