Associated Costs- Teaching English in South Korea

“Sometimes two plus two can equal 3.9, and that is good enough.”

Big Data, Mayer-Schonberger and Cukier

Passport= $110  (mine is still valid for a number of years so was lucky I didn’t have to pay for it along with the rest of this list!)

*Duplicate diploma=  $40

Official transcripts= $0

Notarized copies of diploma= $0 (free through my bank)

State Apostilled diploma copies (2): $10 x 2 = $20

State Apostilled diploma copies FedEx postage + return postage= $34

Fingerprinting service= $5

Federal CRC/CBC: 18 + p.o. money order fee 1.20 + postage/envelope 1.50 = $21

*Hepatitis A Vaccination= $0 (apparently, my insurance covered this one)

*Typhoid Vaccination= $60

*Flu Vaccination= $12

Federal Apostille: 8 + Postal Money Order fee 1.20 = $9

*Fedex 2-day shipping + Prepaid Return= $47

TEFL Educator 140-hour certification= $218

*Luggage: 2@ 30 each (30″ rolling) + 40 (21″ rolling) + 25 (backpack) = $125

*Voltage converter = $20

FedEx documents to Korean Consulate (overnight + return) = $62

Health exam (in Korea) = $90

1st month expenses= $400 (more would be better but not necessary)

(*not all of these are totally necessary expenses so you may spend much less!)

I’m also not including all the little things I pick up here and there to make life a little easier to start (cold meds, hair color, etc.).


This is where I had planned on putting the expense totals…but now I don’t really want to know.

Just adding up the above it totaled USD $1273.  NOT ALL OF THAT WAS REQUIRED.

If you subtract things you may already have or don’t need like luggage, vaccines, passport, then the amount may be quite a bit less.

Please do yourself a favor and DO NOT arrive in country with less than the equivalent of $400-500 available cash.  Your first paycheck may take a while and you will want to get out and explore on the weekends, buy some necessities, have meals out and depending on your arrival, maybe visit the pharmacy when you get the dreaded Spring or Autumn crud…

Also, I’ve read many places where people were thrilled because their school admin or hosts or new friends paid for all their meals out/supplies/etc. to start. Yes, it’s fabulous if it happens but please do NOT rely on this!

Plan on doing the adult thing and paying your own way or better yet, set aside $40 to cover coffee and snacks one afternoon or even $75-100 to treat a couple of new friends to an evening meal, if you can swing it.

And when they resist allowing you to pay, agree that they can treat you the next time, then let them so they don’t feel burdened!  You’ll make far more friends that way instead of being just another whinging foreigner that is flat broke 2 week before their first (and sometimes every) paycheck. *^^*

On the flip side, if people do treat you during your first month in country, then make sure that you offer to repay their kindness after your first paycheck and follow up with a genuine invitation.  Why is it important to repay with your first paycheck?  Because it might be your only chance!  Often, your new Korean friends will refuse the offer but if you excitedly tell them it’s your first paycheck and you really want to share it with them then they will usually say yes.  Sharing that first paycheck by purchasing small gifts or food is fairly normal.  However, that may be your only chance.  They will most likely refuse to let you pay for them after that so take advantage of the ‘first paycheck’ card.  *^^*

Qualifications: I’ve been broke.  I’ve been that person.  It’s humiliating!

Also, please remember this is only my opinion based on my experiences.  *^^*


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