Earning Extra Money in Seoul

So you’ve found the teaching job you want and you’re making alright money buuuttt…. it’s just not cutting it.

Maybe you have loads of student debt, enjoy shopping a little too much in Myeongdong, you have big vacation plans for Chuseok, or nights out in Gangnam are just too much fun to give up. Whatever the case may be, you need some extra cash.

But wait, aren’t I not allowed to work outside of my contract? Won’t I lose my visa? Will I be fired?

This is a fairly gray area. You most likely can’t work outside of your contract if you’re an E2 visa. You could ask for permission from the school, but they’ll probably say no.

Making Green in the Grey Area

The thing is, most English teachers I’ve met have side jobs. I wouldn’t suggest telling your school director or openly advertise it. However, it’s still so common that it’s very easy to find these jobs, but first things first, get KakaoTalk. It’s the first thing people will ask for in order to communicate with you.


It’s very easy to get students to give private lessons to. Talk to your friends, your coworkers (one’s you can trust), and any other teachers you know that are leaving soon. It’s great to pick up where another teacher has left off.

If you can’t get a student referred to you, check online. Craigslist is surprisingly safe and reliable and you can either find people looking for a tutor or put up an ad yourself that you’re looking for students. There are also tons of Facebook groups that post about private lessons.

If either of these aren’t your cup of tea or you simply don’t want to have to go to place after place; try tutoring online. There are tons of companies where you can tutor over Skype or their own platform. My favourite is with VIPKid – but if you’re not North American you can check out my comprehensive list of online tutoring jobs.

In person, you can make between $35-50 per hour. Online it ranges much more. There are some that let you set your own rates, otherwise, the standard looks to be between $10 -$20 per hour on the higher end, but you don’t need to go anywhere but your apartment.

Acting and Modelling

There are so many agencies looking for foreigners to be in ads, TV, and film. Much of the time the requirements aren’t nearly as stringent as they would be in your home country. You’ll see posts that simply say “white, blonde, foreigner, female” and that’s it.  Some will be more specific, some less. I’ve also had some decent success on Craigslist and Facebook. Search terms like “acting, modeling, extras, etc” will yield some results. Join all the groups so you get notifications you can skim through. It will help if you have some shots already – doesn’t have to be professional but at least a headshot and full body shot. I often sent them to my facebook page that had part of my portfolio on it, though I had a comp card to send them as well.

Voice Work

There are SO many companies looking for native English speakers for voice overs. I did jobs for Education companies for textbooks and their accompanying CDs, commercial and ad voice overs, smart devices, and whatever else I got a message for. It was great. Most of the time they’re one-offs but you could get a project for a few sessions. More often than not they pay $30-50 per hour and you only have to be there for an hour or two.



Although it’s difficult to have a flexible schedule when you have a set teaching job, try to be as flexible as possible with your evenings and weekends.

Stay in contact! I got calls and Kakaos in the middle of the day that I had to get back to right away (on my next break) if I wanted the gig. A simple “yes, I’m in” usually sufficed, so they wouldn’t move on to calling the next person.

For tutoring – come prepared! Find out as much information as you can about your student ahead of time. Their level, their age, their interests, etc. If they’re young and potentially shy I would bring coloured pencils and games as a backup in case they didn’t want to talk at first just so we were doing something.

For tutoring don’t go with a recruitment/tutoring agency. They will often ask for your documents (whether it be any form or ID or your passport) and you’ll be kept on a list. While it might be helpful in getting jobs, if that one recruiter or agency gets ‘busted’ everyone on their list does. I had a coworker that had to pay a million won fine ($1000USD) for working out of her contract/visa type.

On that note, GET PAID IN CASH! Although sometimes unavoidable depending on the business type, always try to get paid in cash. This is particularly key for tutoring. If you have a regular tutoring business, recurring payments into your bank account can be a red flag. You may be asked where this regular income is coming from. It may be assumed that you have another job, and if you’re not allowed to have one, this could get you in trouble. The occasional deposit from something isn’t too much of an issue, but regular ones could cause problems.

Stay in contact! When it comes to modeling and acting, stay in touch with the person who referred you. Send them updates of your schedule and any new pictures. Much of the time they are agencies and will message you again if they liked your work before making a general posting.


Like these tips or have some of your own? Let me know in the comments below!


By | 2017-01-13T23:54:24+00:00 January 13th, 2017|Asia, Korea, Living Abroad, Teaching, Teaching Resource, Travel|0 Comments

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