A Reader Question: Time limit at Korean Universities
“I recently was offered and accepted a full-time English Professor positon at *** University in Seoul. However, I found out that the maximum amount of time that non-tenured, foreign faculty such as myself can be employed there is four years. As a result, I am considering Seoul-area universities in the future that don’t have any limits on length for employment and was wondering if you might know of any universities that would fit this description.
My Answer: It’s all about the Pension
There are some unis that have this rule and some that do not (maybe 50/50). It has to do with the amount of pension money your school would have to pay you in your 5th year and beyond being significantly more than the amount required for the first 4 years. We’re talking here about the Korea Teacher’s Pension and not the Korean National Pension so don’t get confused between the two. Private universities are on the former and public universities on the latter.
Maybe 4 Years is Enough?
That said, working for 3 or 4 years at a place is a decent amount of time and it’s probably still worth it to take the job, if it’s a good one. Being stuck in a rut is bad news, so you can just think of it as a mandatory kick in the butt to get yourself moving upwards and forwards in your ESL Teaching career to bigger and better things.
I worked at my university out in the Korean countryside for 5 years and was most definitely ready for a change. I’ve been at the new place in Busan for 3 years and love it, but am starting to feel the itch, you know?
Some solid advice on factors to consider when deciding which ESL teaching job to take: The Wealthy English Teacher: Teach, Travel, and Secure Your Financial Future. It’s the first and only personal finance for English teachers book on the market.