Once we had decided we wanted to take a gap year from our day to day working lives, the next decision was how to do it.
Since we had financial commitments at home, we needed an income for while we were travelling and decided teaching abroad was the way to go. Our research showed that the benefits of going to Korea and through EPIK made our decision quite easy. It is government run so gave us some confidence that there would be a job for us when we landed and job security for the year.
Some of the included benefits of the EPIK program include:
- Free housing. Generally, your school will have an apartment for you to live in that will either be close to your school or in the nearest town. If they don’t you will receive a monthly allowance. You’ll have to pay for your bills (like water, gas and internet) but they are super cheap in comparison to Australia.
- Entrance, Settlement & Exit allowances. Money for nothing!
- Severance pay. A months’ pay after you leave (only if you finish your contract).
- Renewal allowance. This is if you chose to sign on for another year.
- Health insurance. The government goes half with you and your half comes out of your pay. Super handy as it makes healthcare incredibly cheap!
- School lunches. This comes out of your pay and (in our case) was great! We were able to try a lot of traditional food and is a great way to bond with your other teachers. Read about them more here.
- Social club. This is usually optional and is generally pretty cheap (like 10,000KRW a month) and a great way to bond with your fellow teachers.
- Vacation days. 20 paid vacation days a year which you can take during the summer and winter breaks.
- Over time, multiple schools and rural bonuses. Depending on your contract/school circumstances you can earn extra dollars per month for doing more than the contracted hours, teaching at multiple schools and being based in the countryside.
Whilst the job wasn’t perfect, the benefits definitely outweighed the negatives and we both had a brilliant year.
*The above list is what we experienced in 2016. Check with EPIK or your recruiter for changes.
Photo credit: 김호중