It’s Vanessa’s Thursday post, about a certain country you might be sick of hearing about. Sorry in advance, but not really. 


Hello! As you’re reading this, I’ll either be in the air somewhere, or in San Francisco, eager to land in Seoul after the longest flight I’ve ever taken on the biggest plane that I can imagine. Despite moving my entire apartment, sorting through a TON of stuff, packing and repacking my suitcase to a disgustingly tiny 50lbs, someone here at the popular Financial Uproar blog insists that I write a Thursday post. What’s more, he tweets this:

Honestly, you’d think that there’d be some perks to sleeping with the boss, but alas, here we are.

Anyways, Nelson and I are off to South Korea this month and, now that my visa is finalized and my bags are packed, I can figure out how much does it cost to teach English in Korea.

  1. Since my university is so old and fancy, my degree is entirely in Latin and needed to be translated into English. $15
  2. Despite paying “transcript copying fee” throughout my university stint, I still needed to fork over $20 to get copies of my transcripts.
  3. I needed to prove to the Korean government that I am not a criminal and so fingerprinting and a background check were required. $70
  4. All of my documents needed to be certified as true by the Korean embassy in Vancouver, which meant that I needed to have them notarized before sending them over. $68.25
  5. Canada Post “Expresspost” envelopes, which promise 1-3 day service between major city centres took 3+ days to get from Calgary to Vancouver and back again. 4 envelopes in all for a cost of $61.94
  6. A bunch of lovely people took my photograph for a total cost of $66.13
  7. Fedexing my certified documents to my employer in Korea cost $80.98. Fun fact! My documents went from Calgary to Memphis to Seoul. Why.
  8. Administrative fees including money order costs and visa application fee came to $86

The grand total comes to… $468.27. That’s the minimum of how much it will cost to teach English in Korea. I took a Korean language course and a TEFL course as well, which boosted my costs to $1090.62. These two courses, while optional, allowed me to get two job offers which resulted in a higher than average salary.

THIS is how you decide whether education is worth the cost — research the market ahead of time, look at the value of the skills you’ll have at the end and leverage those skills into a higher paying job. Running off willy-nilly and getting degrees and diplomas with no examination of the job market is foolish and is why people end up under-employed.

Let’s do a cost-benefit analysis, shall we? With today’s exchange rates, my monthly salary comes to about $2600. My pay packet also includes an apartment which provides me a net benefit of $500 (my rent cost in Calgary). Base income (excluding pension, bonuses, etc.), comes to $3100 — a $700 increase on my monthly Calgary salary. At this rate, I will only have to work one and a half months to recoup my initial outlay — everything else is $$$ in my pocket!

Or, looking at it another way, that’s a return of 800% annually. That’s not entirely accurate because I’ll have to work for it, but you get the idea.

Tell everyone, yo!