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Korea ranks second on the global education index

Notorious for the amount spent on higher education, Korea reaps the rewards ranking second out of 50 countries by Pearson Education on a new global education index called the Learning Curve.


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As an English teacher living in Korea you will earn an income above the national average, this is supplemented by free airfare and accommodation. You will therefore have a large disposable income and a lot of free time to spend your money.

To give you an idea, during my first contract I saved around 50% of my monthly income (1.0 million won / £550 / $900) whilst going out drinking on weekends, eating out almost every night and taking a trip around Korea about once a month. It is possible to save more/less than this; it all depends on how good you are with money and your purpose for coming out to Korea.

You’ll be pleased to know that even if you don’t save a penny (or a dime if you’re form the States!) during the year when you leave you will get your final month’s salary, a bonus equivalent to one month’s salary and the deposit you put down on your apartment so you can look to leave the country with £2,500 / $4500 in your pocket and a flight back home. All teachers (except UK citizens) can also claim their pension contributions back.

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Your director may provide you with a phone; on the other hand you may be able to buy the phone off the teacher you are replacing. If you are not given a phone do not worry, you can get second hand models extremely cheap, or you can pay slight more and get the latest smart phone. Mobile phone calls are also cheap in Korea. You will look to pay around 30,000 (£15 / $30) a month and can use your it liberally. It is not recommended that you make international calls on your mobile phone, if you wish to do so buy a calling card from your local convenience store. Alternatively you can make cheap international calls on the Internet using Skype or similar software.

Although your rent is free you must pay for utilities. Gas, electricity, cable TV, and Internet will cost you around 120,000 won (£60)  a month depending on the season..

Income tax in Korea is extremely low compared to the UK. You will only be deducted 3 -5% of your monthly pay depending on your school and location. You may even find that your employer will pay your tax and you will receive a full salary.

Health Insurance will amount to 5% of your monthly.

Pension plan strictly speaking all teachers are supposed to pay into a pension plan which works about 5% of your salary with the school matching your monthly pension contributions. When you leave you can claim this back by taking your flight ticket and a few documents to the pension office. However, UK citizens are not entitled to claim back their pension contributions as the UK doesn’t have a reciprocal agreement with Korea at the moment. For this reason we advise that if you are from the UK come to an agreement with your director not to pay into the pension plan.

Your salary will depend on a number of variables such as; your college/university major, relevant experience, the location of your school, student age group and working hours. First time teachers can expect to receive 2.0 - 2.3 million Korean Won per month (£1100-£1,400 / $1800 - $2100).