Best deal out of college

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I’ve rarely met a person who’s worked in Korea for more than one year fail to pay back a significant amount of their student debt, save lots of money or send a decent amount of money home. I decided to do some calculations which explains why.

While I can’t say it’s purely our company that helps teachers make a decent amount of money while teaching here in Korea, but our baseline for almost every instructor is a minimum of 25,000 won an hour or their monthly salary of 2.1 million won or more for up to 120 hours worked a month which also includes housing, airfare and an end of the year severance bonus on top of a 50% of their medical insurance and pension contributions a month. These latter benefits equals approximately 9+ million won extra a year which bumps up the monthly to equate to about 25,000 won an hour.

If we do a straight comparison of 3 different average starting salaries of jobs in the United States, we can see it beats beginning Human Resources Generalists, equals close to what a beginning Engineer makes and easily outweighs what a starting teacher would make in the the states. The specific stats are here:

Human Resources Generalist I – $43,741
50 weeks times 40 hrs a week, 2 weeks of vacation
$21.87/hr

Engineer 1 – $52,491
50 weeks times 40 hrs a week, 2 weeks of vacation
$26.25

Starting Salary for a teacher – $30,719**
38 weeks times 50 hours a week (it’s reported that teachers work 38 weeks vs. the average of 47 weeks or so of other professions)
$16.17 (1900 hrs/yr)
38 weeks times 40 hours a week
$20.21 (1520 hrs/yr)
**http://www.cnn.com/2003/EDUCATION/07/04/teacher.salaries.ap/
**http://www.nea.org/newsreleases/2003/nr030827.html – Despite Long Hours, Low Pay, Teachers Love Their Profession

Not only does it outweigh or at least equal some of the most professional and well paying positions in the United States, but Busan, South Korea has lower living costs than most of the cities in the world (yes, Seoul is a bit more expensive, but cities outside of it are very good financially). As you can see in previous posts, Real Estate is so inexpensive here in Busan. With a deposit of about $5000 (USD), you can rent a great modern villa for 300,000 won or about $315 or so a month. It’s about $300 cheaper than the least expensive rental averages back home.

I know people who have paid back their entire student loan debt while here, others who have saved up within one year for a down payment on a house and another couple who is even thinking about saving up enough money to retire and they are not even in their mid 30’s yet. It’s amazing how much this country does to pad the wallets of many foreigners throughout the world.

On top of that, you get to meet some amazing people, have a chance to work in some great management opportunities that can pad your resume as well along with even picking up a useful language that can also add to your resume (& cultural understanding) meeting great connections that may be future business or business partners moving forward. Many have written books or begun their life as writers here, others have enough journal material for a lifetime and some even have begun careers in Photography as well. The things people do here are simply amazing on top of having one of the best financial situations in Asia.

Most importantly, many people walk away from their 1 to as many as 5 years or more with a sense of achievement, pride in helping many young kids learn English much better than they would of from others because we place significant effort in their lives and honestly gain an experience of a lifetime that I think everyone should do at least once in their lifetime to truly appreciate what teachers do to “add to society.”

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