TravelBud

Program Reviews

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LaShonda
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

The Experience

So much I could really say here but overall, I would say TAKE IN the experience. Being in my 30s, I've found that there's something for everyone to do here in South Korea. The safety is top notch and the Koreans are pretty patient when it comes to the beginner Korean speaking person, such as myself, to be able to properly translate the needs of wants of daily life. It has been a humbling experience on so many levels, from having to depend on public transportation when prior to that I was on my own terms, to learning new ways, the Korean ways of doing things. A major piece of advice that I would give to any future travelers in the problem is be sure you know what is expected of you within your contract and to be open-minded at the same time. Know that the decisions you make from the beginning of the process to your end, will and should be decisions that are BEST for you. It started off pretty rough for me simply because being a veteran educator from the States, it was a bit of challenge to truly understand what a hagwon's expectation was for staff. I did not always agree with their procedures but at the same time, I had to remind myself that I was not here to compare but to embrace the contrast. Once I understood that, I begin to just go with the flow. Again, not being easy as a teacher with experience but it was the weekends and holidays off that really made it all worth where it didn't have to be ALL about work, but some time for fun as well. I do recommend that one knows their contract in and out and really understand what you are signing up for and not just because it sounds good and cute. Do it for the experience, yes, but also do it knowing your true goals and be open-minded because it will get difficult at times. Do it with a friend if you can! But whatever you do, do it because it is in your heart to do! The world is so big. Why not start with exploring outside the 4 walls you are in now?! ENJOY and never be afraid to do what's BEST!

Pros
  • New environment/scenery
  • Networking and making connections from all walks of life
  • Program team support along the way
Cons
  • Organization/communication of hagwons at times
  • The desire from certain program staff to rush travelers into the process
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Ade
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Very Dependable

I had no success with other different agencies but Travel Bud came through and found placement in South Korea. Though I didn’t have a traditional “western” name they saw that I wanted to explore a different culture than my own and help me.Though I am not in Seoul I am in an area that is still breathtaking. It was a long process but I was able to finally be in a Hogwon. If you wish to go South Korea or anywhere else I would recommend Travel Bud as their service as has been spectacular. It is very dependable

Response from TravelBud

Hi Adetokunbo,

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts and experience thus far. We are so thrilled to hear that you are enjoying your time in Wonju as oftentimes smaller cities are underrated. Keep embracing your experience as every experience for every teacher is so personal. With regards to coming through for you, is that not why you have signed up with us? - Absolutely! We pride ourselves in seeing the teacher, not just a name of a person, but the person behind the name and push the envelope to try and find a suitable placement whilst still considering the many factors and unique landscape of how the industry operates in each of our program countries. This is only the beginning for you and your life as an ESL Teacher! We are elated to be with you for the ride.

Warm Regards,
Kim Le Roux

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Zamambo
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Travelbud-Thailand

I am so glad I found this program! I was scared to try and find a job on my own, especially as I hadn't traveled much before. You also hear the horror stories, so at least with Travelbud I had someone guiding me.
Kim helped me to finally move abroad and become an English teacher! She helped guide me through the process. The help Kim provided was amazing, through and I always felt like I had someone in my corner who was looking out for me. She is responsive, helpful and genuinely wanted to help make my transition and time in Thailand.
She checks up on you even once you are placed and is always readily available to answer any questions I might have.
I think the program is great because they have so many resources and programs all over the world so you really have a lot of options for where you want to go! I also love that after my first year teaching, I have the support of the program for a lifetime in many different countries!!

Pros
  • They check on you constantly
  • You have lifetime placement
Cons
  • Some Thailand schools do not pay during the school holidays
Formal Picture
Charl-Liam
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Relocating from South Africa to Thailand

As you might know, relocating to a different country for work can be quite a daunting and nerve wrecking experience. If you're like me, and love moving to different countries (Thailand in particular) for work, traveling and cultural immersion, doing it through Travel Anywhere- Travelbud- Explore Asia, is the way to go. As you can imagine, simply traveling to Thailand is an easy experience, but moving to Thailand for work, that's a whole different ball game. The reason I would recommend doing it through the above mentioned companies/partners, is because they guide you thoroughly through the documentation process, what you can expect to experience this side, as well as the cost of living in Thailand (the money you can expect to spend this side). My biggest advice I can give you is that; Connecting with schools in Thailand isn't an easy process, so working through companies that can get your foot in the door and prepare you for life is Thailand, is the way to go.

PS - I hope you guys are lucky enough to work with Kim Le Roux (Support Manager from Travelbud). She's from SA and Obi-Wan Kenobi'd me through the entire relocation process. Any questions regarding Thailand, moving there, what you need to survive, the anxiety or fears you have about relocating, She's your girl!

Pros
  • Informational Support for Relocating
  • Documentational Support to become a Teacher
  • Cultural Exposure during Induction Week
Cons
  • Total expenses throughout this program is high.
  • You're not necessarily placed where you preferred to be placed.
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Tia
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Travel Bud - Kim Le Roux

Straight out of university I’m here in South Korea doing something that has nothing to do with my degree or previous work.
Travel Bud has really been a great support and made the “not knowing where to start or what to do” thoughts so much more easier.
I recently had a stumble in my journey, but want to really express my gratitude to Kim, she sat on a long call with me and really listened to my concerns and helped me really see the options or ways to lessen the burden I was feeling at the time. Kim, having experience teaching abroad, gave me guidance I needed rather than wanted to hear which has cleared up a lot of my thoughts.
Very appreciative for Travel Bud and their 24/7-like support, extremely grateful for Kim and our chats!

Pros
  • Culture experience
  • Independency
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Gemma
1/5
No, I don't recommend this program

Nightmare Experience - Avoid!

It's taken 5 months since escaping the South Korea placement for me to be able to write this review. I'd rather forget about this awful experience but I feel I owe it to anyone considering this option.

Your first call with Travel Bud will be great with them promising to honour your preferences and to support you through your whole experience. I was quite nervous about working at a Hagwon considering all the horror stories you see online (which are all 100% valid) and Travel Bud reassured me that I would be supported. I'd taught for 7 years at this point and had previously lived in China, so naively I assumed I would be fine on this 'programme' and I was optimistic.

After you've paid your first deposit to Travel Bud, you'll be passed onto another company which they paint as their close partner but I found out that there are a number of companies including Travel Bud who pass on their clients to this other company. The other company seems to be completely overwhelmed and you are treated as such. In total, on this 'Travel Bud programme' you'll work with 4 different companies being passed on and passed on with seemingly no communication between them.

I was told to keep communication with Travel Bud because the only way problems arise is if you don't keep open communication. One of the companies that you are passed onto after the 2nd company is completely hostile and they are the ones responsible for where you're actually placed, your contract, and your preferences. Turned out the preferences couldn't be honoured at all. I felt stuck at this point because I'd already invested money into the programme and had quit my job, so I continued and hoped things would get better.

Travel Bud had assured me it would be simple to have my fiancé and I placed together in the same school and apartment. In reality, we were placed a 20 minute subway ride away in different schools and apartments with conflicting schedules. We agreed to this in the end under pressure and for the reasons I mentioned above. However, it got worse and my school told me they'd be moving me to a different campus and division once my quarantine was over, a 50 minute bus ride away from my fiancé. I got in contact with Travel Bud and the other companies but Travel Bud didn't reply. I had no choice in the matter and was sent away. I never received my quarantine food box from the government with essentials, I informed Travel Bud, again nothing. At the school, they told me to sign a new contract now that I was in Korea. Massive red flag, I'd already agreed and signed a contract prior to leaving the UK. Again I contacted Travel Bud, and they didn't step in. I was made to sign the new contract.

Travel Bud claims they have a trusted network of schools but they are not the company that places the clients. My school was awful, there was bullying, emotional abuse, gaslighting, and all the teachers were under chronic stress. The previous teacher had done a midnight run after her health became so bad she kept fainting in the classroom. One had to be put on an IV drip because of the stress. My fiancé was placed in a school that hadn't had a foreign teacher in 2 years. My friend was placed in a school which had been reported by two previous teachers and she was still sent there.

I soon realised that I was on my own and Travel Bud appeared to have no say in what happens to their clients. Even now and then I'd get a random message from Travel Bud saying things like you're quiet, must be living your best life! which just rubbed salt in the wound. In fact, I had never been so unwell in my life.

Thankfully, the school gave teachers 5 days off for winter holidays so I was able to organise an escape without alerting anyone. I returned to the UK with terrible physical and mental health. I went out to Korea a confident and excited young person and came back with PTSD, involuntary gagging and sickness, disordered eating, chronic abdominal pain, panic attacks, tinnitus, and a foot injury. Only now after 5 months back home am I able to write about my awful experience. I stayed for the 5 months because the children I taught had such chronically stressful lives at the age of 5 years old that I felt like I wanted them to have at least some respite from it all in my classroom.

I urge you to reconsider this option if you are thinking about doing so. For a time I was even afraid to write a review because of the potential backlash but I have a right to voice my horrendous experience with this company.

Response from TravelBud

Hi Gemma

Our entire team has taken the time to thoroughly read through your review and to understand not only your concerns, but see how we can use this as an opportunity to address them and make improvements to our program.

As with your partner Tom, we would like to reiterate that we take this seriously and that while hundreds of teachers have had positive experiences with our program, we value feedback and do not take these negative experiences lightly.

We are incredibly saddened and deeply sorry to hear that your time in South Korea was not the experience that you had hoped it would be.

We ask respectfully that we are given the opportunity to respond to your points from our perspective, as you have been given the chance to do.

Overall, we would like to make it clear that there are certain elements of the experience that are in our control and that we are investigating, and then there are elements that simply cannot be considered the responsibility of a single organization, such as government efficacy and cultural norms pertaining to another country.

Our goal as an institution is to offer support and guidance within the realm of what we can control and to navigate the logistical elements of moving to another country, but we do feel it would be deemed unreasonable to place blame squarely at the door of TravelBud for elements of an experience that has innumerable factors across cultures and individuals.

Teaching abroad offers a unique opportunity to embrace a very different culture from one's own and openness and adaptability are qualities that make for teachers that thrive in new environments and under the pressures of moving abroad.

Having all taught abroad before, we can truly understand that the experience has challenges and it’s not all Instagrammable views - there are days when you miss your family and home and when adapting to new cultures can feel overwhelming. In most cases, however, the good outweighs the bad and the challenges. I’m sorry to hear that this was not the case in your experience teaching in South Korea.

The first point we would like to address is the idea of multiple, disconnected companies. The work that goes into each applicant for the entire journey prior to departure, upon arrival and throughout your time is extensive. As such, we have taken the various aspects of the process and divided it between ourselves and our closely aligned partners with whom we have worked for years, to ensure that those with expertise specific to a particular process are handling that specific aspect.

That being said, we are transparent about the fact that TravelBud is your main point of contact throughout your journey, regardless of what stage you are in. We ask that our applicants reach out to us first and foremost in the event of any feedback, be it positive or negative.

You mentioned that you reached out to us several times with no response, but we have the correspondence of the numerous emails between yourself and our support team. There is no correspondence that indicates that you were looking to leave and we had to hear from another teacher at your school that you had left Korea. It is very difficult to assist teachers if we do not have open and honest communication with our team to be able to best assist.

We have looked into the hostility mentioned by the staff member at one of our partner companies and I can assure you that that particular staff member has been let go. We are looking into ways to ensure that the level of communication across the board is at a standard that TravelBud is happy with.

We do need to acknowledge that while we have dealt with that particular staff member and that we do apologise for their conduct, teachers also need to understand that the Korean staff can come off very direct as a result of direct translations from Korean and cultural differences in their means of communication.

In terms of placements within the same proximity, I understand that you feel that it was not close enough. There are a number of moving parts that need to align in order to place teachers in the same school. Under normal circumstances, it can be challenging to take on couples, but we are one of the few companies willing to do so and we, unfortunately, cannot overlook the extenuating circumstances and challenges posed during the world pandemic. In light of that, we did our best to ensure you were as close as physically possible at the time.

We are working on the following plans that are as a result of your feedback:
- A clear and transparent infographic to showcase our connections with our entire team and their process responsibilities
- Management of expectations regarding what is feasible in the teaching landscape when it comes to placing couples
- Broadening the scope of understanding the means of communication across cultures

I will be reaching out to you and Tom personally via email to hopefully open a dialogue to address some of your points and see how we can navigate this process together in order to improve.

Warm Regards,
Tristan Owen
CEO

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Cassidy
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Great and Helpful Program and Coordinators

I am so glad I found this program! They helped me to finally move abroad and become an English teacher! They helped guide me through the process and matched me with the program I did once I arrived to Costa Rica. The help Saskia provided was amazing, through and I always felt like I had someone in my corner who was looking out for me. She is responsive, helpful and genuinely wanted to help make my transition and time in Costa Rica the best they could be! I think the program is great because they have so many resources and programs all over the world so you really have a lot of options for where you want to go! I also love that after my first year teaching, I have the support of the program for a lifetime in many different countries all over the world!!

Pros
  • Placement with a program that gives you the TESOL/TEFL.
  • Support even after you have been placed.
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Harry
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching Abroad

This has been the single greatest experience of my life and Thailand has become a home from home for me. Everyday is different and an extraordinary experience, as I immerse myself in this wonderful culture and living a dream come true, as it is all I could've hoped for a more and I can't believe where I am or what I am doing most days. I was welcomed in by the community and can't see myself leaving anytime soon, as I have found somewhere I feel I belong and I am so grateful and feel so blessed with what I have each day and some days have had their challenges, but they have all been learning and growing lessons and my time here has given me some of the most incredible and unforgettable memories I'll cherish for the rest of my life.

Pros
  • language exchange
  • personal growth and discovery
  • the fulfilling position as a teacher
Cons
  • miss-communication and misunderstandings with language barriers
  • covid-19 restrictions
  • no breaks and intense teaching schedule
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Emily
5/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Grateful for TravelBud!

My partner and I came to Thailand to teach together. TravelBud made getting to Thailand a bit easier. They set us up with a teaching agency in Thailand, and they were available nearly 24/7 to answer any questions we had along the way. Special shout-out to Kim, for always checking in on us and supporting us form a whole other country! We wouldn’t be in Thailand if it wasn’t for TravelBud. We love living in Thailand and we’re moving from right outside Bangkok to the heart of Krabi. Additionally, the network of friends that we’ve made across the country is incredible. Anywhere we travel there are friends we can meet up with and adventure with. There’s a bit of everything in Thailand - beaches, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, canyons, busy cities, farms, and many beautiful temples all throughout. TravelBud’s staff are friendly and helpful and we definitely will be teaching through a TravelBud program again in the future!!

What would you improve about this program?
I think visa assistance is something most international companies can improve upon. Specifically for Thailand as the entry process is extensive and tricky. The agency we were placed with in Thailand were supposed to offer more visa support but they didn’t, so we’re actually grateful that TravelBud was able to answer a lot of our questions that our agency couldn’t.
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Jayla
4/5
Yes, I recommend this program

Rise South Korea Review

Travel Bud was very helpful but as of now I’m a bit underwhelmed with the Daejeon experience. However, I love how safe it is and my job is pretty stable.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
Ask more questions! Make sure you know what is expected!