Starting a Career in South Korea

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There are always job opportunities in South Korea for motivated individuals who speak English and other languages fluently.

Even jobs in Korea requiring technical skills, such as web development, and medical and legal fields have room for non-Koreans to provide value.

You can find and carve out niches in South Korea that are unavailable back home. Here are some interesting options you can explore.

Teaching English


Teaching English is the gateway to establishing a career in Korea. There are employment opportunities year-round for people of all experience levels.

For entry-level English-teaching jobs, you can choose between teaching children or adults.

Teaching English to Children

There are three main types of entities in Korea where you can teach children. They are:

  • Public schools
  • Private academies
  • English camps

Public schools offer more time off but lower pay than private academies. They’re also harder to find positions in.

Private academies are somewhere in the middle in terms of pay and benefits. They hire all the time and have many positions available.

English camps tend to pay more, but require more hours as well as hidden activities that are basically unpaid work, such as field trips.

Teaching English to Adults

Private academies are the main places where you can teach English to adults in Korea. They pay about the same as private academies for children and sometimes require you to teach both children and adults. They often have split shifts that include early morning, lunch time and after dinner for the office worker crowd.

Jobs Related to Teaching English


After you teach English for a while, you may be offered other positions within the school or academy. These can include:

  • Trainer
  • Manager
  • Marketer/recruiter

Being a trainer can be a decent non-teaching job. You can make a good salary while meeting a lot of interesting people.

Being a manager can be stressful given the cultural differences between Korea and western countries.

Being a marketer/recruiter can also be stressful since you have to convince people to leave their homes and travel halfway around the world to teach English.

Jobs in Hospitality

For those who prefer jobs in the service industry, there are opportunities available.

They are:

  • Chef
  • Hotel manager
  • Server

I’ve known people who have worked in all these positions. They require long hours, but can pay well, depending on your skill level.

Jobs in Entertainment and the Arts


You can find work in Korea in all types of artistic fields.

Here are some notable ones:

  • Musician
  • Model
  • Actor
  • Dancer
  • Artist

You can get a special Culture and Entertainment visa known as the E-6 visa for these positions. Just be sure your job is on the level by getting references and looking for feedback online.


There are many job options in Korea for those willing to take a risk. Thanks for reading and happy job hunting!

Interesting Facts About Korean Culture

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South Korean culture dates back 5,000 years. It’s one of the oldest continuous cultures in existence. Find out what makes it so interesting.

Korean along with Japan are the two most homogeneous countries in the world. Even though there’s a lot of cultural exchange between Korea and other countries, it still retains its unique customs and traditions.

Korean apartment craze

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Newly built apartment complex

Korean real estate prices have skyrocketed in the last few years. The government’s attempts to keep apartment prices affordable have mostly backfired.

Koreans often buy their apartments before they’re built. Korean apartments are built in phases by different construction companies, so the same building complex will have apartments of different quality.

Koreans have a jeonse system (전세) where they deposit a large amount of money, nearly the asking price to purchase the apartment unit, in lieu of rent. A few decades ago after the IMF crisis, banks were offering double digit interest rates for deposits and building owners could make a pretty penny of jeonse. Interest rates have been dropping, so the practice isn’t as lucrative as it once was.

Some people borrow money for jeonse from the bank and pay a lower interest rate than they would for monthly rent (wolse or 월세). Newly married couples are looked down upon if they pay monthly rent, even if they’re getting a good deal or don’t have enough jeonse.

Korean banking security headaches

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The largest bank in Korea, Kookmin

Using Korean banking is like stepping in a time machine and going back to 2002. This is mostly thanks to its antiquated security system. Anh Lab was a struggling software anti-virus company in the early 2000s until the CIH virus ran roughshod over the country and people were forced to buy its V3 software. The Korean government made it mandatory in the banking industry and unfortunately, it’s still required. Imagine if McAfee was used by all banks in the U.S.

Thankfully, Kakao has created their own completely online banking service that removes most of the headaches of Korean banking. The service is only available to Korean citizens, so expats will have to continue using the old system with code cards and software from 20 years ago.

Lingua Asia has tips on Korean banking and how to make it easy as an expat.

Korean culture boom

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Traditional Korean gate

Korean pop culture is taking the world by storm. Korean media has made a big splash on billboard charts, the box office and streaming platforms like Netflix.

There’s even been a huge increase in blogs about South Korea in the last few years.

If this were a Civ game, they’d be on their way to winning a cultural victory.


There’s always some hidden surprise in Korea to keep you interested. Thanks for reading!