Teaching English…Let’s Talk Money

Well, today is my 5 year anniversary of living in Korea. I can’t believe I have been here that long. Some days it seems like only yesterday that I arrived here, scared out of my mind of what the future would hold. Other days, I forget the way we say things back in Ireland and it seems like forever since I lived there.

One of my first weeks in Korea


But something that Korea has afforded me to do is to live a comfortable life never having to worry about money.

I was recently chatting to Jason feeling a bit panicked that we mightn’t have as much savings leaving here as I had hoped. Luckily we sat down and wrote down our finances and worked out that we may be only $1,000 short of what we had hoped for.

One of the questions that I usually get asked when people are considering moving to Korea is about money. Because let’s face it…it’s what draws most people to teach English here in Korea.

So let me break down what 5 years in Korea has afforded me to do…

Myself and Jason got to pay off over $15,000 worth of debt in about 3 months (we had both payed off about $8,000 in our first few yearsΒ in Korea.)

The night that we became debt free we bought a bottle of champagne to celebrate.

We got married and had an amazing honeymoon in Bali.grainnefb-56

I got to visit Ireland and my family 4 times in 5 years.486737_496040363747367_1584591532_n


I got to visit Jason’s family in America once for a month.396203_372672622750809_1854014088_n

We got to do a 4 month Asian adventure together travelling to Thailand, Cambodia, Nepal and India.Agra and the Taj Mahal.

We have also gotten to travel to China, Japan (twice), Amsterdam, Malaysia and Borneo. Jason also went to the Philippines.


cb61f-malaysia058We were able to get our dog, Willy, 2 complicated operations on his legs which cost us just under $2,000 (a bargain for what was involved!). In America, each leg would have cost about $10,000!imagewilly

We have travelled throughout Korea together.206423_208115522539854_6647442_n

229550_1841185080856_1820334_nWe have never lived pay check to pay check.

and we are hoping to leave Korea with just under $30,000


Not bad for 5 years!

You can probably now understand why we stayed here for as long as we did. We know life in America will be incredibly different but we are definitely excited for that next challenge!

So if you are considering moving to Korea to teach English, please do! It’s a great way to have fun while saving money or paying back your student loans (I have one friend who has paid back over $40,000 in student loans over 3 years!)

If you have any questions about moving to Korea or about teaching English, just let me know.


11 thoughts on “Teaching English…Let’s Talk Money

    1. You need to have a degree in any subject to be a teacher here. But having a TEFL certificate will help your chances of getting employed in a good school (especially public school, which is where I work)

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you so much for your blog! I’m planning to apply to the EPIK program for the August 2016 intake, so I’ve been reading back through your entries and getting inspired. πŸ™‚ One question though – I keep hearing that it’s getting more and more competitive to teach in Korea. I’m getting my TEFL certificate in Sept, so I’m hoping that will give me an edge, but I’m still a little nervous. Do you think it’s more competitive now than it was when you first applied 5 years ago?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, thanks for reading!
      Honestly, I think that it is harder to get a job these days compared to 5 years ago. I came to Korea without a TEFL certificate, whereas I think these days you do need one. Also, with the current government, they are trying to phase out foreign teachers in public schools. It means that some programs were cut.
      But having said that there are still tons of jobs here in Korea! You should definitely apply for EPIK and if that fails there are always lots of hagwons that need teachers (just make sure to talk to a teacher that has worked there previously to make sure it’s legit). Also, from what I hear, EPIK are in the process of making it difficult for South Africans to get jobs in public school (they will have to prove that English is their first language) which will also free up some extra spots.

      Your TEFL will definitely help you along the way. Both in becoming a better teacher and being able to get a better job. I hope that helps! If you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! It’s good to hear that folks are still getting jobs – and I do think that the TEFL certificate will help. I’m also interested in teaching in a more rural area (not necessarily Seoul or Busan), so I’m hoping that will help too! I’m actually looking forward to the TEFL class, and meeting other aspiring ESL teachers.

        I may come up with a couple more questions as I go – thanks for offering to help! I hope that your own visa/moving process goes smoothly – if you haven’t already, make sure to check out Boulder. I’ve got a few friends who’ve lived there over the years, and it’s apparently gorgeous (especially for hiking).

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yeah of course, I understand what it’s like in the planning stages of moving abroad so I’m more than willing to help!
          Thanks, I got my visa this week which is such a relief. I have heard Boulder is beautiful, I’d love to live there but it’s so expensive! 😦

          Liked by 1 person

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