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Teach English in Gyeongbuk, South Korea

Gyeongbuk, officially known as North Gyeongsang Province, lies in the eastern part of South Korea. It's a region rich in history, culture, and natural beauty. Bordered by the East Sea and home to parts of the Taebaek Mountains, Gyeongbuk provides a serene environment with breathtaking landscapes. This province is a harmonious blend of ancient traditions and contemporary advancements, with its historical temples coexisting alongside modern cities. The capital city of Daegu, although administratively separate, traditionally formed a part of Gyeongbuk and stands as a testament to the region's dynamic urban life and educational prominence.

Reasons to Teach English in Gyeongbuk

  1. Rich Cultural Experience: Gyeongbuk is home to various cultural heritages, including Bulguksa Temple and the ancient village of Hahoe. Teaching here offers educators a chance to immerse themselves in Korea's deep-rooted traditions and history.

  2. Natural Beauty: From the pristine beaches of Pohang to the scenic mountain trails of the Taebaek range, Gyeongbuk offers endless opportunities for nature lovers.

  3. Dynamic Urban Centers: Cities like Gyeongju and Pohang are bustling urban centers that offer all the amenities of modern life while still being close to nature and history. This balance ensures a comfortable living experience.

  4. High Demand for English Teachers: With its focus on global education, there is a high demand for English educators in Gyeongbuk, providing ample job opportunities.

  5. Engaging Local Communities: The local communities in Gyeongbuk are known for their hospitality. As an English teacher, you will have numerous opportunities to engage with these communities, participate in local festivals, and understand the Korean way of life.

  6. Proximity to Other Destinations: Gyeongbuk's strategic location ensures that you're never too far from other major destinations in South Korea, making weekend getaways and short trips convenient.

Understanding Gyeongbuk's Education Landscape

The education system in Gyeongbuk, like the rest of South Korea, is competitive and places a significant emphasis on English proficiency. This is evident in the large number of hagwons (private language schools) that can be found in its urban centers, as well as the emphasis on English language programs in public schools.

In Gyeongbuk, public schools typically hire English teachers through programs like EPIK (English Program in Korea). However, many teachers also find positions in private hagwons, which might offer a different working schedule and sometimes more competitive pay.

The presence of several universities and colleges, especially in larger cities like Gyeongju and Pohang, also presents opportunities for teaching at a higher education level. Teachers with advanced degrees and extensive experience might find positions as professors or lecturers.

Eligibility and Requirements to Teach English in Gyeongbuk

The requirements to teach English in Gyeongbuk will be similar to the standard requirements for teaching English in South Korea. However, here are the specific requirements for Gyeongbuk:

  • Hold a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution (In any subject)
  • Nationality Requirement: Be a citizen of a country where English is the primary language (Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, The United Kingdom, The United States, or South Africa).
  • Health: Be mentally and physically healthy and pass a health check.
  • Clean Record: Have a clean national-level criminal record.
  • Experience: While experience is preferred, it's not mandatory. However, having some teaching experience can open doors to higher-paying positions or more prestigious schools.
  • TEFL Certification: Holding a TEFL certificate is preferred, but not always required. Nonetheless, a TEFL certificate can provide a competitive edge during the hiring process.
  • Language Proficiency: Have a good command of the English language.
  • Cultural Adaptability: Have the ability and willingness to adapt to Korean culture and life. This is crucial for a harmonious experience both inside and outside the classroom.

Salary and Benefits for Teaching English in Gyeongbuk

The salary for English teachers in Gyeongbuk can vary based on the type of institution, location, qualifications of the teacher, and hours worked. On average, monthly salaries can range from 2.1 to 2.7 million KRW for public school positions and can be higher for private hagwons.

Benefits often include:

  • Housing: Either a furnished apartment or a housing allowance.
  • Airfare: Many employers offer either a full or partial reimbursement for airfare to and from South Korea.
  • Severance Pay: Equivalent to one month's salary upon the completion of a one-year contract.
  • Vacation: Paid vacation days in addition to national holidays.
  • Health Insurance: Typically, half of the insurance premium is covered by the employer.

Gyeongbuk provides a unique blend of historical charm and modern amenities, making it a compelling destination for educators looking to embark on a rewarding teaching journey in South Korea.

Cities in Gyeongbuk

1. Andong

Andong is renowned as a center of culture and folk traditions. The city is home to the famous Andong Hahoe Folk Village, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Every year, it hosts the Andong International Mask Dance Festival, which attracts tourists and enthusiasts alike.

2. Gimcheon

Gimcheon is strategically located at the heart of South Korea, making it a key transportation hub. The city boasts of scenic spots like Jikjisa Temple and the Geumosan Provincial Park, blending natural beauty with historical significance.

3. Gyeongju

Gyeongju is often referred to as "the museum without walls" due to its vast array of historical sites. As the capital of the ancient Silla Kingdom, the city houses numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites and is a must-visit for history enthusiasts.

4. Pohang

Pohang is a coastal city known for its steelmaking industry, being home to POSCO, one of the world's largest steel companies. The city's beaches and the famous Hand of Harmony sculptures are popular attractions.

5. Yeongju

Yeongju is a serene city, notable for the Buseoksa Temple, an architectural gem from the Goryeo dynasty. The temple is surrounded by picturesque landscapes, adding to its tranquility.

6. Sangju

Sangju is dubbed as the "City of Life" and is an agricultural hub. It's especially known for its production of dried persimmons, a regional specialty.

7. Mungyeong

Mungyeong offers visitors the Mungyeong Saejae Provincial Park, where the dramatic mountain passes were historically significant routes. The city is also famous for its traditional tea and ceramics.

8. Yeongcheon

Yeongcheon is another cultural treasure trove, with attractions such as the historical Bulil Waterfall and the scenic Sirubong Peak, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes.

9. Gumi

Gumi is a major industrial city in Gyeongbuk, hosting several high-tech companies. The city's Geumosan Mountain is popular for hiking and offers stunning vistas.

10. Gunwi

Gunwi is a tranquil region, renowned for its scenic beauty and agricultural richness. The area is dotted with small villages and picturesque landscapes.

11. Uljin

Uljin is a coastal county known for its clean beaches and fresh seafood. The Uljin Marine Park and Deokgu Hot Spring are popular spots for relaxation.

12. Uiseong

Uiseong is recognized for its garlic production and hosts the annual Uiseong International Garlic Festival. Its serene environment and rich agricultural lands are its defining features.

13. Cheongdo

Cheongdo is known for the Cheongdo Bullfighting Festival and its persimmon wines. The county combines tradition with modern agricultural practices.

Living in Gyeongbuk

Gyeongbuk, or North Gyeongsang Province, is a region brimming with historical importance, cultural wealth, and natural beauty. Living in this part of South Korea offers a unique blend of old and new, city and countryside. But what's it really like to live here?

Modern Amenities with a Touch of Tradition

Living in Gyeongbuk offers a unique juxtaposition. While cities like Gumi and Pohang are centers of industry with bustling urban atmospheres, places like Gyeongju take you back in time with its ancient temples and traditional village setups. This means that while you can enjoy modern amenities and conveniences, you're never too far from a touch of tradition.

Cost of Living

Compared to metropolitan cities like Seoul or Busan, the cost of living in Gyeongbuk is relatively lower. Housing is more affordable, and day-to-day expenses, from dining out to transportation, tend to be cheaper. This can be an attractive factor for teachers looking to save or live more comfortably.

Natural Beauty

If you're someone who appreciates nature, Gyeongbuk will not disappoint. From the hiking trails of Geumosan Mountain in Gumi to the serene landscapes surrounding Buseoksa Temple in Yeongju, there's plenty for nature enthusiasts to explore.


Gyeongbuk is also a haven for foodies. Uiseong's garlic dishes, Sangju's dried persimmons, and Cheongdo's persimmon wines are just a few of the local delicacies one must try. Traditional Korean restaurants are plentiful, offering dishes that are both flavorful and wholesome.


Gyeongbuk's strategic location ensures that you're well-connected to other parts of South Korea. Major expressways and a comprehensive train system, including the KTX, make it easy to travel in and out of the province.

Cultural Engagement

For those keen on immersing themselves in Korean culture, Gyeongbuk offers various festivals, cultural programs, and historical sites. Engaging with locals, visiting the Andong International Mask Dance Festival, or exploring the "museum without walls" in Gyeongju can be enriching experiences.

Teacher Stories

Emma from the UK

"When I first chose Gyeongbuk as my destination for teaching, I was motivated by the stories of its historical significance. But living in Gumi gave me so much more than just history lessons. The students were eager to learn, and I was welcomed into a community that was both supportive and endearing. The highlight of my experience was the local festivals, where I could see firsthand the rich tapestry of Korean culture."

Jake from USA

"Teaching in Pohang was my first experience living outside the US. I was initially nervous, but the warmth of the people, combined with the stunning natural beauty of the region, made me fall in love with Gyeongbuk. The local food is something I still miss, especially the garlic dishes from Uiseong!"

Naledi from South Africa

"As someone coming from the southernmost tip of Africa, Gyeongbuk seemed like a world apart. But the vibrant mix of city life in Andong and the tranquility of the countryside made me feel right at home. The passion and enthusiasm of my students were unparalleled, and their curiosity about my culture made teaching them an absolute joy."

Aoife from Ireland

"My journey in Gyeongbuk began in Yeongju. I was taken by the serenity surrounding Buseoksa Temple and the kindness of the locals. The festivals, especially the Mask Dance in Andong, are experiences I cherish. Teaching here has not only given me professional satisfaction but also personal growth."

Liam from Australia

"Coming from the vast landscapes of Australia, I was intrigued by the dense history packed into Gyeongbuk. Gyeongju, with its ancient temples, became my favorite weekend getaway. The bond I formed with my students and co-teachers in Gyeongbuk is something I'll carry with me forever."

Moving Towards Teaching English In Gyeongbuk

Teaching English in Gyeongbuk is more than just an employment opportunity; it's a chance to immerse oneself in the multifaceted beauty of South Korea. From the echoes of ancient history in Gyeongju to the modern vibrancy of cities like Gumi, Gyeongbuk offers an unparalleled experience.

If you're seeking a teaching destination that blends the allure of the past with the promise of the present, Gyeongbuk beckons. Embark on your journey to teach, explore, and thrive in this captivating region of South Korea.