Wanted: College graduates and native English speakers between 21 and 55 years old who would like to get paid to live in a foreign country. Benefits include free housing, salary, paid vacation and medical insurance. Cost of transportation reimbursed.
Does this ad sound too good to be true?
For those who qualify, it’s not.
Here’s the scoop: South Korea needs native English speakers who are willing to spend a year in the country working with teachers in elementary and high school classrooms (mostly grades seven to 12). The program is funded by the Korean government “in an effort to foster cross-cultural understanding and education,” said Kimberly Berls, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based Greenheart Travel, a nonprofit organization that arranges cultural and eco-focused travel adventures worldwide.
“Unlike some other programs, there is no fee for this one,” she added. “The expenses are absorbed by the Korean government. The program began in 1995 and there are about 1,100 positions that open every year.”
Participants are partnered with a teacher to help with lesson plans and other activities that revolve around English lessons.
“They want a native English speaker in the room,” Berls explained. “We also get people from Canada, Australia and Britain — any country where English is the native language.”
Berls, 28, had a similar experience a few years ago but not with Greenheart.
“I taught in Japan for two-and-a-half years from 2002 to 2005 with a different company. I learned to speak Japanese on an intermediate level. I learned to be adaptable because every day is an adventure — a challenge. You learn something new.”
She took the teaching job in Japan to pay off student loans, but found that “I really enjoyed my time in Asia. The people are very welcoming and interested to know about you. You become immersed in the culture and the community. I have good friends now from Japan.”
Berls’ experience differed in that she taught adults most of the time and didn’t have the support that Greenheart provides, she said. She had no training before she reported for her job, had to find an apartment and furniture on her own, and had to learn the city solo.
“With Greenheart, everything is arranged for you,” she said, “and you get training for the job, how to set up a bank account — lots of things. The level of support is very, very good.”
The benefits working with Greenheart include:
Paid vacation (13 to 15 national holidays plus 18 work days).
Free furnished studio apartment (utilities not included).
Reimbursement for plane ticket to South Korea — approximately $1,160.
Same amount reimbursed for ticket back home.
Settlement allowance of about $260, paid within the first month of the 12-month contract.
Salary — $1,600 a month minimum. More money for rural areas, a master’s degree or a certificate in teaching English.
Training in Korea — 10 days. This is unpaid .
Work week is 35 to 40 hours.
One month salary bonus at the end of a year.
Accident and medical insurance
“Whether you’re thinking of a career in teaching or just want to experience a new culture, teaching English in Korea is a good way to go,” Berls said. “It will change your life.”
Applications are due June 15. Contact Lauren Bauer at [email protected], or apply online at www.greenhearttravel.org.
Filed Under: Hit the Road