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The Jeollanamdo Language Program (JLP)

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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.

Jump to: Travel Schools   Pay Levels   Severance & Pension   Medical   Vacation Days

Teaching Basics:

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.

Travel Schools

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.

Pay Levels:
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.

Rural Bonus

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.

Apartment deposit

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.

Renewals

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.

Severance Pay

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.

Pension

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).
Exit Allowance
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”.

Medical

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.

Vacation Days:

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.

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24 thoughts on “The Jeollanamdo Language Program (JLP)”

  1. Hey there.

    This post is so good, really detailed information. Any question I had/could have has been more than covered here.
    I’m leaving Ireland soon to take up a position in Muan, thank you so much for this!

    • Hey Sean,

      Glad you found it helpful! I live very close to Muan, you’ll probably find yourself in Mokpo a lot it’s a decent sized city nearby. Best of luck!

      Fallon

  2. Hello Fallon,

    Nice and informative. Is this programme for native speakers only? Otherwise, I have a Masters in English Literature with over a year and a half of teaching experience.

    Regards,
    Aditi.

    • Hi Aditi!
      Yes, as far as I know in order to get an E2 (teaching) Visa you must be a native English speaker from one of the 7 countries listed: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the United States. I think a change was made recently to start allowing some teachers from India to apply too, but I’m not super familiar with the changes.

      Cheers,
      Fallon

    • Hi! You can apply through EPIK (they are now recruiting for JLP) and say that’d you’d like to be placed in Jeollanamdo, if possible. 🙂

  3. Hi Fallon,

    This is the first time I’ve heard of JLP but this was pretty helpful. I’m planning to apply for the fall 2019 intake with EPIK as an alternative plan. I have a Bachelors of Art degree and Master of Education (specialist degree not licensed teacher) with a few years of teaching experience should I notarize and apostille both degrees and order college transcripts for both of them or do I only need to do it for my Master degree? EPIK hasn’t been clear about this. I am limited on time as I am still teaching in China until the end of June so I want to prepare everything I can meanwhile I am on winter break in the states.

    • Hey Cecelia!
      I’m honestly not sure about the degree apostille situation, I apologize, I wish I could be of more help! Do you mean that you have a Masters degree as well as a bachelors? If so, have you considered university teaching jobs?

      Fallon

  4. Hello! I know you wrote this article a while back, but I’m very curious to know your perspective on this: I follow a vegan lifestyle, and while I’ve been to Korea before for an extended period of time, this was in Seoul. I’m super interested in the rural life Jeollanamdo offers teachers, however I’m worried I won’t be able to buy things online for myself (through websites like iHerb), or find things like beans and spices there. I know it’s such a silly reason to be worried about, but food is life! Thank you!

    • Hey Future Teacher,
      First off apologies for this stupidly late reply!
      So in terms of iHerb it’s no problem at all, being celiac I also rely heavily on ordering stuff online, I average about two iHerb orders per month! Luckily Korea is amazing when it comes to online shopping so even if you live somewhere like Jeollanamdo you don’t have to worry about delivery issues. I am an avid online shopper. I also sometimes order food from Coupang which has a lot of similar options to iHerb and even some better stuff too! Sometimes I can’t find something I want but I just order it an it usually arrives in 2-5 days (like spices).

      So I wouldn’t worry too much about having access to things! Online shopping is great!

      Fallon

  5. Hey Fallon (cracking myself up starting with your website title),

    Thanks for all the awesome information on JLP. I just got placed with them through EPIK and will be arriving for the April 16 orientation. Still no word on whether my placement is rural or city – although from what my recruiter told me about salary levels for cities vs rural, the salary on my contract seems to correspond to a city placement. Do you happen to know which areas are currently filling their vacancies for NETs? Would love to have an idea of where I’ll end up before orientation!

    We are having our orientation in Yeosu, which looks really beautiful based on my searches on the internet. How have you enjoyed your placement there? Are you still there now?

    Also, if I do end up super rural, how accessible are the cities via public transportation?

    • Hi Mike!

      First of all congratz on joining the Jeaolla fam!In terms of where you might be placed, I’d say your guess is as good as mine. Generally the April intake is quite a bit smaller than the August one, but I’d still expect to see placements all around the province. Luckily they will let you know on the first day of orientation. Try not to stress about it though, I’ve got friends who have worked all over Jeollanamdo and are very happy.

      Yesosu is a beautiful city! It’s very spread out so I’m not sure where your orientation will be happening but I’m sure you will have time in the evenings to explore. I’m still here in Jeollanamdo and still loving it! I can easily see myself renewing for another two contracts (4 in total)!

      In order to get “super” rural you’d likely be on an island, and even then taking a ferry to the nearest city is not a big deal. I’ve had friends who’ve worked on islands and they generally just took trips to the mainland on weekends. If you are “rural” but on mainland you will never be very far from a city like Mokpo or Suncheon, or even from the metro one, Gwangju. Public transportation in Korea is pretty good and it’s easy to get around on buses!

      Let me know if you have any more questions!
      Cheers
      Fallon

      • Hey Fallon,

        Thanks so much for the info! The more research I’ve done, and the more I’ve talked to people there, the more exciting any placement in JLP seems. Thanks for calming my nerves that I’ll always have access to transport. I actually like being rural as long as that is the case.

        4 contracts is a long time! that’s so cool that you feel so at home. I’ve been bouncing around the world for the last few years (NZ, Australia, Netherlands, Czech Republic) and it’s definitely time to chill somewhere for a while and save some money. (Of course, plenty of adventure to be had in Asia!). I’d love to hear about your story and how the ride has been so far. If you’d like to connect on FB feel free to add me (Michael Goonan).

  6. Hi there. Thanks for such an informational post! I was looking into the other programs and came across JLP. I’d never heard of it before. I wanted to ask what the application timeline was like for you? Also, will you get to know which schools/how many schools you will be needing to teach at when they offer you the placement and you can accept or decline?

      • Hi LJ! Apologies for the late response!

        So I actually applied through EPIK as at that time they were acting as recruiters for JLP. At that time you could also apply to JLP through Canadian Connection. Now, this has recently changed for the upcoming school year. From what I understand, JLP has basically been absorbed by EPIK. I don’t have a lot of information right now, but what I’ve been told is that our contracts etc. won’t be changing but new incoming teachers will have to apply through EPIK (and specify Jeollanamdo) if they’d like to work in this part of the country.

        So in terms of application timeline I followed the exact timeline on the EPIK website. I believe gathering all of my documents etc. took a month or so (though I did things pretty last minute). In terms of knowing before hand, I’m pretty sure EPIK still just tells you what MOE or POE you will be placed with. So I was told I was going to be placed in Jeollanamdo but didn’t find out about Mokpo until orientation. Generally you won’t know anything about how many schools you will have until you start teaching, though in this area of Korea having a travel school is pretty common (and no big deal!Also extra $$)

        The maximum amount of “teaching hours” is 22 hours per week. Above that you get overtime pay and you have to consent to it. A teaching hour is one class period, so in elementary school a teaching hour is 40 minutes, middle school is 45, high school 50. I worked the max hours (22) and still have TONS of free time to plan lessons etc.

        Let me know if you have further questions! I’m happy to answer the best I can.

        Cheers,

        Fallon

  7. Hey there,

    Just wanted to let you know that your blog posts couldn’t have shown up at a better time. I’m currently in the process of applying for JLP through Canadian Connections, and the way you describe the program really helps soothe a lot of the concerns I’ve had about possible moving to Jeollanam-do.

    I am curious, and I apologize if you’ve discussed it in another blog post, but what is transportation like for you? The one thing that pushes metropolitan life over rural life for me is having access to good public transportation, and I’m sure I’ll miss having a metro or subway available to me. Is the bus system alright? Did you end up having to get a car or minibike of some sort?

    • Hello!

      Thanks for enjoying the blog, it’s nice to know some of the information has been helpful to someone!

      In terms of transportation I’ve had no issues, and for perspective I lived in Toronto prior to Korea so was also used to a subway system, buses, and streetcars. I will say that a lot depends on where exactly you are placed in Jeollanamdo. In Mokpo, I feel no need to own a vehicle – cabs are incredibly cheap and the bus system is fairly easy to understand (there’s an app for it). I would guess the other larger cities like Yeosu and Suncheon are the same. Even if you are in a more rural area you should still have an easy to use bus system, but again this depends on where specifically you are placed. Many of my friends bike to get around and find it fairly easy to do so. I know some fellow teachers who ended up buying cars, but often it’s because they missed owning a vehicle opposed to doing it out of necessity.

      For the most part I’d say you will have no issues with transportation, most people here do not own cars and just use buses and cabs to get around.

      Please let me know if you have any further questions – I’m happy to help.

      Cheers

      • That’s great to hear! I’m a small town kid who moved to the cities partially for the convenience of not having to own a car, so I’m glad getting around without one is feasible. I lived in Korea for a year back in 2012, and I didn’t really have access to a bus application at the time, so I’m glad to hear there’s one available in Jeolla!

        I’ve got two more questions, and then I’m out of your hair:

        1) When you applied for your job, was having a TEFL certification a requirement for your JPL job? A lot of the other places I’ve applied to that place into public schools seem to have TEFL certification as a requirement – something I can apparently get out of the way relatively quickly via an online course, but I’ve already got all of my other documents prepared (background check, degree, apostilles, etc.) and I’m loathe to do if it’s not completely necessary. I’ll be having an interview with Canadian Connections very soon, and I’d like to know what to expect.

        2) What kind of placement options were you offered? Is it one preferred city and one preferred rural area, or do you just list down a few places you’d rather go and hope for the best? And finally (phew!) – which city in Jeolla do you think is the best to live in/be situated nearby between these four: Yeoso, Suncheon, Mokpo, or Gwangju? Just in terms of convenience, quality of life, and affordability. I’m not picky – just looking for opinions!

        Thanks again!

        • Hello again!

          So yes, I believe having a TESL is actually required for all public school jobs in Korea, though maybe* not for folks with teaching degrees, but I’m not 100% on that. Many public schools are also now requiring your TESL course has in-class hours so that might be something to think about. I would wait until you have your interview with CC as they can confirm the exact one you need and probably even recommend one.

          I actually didn’t have any placement options as I applied through EPIK, but some of my friends who went through Canadian Connection said they were allowed to ask for specific areas (though with no guarantee of placement there of course). Gwangju is actually it’s own metro city and therefore handled by their own office of education, so EPIK does the hiring for them. The biggest cities in Jeolla are as you mentioned, Mokpo, Yeosu, and Suncheon. I’ve been to all three and I would say they are all really fantastic options. Mokpo is the closest to Gwangju, a 50 minute bus ride, while Yeosu and Suncheon are a little further maybe 1.5 hours. Yeosu and Suncheon are next to eachother though so you’ve sort of got two nice cities to explore if you live in either one. There are also smaller places like Namak (basically in Mokpo) which are really great too. I’d honestly probably just tell them you’d like to be placed in one of the main 3 if possible that way you’ve got a good chance. As for convenience/quality of life I think you’ll find it’s the same across the board (of the main 3).

          Good luck with your interview! Seriously don’t hesitate to ask any more follow up questions. There’s not a lot of info floating around the internet on JLP so I’m happy to help where I can.

          Cheers!

  8. Hello, thank you for all of your articles. I am currently in the EPIK process and was considering abandoning them for JLP. It sounds like you are working with the JLP through EPIK? Could you elaborate on how this works exactly?

    • Hello!

      So from what I understand EPIK sort of acts like a recruiter for the JLP, especially for late applications. Both myself and a friend of mine applied to EPIK fairly late in the game and were placed with the JLP. Having said that though, if you’d like to just skip EPIK and head straight to JLP I’d recommend getting in touch with the recruiters over at Canadian Connections. They recruit for Jeollanamdo and I’ve have many friends whom have had great success with them.

      Let me know if you have any more questions!

      Cheers!

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