Pacific Geographies (Feb 2022)
Living and working as a teacher in Seoul
This commentary addresses some of the cross-cultural issues of teaching abroad in the Republic of Korea (South Korea). Germans can apply directly to teach at ‘German schools abroad’, which are private schools around the world, or can sign up with the Central Agency for Schools Abroad (ZfA). The ZfA provides assistance and professional quality management. The German schools abroad are often a hub for German speaking communities, easing entry into new cultural contexts and institutions. I discuss teaching in such a school in the megacity of Seoul. Advantages are lifestyles, ease of travel and personal safety. Leisure and sports activities are good, especially at the River Hangang. Traffic and multi-lane highways traverse the city, affecting the riverside. South Korea has a mixed record in terms of sustainability, with a strong reliance on fossil fuels, although southwest of Seoul is the world’s largest tidal power plant, and waste separation is very strict. Seoul suffers periodically from bad air quality, for which China is partially blamed. Songdo is an exemplary smart city near Seoul, but construction required the draining of valuable tidal flats. The close proximity to North Korea is omnipresent.