INTRODUCTION TO KOREA
South Korea is a fast-paced and exciting nation nestled between three global giants, but few would disagree that it punches well above its diminutive size. Their cultural and economic influence is now felt around the globe, in part thanks to the Hallyu or ‘Korean wave’. More than ever, Korea now attracts young people from around the world, establishing itself in recent decades as a premier destination for business, study, and culture in East Asia.
If you decide to visit, be it in brief or for a lengthier sojourn, boredom will certainly not be an issue; delicious food, a rich cultural heritage, amazing shopping, theme parks, K-pop concerts, a fiery university life, and drinking culture (should you choose to participate) make for an amazing living experience. Who knows? You may even stumble upon an opportunity to appear on Korean TV too!
Although working life in Korea may be different to what you are used to, Korea’s importance as a trade partner and business hub means there is likely to be a rewarding work or an internship waiting for you in Korea. The key is knowing where to look.
Check out the roadmap below for useful information on Korea, and to get you on your way to studying or working!
For Australian students, there’s no going past the Government’s New Colombo Plan scholarship programs. For international students not from Australia, check out the Korean Government Scholarship Program.
- New Colombo Plan (Australian Undergraduate Students)
- Korean Government Scholarship for International Students (Undergraduate & Postgraduate Students from around the world)
- Euan Crone Asian Awareness Scholarship (AIIA Members – Australia)
For more on Australia’s most prestigious scholarship program in Asia, the New Colombo Plan, be sure to look through our extensive tips and insights here.
Also, make sure to see our useful 10 important tips for successful applications.
Postgraduate study is a popular option for Korean enthusiasts intent on studying and one day working in Korea, especially international business, international relations, or MBA programs. The SKY universities (Seoul University, Korea University, and Yonsei University) dominate the landscape, but are by no means your only options! Studying at one of these three elite Seoul-based universities will put you in good stead for finding a job in Korea. Due to the intense competition for jobs in Korea, studying a postgraduate degree in Korea at a top-ranked university and certifying your language proficiency via the TOPIC testing system is one of the best ways to put you ahead of the competition.
Korean is almost extinct in the Australian foreign language curriculum, with only a handful of institutions providing tertiary degrees in the language. Korean struggles to attract students as it is often placed in direct competition with the even larger superpowers of Asia – China and Japan.However, we strongly believe the usefulness of Korean language should not be dismissed; a command of the language will open many doors for those who plan to live in Korea, or even in your home country. Korea’s global influence and importance are showing no signs of slowing down!A benefit of the recent surge in the worldwide popularity of Korean is the ample resources available online, which you discover here on Asia Options, as well as other tips on how to master Korean (or any language, for that matter). If you are serious about learning Korean and immersing yourself in the culture, you will probably find yourself wanting to enrol in a language program. We know this decision can be daunting, so luckily the Asia Options team have done the hard work for you and carefully compiled in-depth Korean Language Program reviews of your options in Seoul, based on insight from past students.
- Studying Korean outside of Korea
- Korean Studies in Australia: An Overview of Undergraduate Offerings
- Korean Studies in Australia: An Overview of Non-Degree Language Programs
There are a number of global conferences regularly held at the major universities in Korea. Conferences in Korea always offer a party atmosphere at night time, so you will be sure to make some awesome friends whilst learning a lot from the experience!
Despite its epithet of ‘the Hermit Kingdom’ due to its three powerhouse neighbours, the Korean economy has consistently overcome adversity to become one of the largest in the world. South Korea is increasingly open to foreigners pursuing non-teaching jobs and even internships, although the number of non-teaching jobs and internships in Seoul open to expats is relatively limited. What’s more, ompetition can be intense; especially from ethnic Koreans who grew up in the U.S or Canada. However, for those with the passion, dedication, versatility, and language skills to dive into Korean work culture, there are certainly excellent opportunities out there. Below is a range of useful content to help you apply for jobs in Korea, prepare a Korean resume and decode Korean work culture before you start the job.
- Job fairs in Korea
- How to find non-teaching jobs and internships in Korea for foreigners
- Your Guide to Teaching ESL in Korea
Being the innovation hub it is, why not familiarise yourself with Korea’s growing startup ecosystem as well?
Wondering what it’s like to work in Korea? Be sure to check out these popular starter guides!
- How to write a Korean resume for job applications
- Korean company hierarchy, structure and business titles
- Korean company salary structure and average wages
- Korean overtime and why Korea has the second longest working hours in the OECD
- Applying for a job in Korea – What you need to know
- 7 benefits of working in South Korea as a foreign employee
- How to get TV and Modelling jobs in Korea?
- Contact Korea – The government organisation representing the Republic of Korea that is exclusively charged with the attraction of global talented professionals.
- Seoul Global Center – Check the Working > Find Jobs section.
- Hi Seoul Jobs – A job-bulletin-board by Seoul Metropolitan Government to list and find jobs in and around Seoul.
- Kopra – Excellent resource for internships, particularly for those from EU nations but also other nationalities as well. Lists opportunities not just for South Korea but all over East Asia.
- ESL Cafe is the first stop resource for English Teaching jobs in Korea. They also have a very active forum where it possibly answers each and every query about living, working, studying and teaching in Korea.
- Seoul Craigslist for Jobs also has many job postings for teaching English in Korea and 1 on 1 private tutoring opportunities for English and other languages.
- WorknPlay Korea – not just a job site, but a one-stop community for expats providing a free job search facility to help visitors find the work that’s right for them. It also maintains an up to date entertainment guide, to ensure nobody forgets to play too! (You will find mostly English Teaching Jobs here).
- Seek (jobs and internships in the Asia Pacific, you can narrow your search down to jobs in ‘Korea’).
- Seoul Job Tweets – Regular notifications of jobs and internships in Seoul. Delivered every few hours.
Internships in Korea normally offer a basic stipend per month and foreign interns will need to be wary of the Korean company hierarchy and the status of interns within that structural pyramid. Young people often find internships as the best way to break into the competitive job market. Finding an internship in Korea is traditionally not easy, but you’ve chosen the right place for a uniquely challenging and valuable experience! Check out the Asia Options guide on finding internships in Korea.
And these popular programs:
- AMCHAM Korea Internship/Trainee Program
- UNOSD Internship, Incheon
- Kopra – Excellent resource for internships, particularly for those from EU nations but also other nationalities as well. Lists opportunities not just for Korea but all over East Asia.
Networking in Korea is a definite must for anyone looking to break into the local job market or looking for an internship in Korea. There are a number of chambers of commerce in Seoul, who hold regular business seminars, social events, and other networking opportunities. Young people don’t always attend in high numbers, so this could work in your favour! The meetup.com scene is also lively in Korea and there are a number of global networking events, although these events tend to be more on the social side.
- Australian Chamber of Commerce
- American Chamber of Commerce
- European Chamber of Commerce
- Australia Korea Business Council
- Australia Korea Young Professionals Association
Working or studying is only one component of life in Korea – Korea offers an exciting culture intertwined with a rich culture of its own. Hearing the experiences of travellers, students, and professionals are the best way to get a taste of this outside of exploring yourself! Prep yourself here with insider information on tricky administrative necessities, as well as the nuances of Korean social life.
- Navigating South Korean Visas
- Guide to the Alien Registration Card for Foreigners in Korea
- Korean drinking culture – Asia Options complete guide to drinking in Korea
Searching for suitable accommodation in Korea can be a daunting process as the rental market and housing system in Korea is known to be quite complicated. Those journeying to Korea for the first time may be limited in their ability to adequately survey and judge what type of property will best suit their needs, particularly because of the initial language barrier.
Fortunately, Asia Options have collated the most relevant information available for those seeking accommodation in Korea to do away with the uncertainty surrounding how to find rental properties in Korea. For temporary accommodation, Asia Options also recommends Goshipages which is a terrific website helping foreigners to find short-term accommodation close to universities in Seoul and Busan.