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An Introduction to the Jeollanamdo Language Program (JLP)
The Jeollanamdo Language Program (JLP) handles placements throughout Jeollanam province in South Korea (remember this excludes the major metropolitan city of, Gwangju). I thought I would write about some of the basic things to know about JLP contracts with a heavy focus on the financial side of things. I found there was a lot I didn’t fully understand prior to moving here, despite having read the contract closely before leaving Canada.
Hopefully this helps with any confusion you may have.
The teaching basics are fairly straightforward. You work Monday through Friday, typically 9-5 or 8:30-4:30. In my experience most days you will teach between 3-5 classes, though sometimes your schedule is set up so that you might teach 6 in one day and 2 on another, it really depends on your school(s). Anything above 22 teaching hours is considered overtime and you will be paid an additional 20,000 won an hour for this. Remember, a teaching hour is not a full hour; 1 teaching hour = 1 class, for elementary this is 40 minutes, middle school 45 minutes, and high school 50 minutes.
For the most part you will be teaching “regular” English classes, though you might also be teaching after school classes (where no co-teacher is present), or special English “clubs”. You will likely also have a teachers’ workshop. This will all be included in the 22 regular teaching hours.
Due to Jeollanam-do being quite rural in comparison to other parts of South Korea, there is a higher chance of having a travel school (or multiple). Though, this is not a guarantee. I teach at two schools, but I’ve got friends in more rural areas who only teach at one school, perhaps their school has a nice English budget. Some teachers in really rural areas might have 3-4 schools they alternate between, but keep in mind some of those schools have around 6 students per class. I would say there is a pretty good chance that you will have at least one additional school with JLP but again this is not guaranteed.
Travel School Allowance
To help cover the costs of commuting to travel schools there is a travel school allowance. If you teach at one additional school, you are given an extra 100,000 won per month. Not bad if like me you are able to walk to your travel school and don’t incur any travel costs! If you teach at two or more additional schools the allowance is bumped up to 150,000, though it does not go higher than that. So someone teaching at 2 travel schools and someone teaching at 3 will both receive the 150,000 won travel allowance.
Money and the JLP
When I moved to Jeollanam-do I knew roughly what my monthly salary would be, and I had heard a lot about “bonuses” but I didn’t know much beyond that. This section will try to break down all the additional money you can earn through your contract with the JLP.
Level 3: 2,000,000 won
Level 2: 2,300,000 won
Level 1: 2,500,000 won
Special Level: 2,700,000 won
From what I understand most first time NETS will begin at pay level 2, though I believe you can start at level 1 if you have a Masters degree. After one year at level 2 you will move to level 1, but you need to work two years at level 1 before you can move to the special (highest) level.
Entrance and Settlement Allowance
You probably are already aware of the entrance allowances if you are considering moving abroad to teach, it certainly makes the job more inviting. Once you arrive in Korea and set up your bank account you will receive an entrance allowance of 1.3 million won, this should cover the cost of your flight depending on where you flew from. You will also receive a settlement allowance of 300,000 won to help you out until your first paycheck. I was lucky to receive both the entrance and the settlement allowance right away (after I set up my bank account), but I have heard that sometimes you won’t receive the 1.3 million entrance until your first paycheck. Keep this in mind when budgeting for your first month here.
Travel School Allowance
An extra 100,000 won per month for an additional travel school, or 150,000 won per month if you have 2+ travel schools.
There is a rural bonus for those folks living in the super rural areas: Goheung, Wando, Jindo, Shinan, Samsan-myeon, and Nam-myeon. If you end up at one of these counties you will be given an additional 200,000 won a month for all your rural life troubles. If you include the fact that you will almost 100% have a travel school, you might be getting a bonus between 300,000 and 350,000 won a month!
J-Distance Online Teaching Program
This is an opportunity for Native English Teachers (NET) in the JLP program to earn some extra cash by teaching students English through distance learning. I have not participated in this program myself but have heard mixed reviews, basically it’s (like) skyping a classroom full of students in a very rural part of Jeollanam and giving them the experience to interact with a NET. Again, I can’t give many details as I haven’t participated in the program myself. It runs just over 3 months and the pay is roughly 450,000 won for 13, 40 minute classes. This might be a good opportunity if you’ve lucked out and have a fairly open schedule at your main school(s). In the future I would like to interview someone who has taught this way to give you some more information.
This is a bit annoying but if everything goes well you should hopefully get this money back when you end your contract. Basically for the first 3 months of work 200,000 won will be deducted (600,000 total) from your pay for a security deposit for your apartment. As long as the place is in as good of shape as when you moved in there should be no reason you can’t get this deposit back.
If you are happy working and living in Jeollanam-do and wish to renew your contract, congratulations – you’ve got more cash coming your way! You are entitled to a renewal bonus of 2 million won, 1.3 of which you will receive with your first paycheque of the new contract. The remaining 700,000 will be given to you upon completion of that contract (your second year).
If you renew for a third year, you will receive that 700,000 from your first renewal and the 1.3 million for your new renewal. Once again there will be a remaining 700,000 awaiting you on completion of that new contract.
When the time comes from you to leave Korea you will be entitled to your severance pay. Severance is calculated by averaging out your pay from the last 3 months you’ve worked and multiplying it by how many years you have worked for the JLP.
For example, lets say you are leaving Korea after 4 years.
In your 4th year you will be making 2.7 million won, and let’s say you have one travel school which makes it 2.8.
So the average of your last 3 months is 2.8 million won, multiply this by the four years you worked:
2.8 X 4
11.2 million won severance pay!
That’s almost 13,000$ CAD. Not a bad nest egg to have if you end up teaching for a few years.
Americans, Australians, and Canadians can also get the pension they’ve paid in back once they leave Korea. Pension is roughly 4.5% of your salary (half of this is paid by your employer). This probably ends up being just over a million won per year (depending on your pay level this could be higher).
Just like the entrance allowance you will also receive an exist allowance of 1.3 million won. You won’t get this if you are just transferring to a different school or office of education. The purpose, just like the entrance allowance, is to cover the costs of your flight “home”.
Your school pays in 50% of national medical insurance. I will talk more in the future about medical costs living in Korea but I would say things are pretty affordable. As a Canadian I find it difficult to pay for health care (that I would otherwise receive for free in Canada) but most of my American friends are pleased at how cheap things are here.
In your first year you will get 24 vacation days to take during the winter break, and 8 days to take during summer (inclusive of weekends). If you choose to renew your contract you will get an additional week in which you can either add on to your 8 days in summer or 24 in winter. You will want to discuss this with your school first.
That’s enough for today
Hopefully this has been a helpful introduction to the JLP. There are some areas in which I purposely left short because they are long enough to earn their own blog post. I will keep this post updated if I feel I left out something vital, but otherwise will continue to try to answer common questions about the Jeollanamdo Language Program in future posts.