Teach English in South Korea with CIEE

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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.

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.
That question is a little complicated to answer. Yes, you can bring a pet overseas with you. However, the process can be very hard on the pet. If They change too much between their physical and when they go through immigration they might not be allowed in, or they will be held for observation (which is not in the best conditions for your pet). On top of that if the school is supplying the housing...
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 67 reviews
  • Benefits 8.4
  • Support 8.5
  • 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 67
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Trent
7/10

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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James
8/10

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
Naomi
9/10

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 :)

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Nina
9/10

#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.

Yes, I recommend this program
Raena
9/10

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Briana
7/10

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.

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Zak
8/10

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.

How can this program be improved?
No changes immediately come to mind on the program end.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Meg
10/10

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.

How can this program be improved?
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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Kristle
9/10

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.

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend this program
Isabel
7/10

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.

How can this program be improved?
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.
Yes, I recommend this program
Claudia
8/10

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.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Tristan
10/10

Amazing Opportunity

After studying abroad for one semester in 2015, I came back to Korea with CIEE to teach at a private school. The support I have received and continue to receive from the staff is nothing short of remarkable. The local representative is available 24/7 for any questions, comments or concerns I may have. My school placement is fantastic and offers excellent benefits. Without CIEE, I wouldn't have known where to start or with whom to get TEFL certified. I am very impressed with this program and would enthusiastically recommend it to others.
Because of this placement, I have developed a strong network consisting of other CIEE participants. I am confident I will continue to rely on their connections in order to advance in the English teaching community. I am excited to see where else CIEE can take me around the world.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Brian
8/10

CIEE Teach In South Korea

The CIEE program provided a full package for me to teach in South Korea. At the beginning, they did a great job of getting me excited and reassuring they would help me though the entire process, which they definitely did. After ever step of the way they prepared me well to take on the next step making sure to waste none of my time. When there were waiting periods such as waiting for documents or waiting for an interview, they provided me with a crash course to work on at my own pace. The good thing about this course was that I was able to see comments and discussions with other teachers just like me. It was reassuring to have some of the same questions and concerns as others but it was also helpful to learn new ideas and prepare myself for obstacles I wouldn't have previously considered. Not only was CIEE there for me when I got off the plane in South Korea, but they were there weeks after. They held a weekend for the new teachers a couple weeks after my arrival. This was a great chance to meet some English speaking teachers as well as voice some concerns about teaching and life in Korea. It was helpful to tackle these issues together and reassuring to know there were people in the country who could help me with anything. I have many CIEE contacts in Korea that I know I can contact and get help whenever I need it. This is something that you might not get with every program. CIEE was a great choice for me and I am happy to have made this great life transition with their help.

Yes, I recommend this program
Melissa
9/10

Expat in South Korea

I've been in Korea for almost a year and a half and can truly say it's one of the best experiences I've had thus far. CIEE helped me every step of the way and I haven't had any serious hiccups with my school or environment during this time which speaks volumes. Coming from a small town with no exposure to any Korean culture or cuisine, I adapted well knowing CIEE and the staff of my school had my back during this transition. I've grown so used to the lifestyle that I would recommend any adventurous individual to immerse themselves in what this country and it's people has to offer.

My area is perfectly suited to my personality with the quiet, somewhat suburban area with various restaurants, malls and parks to keep yourself occupied during the day with the ease of catching a 30min bus ride to get to Seoul whenever I want to meet up with friends in other areas. Although there is always the feeling of blindingly choosing an organisation and hoping for the best, I feel CIEE was the best option providing me with all the necessary tools and information to ease the preparation of such a great decision to work and live abroad. No complaints and the orientations are very informative with a lot of useful information pertaining to stores, products and online apps to name e few of making the process as easy as possible.

How can this program be improved?
Perhaps more social events during the year for current expats
Yes, I recommend this program
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Timothy
10/10

Fantastic Program

I have nothing but good things to say about CIEE Teach in Korea! This is a good program for any prospective ESL teacher who is interested in teaching in Korea. CIEE helps you all the way through (there is a lot of paperwork) to make it easier for you. The in-country support is second to none, and their locations are some of the best that I have seen. They will pick you up from the airport, and help you get to your location. Brad and Yumi are super friendly and always available if you have any questions. When you begin a new adventure in a different country, it's natural to have a lot of questions, but they are there to help you every step of the way. Korea itself is a wonderful and beautiful country and culture, rich with history, culture, and amazing food to eat. I would highly recommend it!

Yes, I recommend this program

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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...