Frequently Asked Questions
What are your school start and end dates?
Our school year must include 180 teaching days, usually beginning in the middle of August and ending in early June. Holidays include Korean national holidays, American Thanksgiving, three weeks at Christmas, Lunar New Year, and a week for Spring Break. Take a look at our calendar to view the events each month.
What are your school hours?
Students attend school Monday through Friday from 8:10 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. Preschool students attend either 8:10 – 11:10 a.m. or noon – 3:00 p.m.
What are your class sizes?
Elementary School: The maximum class size is 14 students in Early Childhood (PS and JK), 20 in Senior Kindergarten, and 20 in Grade One. In Grades Two through Five, the maximum class size is 22 students per classroom. Teacher assistants are provided up to Grade Two. In addition, parents and high school volunteers may assist teachers in the classrooms.
British School: The maximum class size is 22 students per classroom in Year Reception through Year 9.
Middle School: The maximum class size is 22 students per classroom.
High School: Class sizes range from 5 to 25 depending on the course. Lower division classes tend to have more students while some specialized upper division courses can have very few students.
What curriculum do you use?
SFS follows the UK National Curriculum in the British Division, and the International Baccalaureate (IB) program to others. We are also offering IGCSE courses for students moving to our high school from the British division. More detailed information is available in each divisional section of the webpage.
Do teachers live on campus?
All overseas-hired teachers live in school-owned housing on the campus or in nearby apartments we lease. This has both positive and negative aspects, but overall it is seen as very positive. Our teacher accommodations range from small to moderate-sized, American-style apartments, which we believe to be comfortable.
Some of our smaller single apartments total about 530 square feet. They include a bedroom, living room, kitchen and bathroom. All are furnished with a range, refrigerator, two air-conditioner units, basic furniture, telephone, and drapes. There are washing machines and dryers for shared use in each building. Electricity is metered to each apartment and is charged to the apartment occupants.
How far is the apartment from school?
A five minute walk from your front door will take you to your classroom. It is very handy and exempts you from the traffic problems that sometimes plague Seoul. Two buses run to and from the nearby apartments that are leased about 2 km away.
What do we need to bring?
Nearly all items essential to daily life are available in Korea and as each day goes by, more and more western items are entering the market. Of course, some items are different and a reasonable time is needed to become accustomed to the different brand names and alternatives. Consider carefully what you decide to ship from home.
The apartment you will be living in is comfortable but small. A sofa, coffee table, end tables, beds, dining table/chairs, desk, and some other basic furniture are provided. In addition, a hospitality kit with basic cooking utensils, pillows, sheets, and towels is available until you are settled.
The final decision on what to bring or to leave behind is often determined by comparing the cost of purchasing new items in Seoul against the hassle of bringing it with you. Of course, bringing your key teaching materials and some favorite things to settle in your new home would be wise.
How do new teacher's children transition to SFS?
This depends greatly on the child and the school system from which they came from. As we state, we have a tradition of academic excellence and thus this is an important point to consider for any parent. Having said that, it can also be said that teachers’ children generally adjust to SFS and then do quite well at our school.
We are proud of the diversity that the school can cater to in terms of strict academics and sports or the fine arts, for instance.
Do you have cafeteria services?
Teachers are given an allowance to use at the cafeteria but also have full discretion to bring their own lunch or to make other arrangements. Some of the teachers delight in heading home for a quiet meal during the lunch break.
Our two cafeterias use a pre-paid finger-scan system, thereby eliminating the need for cash on a daily basis.
How is banking handled?
Teachers are paid in US Dollars. A portion of the salary can be paid at a fixed rate in Korean won to a local bank account. Generally this amount is seen as sufficient to live on and the remaining USD salary is typically paid into a local USD bank account. Faculty then wire funds to their home country bank.
Do apartments have Internet/TV access?
Apartments are provided with cable internet and a cable box is provided in each apartment. The channels are rather limited so it is wise to come expecting to watch the news and perhaps a few other shows. Many people enjoy watching their own DVDs for personal entertainment.
Is there a western doctor/hospital nearby?
An eight-minute walk will bring you to a modern hospital with an international clinic. A western doctor is on staff (the SFS school doctor) and many of the doctors there are trained in western medicine. Other medical facilities also exist elsewhere in the city.
Where are your teachers from?
In the British School, the majority of the teachers are from the United Kingdom. In the other three divisions we have teachers from the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, France, Korea, and South Africa, to name a few. Our foreign language teachers are often from their native countries. Over half of our teachers have earned their master’s or higher degrees and the average number of years of teaching experience is 12 years.
How long does the application process take?
The HR office never stops the application process. That means that new applicants are continually adding to the system. We may be in touch to clarify some of your information and we will thank you for your application. Candidates that meet our criteria are highlighted as potential hires for our administration to consider.
We ask our teachers to make their decisions about the following school year prior to Christmas each year. That means that openings become firm in the Fall and as the recruiting fairs start we are ready to start hiring. However, the hiring process can run until the end of the year as final changes are made and as needs are identified.
Do you accept candidates with dependents?
Yes, we hire couples with children and families where both parents are teachers. Generally we do not hire families with more than three children. Singles and teaching couples with/without dependents form the bulk of our hiring.
Do you accept locally-hired (LDH) teachers?
Yes, we hire teachers that are living here in Seoul. Predominantly we hire spouses of people that are already working here and that have arranged their visas and housing through a sponsoring company.
We also hire Korean nationals for a variety of our openings. These locally hired teachers are provided virtually of the same benefits as their overseas counterparts but some items, such as housing and airfare are not included in the local package.
Do you hire non-teachers (TAs)?
We do hire the various positions listed on our online application. These are generally professionals working in the school. Teaching assistants are generally not hired through the Human Resources office but are generally hired through each of the division offices.
How will you help my family make the transition to Seoul and SFS?
Once you are hired, HR will be in touch to clarify the paperwork needed to obtain your visa prior to your arrival as an overseas hire. A wealth of information will be shared to help you begin to understand life at SFS.
Once you arrive here in Seoul we will provide a full week of orientation to Seoul and to life at SFS. Initially this is focused on settling in and finding basic necessities, such as food and household items.
We then move to school topics and the issues of living and working on campus. We also touch on how to deal with medical issues, contract benefits, computer systems and curriculum.
As the week draws to an end the returning teachers start to arrive and they help to support the new teachers in the following week as we prepare for the start of school. Additional orientation activities continue into the year as we try to help you settle in to your new home at SFS.
Will I survive the weather?
When new teachers arrive into Seoul in August, it is the end of the rainy season and it is rather hot and humid. Seoul winters are cold and dry while fall and spring are quite pleasant. Thus, teachers are able to enjoy the four seasons but the weather is not as diverse as some parts of the world!
Will I be able to hire household help?
If you desire domestic help, Korean housekeepers (adjumonies) are often available. These ladies support a range of functions from laundry to childcare. Many teachers hire someone for a day a week for household chores while those with young children may have someone to primarily watch the children.
Do you allow pets in apartments?
Cats are allowed in our apartments but we do not allow dogs. We generally discourage pets as there have been issues with them over holidays and while teachers are at work.
How expensive will utilities be?
Overseas teachers living on campus receive a utility allowance which is designed to pay a significant portion of their electricity usage for the average teacher. The allowance is paid in monthly payments from August to May. Teachers also pay for cable television, internet, and phone charges. The school pays for other utilities such as heating and gas for cooking.
Will there be enough food for me to eat?
Most people will find food prices high here in Korea. Of course, this varies by the amount you eat out and how much of the more expensive overseas items you want to enjoy.
There are a wide variety of available foodstuffs to eat. Fresh fruits and vegetables are seen year-round though availability and prices fluctuate according to seasons. However you should not expect to find all of the fruits and vegetables that you would in your home country. There are several local meat and fish markets but many teachers frequent the larger, western supermarkets.
Are there English Christian church services available in Seoul?
Yes, there are many. Seoul Foreign School would like to encourage your family to maintain contact with the Christian faith by attending the church of your choice during your stay in Seoul. We will provide additional information on this topic during orientation.