Prior to coming to Korea, I work and taught for several institutions in the United States. These included public and private universities, as well as vocational colleges. Currently I teach at Sungkyul University in Anyang, South Korea following several years teaching in private after-school academies.
What are the perks of teaching here?
There are probably three advantages to teaching in Korea. First, most schools (public and private) will provide round-trip airfare. This can be of great value since the school will be footing the bill and not the teacher. Second, most schools will also provide a modest studio apartment for the incoming teacher. In cases where schools do not provide housing, most will provide the deposit and a housing stipend. Finally, the salary to cost-of-living ration is higher than most countries. This ensures the ability to enjoy a comfortable life while saving money. Some additional benefits to living and teaching in Korea include affordable flights to other Asian destinations.
Would you recommend teaching in this specific location?
Absolutely. The current focus on English Education (in the private sector) doesn’t seem to be diminishing; therefore, the need for qualified teachers is still great. Once in Korea, an instructor is able to not only have a comfortable life, but explore their surroundings.
What is your best memory teaching in this country?
Probably my favorite memory in Korea pertains to my first week after arriving in 2009. I was new to my city and I was sitting in the park, using the local wi-fi feed. A Korean man introduced himself to me and asked me where I was from and what I was doing in Korea. He offered to be my friend and then excused himself. A few minutes later, he returned with a large bag from the local 7-11 filled with snacks, ramyun, soda, and beer. I had not expected such generosity. We became great friends and some of my best experiences in Korea were with him.
What did your average weekend in this country look like?
Each week my wife and I explore the area. We try to find a new restaurant, cultural sight, or historical location to visit. We also make it a point to meet up with friends as much as we can and conduct our shopping. Since we have long weekends, we usually also try to plan a few trips each month, which is easy to do, since Korea is so small.
Could you briefly describe your hiring and Visa process?
Obtaining my position at my current University necessitated a three-stage interview process. Stage One involved interviewing with the Academic Manager responsible for hiring all faculty members. Stage Two involved interviewing with the College Dean. The final interview was conducted with the President of the University. Once a contract was signed, I was able to transfer my existing E2 Teaching visa to the new employer.
What is a typical salary for an ESL teacher in your region?
Most universities pay their faculty members on a tiered structure. Pay starts at 1.8m won per month for faculty with a Bachelors degree. Faculty members with a Masters or Doctorates are paid at higher tiers. Additional compensation is usually offered for each year of teaching in Korea. Sometimes additional salary is provided for teaching special classes. It should be noted that overtime pay at universities is usually far lower than in private academies and the elementary/middle/high schools.
Can you tell us a bit about your travel blog and what readers can expect to find?
Visiting QiRanger.com provides readers with many options. Tuesday and Friday major stories are released providing a comprehensive multimedia experience on travel destination, travel tips, regional food, and product reviews. Sunday features the release of my popular travel podcast. Throughout the rest of the week, I share regional news, stories, op-ed pieces, and answer questions from listeners, readers, and viewers. The majority of the stories focus on living, teaching, and exploring South Korea, but other destinations are often highlighted.
Can you briefly tell us about your upcoming travel plans?
I will continue to explore Korea and uncover its magic throughout the fall (2012). In January 2013, I will return to the Philippines for vacation and enjoyment.
Steve Miller, the QiRanger, is Korea’s best-known travel video journalist. His videos have been viewed by millions and seen on media outlets in throughout the world. In addition to sharing his entertaining and informative videos, he writes about life abroad and releases a popular weekly podcast. Steve appears regularly on two of Seoul’s radio stations, talking about travel and Korean culture. Steve has also appeared on Arirang Television’s Korea Today sharing unique aspects of Korean life.