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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Back in Korea Again

After a quick trip back to the States to visit family, I'm back in Korea again, though this time at a University.  I have to say that teaching at a University is about a bazillion times better than at a hagwon, for a few key features:

1) Universities will usually give you on-campus housing which means a couple things.  First, you won't have far to walk to work, unlike a hagwon that might stick you on the far end of the city.  Second, as the building will be on-campus, the staff wants it to look nice so their campus doesn't appear run-down, so it'll be in pretty good shape.  Unlike my old hagwon that had me living in squallor in the middle of the dirtiest part of the city.

2) Higher pay.  Universities pay more.  Simple, end of story.

3) Less work time and less busy work time.  My university has me working 18-20 hours a week, and all of that is actual work, not just sitting around wasting time.  The hagwon had me working 35-40 hours a week, of which a significant chunk would just be sitting at my desk doing nonsense BS work like reviewing text books or whatever.  

4) Vacation.  Most universities will give you at least a few weeks of vacation a year.  Mine gives me 2 months.  The hagwon gave me ten days, spread out over the course of a year (the longest chunk of time I had off was three days).

5) Prestige.  Working at a University just looks good on a CV.  Working at a hagwon looks all right.

So, how does one get a University job in Korea?  Well you don't need a Ph.D. or a Master's, though those would certainly help.  All University jobs I've seen (including the one I landed) require at least 3 things:

1) Minimum of 2 years teaching experience.

2) Strong background in English (either a college degree in English or related field, or a job that involved heavy use of proper English, like an Editor, writer, something similar)

3) Previous experience in Korea.  So yeah, you probably can't have this be your first job in Korea, as the folks at Universities like to know their employees can stay in this country for a year and not quit mid-contract.

Somebody described working in Korea like joining a frat: the first year you're low man (or woman) on the totem pole, and you're gonna get stuck with the crappy stuff.  But after that first year, you can do all the cool stuff.  Which is pretty accurate.

Overall, I'd say it's pretty sweet.  My busiest day involves working four hours and ten minutes.  My shortest day, I work one hour and forty minutes.  I get the whole month of December off, and during the summer, there's at least a couple weeks where I only work fifty minutes a day.

So I very muich recommend getting a Uni job in Korea if you can.


  1. how are you able to teach at a university? do you have a masters?

    1. Those questions are answered in my post above. As I said in the post, an MA is not required, however, teaching experience is. If you don't have any kind of teaching certificate, and no teaching experience, forget about getting a Uni job.