One big misconception about embarking on an adventure as an English teacher is that it is the ideal for people falling under the single status. This is really not the case.
It may perhaps be a lot easier to make this step on your own, but like many experiences in life, it will be better enjoyed with a good friend or life partner. We are big advocates of doing this as a couple and even as a family with children. This may not be the common practice but there are many reasons to do it.
One of the biggest advantages is very clear: A foreign country will not seem so lonely and strange if you have someone to share your concerns and to keep loneliness at bay. You will always have someone to explore the surroundings with, enjoy the new cuisine, and also to vent your daily frustrations. Just like back home…
Also, consider the aspect of the household finances:
Chances are, based on the fact that you are here, that money is one of your big motivators. This is usually a reality for most people who end up teaching abroad.
With both partners working, you will be comfortably saving between 2.0 - 3.0 mil. KRW per month and still be able to enjoy life in Korea. It is a great way to give yourself a start back at home or get back on your feet. If you are burdened by student loans or saving for that brand new home or car, in Korea you can breathe a sigh of relief and see a light at the end of that dark tunnel.
Often we are asked if couples can work and live together, or work in schools near each other, so an apartment can be shared. As a general rule, the best way to approach this job hunt situation is to look for “Couple Jobs”, where you would work at the same school, and share an apartment owned by the school. Some schools shy away from hiring couples as they worry if the couple break up, the school runs the risk of losing not one, but two teachers. Also, sometimes the school does not have accommodations suitable for a couple.
Of all of the couples we have placed in Korea, only one couple has worked in two different schools, and had the schools agree to share the expenses for one apartment. The reason it isn’t as easy as we might suspect, is that the schools generally own their teachers’ apartments, so to make arrangements for a larger, shared apartment, with another school, is more complex than just splitting the rent on a larger place.
We seem to receive quite a few requests for couples from our schools. I think is since in our experience couples take this process very seriously and are well-prepared during the important E2 process.
I do have requests from some couples, where only one person is able to work, due to education requirements for the E2 visa. If this is the case, as much as would like to help, and will offer our help, it is very challenging to find schools willing to help arrange a larger apartment for a couple, when only one teacher is working.
Many people feel that once a family is established, it is time to settle down and give up a life of adventure. Although this may be true for most, it does not have to be. Of course, we relate this to our own experience, being newly married and learning the ropes of parenthood. We have often felt that the excitement would seep out of our days and that responsibility would grip us in its claws. Isn’t that what happens?
Well…it does not have to be and if you feel the need to escape the mundane, this is the perfect opportunity.
Korea may be the land of the unknown, but isn’t everything until you start to learn and explore?