It might be rather rude to write about my finances in Korea, but I’m sure people are curious. I know I would have liked to have more information when planning.
Keep in mind that I’m still at orientation and haven’t actually received or spent any real money. I have learned a few things from talking to returning teachers, however.
The lowest level salary for provincial EPIK teachers is 2.0 million won/month, or about $2000. Doesn’t sound like much, but included with the contract is airfare both ways and housing. Depending on where you live and how frugally you spend, I’ve heard that you can spend all of that, or save half of it. Maybe even more if you’re really tight. Erin and I are housed as a couple, and one of the EPIK coordinators said that should save us a lot of money.
Also, in rural provinces, you may end up teaching at multiple schools, in which case you are paid slightly more.
US citizens get a better deal than most. All teachers are exempt from Korean taxes for the first 2 years of their employment. Most other teachers have to pay taxes in their home country (or may opt to pay Korean taxes). US citizens, provided they make less than some large figure (I think 75K/year) are also exempt from US taxes.
Total annual payment (including severance pay, settlement allowance, and rural bonuses) should be between $26,000 and $28,000. Doesn’t sound like much, but with the tax benefits, provided housing, and a (seemingly) lower cost of living than the US, this isn’t a bad financial move for me.
This ends my discussion of money. Enjoy some photos: