Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Will a school hire me if I am bringing my pet(s) with me?

Here's the question:

I'm wanting to bring my 9 year old dog (50 lbs, she could pass for 40 lbs) *and* my 3 year old cat. I read this article, and I wanted to know if you had any experience with ESL teachers who want to bring pets, and what institutions they could apply to where they would accept pets in their apartment. Both my pets live with me in an efficiency while I work full time, and they are pretty well-behaved. Do you know anything about this in regards to getting a job as an ESL teacher?

First of all, I'd suggest looking at my dog posts for a quick background on bringing pets to Korea. That should cover most of the technical details. The bigger question here is whether or not schools want to allow a teacher with two adult pets move into a district-owned or school apartment that they own or are going to put key-money down for. The obvious advice would be telling your employer as soon as possible about you bringing your pets. This could be very easy, so start there.

Most teaching contracts contain a clause which allows the school to deduct around 50,000 won from your first six paychecks as a protection from unpaid bills or damages done to the apartment when a teacher/tenet leaves. Of course, if you're current with all of your utility bills and don't trash the place, you'll get your contractual deposit back when you've finished up. I mention this clause because it could just as well be viewed as a pet-deposit. Same idea, right? My wife and I adopted a puppy (Labrador-retriever) and we had no problems bringing him into the apartment. I've also had a lot of friends who adopted pets over the years and we all heard the same thing from the landlord/school: Make sure they don't distrupt the neighbors.

Your cat will be a non-issue and while a 50lb dog is no big deal for those of us from the West, in Korea your dog might be viewed as a towering monster by some. Check out my post and podcast on big dogs in Korea. This is relevant because when you tell your school or landlord that you have a big dog that will be living with you, they will be confused and a little concerned. In Korea, mainly toy dogs are viewed as pets, whereas large dogs are relegated to farms or raised for meat. This doesn't mean that you will be forbidden from keeping your dog in the apartment, it's just that you might have to make your case for her. I'd start by telling them what you told me and see what happens.

I don't think that the institution matters that much. I guess the only problem that could arise is that if you were to teach adults or at some public schools, it might be a few days before you get an apartment and the motels that you'd be put up in would not be thrilled about housing two pets during that time period. With that in mind, a kids hagwon might be the most painless option for you. You could look into boarding them for a few days when you first arrive, but time might not permit you to find a good one.

So yeah, you should be open as possible with your potential employers and see what happens. It might not be a problem at all.

1 comment:

Shawn Hudson said...

You say that cats are a non-issue, but I'm uncertain of the procedure to bring one.

What I do know is that EPIK will not allow any pets during its 10-day orientation. I think you're put up in dorms at that time, so I would need to find someone to board the cat with.


1.) What kind of vaccines/certificates would the cat need before flying over?

2.) Are there places to board animals for 10 days and what is the approx. cost?