Teach English in South Korea with CIEE

Video and Photos

Holi Hai Festival
Holi Hai Festival
Concert in Seoul
Concert in Seoul
Typical Korean Style BBQ
Typical Korean Style BBQ
Fun with Friends
Fun with Friends
Korean Palace
Korean Palace
Hanok Village
Hanok Village
Teaching in Korea
Teaching in Korea
A picture with one of my coteachers
A picture with one of my coteachers

About

South Korea offers you the opportunity to gain teaching experience and see the world while earning a competitive salary and enjoying rent-free housing. This is a great choice for someone getting ready for a teaching career, or someone who wants to work abroad while paying off student loans, for example. Placements are available in major urban areas throughout Korea, including greater Seoul!

CIEE's Teach Abroad program will get you ready with our 150 hour TEFL Certification and Teacher Preparation course, as well as assistance with applications and job interviews. Before you go, you'll discuss cultural considerations as well as practicalities so you know what to expect, and you'll have a safety net of support from our in-country team.

Highlights
  • Job placement
  • Enrollment in a CIEE 150-hour TEFL certification course
  • Pre-departure assistance – including visa assistance
  • One year of iNext international insurance with 24-hour emergency assistance services
  • Orientation weekend in Seoul

Questions & Answers

So you can start applying in May, but unless it's for a special program it's not always necessary. You can easily wait until after graduation to apply to schools (one less thing to worry about at that time). Korean schools, hagwon (private academy)'s tend to hire at the end of every term. So the hiring process is fairly constant. To complete the visa and hiring process you do need your diploma to...
Unfortunatley you cannot teach English in a Korea if you are not from an English speaking country. Schools seek individuals from a limited amount of countries, all of which are English speaking countries. However, South Africans can get an E-2 (teaching) visa.
I was told that you could not bring pets, nor were you allowed to get a pet once you were here. However, I have heard of several instances where teachers got pets in Korea. I think it might depend on your area and living situation because I'm sure some landlords will not allow it.
Hi Courtney, If you already hold a TEFL certification you can apply to the CIEE Teach in South Korea Basics program which has a lower cost as the certification course is not included. All the best, CIEE Teach Abroad Team

Reviews

86%
based on 71 reviews
  • Benefits 8.4
  • Support 8.6
  • Fun 8.5
  • Facilities 8.1
  • Safety 9.1
  • Instruction 9.7
  • Support 10
  • Value 9.7
  • Academic Rigor 8
  • Job Assistance 10
Showing 1 - 15 of 71
Default avatar
Tess
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teach in South Korea with CIEE

I had a really great experience with CIEE! From before I submitted my application up to now in South Korea, I've had a great group of people walking me through the process, answering my endless emails, and really clarifying my every question. They are very knowledgable about the process and helped me figure out whether I wanted to apply to a private or public school, and even helped me get placed in the same city as my best friend! They also helped me so much when it came to the EPIK application and all the paperwork, and it feels so great to know that I have a support system in the county in case something happens, and even just to meet new people. Going through the process with a company that I had heard of just made me feel so much more secure. I definitely recommend going through CIEE to teach abroad!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I ate chicken feet, which are common in Korea, but that was pretty nuts.
Default avatar
Amber
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Journey to South Korea.

Why was it unique?

CIEE was the most structured program, which was why I chose it. Any initial questions that I had during my search were automatically answered through their coordinators or website. It made making the decision of which country to teach in very easy. Katy and Aubrey, two of the best coordinators and staff ever, personally helped me break down which documents to acquire and where. They are definitely steadfast and consistent throughout the whole process. I've been in Korea for 4 months. After speaking with other teaching expats it has become clear to me that other programs do not EVEN compare to CIEE. The benefits package, the support system, and the training are all above and beyond with CIEE.

Education wise, Michelle Nail, was the best educator on TEFL. I could not have asked for a better teacher.

Culturally, their Korean representatives, Yumi and Brad, prepared me for culture shock and aided me in times of need. They also chose the best school for my personality and needs. I couldn't ask for a better program.

Dear future participants,

Just know that you are in good hands. Not only from the TEFL and Cultural training but from document gathering and anxiety about moving to a new place. Like Allstate, you are in good hands.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I came to Korea to teach and lose weight. Because of vegetables and rice. I was so shocked when I got here that there's a bakery on every corner. EVERY CORNER!!! Jokes on me. But I'm eating well. :)
Default avatar
Rebecca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching English in South Korea

I was a bit nervous about teaching English in a country where I knew very little about the culture or the language, but CIEE has helped me every step of the way. Their online TEFL certification course allowed me to meet other teachers in the CIEE program while learning from a tutor who had real experience in the field and was dedicated to assisting us with our studies. The visa application process was also easy to understand. Their online application system organizes your required documents into manageable steps, and the staff is really helpful in sending you emails to remind you about upcoming deadlines. Once I got to the interview process, it was a breeze! It is so great having such in-country support to help me with everything from questions with my contract to cultural fo pas. The in-country orientation also helped me connect with so many other teachers in the program. I am never short of a traveling buddy! If you are still on the fence about applying, I say just take the leap and go for it!! Living in a completely different culture not only expands your world-view, but it also allows you to personally grow more than you may think is possible.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The Korean food palate makes for some interesting combinations involving processed foods. One of the most surprising things I have eating so far is a seafood soup with hotdogs and American cheese. It was surprisingly good!! The best advice towards trying their food is to just dive on in without trying to judge it too much.
Default avatar
Michelle
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

It's a lot different if you're not in Seoul

I'm in a small town in Gangwon-do, so although I have nice people that I work with, the CIEE staff is supportive, and it has been an interesting cultural experience so far, it is really hard at times when there's practically no one in the whole town who is a native English speaker or even has a good amount of English skills. I have to take a bus, 20 minutes South, to Wonju to do any "good" shopping and encounter other foreigners. It has been a good experience and I feel fully-immersed in a Korean society, but it is just hard to be thrown into such a vastly different environment. If you're placed in a bigger city, you won't have these problems, but even ordering food/drink is sometimes difficult in a small town unless you can speak a fair amount of Korean.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
It was a seafood dish at a Chinese restaurant. I thought most of the things in there were vegetables, but it turns out that most of them were sea-creatures including jellyfish!
Default avatar
Trent
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Review

It’s a challenge but worth it. The teaching position, if you’re able to land with EPIK, the public schools, is quite breezy. There’s a lot of time to prepare and desk warming though. Learning Korean is a must if you’re not in a city.
The CIEE staff is really nice. They do their best to help you if you ask. Shout out to Brad.

It’s a very exciting new way to see the world, especially if you are able to integrate a bit. It’s really hard to do so without Korean, so please learn Korean. You’ll get the most out of it that way.

It’s a really exciting thing to live in this country. There’s so much to eat and so much to do. Seoul is a blast. The teaching program won’t take your life so you’ll have to spend as you please.

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

Hagwon in Korea

I was relatively ambivalent as to my time in a new country. I wasn't sure what to expect, nor was I particularly expecting a lot of support from CIEE. I was lead to believe that most recruiters don't care once they've dropped you off at your job, but Brad was a fantastic resource, and the community of CIEE teachers has been great too.

CIEE has done a great job of answering any questions I've had, as well as the concerns of a few friends I made through the program.
The primary concern I have is that the TEFL course was kind of lacking, but once I settled into the school I'm working at, I wasn't experiencing too much difficulty other that what might be normally expected from one's first time teaching.

I can't necessarily recommend this program more than any other, since I've only been through the one, but it has certainly been a good experience for me, in part because of CIEE's work.

Naomi
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience

Teaching abroad in korea has been a life-changing experience. The support of the CIEE staff while on the ground also made it helpful to navigate the first few months living in Korea. During orientation, there was an emphasis on making sure we felt welcomed, prepared to take on this new challenge and adventure, as well as safety and tactics to better adjust to the new living environment. Both Brad, Yumi, and Megan made it a smooth transition from getting my paperwork completed to arriving onsite. Also, my Luke, before even arriving to Korea was super helpful, answering any questions and making me feel better about the move. During any major country event, the staff in country would send out information on how to remain safe, and I always felt well-informed. Thanks for an amazing two years in korea! Well worth it :)

What would you improve about this program?
Overall, it's been a great experience, I would just add that there be more events throughout the year that were organized by the staff so that teachers have the opportunity to meet more especially for those that have a harder time reaching out to strangers within the facebook group. The holiday gatherings help to bring us together and it's always an amazing time, it leaves me wanting more of these events throughout the year.
Default avatar
Nina
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

#CIEE #ADVICE #SOUTHKOREA #GROWTH

CIEE has a great network community where you can get advice and learn from other CIEE teachers. They also have an amazing "in state" and "in country" team. Not to mention, the awesome orientation and end of year events (we're talking FREE lessons, FREE site seeing and FREE food). For the pass six months, I had the privilege to experience the culture, eat delicious food, meet locals, and travel. Despite all of the wonderful things that I have experience, my most memorable moments was meeting my team (totally amazing people ) and when I got lost in my neighborhood the first day I arrived in Korea. I wasn't sure where I was going, but then I stumble upon the neighborhood's walking trail that has a river flowing along side. It may seem ordinary, but somehow I felt like everything was going to be okay because of the peaceful vibe. It was "my heaven" and I still walk on that path during my down times. To be honest, my first few months were pretty tough because I couldn't speak or read Korean, so my advice is, to be open minded, adapt to the culture and engage in groups of your interest . The rest is really up to how you would like to remember your experiences. I've learned so much about teaching, communicating and most importantly I've gain a sense of who I am. I highly recommend taking this opportunity to grow as an individual and make memories that will last a life time.

Raena
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Korea Review

I was able to meet some of my best friends while teaching here in Korea. I also was able to gain so much more than just teaching experience. I feel like I was put in situations that will help me grow as a professional in other jobs and has set me up with experience to succeed in other parts of the world. I absolutely fell in love with the students I have and didnt expect to have as much fun being a teacher.
The best advice that I have and that I would want to hear upon moving here to teach is to keep an open mind about everything! Nothing can be expected and everything can change. Staying positive and using my peers as support as well as believing in myself has gotten me far while doing this. It isnt easy, to do what we adventures love to do. Many people cant do it. But its worth it for sure! CIEE helped in that aspect as well.

Default avatar
Briana
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Moving to South Korea

I moved to South Korea in August 2016. I picked CIEE because it had a TEFL certification program. I took it as I worked two part time jobs back in the states and waited for my placement. While I left my first location in Bucheon after a year, I have not left South Korea. South Korea is a wonderful city. After a year outside of Seoul, I moved to Seoul and created a good social circle. None of this would have happened if I did not got to South Korea in 2016 through CIEE. I have grown a lot as a person since then and constantly see myself improving.

I love living in South Korea and plan on living here for as long as I can, with hopes of getting the F Visa down the line. If I did not take that first step back in 2016 with CIEE, none of this would have happened.

What would you improve about this program?
I would like there to be more social events since there is a large alumni of people who came to Korea through CIEE at first. There is also the price. I did find it be worth it in the long run as it helped me with my Visa process and had the certification course. I would however encourage those who are looking to teach in South Korea for the first time to be firm with what you would like for being placed.
Default avatar
Zak
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Hagwon Life in Korea

Teaching at a private kindergarten/elementary hagwon has its benefits and drawbacks, but regardless, the kids are adorable! There isn't as much freedom with curriculum and classes can be very short, but this means the planning responsibilities are pretty minimal a lot of the time. At the particular hagwon where I'm working, there is a rotation of extracurricular activities that add quite a bit to responsibilities (holiday parties, musicals, etc.) so it evens out. My background is in secondary education, so it's been a fascinating experience to work with younger kids...even if it has made me realize how much more suited the middle/high school environment is for me! But this experience gave me some clarity about graduate school to focus on the needs of ESL students upon my return to the traditional classroom. Though there are certainly highs and lows, I can assure you that you won't regret this experience in South Korea!

Outside of the classroom, the food and natural beauty (combined with the affordability) of Korea is enough to sell it to an adventurous type. Transportation around the country is wonderfully cheap and you'll be able to explore a lot of the country in your time here. I'd highly recommend coming to Korea.

What would you improve about this program?
No changes immediately come to mind on the program end.
Default avatar
Meg
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE

CIEE is a great organization! They helped me enroll in a TEFL course, found schools for me to interview with, and made the long visa process much easier. They also held an orientation once I arrived in Korea that introduced me to other foreign teachers. The in-country orientation provided an excellent platform to learn more about the culture and hear about other teachers' experiences. I was able to ask questions and receive feedback and advice about my hagwon experience, as well as learn about the epik program and its pros and cons. Having an in-country support system significantly enriched my teaching experience.

CIEE is a fantastic organization that helped me prepare for teaching abroad and provided me with a great community here in Korea.

What would you improve about this program?
This program could be improved by providing an immediate orientation for hagwon teachers. I know that's difficult with varying start dates (maybe impossible), but it would have been nice to have orientation and get to know other teachers before starting school.

Default avatar
Kristle
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Living in Rural Korea

I live in a small town near the Southern peninsula of Korea. Overall, the community is kind and welcoming. There have been countless times I have been lost or taken the wrong bus and people have helped me. It can also be very boring at times. Most of the young people when they graduate leave to Seoul or a university or both. So the community is full of old people and really young people mostly. English is not commonly spoken by the locals, in the cities you would encounter it more. However, EPIK, offers more money to those placed in the rural areas, so there is some compensation for being out in the middle of nowhere.

Overall, this is an experience worth having. The application process was tedious and at times overwhelming, but I do appreciate CIEE helping me get this position.

What would you improve about this program?
My initial coordinator quit halfway through the process so her supervisor took over afterwards. My experience after that changed a bit. The communication was not as transparent, my new coordinator left on vacation frequently, and my acceptance packet from EPIK was withheld until CIEE's fee was fully paid. My new coordinator was not on top of monitoring my payments. He would often email me at the end of the week and tell me he would check with finance on Monday to see if my final payment went through. It was frustrating because the acceptance packet had information I needed to continue my progression into the EPIK program. He then confused me with another person and it further delayed the acceptance packet from being mailed.

Although I had this problem, it was with one person out of CIEE. My experiences with other staff members have been most pleasant and helpful. It is why I would recommend the program. Overall, the staff of CIEE worked very hard to help me, minus my coordinator.
Isabel
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE Teach in Korea

There are so many different ways to get to South Korea and teach English! I am mostly happy that I went with CIEE because they took a lot of the stress and planning out of my hands. I applied to teach English abroad when I was an insanely busy university student--overloaded class schedule, work, varsity athlete, etc. I felt that I didn't a lot of time to devote to finding my own recruiter or figuring out my TEFL certification, and CIEE made those steps a lot easier. The support from the program and network that it offers within Korea has been really amazing, too! However, the program does come with a considerable price tag. Of course, there are pros and cons of every service. I think if you are someone who likes structure, amazing in-program support, and an immediate community to be able to reach out to, then the price is justifiable.

What would you improve about this program?
I think there could be a little more transparency with this program. I wasn't always sure how much I would be paying and when I would be paying it. Additionally, I was told later that the TEFL certification was optional, but I got the impression from the website that it was mandatory.
Claudia
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Year in Korea

I would definitely recommend finding a teaching position in South Korea or just anywhere with CIEE. They are honestly so helpful throughout the ENTIRE process of searching and making sure you have all documentation. Essentially they simplify everything so you don't have to be stressed out. I love my school placement and the coordinators try to make sure that your school and area is a good fit for you. This program is a great chance to get out of your comfort zone and experience a very different culture than what most participants generally come from! Also, there is no need to worry about prior teaching experience because CIEE also provides you with great training beforehand through their online TEFL course. Going straight after college I think is definitely a great adventure into the adult world in a very unique way.

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About CIEE Teach Abroad

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...