Monthly Archives: May 2012

“Really?!? …..why South Korea?”

When telling people of my future plans as of lately, I have been somewhat hesitant to explain my upcoming adventure in South Korea as it usually gets the response of “woah…” followed by some strange looks and the question of “why?”. “To teach English” is my short response, but I feel even that requires some explanation since there is still the question of “Why South Korea?”.

South Korea values education so much that students there are in school for nearly 12 hours a day. After public school, students are sent to private English academies to learn English. Korean students have to prepare for English entrance exams after high school that play an important role in getting into a good college, much like SAT scores in the US. Since learning English as a second language is an integral part of Korean education, there are English schools and academies all throughout the country in both private and public schools. Since learning English is so important to the Koreans, it is standard for each school to offer salary pay with round trip airfare, pension, severance, 50% medical coverage, 2 – 4 weeks paid vacation and a rent free apartment for a year usually within walking distance to the school. The only qualifications for these positions are a degree from a native English speaking country, clean criminal background check and willingness to sign a year contract.

But why not use my college degree to find a job here in the U.S.? The excerpt below from an AP article pretty much explains the position I’ve been in since graduating university.

Half Of Recent US College Graduates Unemployed Or Underemployed

In a stark reminder of how the recession has damaged the employment prospects of young Americans, an Associated Press analysis found that more than half of recent college graduates are out of work or toiling in unskilled jobs.

According to the AP’s analysis of government data, about 53.6 percent of Americans who have bachelor’s degrees and are 25 and under are unemployed or hold lower-wage jobs, like waiting tables or serving as office receptionists, that don’t require a degree. That translates to about 1.5 million young people who have not, or not yet, gotten the payoff they expected from a college education.


Unfortunately for me, I have found myself in the unemployed/underemployed category since graduating college 2 years ago. As a college graduate, I have been toiling in the restaurant business for years and bouncing from job to job, working everywhere from warehouses to farmer’s markets along with high schoolers and undergrads. ┬áThis makes it difficult to live comfortably financially while paying student loan bills and other costs of living every month. So Why South Korea? Because I have the qualifications, can live comfortably, have job security, save money while paying student loans and also do some travelling around Southeast Asia. Plus I have wanted to teach since before even going to college, so it will be a great opportunity for me to jump right in. After getting a year of teaching experience under my belt in Korea, it opens up a lot of possibilites for me to teach ESL almost anywhere in the world and even could teach at universities after just a couple of years with the necessary qualifications. Not to mention it will spice up my rather unimpressive resume. I consider it an international loophole, since I want to teach but would never be able to do so with just a bachelors degree and no experience here in the U.S.