The Top 5 Movies & Documentaries You Need To Watch Before Teaching English In South Korea

on March 11, 2019

If you’re looking to teach English in South Korea, you’ll probably already know that our program includes guaranteed job placements, regardless whether you decide to do our in-class TESOL course or not. So the next thing you’re probably wondering is what is it like there?

Below we’ve listed five movies and documentaries that will give you an intro to South Korea and its extraordinary history and culture.

Interested in Teaching English in South Korea? We’ll send you more info!


Oldboy (2003)

IMDb: 8.4/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

If you haven’t seen this movie, you need to! It epitomizes Korean cinema, a captivating storyline, unexpected twists, and surreal visuals. Like most great Asian films, Hollywood had to make their own version, which doesn’t quite compare to the original.

The movie’s plot is quite simple, after being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh Dae-Su is released, only to find that he must find his captor in five days.

Reach for the SKY

IMDb: 7.8/10

Reach for the SKY tells the story of several South-Korean high school students, their families, and teachers, as they prepare for the annual National Exam. The exam will not only determine where the high school seniors will attend university but ultimately also their status in the Korean hierarchical society.

With so many of our applicants choosing our teach English in South Korea program, we thought this would be a relevant watch for them before they head over.

Check out where you could be placed when teaching English in South Korea: South Korea Placement map

Train to Busan

IMDb: 7.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

If you’re into horror movies, this one is for you. While a zombie-virus breaks out in South Korea, a couple of passengers struggle to survive on the train from Seoul to Busan.

Directed by Yeon Sang-ho, Train to Busan is the ninth-highest-grossing domestic film of all time in South Korea.

Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring

IMDb: 8.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 94%

Through experience and endless exercise, an aging Buddist patiently raises a young boy to grow up with wisdom and compassion on an isolated floating temple. The movie takes place in the Korean wilderness where the years pass like the seasons. Director Ki-duk Kim is able to mix love, lust, devotion, karma, and redemption in this gripping coming of age story.


IMDb: 7.3/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%

From visionary Director Bong Joon Ho, this grand global adventure follows a friendship too big to ignore. Meet Mija, a young girl who risks everything to prevent a powerful, multi-national company from kidnapping her best friend – a massive animal named Okja.

Following her across continents, the coming-of-age comedy-drama sees Mija’s horizons expand in a way one never would want for one’s children, coming up against the harsh realities of genetically modified food experimentation, globalization, eco-terrorism, and humanity’s obsession with image, brand, and self-promotion.

Interested in Teaching English in South Korea? We’ll send you more info!




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About Ntobeko Ntombela

Ntobeko is TravelBud's marketing intern and is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in Digital Marketing. Read more about him and other TravelBud authors.

He handles TravelBud's social media, blog writing and general content creation. Check out the inspiring stories he's created on the TravelBud Instagram page, featuring TravelBud alumni and their incredible experiences teaching and volunteering abroad.

He's done a fair bit of travel in his life, having explored Thailand, the UK, Italy, France and Germany.

His favorite place so far? That would be Rome, Italy but coming in a close second, thanks to a few memorable nights out, would be Phuket, Thailand.

Filed under  South Korea 


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