Best recruiters for teaching English abroad?
April 19, 2010 2:05 PM   Subscribe

What are the best recruiters for teaching English in South Korea?

So, I'm graduating college in December and I am thinking about teaching English in South Korea. My understanding is that the two ways to find a job are to; a) find it yourself, or b) get one through a recruiter. I've heard it advised through some that it is better to find a job yourself, but I feel like the process would be more simplified through a recruiter. Plus, it would put my parents' minds more at ease if it were done through an "official" entity (as opposed to "I found a job listing from a website you've never heard of in a country you've never been to. Bye!"). Anyway, I'm looking for specific recruiter websites that I can trust where people end up with good jobs.

On a sidenote, I'd also like to know: do I actually have to wait to get my bachelor's before applying, or can I apply within the couple months before that with the understanding that I'm about to complete it, and show proof later? I would prefer to have something lined up before graduating.
posted by LegateSaxon to Work & Money (4 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I have not actually worked through a recruiter; when I worked in Seoul, I went through Princeton Review; I'd taught for them in the states previously. That is one way to do it, certainly - and if you like, I can put you in touch with my friend in Seoul who might have some options for you. There are several US companies with Korean affiliations, and those would be good places to start, I think, for the comfort of your folks - rather than a purely Korean-based one.

In order to get a permanent work visa, at least when I was there, you needed to have a college degree - I think many places would accept an early application, contingent on your being able to produce the necessary visa documents. Here is DOS on Korean visa requirements - be mindful that, AFAIK, you need to obtain this visa outside of Korea, so it would be best to have the degree before you go there, so you would not have to leave again to get it.
posted by mccn at 2:30 PM on April 19, 2010


Korea is an interesting place to be. As far as I know, they pay quite decent.

DO GET YOUR BACHELOR FIRST! If you have the degree before you leave this should be fine with any recruiter.

* teaching English is easily a dead end job. Think carefully about your options. (On the other hand, I know quite a few that stayed in Asia, teach English and have quite some decent savings compared to several engineering PhDs I kidding!)

* Assume you would be interested in learning the language. What might help you the most in the future? (Korean compared to Chinese, Japanese etc.).

While I have not tough English in Korea, I have lived there and could you refer to people who know the ropes. Please drop me a PM if you are interested.
posted by yoyo_nyc at 4:02 PM on April 19, 2010

check your MeFi mail.
posted by gursky at 6:11 PM on April 19, 2010

I could write a novel on this - or just point you to my blog. Google "Chris in South Korea" for the address and tons of information about life in Korea.

The Bachelor's Degree is an absolute requirement for getting your visa. Not having it means you don't get it. You need the original piece of paper - a copy that's notarized will work, but bear in mind you're coming to a country where appearances matter. Do things right and you're set for smooth sailing.

While some readers of mine have come to Korea to do some employer shopping, it's a delay and will cost more money than it may be worth. When you come to Korea on a tourist visa you can't legally teach / make money. Your teaching visa (an E-2) has to be applied for, which takes 2-4 weeks, AND THEN picked up in another country (usually Japan). In the meantime, your employer is chomping at the bit to get a teacher in place. To make matters worse, most employers will pay for your plane ticket to Korea or for your visa run - that flight to Japan - but not both.

Regarding ending up with good jobs - if a place like that were to exist, everyone would be working for them. It's a roll of the dice - and all based on the people you work with, the school's principal / your boss, and so on. Sorry to not be more positive, but that is the world Korea lives in. For a starting point, Footprints Recruiting, the TALK program, the SMOE program (for Seoul), the GEPIK program (for the doughnut around Seoul), the EPIK program (for everywhere else in Korea) are worth checking out.
posted by chrisinseoul at 9:42 AM on April 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

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