I remember the anticipation I felt while waiting for my departure to South Korea two years ago. I had been planning on teaching there for a few years, but postponed my plans because of family circumstance.
I scoured the internet and asked fellow teachers about their experiences abroad. I finally accepted a contract, with the help of Footprints Recruiting, and began the leaving the USA process.
I looked for what to pack lists, what life would be like, and what preparations to make. During my research stage I found many articles by Grrrl Traveler that were extremely informative and helpful. I wish I had found something as wonderful as this comprehensive list of application cost recently written by Travelsuras (click here for post). In fact, it was her post that inspired me to write this one, as I am now in final stages of my contract and trying to figure out what I am supposed to do.
Leaving a country can be stressful, hopefully this list will be as helpful to you as it was to me. I am a public school teacher and therefore am not sure if the exiting process is the same for private school teachers. If you have any info I can add to the list that is applicable to Hagwon teachers, please let me know in the comments below.
- This will be a piece of paper stating your intention to leave Korea and not renew your contract. I believe this paper is submitted to your local ministry of education. This way they know how many new teachers to hire for the following term. The school will need to know this information post haste, therefore this paper should be given to you around 4-5 months before the end of your contract.
- When arriving in Korea public school teachers are given a medical ins. card, although it looks more like a pamphlet. This is proof that you are registered with the national medical insurance plan. This card must be turned into your co-teacher/manager.
- Emergency Phone Contact
- Date of Departure
- Home Country or KEB Bank account
* The bank account information is for your exit allowance, severance pay, pension, and salary. All are to be paid on final day of your contract, except the pension which is paid after you have left the country. Apply before you leave! (you can apply up to one month before your departure).
* Give your school your KEB Easy One account (or home country bank account if you don’t have an Easy One account). My school preferred that I keep my KEB account open and use that as it is much simpler. Check with your co-teacher as it might be different for each school.
- Gather the following documents: Application form, ID card (passport, alien), bankbook, copy of plane ticket. (Also wouldn’t hurt to have copies of ID cards and bankbook on hand just in case).
- When you go to apply for your refund you will get the application form at the Pension Office. You will need to bring the following: a copy of your one-way plane ticket out of Korea, your Alien Registration Card (ARC), your home bank account information (address, account number, routing number), a copy of a bank statement (this can be printed out from online banking), your home address, and your passport.
- Ask your co-teacher to inform you of the location and hours of the pension office. If you have your co-teacher’s phone number (for just in case), you should be able to complete this step on your own.
- Phone: You will need to ask your co-teacher if they require your phone contract for making the cancellation. Mine was able to simply call using my phone.
- Bills: It is more than likely you will have some bills due right around or after you leave. Your co-teacher should be able to help figure out the best way to pay these. Some people leave a bank account open in Korea for automatic withdrawal, and others calculate how much they owe for a certain amount of days, and pay only that amount. Again, ask your co-teacher if any paperwork is required.
- Bank Account: Make a trip to the bank with your co-teacher. Be prepared and bring your card and bankbook in case they are needed.
- This will be scheduled at the convenience of your co-teacher/manager. They will check the condition and care you have taken with your apartment, as well as inform you which items belong to the school. These items must remain as they will be given to the next teacher to live there.
- If you are traveling directly home and have nothing to ship, then you most likely do not have to worry about getting your belongings from point A to point B. However, if you are like me and are traveling after completing your contract then listen up. Sending boxes home using the Korean postal service is easy and, more importantly, inexpensive. I was able to send 2 large boxes home (not light, they had some books inside) for around 50,000 won. Granted, I did not airmail them, which would have significantly more expensive.
- Update: All of my boxes made it home within 2 months, even though a few of them were quite beat up. I would recommend careful packing with bubble wrap and plastic if there is anything you want protected. I even wrapped clothes in plastic just in case, and I’m glad I did.
- Every foreign teacher is issued an alien card within the first month of teaching allowing them to live and work in Korea. This must be submitted at immigration when leaving the country.
- It is obviously best if you are on good terms with your school. However, some managers might not feel comfortable writing a reference for you (because of the language), and might ask you to write it yourself. They will read and sign. While the language is an issue. I also find that at the end of the term the Korean teachers are swamped with work and don’t want the added stress of writing a formal letter in their second language.
- This can be very short and simple. “________ was employed at _________ School from This date to This date. This might come in handy for future jobs.
- Your school should be able to provide you with a stamped piece of paper titled something like, “Tax Clearance Certificate of Class A Wages & Salaries”. This will provide you with any tax information you might need for filing taxes back home.
Was this helpful? Am I missing anything? Please let me know in the comments section below!