TaLK - Internships in South Korea!

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About

Teach and Learn in Korea (TaLK) invites you on a Korean Government scholarship to teach English at a public elementary school in a rural area of South Korea.

Benefits include a monthly stipend of KRW 1.5 million (approx. $1,300), a settling-in allowance of KRW 300,000 (approx. $250), an entrance and exit allowance of 1,300,000 KRW (approx. $1,100), accommodation, health insurance and more! Have fun exploring a unique culture and develop a mature global mindset.

TaLK scholarship terms begin in August and February. Apply online for the 2016 Fall semester program!

Highlights
  • UNDERGRADUATES and graduates of accredited universities/colleges are eligible to apply **given they are a citizen from the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or South Africa.
  • A 6-MONTH CONTRACT is available for those who want a "taste" of volunteer- and work-abroad experience in Korea.
  • RURAL elementary schools are our program's target locations, as geographically disadvantaged areas are the most hard-hit by the inequality in English education.
  • A KOREAN CO-TEACHER ("buddy") is available to provide teaching assistance during in-class instructions and to help you EXPLORE your options to learn Korean language and culture through various activities supported in part by your local government.
  • 4-WEEK INTENSIVE TRAINING is mandatory as a buffer period for adjustment and briefing of the following months to come. Orientation provides fundamental knowledge of Korea, living and teaching English in South Korea, the education system, teaching methodol

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

Citizens from the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland or South Africa.
Can't speak for everyone but for POC the experience of the stares etc can be very trying. Some people experience the worst racism they've ever faced and others experience racism that is nothing compared to what they grew up with. There's a scale of a thousand of the most amazing days and treatment you've ever experienced all the way down to the worst most isolating nightmarish experiences. You won...
As our placements are in rural areas of Korea only, any of the potential locations will be at least a few hours away from Seoul City. Our program does not prioritize placements near large cities; individuals who are interested more towards the metropolitan life may be interested in our sister program, EPIK! Their website is http://www.epik.go.kr .

Reviews

85%
based on 25 reviews
  • Growth 8.2
  • Support 7.9
  • Fun 8.5
  • Housing 9
  • Safety 9.3
Showing 1 - 15 of 25
Default avatar
Chris
7/10

TaLK is a great, but not flawless, program

BRIEF OVERVIEW:

The "Teach and Learn in Korea" (TaLK) program allows prospective "TaLK Scholars" (English Teachers) the ability to teach, travel, and reside in South Korea. Airfare and accommodation are taken care of by the provinces and a generous stipend is paid to the Scholar on a monthly basis. While certainly not an extravagant salary, it is very fair considering the amount of hours worked (15 per week) and the country's cost of living.

PROS:

Hands down, the best part of the TaLK program, for me, were the new people I got to meet. As part of TaLK, you are assigned a co-teacher - sometimes more than one - native to your region who assists you in managing your classes. It was a pleasure getting to know and work alongside these people. Not only were they a massive help in the classroom but they were selfless outside of it too. They acquainted us with our region, were our gateway into the Korean culture (e.g. introducing us to the language & cuisine), and were always there to lend a helping hand if we needed one. I can't say enough good things about them. They were some of my closest friends while abroad and the highlight of my experience.

Getting to experience Korea, firsthand, was my second favorite aspect of TaLK. I was located in Jeju which is an island off the southern coast of the country. Comprised of blue beaches, caves, cliffs, waterfalls, mountains, hiking trails, and greenery, it was the most beautiful place I have ever lived in and will likely ever live in. To get a cursory idea for its beauty, google Hyeopjae beach, Cheonjeyeon waterfall, Jusangjeolli cliff, Donnaeko valley, and Seongsan sunrise peak (to name a few). Four years after the fact and I still miss being a stone's throw away from these places.

CON:

My one gripe with TaLK lied in how it was managed. Management (i.e. the Ministry of Education as well as the faculty of one's assigned school), in my opinion, were too hands-off and never clearly indicated what TaLK should accomplish.

When I was in the program, teachers were given complete autonomy over their curriculum and respective classrooms. Management hardly oversaw us. This lack of oversight sounded great on paper but was troublesome for two reasons. Firstly, the majority of people in the program - myself included - did not have a background in education and could have used greater direction while on the job. Granted, we were paired with Korean co-teachers who had insight into the classroom culture of Korea but they, like us, often had minimal teaching experience. Add to this the fact that there were no concrete learning objectives articulated by the program and what you had - to put it bluntly - was a questionably managed, structureless class with no clear direction. The second issue with the lack of managerial oversight was complacency. When you're scarcely overseen and are not working towards specific goals, it's easy to become complacent and fall into a predictable routine. Not knowing what exactly was expected of me, I often resorted to recycling teaching materials and playing ESL games with the students far more often than I should have. Between my students' EPiK classes (another government-funded ESL program in Korea; TaLK's "bigger brother", if you will) and regular English classes, it was difficult to see where my classes fit into the mix.

Another flaw of management lied in how they conducted performance evaluations. Evaluations took the form of "model classes" where the faculty of the school (i.e. homeroom teachers, the vice-principal, the principal, and sometimes parents) sat in on a day's worth of your lessons once per semester. The issue with these model classes was that they were hardly an authentic representation of how the typical TaLK class was run. The first and most obvious reason being was that students would act considerably more composed in front of elder Korean faculty and their parents than they would around a younger foreign teacher (respect for elders is a Confucian value which runs deep in Korean society). Seeing the children on their best behaviour may have presented the illusion that the TaLK teacher was in complete control of the class when, in all likelihood, this was not normally the case. Secondly, the model classes were scheduled well in advance and so it was possible to rehearse their content with one's students to ensure a positive score during the day of the evaluation. A fix to both of these situations would be to incorporate inconspicuous and spontaneous evaluations 2-3 times throughout the semester to get an actual picture of how the TaLK classroom is being run.

The Ministry of Education in Korea likely caught on to some of the things I noted above as the program's efficacy was recently called into question and the program itself nearly got cancelled. Fortunately, it wasn't. I hope it now has a renewed focus. I do think TaLK has the potential to be a great learning tool for Korean students provided it sets clearer expectations of its teachers. It's also a great avenue to experience another part of the world for those who want a change of pace or would like to pursue a career in education.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Rya
9/10

TaLK in Jeju

I was with TaLK for one year, teaching elementary school in Jeju. The program was pretty amazing! I had the chance to work closely with some pretty awesome children, while developing my own teaching skills. The program starts off with a one month long orientation, which was pretty useful, but had long hours. We had some intro Korean lessons, which were very useful, and the chance to get tips from people who knew what they were doing.

There was an additional orientation at your local region. That gave me the chance to get to know the other scholars in the region. I hear that in other provinces the teachers are more spread out, but because I was on Jeju, most people were pretty close by. On the one hand, that provided a good support network for us when we were learning to lesson plan and how to deal with our new students. On the other, it did mean we didn't get the isolated experience in Korea that some of our peers on the mainland got, which could be a good or a bad thing depending on what you're looking for.

Overall fairly good support, though it really came down to your school.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Dan
10/10

Amazing Program!

This was an amazing program. I was so happy to have been part of TaLK. They really took care of me and I was able to experience Korea! It was a great to teach elementary students and really help them with their future. I made connections all over Korea and even made friends from all over the world.

The 3 week orientation is great too! I would have to say that the organized field trips and scavenger hunts were my favorite part of the orientation. The reason for this is because it gave the TaLK scholars opportunities to work with and get to know one another in an enjoyable setting. They were also structured enough to keep the groups busy, but casual enough to still have freedom to explore and experience Korea.

Most of the lectures from orientation are very applicable to what I will be doing in my assigned school. I can see the depth and detail the TaLK Program must have gone through to put together such an organized and diverse lecture load. Since I am fairly well accustomed to the Korean culture, I was able to reap the most benefits from the lectures involving teaching techniques.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Alex
10/10

Amazing Experience

South Korea is an amazing country in itself. The culture is rich and the people are respectful. I had a wonderful time there.

The Teach and Learn in Korea Program offers a month of training to prepare you for what you will encounter in the school. They work hard to make sure that training is fun and relevant.

If you are the first to teach at your school, you will receive assistance in finding an apartment and money to furnish it. If you are not the first person, then you will have to just settle with what the person before you purchased.

We received three large books filled with teaching materials. It helped a lot. The activities are placed in subject order. It would be more helpful if the materials were separated into grade level sections.

My school was really kind to me. We had staff dinners and even a weekend trip to the mountains. I had loads of fun.

The TaLK program has so many benefits. The pay is very generous seeing as though your only real expense is food. In the program you only work 15 hours a week. This gives you a lot of free time. Explore the country.

I plan to go back to S. Korea. It was truly amazing.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Skenglishadvebrure
10/10

Best abroad program

This program is safe, fun, and exciting. The programs orientation provides wonderful information and intro to south Korean teaching. The schools are small with kind kids wanting to learn. Best place to make friends all over the world

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
chunsa88
8/10

Great people not so great support

I was lucky, I had a great school with really nice teachers and facilities but one down side was I had no textbook to teach with so I had to make my own materials from scratch and that was really difficult.
The lack of co-teacher was another troubling point. There was only 1 co-teacher in my province but we had 3 TaLK scholars. There was a university 30 mins away from my school so I don't see why they couldn't have gotten someone from there to help out. It was really difficult trying to control the students when they didn't speak good English.
I found you get a lot of support during Orientation, but after that it's really just you on your own. The TaLK office has nothing to do with you after you go to your province.
The other foreign English teachers I met were really nice people and we made a network together. So overall it was ok.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
CharlotteTeacher
9/10

TaLK: Six Months That Can Change Everything

I have nothing but great things to say about the Teach and Learn in Korea program. The gist of the program is to place native speakers into rural Korean after-school public classrooms and help foster a love of the English language in elementary EFL learners. The wage is not as much as EPIK teachers, but you also only work 3 hours a day. Flight is paid, housing is paid. As a "scholar" even get culture money to fund your own adventures and are provided with Korean classes.

The truth: The TaLK program changed my life. I am now in school to get my MA in TESOL and plan on going back to Korea for curriculum development. There is a one-month training session in which you learn how to teach and make tons of new friends. Korean food is some of the most delicious in the world. I had several mishaps while in Korea and the support staff was always timely in their replies. I never once fely unsafe. My school was rural, as stated in description of the program, but I felt completely welcomed and honored to teach there. Ample supplies, technologies and assistance were available in my classroom.

Downsides: Communication with your school can be difficult. Expectations are not clearly stated and miscommunications can be common and relentlessly frustrating. It's important to keep in mind that you are teaching a voluntary after-school class and that attendance is optional so you have to be fun and flexible in the classroom. Some people had bad experiences, but I also faced many challenges with my school. It is important to remember to always keep a positive attitude towards any dealings with your school or the Office of Education.

In summation: you're paid 1,500 a month to work 3 hours a day and teach adorable Korean school children and have a fantastic experience learning about Korean culture.

If you have two years of college under your belt and are looking for a life-changing experience, I have only one question-- Why haven't you already applied?!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Arjun
2/10

TALK application process, NOT the program!

I never actually ended up participating on the TALK programme, only applied. My warning to prospective applicants is to be prepared to go through a very lengthly application process. I had to go for an in person interview, obtain criminal record checks, get an apostille (none of which were explained very clearly), resubmit a lesson plan until it was of a very high standard, have to obtain two quality academic references. Also this all has to be done, ideally within two months of the participation deadline, otherwise your application may be deferred to the next cycle, like mine was. None of the expenses for crimical disclosure and transport were reimbursed. I'm sure the experience itself is a great one, but make sure that you have enough available time, and are willing to use all your resources to get through the application. Also, there were unclear instructions about their contact number of their website, and the website was quite slow.

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
Anna
5/10

New program... has a lot of kinks to be worked out

I love teaching and I love working oversease. However, I have encountered many problems with my school. I think I am just at a "problem school."

Unfortunately the TaLK program has been little help with the issues I've had with my school.

If I had to do it again I would have chosen the Epik program. It pays MUCH better and I think a person would run into the same problems with either program.

No, I don't recommend
Default avatar
June
9/10

do not hesitate... trust me I've been there!

What Can I say about the program...

It has been couple of years but the memory is vivid as it happened only yesterday.

I won't say how good is the prgram because you have to experienced yourself to know what it really likes.

ok...
good things....endless!!!
i'll try to make it as simple as a shopping list.

1.Wonderful opportunity to meet people from other countries and make friends.- I still keep in touch with some!

2.School teachers were really helpful and nice.
at my school, they gave tips of student's characters and it helped me a lot to understnad students and how to approach them. Also they found me a good place to live!

3. Good pay, good working condition and good life!
the pay is good and TaLK is really treating their scholars well. you are going to be placed at a rural area but you won't be alone because you will have other scholrs around your region and it helps a lot to settle down.

now 3 advises I would like to give to coming scholars.

1. Be nice!
please be polite. this is the key to have the best experience and get along with others no matter who you meet.

2. madke sure you have someone to talk to and meet.
very very important. maeke sure you are happy and don't feel lonely. Seriously, they will down size your problems when you share with them, they will maximise good things :)

3.Be thankful.
being in a strange culture is not easy. everything seems weird and awkward. but remember they(the school and children) also feels same way as you are!
But they are willing to accept you and love you. so be thankful for their willingness and open heart.

I can go on and on and on and on...

but i'll leav the best things for you to find out!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
astrumes
9/10

The highlight of my life so far!

The TaLK program is something unforgettable in every aspect of the world. There were ups, down, and all around amazing experiences.

While living in the rural countryside, I learned to become independent and responsible not just for myself, but for all the children I was teaching. The students you have will make you both want to rip the skin off your face and fill you with so much pride your chest feels like it will pop. While the language barrier can be something difficult to overcome, I learned that patience and perseverance is the key. They want to understand you as much as you want to understand them.

Traveling was one of the best things about living in South Korea. Feel like heading to the Haeundae beach? Hope on the train or bus and go! Its that simple! The cost is next to nothing and transportation in mind-boggling fast. It got to the point where I was traveling somewhere new every weekend that I always had a small travel bag ready to go at the drop of a hat.

So many of the cities are rich in history and seeped in South Korea's cultural identity. In my year and a half there, I've seen and lived with monks, been inside castles, temples, and breath taking museums. One of the more interesting being the Love Museum of Jeju Island. That's one everyone has to see at least once, if not for giggles.

Don't get me wrong, there have been some serious hardships as well. The language barrier is one of the most prevalent. But the lessons in Korean offered during the orientation and training has been an incredible help.

Weather, if you aren't used having a range of it, can be daunting. South Korea is the land of four distinct seasons. Spring is stunning as the cherry blossoms come into bloom (along with the allergies) and weather is mild... for all of two weeks. Then the blazing, humid summer is in full drive and the hum of cicadas a common background sound in day to day life. The air is so thick with moisture that you practically swim from place to place. The autumn season is unrivaled in its beauty as the trees turn into an array of amazing colors. The cooler temperature is relief from summer and before you can blink, its the dead of winter. Snow and sleet are heavy and it actually hurts to breath at times.

Mosquitoes, I learned the hard way, are beefed up and probably on steroids in Korea. During the summer, if you're not careful, they will eat you alive. They drove me mad as the made a meal out of me, even through the jeans of my pants!

The TaLK Program was the best thing I've ever done for myself and will be for a very long time. The people I've met, from all over the world, have touched my life and I know I'm a better person for knowing them. Immersing yourself in an environment so completely different and alien can be terrifying, yes, but just as rewarding. The memories I've made and the things I've done there things that some people will never get to experience in their lives.

Don't be afraid to a step off the edge. Don't let yourself get complacent. Don't make excuses for yourself. Learn to live! Learn it in South Korea.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
lehazelnut
8/10

TaLK all about it~~

TaLK is a pretty good idea if you are still studying but want some extra experience outside of lectures and essays. If you've graduated already though, I wouldn't recommend it as there are far better deals and experiences to be had.
For me, the average school meant getting to school for around 8.30am, teaching a lesson or two in the morning, and a lesson or two in the afternoon. Fifteen hours a week teaching is not stretching, but in our school although there was money for resources, there weren't any, so I spent a lot of that extra time making flashcards and the like, which I strangely enjoy. The most frustrating thing were the days when you only had an hour of class, but had to hang around all day just the same. On the other side, the school did make every effort to include me in all aspects of school life - from field trips to music clubs, which definitely enriched my experience. It's one of those you get out of it what you put into things...
To be honest, I didn't go to many of the TaLK organised sessions after the initial training; I settled into life in Korea pretty easily, and they just weren't really things I fancied doing. But the fact that I didn't go wasn't a problem, and I knew lots of people who went and had great times.
I taught with TaLK from 2008 - 2009, after which I stuck about in Korea for another year before moving back to Europe. Three years down the line and I'm still teaching and training to be a qualified teacher in my home country, and I can definitely thank TaLK for some of that.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
JC
8/10

Great experience if you're open minded.

Korea is a strange place. It is very advanced in technology in some aspects, and far behind in others. Culturally it is still in somewhat of the dark ages thanks to its unwillingness to evolve past the old ways of Confucianism. The TaLK program somewhat tries to prepare you for this as best a government run bureaucratic program can do. Since it's government run you get special benefits, but you also get inefficiency, ineptness, and apathy. It's hit or miss. You can have a great school in a great province to a terrible school in a horrible province. If you're open minded and adaptable, you'll survive and deal with the stresses and contradictions of Korea, its culture, and this government run program. You'll grow and have many great experience making lifelong friends. It's definitely not a vacation. It's work, but if you put in a lot, you'll get out a lot.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
YR1220
9/10

Good-recommend to others

At the beginning of the program, I enjoyed the stay at the university. I met a lot of people and had no need to speak the language. Things were great! When I was moved out into my own province and my own city and apartment, things started to get difficult. Not knowing the language was choking me. With all that said though, the staff from the school was amazing. They sattisfied my every need and issue. They were always there when I had a problem, so this made life enjoyable and comfortable. My apartment was a mess from the previous scholar, but it didn't bother me much. I cleaned it up with my Korean co-teacher. She stayed up until 3 in the morning and helped me. I organized all of my stuff and turned the apartment into "my apartment". After all, this was going to be my home for the next 5 months. The time has passed by very quickly and I can't believe I only have 3 months left on my contract. Trips to Seoul, Samchuok, and other cities have been very enjoyable and you never feel like you have nothing to do. Gangneung has a river, which I walk along every night to clear my mind and breathe fresh air. This internship/scholarship program has offered me a great experience of teaching, culture and adventure. I highly recommend everyone to try it!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
9/10

Doesn't get any better than this!

Although the day-to-day experiences can depend entirely on luck and how positive your own outlooks are, the experience as a whole is something unforgettable. The perks are undeniable, and the chance to work with children at your own pace is something I'm glad to be doing. It's been a great personal growth experience thus far (it's only been 2.5 months!) and the time has flown already!

Yes, I recommend

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About Teach and Learn in Korea (TaLK)

The Teach and Learn in Korea (TaLK) Program invites young, adventurous college students and recent graduates to teach English to elementary school students living in the rural areas of South Korea. Funded by the Ministry of Education and administered...