Living Costs in South Korea
If your primary goal in teaching English abroad is to save money, then Korea is likely the best country to be. Average salaries are about 20 percent less than Japan, however in Korea, a free apartment and a one month salary bonus at the end of a year contract are offered in addition to your regular salary. In Japan, you would be responsible for paying for your own accommodations. With your apartment provided your largest expenditure will be on food and entertainment.
Food in supermarkets and from street vendors will be about half the price of those in most western countries. Foreign goods and food will generally be more expensive, but if you buy Korean products you will find them cheaper than your home country.
Seoul is also famous for its discount shops and weekend open markets. It won’t take long before you discover cheap places to buy fake designer goods, silver, jewelry and electronics.
Many teachers teach private English lessons and have other part-time jobs to save extra money. This is illegal and can have you deported, but it is definitely possible.
Overall, you could easily save more than US$700 per month with a little discipline. There are also casinos and great bar districts that have a tendency to rapidly absorb disposable income, so the amount you save is completely a function of your self-discipline.
Cost of Living in Seoul, South Korea
As the capital city, Seoul may be more expensive than smaller cities and rural areas around Korea. However, most English teachers are in Seoul, cost of living information will generally cover the prices in the capital. With a starting salary of about US$1800 and accommodation provided by your employer and the low income tax rate, you should be able to save about US$700 per month, even in Seoul.
Here is a break down of how your salary and living costs will break down.
- Teaching Salary: US$1800
- Income Taxes of 1.5%: = $27
- Pension contributions of 4.5%: = $81
- Health Care costs of 3.5%: = $63
- Utilities (average): = $150
- Internet: $40
- Cell Phone: $60
- Transportation: $100
- Food: $400
- Entertainment: $200
Total Savings for an English Teacher in Seoul = $679 per Month
Of course, if you get into the habit of exploring the nightlife of Seoul and have a love of shopping, it is pretty easy to blow through that $679 per month.
Videos on the Cost of Living in South Korea
TEFL English teaching job listings in Taiwan
A general overview of what to expect teaching English in Korea
Information on visa requirements to teach English in Korea
Interviews with English Teachers in South Korea
Interview with Sharon Demant, teaching English in South Korea.
Interview with Nomadic Samuel, teaching English in South Korea.
Interview with Jordan Lunan, teaching English in South Korea.
Interview with Simon & Martina Stawski, teaching English in South Korea.
Interview with David Deubelbeiss, teaching English in South Korea.
Official Korean Website
Korean News (Chosun)
Korean News (Korea Herald)
Korean News (Korea Times)
Korvia.com Government approved site for public school jobs
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