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.