Life as an out-of-town student is never easy, and you often face financial difficulties, especially if you live abroad. But Korea will help you relieve the financial burden.

If you are in South Korea to study Korean (with a D-4 visa), or if you are actually enrolled in university (with a D-2 visa), you will have the opportunity to work part-time in Korea.

We gathered some information thanks to one of our students who had lived and studied in Busan with the D-4 visa!

How it works

If you come to Korea with the intention of studying Korean, you can start working part-time after the first six months. This period is mainly to let you adapt to the new lifestyle in a new country and to get your language level up so that you can handle everyday conversations.

There are a few things to be aware of. First, the permit for part-time work in Korea is issued by your local immigration office. To obtain this permit, your class attendance plays a huge factor in receiving permission, so we advise you to be diligent in attending your classes. Also, for Korean language students, the maximum number of working hours per week is 20 hours (if you have at least TOPIK I level 2), so be careful not to exceed that limit too much.

Once the six months have passed, you can go to your school’s office, and they will provide you the relevant information regarding documents you will need to obtain to work part-time in Korea. Don’t worry, it’s easier than it looks!

Where to look for a job

What are the easiest ways to find a job? Basically, there are two ways. The first is to go in person to the place where you want to work. Very often foreigners with this type of visa work in restaurants or coffee shops. You can either look for places with advertisements, or if you are brave enough, go to any business and ask if they are looking for someone to work part-time for them. There’s always a possibility that they are hiring part timers, so it doesn’t hurt to go and ask.

The other way is to download two apps, respectively 알바몬 (Albamon) or 알바천국 (Albachunkuk). You’ll find lots of ads here, maybe even one that suits you. The only downside is that basic Korean is not enough to be able to navigate these two applications well, so you will need a little more proficiency in the language. On the positive side, if you are afraid of meeting the employer, you can use these apps to contact the managers of the venue directly without going there in person, by message or phone call.

Advantages and disadvantages

Like any country, working part-time as a student in Korea has both its advantages and disadvantages.

One of the advantages is that you will be able to put your language skills into practice as you work. You will have to communicate with native speakers, listen to their requests or anything else related to the job you are doing. In addition, you will be more financially independent, so you will not have to bother your parents too much, and when you want to indulge in a few extra treats, such as going out with friends or a trip out of town, you will be able to do so without too much thought.

If you have any kind of part-time job, you often find yourself prioritizing your part time job more, and you will not be able to devote all your time to your studies, and that is one of the disadvantages. Please note that if you go to Korea on a D-4 visa, your priority is study and attend class, so be careful not to neglect your studies. If you want to focus more on work experience and less on studying, the best decision is to go to Korea on a working holiday visa.

Finally, it is evident that the city also influences how easy it is to find a job. If you are in Seoul, it will probably be easier, but it is also true that the living costs there are more expensive. If you are in Busan, Daegu, or another city in South Korea, it is still possible to find a job, but it is generally more challenging to secure one. In the latter case, given the lower costs of living in these other cities, you may have more money to support yourself.

The important thing is not to give up! I recommend you to ask some friends, or go to the school office to ask, and you will see that you too will be able to get 100% into the hectic Korean life between study and work!

For more useful tips on living in Korea, keep following the Go! Go! Hanguk blog.