What’s your name?
My name is Nancy.
What brought you to South Korea?
I like to tell people fate brought me here. I’ve always had an interest in South Korea but never thought about living here. I happened to study abroad in Seoul the fall of 2014 and after spending some time in China I still felt Korea was the best place for me. I decided to teach English here while working on my YouTube Channel Fancy Nancy TV.
Was it a difficult process getting hired and obtaining your visa?
It is a time consuming process but not that difficult. You just have to go down the checklist. It shouldn’t have been difficult for me but at the time I was in China and wasn’t planning on going back to the US for a while. So I got my fingerprints done in Taiwan while on vacation and had my mom help me notarize my university diploma. So I did things in a roundabout sort of way and spent a bit more money. But it just proves you can start applying to teach abroad no matter where you are right now. As for getting a job it wasn’t difficult at all. I only had one interview and waited a couple months before getting placed.
What is the average compensation for an English teacher?
I’m no longer on my teaching contract so I can just tell you what I earned. For my first job my salary was 2,200,000 won per month and if I’d stayed they would have increased it a very tiny percentage. For my second job in Seoul I was paid the same amount but I wanted to find my own housing so they gave me a 300,000 won housing allowance (this is a very small amount for living in Seoul just so you know).
How much is a typical apartment?
Teachers usually stay in studio apartments called “one rooms” in Korea. These are very tiny. They can cost from 300,000-1,000,000 won per month depending on what city you live in. Seoul is much more expensive. I have a room tour of the current apartment I’m staying in on my YouTube channel and that one costs 550,000 won per month in Seoul.
Do schools provide any accommodation to teachers getting to South Korea or while there?
Most schools will pay for your housing but don’t expect anything too fancy.
What are some differences teachers can expect in Korea versus teaching in other Asian countries?
I don’t have experience teaching in other countries but I have heard that South Korea pays the most out of all of them. Other than that I think the work culture is probably similar. They expect you to work hard without a lot of vacation time. And challenging your superiors is looked down upon.
How easy is it to meet other Americans?
If you’re in Seoul it’s really easy but if you’re placed in the countryside you might be the only foreigner in town. But South Korea is so small you can easily get to a bigger city on the weekends.
What did you miss most about being away from home?
To be honest other than my family I don’t miss that much about America. South Korea is safer and more convenient for me. However if we’re talking about my other home, China, I miss the food all the time. There’s a lack of real Chinese food in South Korea.
If you had a friend planning to spend only 24 hours in South Korea, what would you suggest that they see or do?
I would suggest they visit Insadong and Samcheongdong. They’re located close to each other and a good way to spend a long day without wasting time on traveling around. You can experience Korean history and how it’s blending with their modern culture now. Shopping and towers you can find in other countries too but I think Insadong and Samcheongdong are pretty unique to Korea.