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CIEE Teach Abroad

About

CIEE offers paid teaching positions in Chile, China, Czech Republic, Morocco, South Korea, Spain, Thailand, and Vietnam, and volunteer programs in Spain and Portugal, for university graduates looking to teach English abroad and immerse themselves in a foreign community.

Want to learn more about what it is like to teach abroad? Check out our Facebook page (@cieeteachabroad) and Instagram account (@cieeteach & #cieeteach)!

Website
www.ciee.org
Founded
1947
Headquarters

300 Fore St
Portland, ME 04101
United States

Reviews

Default avatar
Advaita
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

When I first received my placement I was a bit disappointed. Like the dozens of other applicants I had list my preferences for the south or by Bangkok. Instead, I was placed in a Nakhon Phanom, a small town in Northeast Thailand right on the border with Laos. I could not be happier with my placement. Here I was able to immerse myself fully into my role as an educator and apart of my Isan community. The unique placement allowed for a very special experience. My students, the residents and my co teachers quickly welcomed me into their tight knit family that only a small town could boast. Students quickly learned that I loved Thai food and would give me various snacks to try. Residents would see me in town and give me lifts when it was too hot for me to be walking. Or give free Hong Thong and take me to bars just after one meeting. Co teachers would literally come to my house to check in on me when sick. While I didn’t get to experience the hustle and bustle of Bangkok or the beautiful beaches, I got something much more meaningful and precious. I had a new family. I am so grateful for my placement in the Amazing Isan region.

What would you improve about this program?
Language instruction should be prioritized or at least a better resource compiled especially for those living in more remote areas.
Default avatar
Ryan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I taught with OEG for the second semester of the 2018 school year, and OEG was, and still continues to be even a year after my employment with them, a fantastic resource for interfacing with the infamously bureaucratic Thai immigration system. Most recently, I've received help with employment documents relating to Thai immigration, and what is usually a never ending ordeal of paperwork has been made pretty simple on my end with their great approachability and responsiveness. Not to mention that this help is only necessary because I am teaching in Thailand again this year due to my first experience being so great.

For your first experience in Thailand, OEG is the perfect choice because they provide you with an orientation that gets you acquainted with other new teachers and support staff as well as the basics of Thai language and culture. Once you get to your school, OEG provides support which makes it easier to get the necessary documentation to stay and work in Thailand and their support staff, many of whom are teachers here as well, are extremely friendly and helpful with any questions you might have.

Managing your expectations for the school facilities in Thailand is important, but most schools, from what I've heard and in my personal experience, have the means to accommodate any teaching style with enough effort on the teacher's part. If you use PowerPoint in the classroom, computers and classroom projectors are quite common. You will always at least have a blackboard and chalk, but if you're placed in a city you'll almost certainly have more. The school I was placed at had TVs in the classroom as well as a whiteboard and projector, and even air conditioning in most of the classrooms.

Overall I completely recommend this program and had nothing but good experiences in regards to everything OEG provided. If you want to teach abroad and haven't dealt with the Thai employment system before, doing this program is undeniably the best way to go. The initial cost is nothing compared to the information and experience it provides you with, and it makes your future trips abroad much easier to manage.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Keep an open mind about everything and forget about your cultural norms. Thailand is a unique place and being an "empty cup" here is the best way to get the most value out of it.

Also, prepare to be frustrated by random events and things being out of control. It happens daily.
Default avatar
Kat
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

After I desired a shift in my career path, I applied to the program because it seemed like a great, immersive, but short-term opportunity. It turned out to be an excellent decision, and I have no doubt it will be for you too. CIEE is there with you every step of the way and streamlines the process - so whether you are a first-time traveler or a seasoned traveler, you'll be confident getting on that plane.

You can choose your preference for what age group you want to teach, so the sooner you apply, the better! You will likely teach a mix of different grades, which makes for a lot of fun. As far as how much "lesson planning" - that's up to you and the teachers. For some classes, I would propose things via email to teachers (like cultural presentations and games about Thanksgiving, etc), and they were thrilled. Other teachers preferred me to assist, rather than to lead. Both sides of this were really valuable, however!

What would you improve about this program?
It may be beneficial to get a better understanding from families of their preferences for the 5 hrs/week of English tutoring ahead of time. For example, it would be good to know if there is a strong preference for adult versus child-tutoring.
Default avatar
Stephanie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My transition to Madrid was nothing but easy and carefree due to the helpful and constant support I felt from the CIEE staff. Their pre-departure guides were available for step by step instruction which made the process stress free. Once arriving to Madrid, the orientation taught me what I needed to know about living in this new city, my job, and allowed me to meet new friends! I always felt I could ask for help if needed! Overall, teaching English to students has been such a fun and rewarding experience that I would recommend for anyone wanting to grow and discover new places!

Default avatar
Karen
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I have been very happy with my choice to go abroad with CIEE so far. I am currently in South Korea, a few months into my program, and CIEE has continued to support me even once I arrived. I applied to the EPIK program through CIEE and during that entire application process I had constant support and communication through an advisor. CIEE looked over my application and additional materials to make sure I was as prepared as possible. Although it might be a bit pricey, with the TEFL certification included, it was well worth the price in my opinion because they act as a security network if you need it. Also you gain a certification which you can use anywhere and anytime. Once you arrive in Korea there is also an orientation where you can meet other English teachers in the program.

What would you improve about this program?
One thing I would like is to have more activities for teachers throughout the year once we arrive in Korea. We have the orientation but it would be cool if CIEE could organize some group trips occasionally.

Jobs

Programs

Displaying 10 - 12 of 12

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Amber Jones

Amber is currently living in Mokpo, South Korea teaching English in a public elementary school. She graduated with a degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh in 2014. After studying/ interning abroad in Germany and South Africa during undergrad, she decided to continue exploring internationally.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because, when thinking about moving halfway across the world, I wanted guidance, reassurance, and support, all of which this program offered. CIEE had a lot of great reviews and seemed very legit. I wanted to be confident and efficient in making this move and this program seemed to offer qualities that I needed.

I also had friends who worked in South Korea, that of which they loved.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

CIEE gave tons of information as to what ways you could teach in South Korea, what to expect culturally and how the process works. They provided my TEFL, helped with my application, and corresponded with Korea in sending and validating my documents. There were also webinars and pre-operational pieces of training about how to have a successful transition and move.

There was some additional research I found on my own that was useful like Facebook pages, YouTube videos, and talking with current teachers. Other than that, I just organized my flight, personal documentation, (which they guided me through) and my visa.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Though I liked this program and the backbone it gave me, it is very expensive. There are many other much cheaper options if you are on a budget that will give you the same results. Also, with respect to South Korea, If you want the major city, Busan, you will need to get an "in person," TEFL, which CIEE does not offer.

Also, request a mock interview or watch people talk about their experiences/questions on Youtube so you are prepared when you eventually interview for placement. Go to the Facebook page and get in the Kakao chats; other people in this will help you a lot!

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

I usually get up around 7 and get to work at 8:30 am. I work at two schools, one is five minutes from my apartment and the other is 15 minutes. If I'm in my main school (3x a week), I will teach mostly by myself in my own classroom that I'm free to structure how I like (instructionally and externally). The most classes I have in that school is 4 a day (40 minutes each) the rest of my time I plan.

At my other school (2x a week), I teach 5-6 classes a day, but I have Korean co-teachers who make the lessons; I just assist them and plan for a couple of hours. I'm off at 4:30 pm. I usually try and cook but every now and then I'll get coffee at one of the many cute cafes or get dinner with friends.

On Mondays, you'll find me volunteering at a local orphanage from 7:30-8:30 pm. Language Exchange also happens every Wednesday, but I haven't quite made it out there yet.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was the language barrier and being a good teacher culturally and professionally. The work culture and method of communication is quite different than America, especially for foreigners from more direct mannered countries. I am still very bad at Korean, but I’ll study if I have time and I try to learn from my kids.

You don’t have to know Korean, but it’s helpful. Reading Korean phonetically is important, considering most kids may still write their names using the Korean alphabet. I overcame those fears by being positive and having an open mind. I also asked those around me to be open about my mistakes or faults so that I can learn, grow, and make my classes better.

How do you get the most out of this program?

Korea offers a lot socially, financially, and developmentally. You need to get organized and BUDGET! You can save a lot of money and have fun, but you have to be intentional about it.

Make a budget, stick to it, plan your big vacation early (see parts of Asia, Japan, Bali, etc.), take days trips around Korea - they are a lot of attractions and beautiful scenery all over; it’s cheap to travel and quick because the country is so small. Make friends, go to the foreigner bars, join all the Facebook pages in your area, volunteer, learn Korean (or at least how to read it, it's easy), connect with your students and colleagues, make an effort!

As annoying as it is to live without ranch or use translation apps for everything, do try and immerse yourself into the culture and try and understand the environment you are in. Reach out to those around you for help.

Overall, do what makes you happy and never waste a moment.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Miranda Rodway

Job Title
Senior Coordinator, Teach in Spain Programs
Miranda has worked for CIEE since 2016 and has lived, studied, and worked abroad in England, Dominican Republic, Spain, and Fiji. Her experience in Spain provided her with fluency in Spanish and friends that have become family, and she is passionate about helping others achieve their dreams of living abroad.

What is your favorite travel memory?

After the unexpected death of a loved one in 2013, I traveled on a whim to a rural island in the South Pacific called Taveuni to do some soul searching. Taveuni is one of the 70 islands that make up the nation of Fiji.

While I was there, I lived with a family in a small village. The way of life there made a lasting impression on me. My favorite memory is when a group of kids took me on ocean kayaks to go snorkeling. It was unforgettable! I watched them spearfish for lunch, make a fire on the beach, scale tall trees to pick coconuts and machete the coconuts open for us to enjoy.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I will never underestimate the value of good customer service, meeting people where they are at, and assuming positive intent.

I started out with the CIEE Support team, the team that is responsible for handling any and all problems that may come upon a participant's exchange year. It was an incredible learning experience that taught me not to take things personally, adults aren't always "right", and that kids can teach us incredible lessons if we only allow them and are open to the experience.

I started out working primarily with minors on our High School USA program, their host families, and local CIEE representatives. With so many cooks in the kitchen, it is important to know how to stay neutral and objective; something that has and will continue to serve me in my personal and professional life.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I spoke to an older participant who went to Spain on the Volunteer program last year and he is already trying to go back for another few months. He was so enthusiastic and spoke to me in Spanish, obviously overjoyed about having the opportunity to practice his Spanish. He is in his 60's and reminded me that it is never too late to try something new like going and living with a host family! When I worked with high school students on the Support team, I enjoyed being able to help them and hear their reflections and maturity after having returned home.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

That is a difficult question to answer. If I had to choose and had all the time and resources to do so, I would do CIEE Teach Abroad in Chile.

I have never been that far South within the Americas and have always wanted to go. While many people are drawn to Spain (been there, done that!), I think it would be more helpful to learn South/Central American Spanish and culture given the number of Spanish speakers in the USA. I really had to try hard to neutralize my "Castillian accent" when working with South/Central American people in the various jobs I have had since university.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

CIEE provides the absolute best support to its participants.

This summer, I was exceptionally proud when we were able to assist a mother from Ecuador travel to the USA to be with her daughter who was hospitalized while on the Summer Work & Travel program. Being able to be with someone in a vulnerable moment like that was a very proud moment for our team with several staff members assisting over the course of the summer months.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe that everyone must be treated equally and support to be the best version of themselves at work as well as in their personal lives. The health and well-being of all is of the utmost importance and all organizations should make that a priority for their employees in any position. This means providing career mentoring, health insurance, paid time off, etc. I think CIEE does a great job with this.