If both parents in the household are teaching, you’re eligible for FREE family housing. This means that your employer will have to supply you with at least a two bedroom apartment. Nothing is better than FREE RENT!
Working with Korean public schools, we get 18 paid vacation days each year. This doesn’t include weekends or Korean holidays, so that’s 18 working days off. That’s equivalent to 3 ½ weeks. If you work for a university or at an international school, the vacation is substantially more, with at least 2 months of vacation time per year!
There's no grading or extensive lesson planning, so more time with the kiddos. With a 40 hour work week and only 22 teaching hours, that means no nights or weekends. I love the free time it allows me to spend with my kids after work and on the weekends. Here I feel less stress, and I’m a much happier person around my kids. Not having to bring home extra work is unheard of as a teacher back home!
My youngest daughter goes to a Korean daycare. I pay about $300 USD a month, and it gets cheaper as the child gets older. My oldest daughter goes to a public elementary school where they provide after school care. For her, we only pay $20 a month for after school snacks. The facilities are great. I’ve never had a problem with any of the daycares my daughter was placed in. If you’re lucky enough to get your child into a public school daycare, they’re about $100 a month. Compared to childcare in the U.S. where it can amount to $150-250 a week, childcare here is so cheap!
Here in Korea, I feel much safer than I do back home in the States. People often ask me, “Are you afraid of North Korea?” I tell them, “I’m more afraid of crazy people in the U.S., than I am of North Korea!” Crime rates are much lower here and gun ownership is illegal. At night, I don’t have to worry about someone trying to rob us at gunpoint. I also don’t feel like we have to worry about things like racial profiling, police brutality, or mass shootings. It’s not to say that crime does not happen here, but it happens at much lower rates.
There are an extensive amount of activities that are free or very cheap for families. There are plenty of free festivals, zoos, public parks, museums, amusement parks, and kids cafes that you can take your family to. There are so many cultural sites to see in various cities and plenty of beaches for you can visit in the summer. I love it! There’s always something for you to do here.
Travel to other Asian countries is particularly cheap. Flying to China, Japan, and the Philippines are usually around $200-300 roundtrip from Korea. Since we live close to other countries, the travel time is much better and the fares are much cheaper than if we visited from the States. Once we flew from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore for $9 one way.
Some countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, and Indonesia are very cheap for hotels, food, and activities. In Indonesia, I got a 2 bedroom villa on the beach with a private pool, kitchen, dining area, and living room, for a little over $150 a night. In these places, hour massages can run as cheap as $10 and meals about $2-3 a meal. In Vietnam we paid $150 to get a private tour of Halong Bay with our own boat and onboard chef. These things would be thousands of dollars back in the States.
We have never owned a car while living here in Korea. Although it is very cheap to own a car, we choose to not own one because public transportation is widely available and very cheap. Here, I don’t have to worry about car payments, car insurance, car repairs, or gas!
As an employee in South Korea, you and your dependents are eligible for Korea’s universal healthcare. Health insurance also includes dental and vision. One time my daughter had a high fever and an ear infection, and I only paid about $10 USD for the doctor’s visit and medicine.
Going to the dentist will not put a hole in your pocket either. Before we came to Korea, my husband was quoted $8,000 worth of dental work, and here he got it all done for around $1,500. I had a cavity filled for $7!
I gave birth to my second daughter here in Korea. The total fee for my delivery and hospital stay was $500 USD. I also got 2 months paid maternity leave. Healthcare is really good here!
In the U.S., if you work overseas and make under $100,000 a year, the money you make is tax free.
The most amazing benefit I’ve experienced living here in Korea is the amount of exposure my children have with another language and culture. My oldest daughter speaks English and Korean fluently. She can also read and write in Korean. Korean, Japanese, Chinese, and Arabic are four of the most difficult languages for English speakers to learn. I am amazed because I know there are not many little black girls that can speak Korean. Koreans are always shocked at how much she knows.
Like they say, children are like sponges, they are able to pick up languages much faster than adults. Research shows that children who learn a language under the age of 5 have superior reading, writing, analytical, and social skills.
This has been a very rewarding experience for my children, and I am so grateful that we have been afforded this opportunity. I know a second language will definitely benefit my children throughout their life.
After hearing about all the wonderful benefits of living in Korea, people still question why we have been here so long! To put it simply, WE LOVE IT!