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Teaching English in Korea is the hottest ticket to living and working abroad and here is all the information that you need to get started. If this is your first time to Galbijim, you may be just starting to learn about the work opportunities for teaching English in Korea in the thriving English as a Second Language (ESL) industry in Korea. So, we'll take it from the top.
Unlike many other countries that have abundant resources, Korea has a knowledge-based economy. Education has been a valued centerpiece in their society dating back centuries. Since coming out of the ashes of the Korean War, the industrialization of the country has paved the way for creating an education-rich environment. And as recently as the past 10-15 years, the Korean government has stated broad initiatives for the country to acquire English, in order for them to prosper in the global marketplace. These developments have helped swing open the doors for people interested in teaching English in Korea.
Over time, the initiatives have developed into a hotly lucrative and competitive ESL industry. Ultra-competitive university entrance examinations require english proficiency to be eligible to attend the top schools. Many large Korean companies that are coveted places to work at, such as Samsung, Hyundai, and LG, require interviews conducted in Korean and English. The ferociously competitive nature of English education has developed it into one of Korea's leading domestic industries, generating over $3 billion/year in revenues. The 'English frenzy' has even compelled some uber-competitive mothers to have their children undergo some small surgical enhancements to the student's tongue, in hopes of achieving linguistic perfection. Adding to all of this, is that English is 'fashionable' and written everywhere in Korea. Although the industry has had its share of positives and negatives, teaching English in Korea is here to stay, flourish, and seek out adventurous westerners to come teach conversation to Korean students for a year or two.
As a result of this national thirst, there are now over 5,000 English language institutes (known as 'hagwons'), a majority of universities and colleges offering English programs, corporate English departments, and another recent governmental initiative to pump $51 billion into English education over the next 5 years, and have all middle schools employ at least one native-speaking English teacher by 2010.
What does all this mean to you? Well, a lot if you are the adventurous type who is up for teaching English in Korea and experiencing a vibrant culture....