How’d you do that?…. teaching English abroad

Hmmmm…. you want to know how I became a English teacher in South Korea. Ok ,I can answer some basic questions for you.

Here are questions that you may want the answers to:

Am I a certified teacher in my state in the U.S.?

Not at all. I’m a Film & Video graduate with the dream of making a feature length film, and submitting it to Cannes Film Festival.

Didn’t you do some kind of training then,I mean you didn’t just fly over there with no experience ,right?

Yes, I took an 120hr online TEFL(Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course.

I want to go to Japan OR South Korea,is it easy?

Nope.I want to say that besides the UAE, Japan and Korea are some of the most competitive countries to get a job in, but for different reason.Japan is popular, well, because it’s Japan, people want to live there.Korea is popular too, for the same reason as Japan, people love it, but also because of the benefits .Benefits: taking your pension back home,healthcare,dental,and free housing are big reasons why people want to come to Korea.

Teaching for the first time is it hard?

YES,I’m not going to sugar coat it and lie to you.I’m really glad I worked at a private academy before coming here,getting controlling and maintaining a class of small people ,can be quite hard especially when you have to do it on your own.

That’s not to say that you can’t do it without experience.People start like this all the time and become great teachers.Never doubt what you can do, without ever doing it( I didn’t say try because I don’t believe in it:Do or do not there is no try.),you could be the best teacher ever.But if you never give yourself a chance to test your potential you’ll never know.

What were/are the minimum requirements?

Clean FBI background

100 TEFL certificate


A Bachelors degree in any discipline

Wait that can’t be all,can it?

Well it depends on country, that’s the bare minimum that a lot of  countries require,and some don’t even require the TELF. But if you do have a degree in English or Teaching, in many cases you would be a shoe in.

Also I forgot to mention another requirement is the willingness  to leave your family and friends behind.

Did you ever get rejected?

No,I actually really wanted to go to Japan,but I was scared of getting rejected ,so I decided to go to Korea first.At the time it wasn’t half as competitive as it is now.

Did you use a recruiter?

Yes,but  I didn’t have to.I used a recruiter basically as a middle man to ensure that I had all the paperwork I needed.I also wanted them to double check my grammar and spelling.

What program did you use?

EPIK,English Program in Korea is how most public school teachers in Korea have found their jobs,the Japanese equivalent is the JET program.

I’m black/hispanic is it hard to get a job teaching abroad?

Ummm,depends on where you’re teaching really.There are some private schools that feel as though Westerner/Western is synonymous with whiteness,and so sometimes you will see the white only adds.So it may be a bit harder for you,but there are lot of people who get jobs,if you have the passion do it.I know people who have gotten jobs in the  public,private,and even college sector.

Wait,you said there are white only adds?Do you face a lot of discrimination?

Being the fact that I did public school route through EPIK I didn’t have to look for a job.So honestly not really,but that’s not to say I don’t know people who have.A lot of people have to deal with being told that school they applied to are looking for something else,or just the fact that the school is not looking for a person who looks like them.This is because the parents want a “true Westerner”,and to them that often means someone who doesn’t look like me.

Should I teach abroad?

I don’t know do you want to make new experiences,see the world,learn about new cultures,or a learn a new language?I can’t tell you what to do ,but even if you just half a year of spare time in your life plan I would totally suggest teaching abroad.The things that you learn about yourself and the world around it’s priceless.


So to all of you with aspirations of teaching abroad,

May the odds forever be in your favor,