Before going to Korea, many teachers-to-be ask themselves the question, “Do I need to learn Korean to teach English in Korea?” The short answer: YES!
While you are planning on teaching in Korea your main focus is on landing that job, getting your documents ready for your working visa and saying goodbye to family and friends for a year. But did you think of how you will greet you new Korean boss when you land in Korea? Do you know how to ask for directions? Do you even know how to say hello in Korean??
Here are 7 reasons why you need to learn Korean to teach English in Korea:
1) Everyday conversations. (Most) Koreans only speak Korean! Yes, it’s true. While it would be a lot easier to communicate with locals in English, this is not the case in Korea. You will need to know some basic Korean to get by in everyday conversations.
2) It will make the transition into your new life easier. The transition into life in Korea can be a lot to take in your first few weeks there: You’re starting a new job, meeting your co-workers and students, moving into your new apartment, adjusting to a new time zone, etc. Having some knowledge of the Korean language and culture will make this time a lot easier for you and definitely more fun.
3) It will help your students. Some of your students may have very little English ability, especially if they are younger. Being able to understand them when they need something will be very helpful to them.
4) Korean food! How will you be able to go into Korean restaurants if you don’t know how to order! Eating Korean food is one of the best parts of living in Korea – you don’t want to miss out!
5) Traveling Korea. Korea is not a large country geographically, so you are able to see a lot on your weekends or vacation time. To see all that is Korea, you’ll need to know how to buy train or bus tickets, take taxis, book a room at a hotel, etc.
6) Get to know the Korean culture. By learning the Korean language, you are learning the Korean culture. Don’s miss out on this golden opportunity to explore Korea’s rich culture and all that it has to offer.
7) Doors will open for you. If you really want to take your Korean studies to the next level and become fluent, you will have an abundance of opportunities that you can take advantage of down the road.
….and these are just some of the reasons you need to learn Korean to teach English in Korea!