Top 5: Reasons You Should Teach in Jeollanamdo

September 26, 2016

I'm going to start out with a disclaimer that this is all coming from my experience working in Jeollanamdo. I don't have experience teaching in other parts of Korea with which to compare, so this is based on my gained knowledge/perceptions. That said, I have loved living/teaching here and I would recommend it (over big cities like Busan or Seoul) to anyone.

Korea is broken up into 9 provinces with Jeollanamdo being in the most southwestern tip of the peninsula. It may also be useful to note that large cities like Seoul and Busan are designated as Special or Metropolitan Cities which are autonomous from the surrounding province(s). The giant void in the middle of Jeollanamdo (see map) is the Metropolitan city of Gwangju, but for all intents and purposes I will include it as part of Jeollanamdo. 

Reasons to Teach in Jeollanamdo

1. Seoul is saturated

Most of the blogs that I've seen about teaching in Korea come from the perspective of teachers living in/near Seoul. Seoul and the surrounding Gyeonggi province are the same size as Jeollanamdo, but have 10 times the population. According to the Korean Times and the Chosun Ilbo, over half of the foreign population in Korea lives in Seoul or surrounding areas. With Seoul being the hub of everything that happens, this is not surprising. This means, however, that while jobs in other regions are "less desirable", the job market in Seoul is more saturated and competitive.

Image by Samuel Hurd Photography

2. the food is better

The location and climate of Jeollanamdo allows it to be bountiful in agricultural and seafood products. Yums all around.

Image by Samuel Hurd Photography
Image by Samuel Hurd Photography
3. the nature is better

and it's everywhere! Islands, coastlines, beaches, wetlands, mountains, temples, green tea fields, bamboo forests...

Image by Samuel Hurd Photography
Image by Samuel Hurd Photography
Image by Samuel Hurd Photography
4. the experience is richer

Going along with point #1 (Seoul is saturated), the province of Jeollanamdo is not saturated - especially not with foreigners. You will often meet people/students who had never seen a non-Korean person outside of TV until they met you. In some areas you can walk down the street and not see a foreigner for a week (or more). You may not come in contact with another non-Korean person until you intentionally seek them out.

Life in Jeollanamdo hardly allows you to live inside a comfortable bubble. You are pretty much thrown into Korean life without the aid of home comforts which you could more easily access in Seoul. I suppose this may initially sound a bit terrifying, but it really isn't. Living in areas outside of the big city allows you to get to know Korean culture more as it exists apart from the influence of *the outside*. With its deep history, Korea has a lot to offer.

Image by Samuel Hurd Photography
Image by Samuel Hurd Photography
Image by Samuel Hurd Photography
5. the students need you

Students (and/or their parents) who aim to excel academically (and/or get that job at Samsung) usually dream of attending one of the top three universities in South Korea, all of which are located in Seoul. The business of education in Korea is no joke; Families who can afford to live in Seoul tend to have more money to finance private school educations.

A trip between the country's capital and Jeollanamdo will illustrate the difference in abundance/quality of/access to the English language and education as a whole. Many professionals tend to move towards Seoul for the perceived prestige and/or opportunity it provides. Meanwhile, there are students in Jeollanamdo who want to learn English but don't have access to the same amount and/or quality of resources. The students in Jeollanamdo need you!

All images © Samuel Hurd Photography

1 comment

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