• South Korea
    • Seoul
    • Busan
    • Gwangju
52+ weeks
Classroom Audience
Early Childhood

Program Details

  • Native English speaker
  • A bachelor’s degree in any field
  • Citizenship in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Ireland, or the United Kingdom
  • A commitment to 12 months of employment
  • TEFL certification is required for public schools and strongly recommended for private schools (CIEE’s 150-hour TEFL certification course is included in the Teach in South Korea program fee)
  • Applications must be 52 years of age or younger in order to receive a work visa
Classroom Audience
Early Childhood
Weekly Classroom Hours
Age Max


Salary / Benefits
- Competitive monthly salary of 2.0 million to 2.7 million won
- Rent-free studio apartment from your employer
- Contract completion bonus (1 month's salary)
- Schools either buy or reimburse a one-way ticket
- Health Insurance
Starting Price
What's Included
Accommodation Airfare Airport Transfers Travel Insurance
Jan 09, 2023
Jan 18, 2023
52 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

CIEE's Teach in South Korea program will support you through every step of teaching English in South Korea. CIEE is an official recruitment partner of the Korean government's EPIK program and will help you secure a teaching position in public or private schools.

You'll get all the preparation you need before departure with CIEE TEFL's 150 hour Certification course, visa assistance and an online preparation course. After arriving in South Korea, you'll join a CIEE networking weekend in Seoul where you'll meet other CIEE teachers and build a network of new friends. You'll also receive 24/7 support from CIEE staff in Korea.

South Korea offers you the opportunity to gain teaching experience and see the world while earning a competitive salary and enjoying rent-free housing. Placements are available in major urban areas throughout Korea, including greater Seoul!

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Job placement at private or public schools (CIEE is an official EPIK partner)
  • Networking weekend in Seoul with other CIEE teachers so you can build a network of new friends
  • Enrollment in CIEE TEFL's 150-hour certification course
  • Expert visa assistance and 24/7 support from CIEE staff in Korea
  • International insurance with 24-hour emergency assistance services

Program Reviews

4.55 Rating
based on 108 reviews
  • 5 rating 70.37%
  • 4 rating 24.07%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0.93%
  • 1 rating 4.63%
  • Benefits 4.4
  • Support 4.5
  • Fun 4.45
  • Facilities 4.3
  • Safety 4.75
Showing 1 - 8 of 108 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience Abroad Thanks to CIEE

Here is my story and I hope it helps others who are interested in teaching abroad understand the impact that it can have on your life. I first found CIEE at the end of 2016. I knew that I wanted to teach abroad, but I wasn’t sure how to get started. When I first applied, I was paired up with Luke Beland, who to this day I cannot express the amount of appreciation I have for him. I wanted to work in the public school system and after completing my TEFL and my application, I interviewed with the Epik program but unfortunately due to a mistake on my end, I was not given the position. Luke called me to let me know of the issue and that I couldn’t continue with public schools, but he told me that it wasn’t too late and that I could move my application to a hagwon. There were only 2 weeks left, so I knew I had to work hard to get the chance to go in 2017. After I completed my end, he got me an interview with a hagwon in Paju and I passed! I was so excited that I was finally going to go to Korea! He made the process for pre-departure very easy, including the visa process. When I arrived in Korea, I did experience a bit of a culture shock. I thought my work ethic was superb but seeing the long hours and hard work from the Korean teachers and their expectations was next level. It wasn’t to the point that I would quit or felt overwhelmed, but it definitely made me work harder and become more flexible. CIEE set the expectations for me beforehand and in my interview, I was told most of the tasks I would need to complete but doing and seeing it in person is a little different. I’m happy to say that rising to the challenge helped me grow in ways I didn’t know was possible. That’s why I would like to stress to people who are interested in going abroad that being flexible and accepting of the country’s culture (including the work culture) is crucial to getting the most out of the experience in a positive way. CIEE did offer an orientation and multiple get togethers in my first year. I was happy to meet other teachers that would be in a short distance from me. Although I was in Paju and the meeting was in Seoul, it wasn’t hard to get to. Korea’s public transportation is really the best in the world, in my opinion, and going to the orientation prepared me for using it during my stay. I was happy to also meet the in-country team that would be supporting me during my time, although I think I contacted Luke more and he was always willing to help.
My salary was standard, as all my other friends who didn’t use CIEE, received the same pay. I know people might think 2.1 KRW isn’t a lot for the month, but when you don’t need to pay rent, utilities, TV, etc. it really goes a long way. I was able to use that money to travel all around Korea and experience so many of their different festivals. I fell in love with country, the job, and the kids. I decided after my contract ended, to stay on with my hagwon. I was promoted to Head Foreign Teacher. Soon after, I got married and due to my husband’s job location, we relocated to Gimpo, where I had my first child. The hagwon in Gimpo was definitely a bit more demanding, which made me understand that not all hagwons are the same and I really appreciated the one that Luke set me up with. I eventually moved back to the States with my husband and now 2 children. Besides meeting my other half and having my two bundles of joy, I took so much away from my time in Korea. I feel truly fortunate to have had this amazing experience and it all started with CIEE and a coordinator who did not give up on me, even when things didn’t look so rosy. So, if you are reading this, I hope you can take away from it that getting the right organization to help you in the beginning is very important! It’s important to get off on the right foot and to feel supported as the first year can be the most difficult due to assimilating to a new culture. Also, being open and flexible will help you not to take things so harshly and can eliminate a lot of the stress that may come from going abroad. It helps you appreciate the opportunity you have and to take full advantage of learning and adapting to a new culture. Finally, if you are looking for a game changer in your life, this might really be a program for you!

  • Being fully supported
  • Learning a new culture and gaining new skills
  • Seeing the beauty that is Korea
83 people found this review helpful.
Response from CIEE Teach Abroad & TEFL

Thank you for your sharing your story, Cimone! It's amazing how teaching in South Korea had such a profound impact on your life.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A HUGE help in getting me started on my S.Korea journey!

I'm really thankful I decided to go with CIEE when I initially made the decision to teach English abroad in South Korea. I chose to go the public school/EPIK route, and, as someone who has no experience with teaching, I was intimidated by the program's application. CIEE provided me with LOTS of resources (lesson plan tips, an EPIK application guide) that made me feel much more confident and organized during the process. I was also really impressed with how communicative they were and how quickly they responded to all my questions (which was A LOT since EPIK and the visa require a lot of documentation). The TEFL course was helpful - and, in my case, my pay increased for having the certification. Even after my arrival in Korea, CIEE provided support, messaged to see how my experience was going, and connected me to other CIEE staff nearby in case I needed anything.

If you're thinking about teaching abroad in Korea, I highly recommend going through CIEE. Having the extra support before and after arriving can take so much stress off your plate - and your priority should be on having a once and a lifetime experience!

  • Was able to connect with others who were going to South Korea
  • Due to CIEE's connections I was able to be located in Seoul as someone dropped out last minute.
  • This was during the pandemic so there were a lot of restrictions on travel.
79 people found this review helpful.
Response from CIEE Teach Abroad & TEFL

Thank you so much for your recommendation, Taylor. We're so glad you valued CIEE's support with the EPIK application process as well as after arriving in South Korea.

Default avatar
No, I don't recommend this program


Normally, I don’t write and post reviews, but I felt like I needed to warn others about CIEE. CIEE is an organization that is just full of lies. I’m actually kind of sad to write negatively about them because I really did have a very positive experience doing a study abroad program through them back in college. Therefore, I assumed I would have an equally positive experience doing a teach abroad program through them. Unfortunately, I assumed wrong. When I received my first contract offer from Luke Beland, the CIEE person in charge of communicating about job offers, I had many questions. I wanted to make sure that this was a good offer. He said that I probably wouldn’t get another offer and I should just accept the one I was given. He also assured me that 2.2 million won was much higher than the average salary because most teachers only get paid 2.1 million won. In fact, he was quite wrong. For a kindergarten hagwon, a 9am-6pm job, the pay should be at least 2.4/2.5 million won for all the work you must do. I asked him if he had any concerns about the contract and he told me no. Yet, this job couldn’t have been with a worse hagwon. The director of the hagwon had me work at 3 different branches within my 4 months of being in Korea. I never felt like I ever got into a routine because I was constantly being moved from school to school. For 2 of those months, I had to commute back and forth between 2 different schools, which were on opposite sides of the city, and which was also time-consuming and exhausting. I purposely chose the hagwon route so I would only be at one school, so obviously I was upset. There were also so many changes, extra work not specified in the contract, and a lack of help or understanding from CIEE. I paid CIEE all this money for support, yet Brad, who is supposed to be your go-to in-country support, continued to gaslight me and make me seem like everything I was going through was “normal.” In fact, none of it was normal, as I found out after talking to other foreign teachers who had been teaching at hagwons in Korea for several years. In fact, he assured me that everyone who used CIEE has had positive experiences at this particular hagwon. Actually, 5 different foreign teachers who also used CIEE have quit from this hagwon in the 5 months that I have been living and working in Korea. So that was another lie they told me. Our orientation was also a joke and was really just an excuse to eat one dinner together and then have the rest be free time. We weren’t actually given any advice on how to be good teachers or anything related to teaching. I felt burnt-out after only 3 months. In fact, I had to move to an apartment all the way across the city, a 12km distance, in a completely different neighborhood in order to be closer to my new school. This particular hagwon has many different issues. First of all, there was no support whatsoever for the foreign teachers. I was thrown into my new school with my new kindergarten class with no help or guidance, yet I was expected to do everything perfectly. Some of the students were also really badly behaved, but because their parents were paying money to the school, they wouldn’t be kicked out. They would always listen and respect the Korean teacher, but never the foreign teacher, which made classroom management nearly impossible. The foreign teachers were also required to pretty much do everything, except talk to the student’s parents. This means taking the kids to the bathroom, serving them lunch, writing weekly logs, writing weekly comments, and writing monthly report cards for all the students. We also taught up to 9 classes a day, including classes such as Math and Science. In fact, I know some teachers who taught 45 classes a week for only 2.2 million won. We were also in charge of all the special events, which occurred frequently each month. In addition, there was a complete lack of communication between Korean teachers and foreign teachers, and usually the Korean teachers would expect the foreign teachers to guess what they were thinking and get mad when we didn’t do things exactly how they wanted. There were also many last minute projects, last minute requirements, and constant changes to projects/expectations. Even though we had “break” times which were only 30 minutes here and there, we couldn’t really take the break because we had to do all of these other preparation things for classes, events, etc. I couldn’t even relax during lunch since I was constantly serving the kids more food, so by the time I ate, my food was cold. This particular hagwon is also quite cheap, as seen in the very crappy apartments we were given. I know that if I had just used a different recruiter, I would probably have ended up at a much better hagwon and I wouldn’t be leaving my contract early. Unfortunately, my mental health has deteriorated and seeing as this country does not have adequate resources to support me, I had no choice but to leave. While I did enjoy living in Korea itself, the job couldn’t have been worse, and CIEE is a large part to blame for this, seeing as they set me up with this school. Hopefully my review will help others avoid the same HUGE mistake I made choosing CIEE to guide me in this work abroad journey.

  • Everything
80 people found this review helpful.
Response from CIEE Teach Abroad & TEFL

Kaelyn, thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. We work hard to support all program participants while setting realistic expectations and I understand your expectations were not met. We are interested in learning about your experience in more detail and encourage you to reach out to use directly.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Once in a Lifetime!

I've been in working and living in South Korea for 5 months, and it's been a wonderful experience so far. CIEE really helped me set up realistic expectations for what the work environment would be like here, what is expected of English teachers in general, and what the biggest uphill battles would be. Even though adjusting to a new culture has come with plenty of big changes, I've felt prepared for all of it, and it really helps knowing that there's a network of folks from CIEE available to talk to and come to for support.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Make sure you form friendships with your coworkers and people in the community, as well as other people from CIEE! A lot of teachers here seem to use Bumble for making friends. If you end up in a more metropolitan area, like Seoul, you might end up making friends from all over the world! (Also, no matter where you end up in Korea, I highly recommend taking a trip to Busan!! The city has something for everyone)
125 people found this review helpful.
Response from CIEE Teach Abroad & TEFL

We're so glad you're having a positive experience teaching abroad and feel supported by CIEE. Thanks for sharing your insights!

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE - Reliable & Communicative

This is my second time going abroad with CIEE and my experience with them has been nothing but positive.

I am in my first year teaching and I did not graduate with a degree in education. Moving across the country during a pandemic to step into something you've never properly done before, is a lot to handle. CIEE was very helpful and communicative with each step of the process. The in-country support is also so valuable and reassuring to have. When confronted with any issue I can go to them with trust.

124 people found this review helpful.
Response from CIEE Teach Abroad & TEFL

We're so glad we have the opportunity to help you have another adventure abroad. Thank you for your confidence in CIEE and let us know if we can support you in any way.

Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE is worth the time and money!

I am a first year teacher with a degree unrelated to education. The program provides you with plenty of useful information that will help you build teaching skills. I was very nervous about teaching at a foreign school without any serious teaching background. I will be honest, I was thrown to the wolves my first day teaching, but the program provided me with enough knowledge to succeed. My first week was a bit rough getting used to things and the responsibility of teaching these young students. It worked out great and I've enjoyed my time in Korea. My favorite thing about CIEE is the continuous in-country support. You can definitely find cheaper ways to teach abroad but I think the extra money is well worth it. I know that if there are any issues or concerns, I have contacts here, which is important if you're going to a new country alone.

What was your funniest moment?
I would say my funniest moment was going into a library thinking it was the health center. More embarrassing than funny. However, my students give me funny moments everyday.
127 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience

My experience has been incredible in some ways and a challenge in others. It has been challenging to step out of my comfort zone and adapt to a new culture that has so many facets to engage in, e.g. language, customs, etc. However, my school has been a blessing and a great place to work at. They have proffered a mountain of support and genuine care, from teaching me the ropes to checking on my well-being.

As for the CIEE, I have received a plethora of resources and support from the team. I have also recently had an amazing trip meeting with fellow CIEE teachers and staff. It has been one of my favorite memories in South Korea thus far. Overall, I am grateful and happy with my experience— thank you, CIEE!

129 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Teach in South Korea

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.
168 people found this review helpful.

Questions & Answers

Yes, you need at least a bachelor's degree in any subject to teach abroad.

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.