When I was in elementary school, my Korean soccer coach was like a second father who shuttled me to practices and games, told me I should eat more meat, and liked to yell, “Tuck in your shirt,” from the sidelines.
On trips to faraway tournaments, we listened to powerful Korean ballads, and for my birthday, his daughter gifted me traditional Korean hair clips. As a kid, these foreign hair clips and songs were all it took to imprint a fondness for South Korea I couldn’t shake even in my 20s.
After graduating university, deciding to go overseas to teach English in “The Land of Morning Calm” was a no-brainer.
Navigating the job market and finding the best teaching opportunities in South Korea, however, was a different story. With so many options, it took me days of research just to find the top programs. To make your own search easier though, Go Overseas has rounded up the best programs based on their high rankings and unique attributes. Despite Covid restrictions that make entry to some countries difficult or impossible, South Korea is actively welcoming teachers.
Click the links below to find out which teach abroad program in South Korea is right for you, or continue reading for more information on each recruiter.
- Best for Flexible Recruiting: Korvia Consulting
- Best for Non-Native Teachers: Korean Horizons
- Best for Best for Jobs Across Korea: Travel and Teach Recruiting Inc.
- Best for Best for Connections to EPIK & SMOE: Reach to Teach
- Best for Teacher Benefits: Greenheart Travel
- Best for Best for Pre-Program Preparation: Canadian Connection
- Best for Best for Private School Placements: Gone2Korea
- Best for Best for TEFL & Teaching: Teach Away
- Best for Best for Established Program: Footprints Recruiting
Best for Flexible Recruiting: Korvia Consulting
Korvia Consulting is the program to choose if you want flexibility in job placement. Korvia Consulting has connections to government teaching programs EPIK and SMOE, as well as hagwons (language academies) and private schools. This range of programs offers different benefits, salaries, and levels of responsibility. Korvia will work with teachers to determine the best fit.
Past Korvia Consulting clients have had this to say about their experiences:
- “They work as your best buddy as you go through the process, they support you every step of the way. You can find an English teaching job in Korea without Korvia, but why would you want to?” -- Tom
- “Honestly, moving to South Korea and working with EPIK has been the best decision I've ever made, and I don't think it would have been possible without the help of Korvia Consulting! The EPIK process is certainly intimidating, but Korvia made sure everything was taken care of smoothly and in a timely manner.” -- Kayla
- “They set up everything for me from the job interview, to even helping me find cheap flights. My recruiter Jessie also offered me her phone number in case of emergency. They have been very helpful and very fast at responding to any questions or concerns I've had.” -- Carolynn
Best for Non-Native Teachers: Korean Horizons
Another great opportunity to find a teaching placement through the EPIK program is available through Korean Horizons. Korean Horizons scores exceptionally well across all of the variables we ask alumni to rank them on. Their lowest score (9.7 out of 10) is for Fun. For all the other measures, they don't score lower than 9.8.
Unlike other programs, Korean Horizons will recruit teachers born outside of the main English-speaking countries. If you are a non-native speaker but have earned a bachelor's in an English-speaking country, or were educated in one of seven main countries from the age of 12 or for at least 10 years, you are eligible to teach in Korea through Korean Horizons.
Here's what some of their alumni have said about the program:
- "If you want to apply to teach in Korea, but don't know how to begin, Alistair and Korean Horizons will make everything a breeze. He breaks down the overwhelming process into bite-sized chunks. I couldn't recommend their services more." -- Andre
- "No question is too silly, and you will never feel like you’re alone even after you’ve just uprooted yourself and moved thousands of miles away from your friends and family. Alistair really does go above and beyond for all his recruits." -- Vanya
- "If you are not sure where to start but want to move quickly, Korean Horizons in the place to go. Alistair is on top of everything and will make you feel at ease even when you aren't sure how things are looking." -- Nkem
Best for Jobs Across Korea: Travel and Teach Recruiting Inc.
Travel and Teach recruiting earned its spot on this list with its “Travel and Teach Teacher Guarantee.” From the time you first apply to your school in South Korea, until your very last day, this program provides recruiting services totally free of charge. And unlike many programs, Travel and Teach places prospective teachers in locations all around Korea, from small villages to big cities.
Highly rated for its support services, Travel and Teach Recruiting Inc. is your gateway to a streamlined application process and substantial assistance abroad. Numerous Travel and Teach Recruiting Inc. alumni left raving reviews for the staff members, such as Niko and Janice.
Here’s a better look at what some of Travel and Teach Recruiting Inc.’s alumni think about the program:
- “Travel and Teach helped with finding jobs to my interest (and degree), completing paperwork and most of all providing traveling guides to introduce me to the country and program. Travel and Teach made sure I was prepared for the trip and even did a follow up after I arrived.” -- Koblia
- “Travel and Teach got me a job quickly when no one else could. I worked with at least 5 or 6 different recruiters before coming to Travel and Teach and many would promise a lot and deliver very little. Travel and Teach got me a job so that I could be close to my wife and did so quickly and efficiently.” -- Aidan
- “My first attempts to search for a new job teaching overseas felt daunting and overwhelming. I found Travel & Teach Recruiting through Janice, my advisor from Oxford Seminars. Once the connection was made, the process for obtaining a job became much smoother!” -- Marjorie
Best for Connections to EPIK & SMOE: Reach to Teach
Reach to Teach is one of the best-kept secrets among the foreigner teaching community in South Korea. The teach abroad program has 40 years of ESL teaching experience that extends even beyond South Korea, in Taiwan and in the U.S., so they have a special perspective. All of the employees at Reach to Teach were once teachers themselves, so supporting their to-be-teachers and answering any questions about life abroad are their foremost concerns.
The teach overseas program is an American official recruiter for the EPIK (English Program in Korea) and SMOE (Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education) public-school programs that start in Aug. and Feb. However, they also pair teachers with private schools recruiting year-round.
See how Reach to Teach goes above and beyond to help their teachers below:
- “Without the help of Reach to Teach, I would not have been able to complete the application process to receive a placement from EPIK. I highly recommend them for anyone who is interested in teaching in Asia. Reach to Teach is the best!” -- Lindsay
- “When I was applying to teach English in Korea I had so many unanswered questions, anxieties and concerns. Reach to Teach, hands down, answered all of my questions, curiosities, concerns and laid all my anxieties to rest. They really walk you through each step of the process thoroughly so that you know what to expect.” -- Nicole
- “Throughout the entire process of getting to South Korea, Reach to Teach was extremely helpful. Every question that I had was answered quickly and thoroughly, and it was evident that the representatives from Reach to Teach truly cared about my placement in South Korea as well as my wellbeing.” -- Brett
Best for Teacher Benefits: Greenheart Travel
Out of all of the best teach abroad programs in South Korea, Greenheart Travel scored the highest rating, a 9.6/10, in benefits. So, what kind of outstanding benefits can you expect with this overseas teaching program? Access to a personal program manager, South Korean school application reviews, pre-departure support (including a week-long cultural and logistical training), and a waived application fee for anyone taking a TEFL/TESOL course through Greenheart Travel to boot.
Participants will also be provided with a month of accommodation and two months of health insurance upon arrival.
Plus, Greenheart Travel is open to helping get teachers placed in both private and public schools, so you won’t have to settle if you already have your mind made up.
Learn more about the program by reading some of the reviews that follow:
- “It's helpful to have a company guide you through the intense application process. My Green Heart recruiter provided many detailed instructions on how to apply for certain documents and reminded me of the due dates for everything along the way.” -- Kristin
- “Greenheart travel was extremely helpful throughout the entire application process. Sara, my recruiter, was always extremely quick to answer all of my emails - and there were many!” -- Gin
- “I absolutely love South Korea. I was well prepared by Greenheart for all the cultural differences and difficulties I may experience here. I have experienced many differences - the food, the social scene, the language and many more - but having been pre-warned I was able to take them in my stride!” -- Sally
Best for Pre-Program Preparation: Canadian Connection
You don’t have to be Canadian to benefit from Canadian Connection’s teaching overseas services. This teach abroad program got high scores across the board, from fun to facilities, and will help you find the best ESL jobs in South Korea (that offer free housing and airfare, of course!)
One thing that really sets Canadian Connection apart from the other best teaching programs in South Korea is that it prepares teachers for life abroad by gifting a travel kit that includes maps, travel guides, a cultural insight book, and a Korean language brochure.
Here’s some more insight on the program from past and current teachers:
- “I've already told many friends about Canadian Connection. Amazing program, nice staff, great benefits! I am never bored. I have enough left over at the end of the month to travel and to send money home. I am going to renew my contract on if I can go through this program.” -- Erik
- “Canadian Connection did an amazing job of preparing me for my employment abroad, from walking me through the necessary steps to get my visa and other documents, to answering random questions I had about my upcoming culture and experience. They made themselves available through email, Skype, and phone calls.” -- Jack
- “I truly feel that had it not been for Canadian Connections, my transition would not have been nearly as smooth and I may have already turned around and gone home. They made sure I was prepared for everything. They were always available for questions and were excellent at keeping in touch on a daily basis for any type of question.” -- Camillac
Best for Private School Placements: Gone2Korea
If you have your heart set on teaching in Seoul and nowhere else, Gone2Korea can help with their placement service specifically focused on private school teaching jobs in Seoul and the metropolitan area.
Gone2Korea scores especially high on Support and Fun, which at the end of the day are two pretty important factors that will affect your teaching experience anywhere in the world.
Learn more about what alumni have thought of this program:
- "When I started applying with recruiters way back in November I wasn't sure which one I was going to use but Gone2Korea quickly came out as the front-runner. My coordinator always got back to me within a few hours and was candid, even blunt at times, about the realities of working in Korea." -- Oliver
- "Gone2Korea was indispensable in my quest to find a job and move to South Korea. As someone who knew next to nothing about the process of teaching English overseas, my Gone2Korea agent helped me with every task throughout the journey." -- Leah
- "My experience with Gone2Korea was nothing short of excellent. They placed me at a fantastic school and made the visa application process really easy, something I was initially worried about." -- Taryn
Best for TEFL & Teaching: Teach Away
Many teaching jobs in South Korea require teachers to have TEFL/TESOL certifications, which can be pricey and time-consuming. Paired with distinguished University of Toronto, Teach Away offers an online TEFL course that’s quick and cheap, so you can continue working or studying until you’re ready to go overseas.
But, whether you choose to take Teach Away’s online course or not, you can still use the teaching agency to be paired with private and public school jobs all across “The Land of Morning Calm.” Plus, while some teaching programs focus on one age or grade level, Teach Away works with educators to teach in elementary, middle, and secondary schools.
Here’s a snapshot of what two of Teach Away’s alumni have said about their program:
- “My experience in South Korea was amazing. I felt very supported by my recruiting agency, Teach Away. From the initial contact through the application process to my over the phone interview, reviewing and signing the contract as well as physically traveling to join us in orientation in South Korea - Teach Away was there for me every step of the way!” -- Lindsey
- “The program in South Korea offers me everything I need to have the experience of a lifetime and Teach Away was a huge help getting me here. They were always reachable to answer my questions and help with my visa documents.” -- Jordan
Best for Established Program: Footprints
Footprints is one of the oldest recruiters in South Korea for private and public teaching jobs, and over the years it’s received some of the highest marks in facilities and safety. Since 2001, the teach overseas program has been helping place teachers with schools that offer plentiful benefits, such as high salaries and a wide range of jobs to choose from.
Unconvinced? Take a look at some of Footprint’s top reviews that follow:
- “My experience with Footprints was great. … I think the best compliment I can give is that the recruitment process was so smooth, the details of it practically disappeared. Everything was easy and straightforward.” -- Marc
- “Working abroad is such a great experience and Footprints is a free and reliable service to help you through the process. They will make sure that your work abroad experience is a stress-free and memorable one!” -- Janet
- “It was a few years ago, but I remember Footprints being extremely helpful in assisting me with my application and looking over everything to make sure I was good to go. The step-by-step process they led me through before I finally applied definitely took a lot of stress off of me as far as time management and making sure I had everything ready to send to EPIK.” -- Jessica
Which Teach Abroad Program in South Korea Is Your Best Bet?
All of the teach overseas programs in South Korea ranked above exceeded Go Overseas’ standards, from benefits and fun, to support and safety. Whether you have your eyes set on South Korea for its rich culture, remarkable mountains, or barbecue and soju, your transition to teaching in Korea will be seamless with the right program.