🎉 SALE! Get up to $300 USD off!

First Impressions Of Teaching In South Korea

on January 30, 2015

Meet Marek Krawczyk, a young and adventurous guy from Ludlow, Massachusetts in the USA. He has been living and teaching English in Daejon, South Korea for 3 weeks now and in the words of Marek, “I have found Daejon to be pretty awesome so far”.

Marek’s typical day as an English teacher in South Korea

typical day as an English teacher in South Korea

His typical day includes a lot of free time in the morning as his classes only commence in the afternoon. This allows him to hit the gym, do some shopping, relax and get ready for the afternoon’s teaching. Marek teaches for 6 hours each day which is followed by several follow-up phone calls with his students’ parents in the evening.

South Korean locals and co-workers

Marek is the only Western teacher at his school, making the cross-cultural experience all that more intense but as he states, they are incredibly helpful and have assisted him setting up everything and are always around to lend a helping hand if he needs anything. South Koreans tend to all be ever-so hospitable and welcoming to Western expats, especially one’s colleagues and co-workers.

The Hagwon teaching environment

Teaching envronment at Hagwon private schools in South Korea

As Marek teaches English at a Hagwon as opposed to a public school, he isn’t required to create his own lesson plans but instead makes use of the English book material provided to him by his school. English teachers at private schools in South Korea can also substitute book material with other various English learning activities by making use of certain themes, as Marek notes, such as Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Chuseok (South Korean Thanksgiving), etc.

Expat community

expat community in South Korea


Expat teachers are usually placed in the same communities, making it super easy to make some new friends and find some fellow expats from the Western world.

Forming bonds with your students

forming bonds with your students in South Korea

Marek explains how “forming a bond with your students is always hard at first because they’re used to the previous teacher and they really miss him or her” but this is easy to overcome and it will soon be you that your students become used to and will miss when you are gone. Like he mentions, the best way to form bonds with your students is to “be understanding, speak slowly, introduce a lot of activities, and just be positive. Giving them high fives, giving them candy when they get the right answer. It’s not as much pushing the curriculum forward, it’s more about teaching them how to speak.” Being an English teacher at a South Korean Hagwon, your lesson plans will primarily focus on teaching your students how to speak and communicate in English. There is far less emphasis on English grammar as the South Korean teachers will focus on this. As he explains when teaching English to your students, “you are going to teach them how to pronounce, speak, and read” in English.

The South Korean teaching adventure

English teacher with students in South Korea

Flying across the world to live and teach in a country whose culture, language, and customs differ quite greatly from the Western world isn’t the easiest thing to do. However it will be one hell of an adventure and, Marek explains, you will grow greatly as a person. You’ll have a lot of time to reflect on your life and actions as well as how your culture impacts those around you.

Marek’s advice to those looking to explore the Eastern world

Sunrise over Seoul in South Korea

“Go on an adventure, do something different. I mean, teaching half way around the world is definitely an adventure and, it’s not going to be easy but it’s definitely going to be a lot of fun!”

Thanks for sharing your first impressions of teaching in South Korea Marek. We wish you all the best for the remainder of your stay in South Korea!

Click here for more information on teaching English in South Korea

Apply to become an English teacher in South Korea

You might also want to read:

About Stu Brown

Stu has always carried with him a passion for exploring the world through work and travel experiences.

After a year-long adventure working at a school in London and travelling throughout Europe, Stu began his tertiary studies at Stellenbosch University in Cape Town, South Africa, obtaining his Bachelor of Arts degree (BA) in Social Dynamics.

He also holds a 120-Hour internationally accredited TEFL/TESOL certificate and understands what it takes to teach and travel responsibly. As TravelBud CEO he understands that truly exciting and life-changing adventures only happen when you step outside your comfort zone; and not a day goes by when he doesn’t challenge the team to do the same!

Filed under  South Korea • Teacher Diaries 


TukTuk Through Thailand: The Northern Region

TukTuk Through Thailand: The Northern Region

Sa-wa-dee-kaa! Thanks for joining us on this TukTuk Through Thailand as we begin in the Northern Region, which I feel to be one of the most underrated regions in the kingdom! It’s easy to conjure...

Teach English in Vietnam – Paige’s Story

Teach English in Vietnam – Paige’s Story

After taking a leap from the comfort of home in Scotland - Paige began her teach abroad journey in Vietnam with TravelBud in February of 2020. Since completing our In-Class TESOL Course + Job...

Vegetarian in Vietnam: A Crash Course

Vegetarian in Vietnam: A Crash Course

When I visited Vietnam for the first time as a vegetarian I was naturally curious and slightly nervous about enjoying the incredible culture and food with dietary restrictions. I think I can speak...

¡HOLA Costa Rica! – An Interview with Teacher Alexandra

¡HOLA Costa Rica! – An Interview with Teacher Alexandra

I took a bit of a trip across the Atlantic Ocean from the comfort of my office chair when I chatted with one of our TravelBud teachers who’s currently teaching in Costa Rica. Alexandra Griffin jetted off to start her adventure in San Ramon in February 2021, doing our TESOL Course + Paid Teaching in Costa Rica program. Needless to say, all of us here at TravelBud are a little jealous of the incredible time she’s been having!

On Quarantine, Gimbap, and Catching the Bus: Mallory’s Start in South Korea

On Quarantine, Gimbap, and Catching the Bus: Mallory’s Start in South Korea

A few days ago I had a moment to catch a glimpse of what life is like as an EPIK teacher in South Korea. The oh-so-kind Mallory Cordeiro shared some of her experiences and wisdom with me, which I can now share with you – all the future English teachers yearning to head over to culturally diverse and beautiful South Korea.



  1. agnes

    I love children and I love to teach children ! English is my language ! This would be my greatest dream going to Thailand to the place of holiday !

    • Stu Brown

      Hi Agnes

      It’s wonderful to see how passionate you are about teaching English in Thailand. For more info on this program, you can visit our Teach in Thailand page

      We will have to schedule an interview in person or over Skype to make sure that you meet the minimum requirements and are a suitable candidate for this program so once you have read through all the information simply fill out our enquiry form and our Thailand program specialist will get in touch with you talk you through everything and get you started with your application.

      We’re looking forward to hearing from you 🙂


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest