Aside from the type of job you may want to choose, the location is the next most important option to explore. Korea is the same as any other country and offers metropolitan cities as well as rural and more remote locations. It is important to explore and learn about the different types of locations, before settling on one. Korean is a relatively small country and cities, both small and large tend to be more alike than you'd think. Korea can be divided into 3 types of locations and the majority of teachers will fall somewhere in the middle.
Many teachers who are unfamiliar with Korea, want to be placed in Seoul. While Seoul can be an exciting city, with plenty to do and access to western amenities, it is not the best location for everyone, especially 1st time teachers.
Gwangju, Daejon, Daegu
These major cities are happy middle for most teachers in Korea. They offer access to western food, have thriving and close-knit foreign communities and are easy to get around and to travel from. Learn why mid-sized cities are a great option.
Even rural areas in Korea are located close to a major city, which allows for both a cultural experience and easy access to the bustling cities. While small cities are not for everyone, some teachers learn to love the connection with the community and culture.
What our teachers say
My year living on Geoje Island in the South was wonderful! An hour bus ride from Busan, where we went sailing most weekends in the summer and a four hour cheap bus ride to Seoul if we wanted a weekend of city life.
Not far from Jirisan National Park where we would go hiking..... I could go on! Do a year somewhere small first! Then go to Seoul!
I live in a rural area and I honestly love it. I feel like I’m getting a great experience and really connecting with the Koreans in my area :) not to mention fresh air and living a 5 minute walk away from the beach is great too!
I think as I live in London, I couldn't think of anything worse than working in Seoul. I absolutely loved my 2 years in Mokpo, Jeollanamdo. The garden and food capital of Korea. Big enough to have everything and small enough to be friendly. Absolutely fantastic place. In 2 years I did go to Seoul twice....under protest
With public transport being so good in Korea, everything is reachable within a few hours. Even if you get 'Seoul', chances are you'll need to ride the subway for at least 30 minutes to get to the centre anyway. I would definitely recommend living in other areas of Korea which often offer better conditions in terms of accommodation, etc...
"I only want to be placed in Seoul"
It is not surprising that many of applicants wish to be placed in Seoul, since it is the main city that they hear about in Korea. Whether you come from a small town or from a metropolitan city, you might have your own legitimate reasons to want to be placed there.
While life in Seoul can be exciting to visit and a fun place to spend a weekend, it is often not the best choice for newly arriving teachers.
Schools in Seoul tend to prefer applicants with experience, those who are already in Korea, or they tend to cherry pick among education majors and North American accents. Since there are more applicants than jobs, schools can be quite selective and we tend to see applicants who only restrict themselves to Seoul as a location, sit in the job search for a long time or setting for a job that might not be the right fit for them.
While we're always listening to our applicants' location and job preferences, we also feel that it's important for us to share as much information as possible, so that they understand their choices and understand the job market. If you have set your mind on Seoul and do not wish to focus on other locations, we will respect that, but please understand that it might take longer to find a suitable position.