Teaching abroad through CIEE is one of the best decisions I have ever made. As a fresh college graduate, the decision was a no-brainer: living abroad with a comfy salary, rent-free housing, insurance, and the promise of adventure? Perfect formula for something exciting.
The pre-departure support that the program offers was invaluable to me in navigating interviews, contracts, and visa paperwork. It takes away the anxiety of hoping that the hiring school is offering livable wages and competitive benefits - it's harder to advocate for those things yourself when you don't speak the local language well! I applied to private language schools (hagwons, in Korean) only, rather than to the Korean EPIK public school program. These two tracks are very different, so make sure you do your research before choosing how to apply!
Once you arrive in-country, the level of support that is needed from the program varies. I personally was placed in a hagwon that is incredibly communicative and welcoming. My supervisors and co-workers all speak English, and there is a large community of expats in the greater area, so I did not need extra help from CIEE in adjusting to my new home. But if your placement is different (i.e., if you're the only foreigner at your school, which happens sometimes!), CIEE is there to help mitigate any disputes and assist with your adjustment to life abroad. It's a great comfort to know that if problems arise, there is a team prepared to help at any time.
Program benefits also vary from placement to placement. My studio apartment is safe, modern, and comfortable, but be warned: many Korean landlords/building managers don't require prior tenants to clean the place before they leave, so your apartment might need a deep-clean when you arrive. The apartment is about fifteen minutes' walk away from my school, which is typical compared to other expats in my area. Your utilities payments, insurance payments, and pension plan payments all depend on your contract with your school, so be prepared to contribute to these. Working hours also vary greatly; my hours are 1pm to 9pm, but I have also worked morning shifts, and I have worked across multiple branches of my employer's company. Be flexible!
My home away from home, Daegu, is a beautiful mountainous city in the southern part of the country. Perhaps I'm biased, but if you're thinking about coming to Korea, there really is no better place to be than Daegu! Just be prepared for some really heavy satoori (local dialect, different from the Korean they speak in Seoul!) and some whispers and stares from the locals - it's kind of a conservative city!