The Kyunghyang Sinmun reported last week that due to increased demand and the collapse of the won, it’s getting tough to find foreign English teachers.
While Korea might have been a popular destination last year, those in the recruitment agency say many teachers nowadays are leaving for China and Japan.
Accordingly, rather than North Americans, you’re seeing more and more teachers from New Zealand, Australia and, recently, South Africans.
A South African teacher who came on the advice of a high school classmate said he makes three times the money teaching in a hagwon than he did as a teacher back home. In fact, the number of South Africans on E-2 visas increased from 709 in 2006 to 1,131 in 2007, and currently stands at 1,412.
Small hagwon are having an especially tough time finding teachers, so many are turning to unqualified Canadians, who can stay in Korea without visas for up to six months.
Oh, and here’s the stats on E-2 visa holders as of October 2008:
1,412 South Africans
1,162 New Zealanders
The Kyunghyang also ran a piece on how Korea has become something of a “land of opportunity” for young people in English-speaking countries. A recruiter, in fact, said we liken it to the popularity among young Koreans of “working holidays” in Australia.