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To: Thursday, 10 October 2013
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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Question: Can anyone other than Westerners teach in Korea?

Here's another great question I recently got. I did my best to find out what I could. Hope it helps

Hey Karamel,
I have a question similar to the last one by M. From your experience do you think schools in Seoul or Busan will admit a teacher from an African country like Ghana, Nigeria, or Kenya? It's okay to be frank. I would love to teach abroad but I feel a lot of countries look down on non-British or non-American citizens. What citizenships do the other international teachers hold? and do you know teachers with African citizenships? if not, do you know any other place (cities or countries) that are more open to teachers with various nationalities?
thanks Studying in the U.S

Dear Studying in the U.S.,

Unfortunately, you are exactly right. They do look down on other countries. In Korea, for example, they will only accept you to teach a language if you hold a passport of the countries which they consider native English speakers - U.S.,U.K, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada. You also are required to go to at least high school in that language on through college. This is despite the fact that many other countries (India, Philippines, Jamaica, Ghana, Nigeria etc) either have English as the national language or have people who speak the language fluently. That means, even if you moved to the U.S when you were 1, you cannot teach if you do not hold an one of these passports. That sucks doesn't it?

For others who may be curious, here are the rules in their entirety explained in great detail here

However, there is talk that this is about to change, and they will allow people from a few other countries (not clearly specified yet) to teach as well, but with much stricter requirements. This article in the Korea times talks about it, as does this one and this blog also touches on it.

Despite this speculation, I have yet to hear of any further action taken other than talk.I tried to find if there have been any exceptions.I couldn't. I came up with this It may give you some insight as to the reasons why. From what I saw there, Europe might be a more open-minded options if you don't hold a passport from the countries above. Maybe even South/Central America. Again remember each country has it's own requirements.

I tried to look into other countries to go to, but it would appear that for the time being Korea,at least, is out.

Definitely sorry about that :(


Bombchell said...

very informative! love it!!

Cynical_Zool said...

Well, that sucks! Big time. I'm a Nigerian. But i've got a question. What are the options a foreigner like me has of futhering his studies there. I know this isn't exactly your AOE but maybe you have some ideas? I'm looking to do my Masters in Asian Studies or in Korea or Japan and have absolutely no idea the requirements needed. Cheers