Experiences of an English Language Teacher

I have finally arrived in South Korea

In my previous post, I shared the announcement that I was relocating with family to South Korea. There were a number of challenges that I was facing with regards to my work and visa before relocating, as nothing had been confirmed at the time of writing. If you are interested in what I had to do prior to my arriving in South Korea, I uploaded a video where I documented my month leading up to my relocation.

What did it take to get to South Korea with family? Watch the video to find out!

On Friday 18 August, I finished my eight week pre-sessional course with my international students and said goodbye to them all. I also had a final online meeting with the course convenor and fellow tutors, and said my farewells. Two days later, my family and I left the UK for an indeterminate amount of time and headed off to Korea. My brother-in-law has been a lifesaver and sorted out our accommodation, and we moved in after staying in temporary accommodation for two days.


Soon after my previous video where things were not confirmed, I received an offer of employment with a university in Daejeon. I discovered during my job hunting that many jobs outside of Korea were for private language institutes (also called ‘hagwons’ 학원) which both have advantages as well as a greater number of disadvantages, so to receive an offer of employment with a university from outside of Korea was a blessing and I feel very honoured to be given the opportunity to transfer my employment from the University of Sussex. My main duties will be preparing Korean and international students for their corresponding business undergraduate degrees as well as aiding them with their academic skills. There are opportunities to get involved in other activities, and I am looking forward to seeing how things evolve with time.

Visa Status

My status in Korea is sponsored by my employer which offers less flexibility for my work status. There are other opportunities to do a variety of voluntary activities with my visa, but I initially have a one-year visa despite signing a two-year contract. I also do not have a re-entry visa so travelling on holiday to visiting other countries can be a little difficult initially. However, visas in South Korea are very similar to the UK or Australia in some degrees and I will have to work towards getting permanent residency in a number of years.

To achieve permanent residency, you have to achieve a number of points and there are various ways to gain points, with things such as education, employment, home ownership as well as various other tasks. Personally, during my employment, I would like to take Korean classes to prepare me for the TOPIK as this would be recognised for my applying for permanent residency in the years to come. However, time will make things clearer in terms of getting residency in Korea as I am unlikely to return to the UK, and may stay on with family in South Korea.

Final Points

There are a number of things that need to be completed after starting my employment, these including getting my Korean mobile phone number sorted, getting my bank organised, completing a medical check-up, as well as receiving a refund of my flight to South Korea. All these will take time but much is hinging on the issuance of my Alien Residence Card (ARC) but I have a date to collect this on 6 September – some days after I start my employment.

Although I have a few days before I start, there are some orientations and general meetings that I need to attend – I even went to a compulsory lecture for all professors earlier this week about engaging and teaching Korean university students. I also had the opportunity to meet my fellow colleagues. I am looking forward to joining Korea TESOL Association and going to the regional meetings in the coming months.

1 Comment

  1. Glad to hear things are smoothing out in Korea Martin!

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