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

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
Yes, Filipinos are allowed to take TEFL courses in South Korea. However, only citizens from English speaking countries (1st language) as stipulated by Korean Immigration laws for E2 visas are allowed to obtain an E2 teaching visa. Many Filipinos teach English in South Korea, but most are on F5 or F6 (spousal visas) visas.

Reviews

84%
based on 42 reviews
  • Benefits 8.2
  • Support 8.2
  • Fun 8.2
  • Facilities 7.8
  • Safety 8.7
  • Instruction 9.7
  • Support 10
  • Value 9.7
  • Academic Rigor 8
  • Job Assistance 10
Showing 1 - 15 of 42
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Samantha
9/10

Life in Koera

I have been in Korea for just over 2 months now and I love it. I am glad I chose CIEE. This program has helped me a lot. Before coming here they helped me with all the questions I had and if I would be able to even come. Even after coming here they are always here for me when I have trouble with work. At first my job was not going so good but now it is. I am glad that we have support here and we are not alone. I enjoy the location that I am at. I am in a small city and I can walk everywhere. It is not huge like Seoul. I feel like I am helping a lot here cause there are not many people that speak English fluently here.

Through this program I have made awesome friends. Even though we do not live by each other we are always supporting each other. We even planned trips to travel around the country together. It is nice to have other English speaking friends in a foreign place. I will cherish the friendships I made through this program.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Crystal
10/10

Teaching in Korea with CIEE

This has been a very good experience for me so far. I was very happy when I found out CIEE had teaching abroad programs available and that included a credible TEFL certificate. I like how CIEE has both the public school option, where they are partnered with EPIK, and a private school option. So if one doesn't work out you can have another alternative. I'm glad I chose the public school option and that it worked out!

The staff helped me a lot throughout the lengthy process. They were very quick to send emails as well as updates and answer any questions that I had. I also liked how they interviewed me beforehand so I could prepare more for the actual interview and get more practice. The staff in Korea is also great and willing to help with any issues you come across. I like how they have an on-site orientation so you can meet other teachers and ask questions regarding about teaching. It is a good way to make friends and to get tips!

I'm really grateful to CIEE for I love my job and I'm having a great time! For anyone considering teaching abroad in Korea, there are so many benefits and the kids are absolutely precious! The pay is good, housing is rent free, and you have lots of aid from coworkers as well a other English teachers. I would recommend anyone to check out this program!

How can this program be improved?
I do agree with everyone else when they say the program is a bit pricey. But for me it is worth it because CIEE is a credible program and it also includes a TEFL certificate. Although it's possible to find cheaper TEFL programs the question would be if they are credible and if your current program would accept that certificate. With CIEE, you have the benefits of a recruiter who knows the process and you get a credible TEFL certificate.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Carolyn
9/10

So far, so good - Teaching in Jeonju, South Korea

I had been to South Korea before, but for staying a year and actually working a real job, I'm glad that I chose CIEE. The program is pretty pricey, but that includes a rather extensive TEFL certification, so that should be taken into account. South Korea is known for paying its English teachers very well, so even though the initial cost of CIEE's program is a lot, you can earn that money back within the first few months after you start working. In my experience, CIEE's staff is very quick to respond to questions (both when I was in the U.S. applying and now in Korea). I have a personal interest in the country, so it's been very exciting to be here as aspects of Korean culture get more popular overseas and as the North and South come to more friendly terms with one another. It's a cool front row seat to history, but with the full in-country support of CIEE to make living in a country (where you don't speak the language!) a lot less intimidating. South Korea isn't that big and has a good public transportation system, so you can travel around and get to know the country pretty well within a year and still be able to visit neighboring countries during winter or summer break.

How can this program be improved?
Like everyone else has been saying, the only real issue with this program is the rather steep price. If you plan to teach abroad with CIEE, I recommend Korea because the nice salary helps offset the money spent getting there.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
cory
9/10

Teaching in Korea

I absolutely love Korea. I'm so glad I decided to come here with the help of CIEE. I have lived in here for about 3 months and I think I am adjusting nicely. I was able to meet a couple great friends through the orientation offered by CIEE and we have traveled around together a few times in the last couple months. The orientation helped new teachers become accustomed to the everyday life and teaching culture in Korea, which is so different than in the United States.

Before coming, CIEE offered a lot of support. I was so anxious going through the visa process, but CIEE was there every step of the way with their expertise. It made me feel so at ease. I talked with a coworker that did not come with a recruiter and she said she felt like she was drowning throughout the whole process. They help you find a placement and work with you to try and place you in an area you want to be in. Though I am not in love with my home city since it is very small, I am only 30 minutes away from Busan and one hour away from Changwon, another larger city in my province. I'm glad CIEE was there for me and offered their help! CIEE ensures you receive a fair salary and working conditions. The staff is there for you and can help you if any problems arise with your school or life in Korea. I feel comfortable living here and that I have support because of CIEE.

Yes, I recommend this program
Jordan
9/10

Life in South Korea

When you take a deep breath and you are looking at colorful gems and you are naked and sweating. You know you are at a 찜질방. I spent most of the weekends of my first year in Korea in these saunas because I didn't have much money and I loved traveling. I could sleep in the floor for $10 - $15 dollars in just about every city. Now I'm in my second year, I paid off my student loans, and I really enjoy South Korea. I've adjusted to the culture and I think it's made me a far more worldly person. In my experience it was hard to understand true Korean culture until I started speaking a decent amount of Korean which has just happened recently. There is still excitement and mystery for me and for the right personality teaching in SK could be there best thing you have done with your life. I know it's the best decision I've made for my life.

How can this program be improved?
I think more social opportunities could exist. During my first year I was placed in a very rural area and was quite lonely. I wouldn't trade my experience there but I have to say i do remember it being difficult.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Rebecca
9/10

Teaching in Daegu

Teaching abroad through CIEE is one of the best decisions I have ever made. As a fresh college graduate, the decision was a no-brainer: living abroad with a comfy salary, rent-free housing, insurance, and the promise of adventure? Perfect formula for something exciting.

The pre-departure support that the program offers was invaluable to me in navigating interviews, contracts, and visa paperwork. It takes away the anxiety of hoping that the hiring school is offering livable wages and competitive benefits - it's harder to advocate for those things yourself when you don't speak the local language well! I applied to private language schools (hagwons, in Korean) only, rather than to the Korean EPIK public school program. These two tracks are very different, so make sure you do your research before choosing how to apply!

Once you arrive in-country, the level of support that is needed from the program varies. I personally was placed in a hagwon that is incredibly communicative and welcoming. My supervisors and co-workers all speak English, and there is a large community of expats in the greater area, so I did not need extra help from CIEE in adjusting to my new home. But if your placement is different (i.e., if you're the only foreigner at your school, which happens sometimes!), CIEE is there to help mitigate any disputes and assist with your adjustment to life abroad. It's a great comfort to know that if problems arise, there is a team prepared to help at any time.

Program benefits also vary from placement to placement. My studio apartment is safe, modern, and comfortable, but be warned: many Korean landlords/building managers don't require prior tenants to clean the place before they leave, so your apartment might need a deep-clean when you arrive. The apartment is about fifteen minutes' walk away from my school, which is typical compared to other expats in my area. Your utilities payments, insurance payments, and pension plan payments all depend on your contract with your school, so be prepared to contribute to these. Working hours also vary greatly; my hours are 1pm to 9pm, but I have also worked morning shifts, and I have worked across multiple branches of my employer's company. Be flexible!

My home away from home, Daegu, is a beautiful mountainous city in the southern part of the country. Perhaps I'm biased, but if you're thinking about coming to Korea, there really is no better place to be than Daegu! Just be prepared for some really heavy satoori (local dialect, different from the Korean they speak in Seoul!) and some whispers and stares from the locals - it's kind of a conservative city!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Aoife
9/10

Constant Support and Valuable Information

I did my TEFL with CIEE through their Teach in South Korea programme, so it was a perfect programme for me at the time. I valued the pre-departure course and in-country orientation as it really prepared me for professional and personal life here.

The application process is straightforward and easy to follow and CIEE placement coordinators constantly help you to get documents ready on time. The course just makes the moving and preparation process easier and gives you less things to worry about.

Also, the fact you can do a verified TEFL with the course makes the choice to move easier. As a person with little teaching experience and no teaching qualification, CIEE have everything to prepare you professionally to teach abroad.

Overall, I am happy I chose this programme in the end.

Yes, I recommend this program
Jennifer
9/10

An Excellent Experience

I'm about three months into my program in Sokcho and I am greatly enjoying my experience. The city is wonderful, the people are generally nice, I've met great friend among fellow EPIK teachers and my school and the staff and students are incredibly sweet and generous.

My experience with CIEE thus far has been worth it, I think. They were a huge assist during my EPIK application process and when comparing the process to other EPIK teachers who complained about their difficulties applying on their own, I feel grateful for having had so much help along the way.

The included TEFL course was handy as well, as well as the CIEE-specific orientation. I'm going to put my iNext insurance to use as well on a trip to Thailand this winter. :) All in all, teaching in Korea is a great experience for those of you looking for new adventures and new cultures.

Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Brooke
10/10

Daejeon South Korea

In general, this is a program that I would highly recommend. I originally knew about CIEE because I used another program of theirs to study abroad in South Korea in 2016. It was this experience that made me realise that I really enjoyed being in Korea and I became very interested in spending more time in the country. It was this that lead me to applying to this program to help with the application process.

I had a very positive experience with my adviser. When you are applying for something like working abroad, there are a lot of required documents and a lot of deadlines. And usually it is very important that you meet these deadlines at the correct time. I always felt comfortable calling my adviser when I had questions and she was always very good about replying quickly.

A few others have mentioned the differences between public and private schools in Korea, and this is definitely a valid point. I am currently employed through EPIK and so therefore I work at a public school in Daejeon, which is about two hours south of Seoul. Oftentimes your experience here is determined entirely by your school. With private schools, there are a lot less laws that they have to follow and sometimes this can get people into less than ideal situations. However, I know many people who are in private schools and absolutely love it. But your situation working in a public school versus a private school will definitely look different. I think there could have been more of an overview of these differences on CIEE's part.

Overall, I think Korea is a great place to work and live. I think they have a positive view of foreigners, and never have a felt unwelcome in this country because I am not Korean. This is a really beautiful country and a great place to travel to!

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

Working and Living in SK

I love living in South Korea. I am at a private school, and there are many challenges, but the benefits far out way the difficulties! I work from 2pm to 10pm, which sounds weird at first, but I really like my schedule, and that I have time to go to places like the bank while it is still open. South Korea is so fun, safe, and beautiful. I love exploring and living here. The program directors are very helpful and respond quickly to emails. I am living in Changwon, which is a smaller city about an hour outside of Busan. It is a beautiful place to live with a large foreigner community. My commute to work every da is a twenty minute walk. I have included some pictures of it, because Fall here is just so gorgeous! I absolutely recommend this experience!

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

Teaching experience (so far!) in Daegu, South Korea

I've only been in Korea for about 5 weeks now, but I've loved every second. This country is beautiful, friendly and culturally rich -- I am so glad I chose to come here. When I decided I wanted to quit my job and come teach, I knew I wanted to do it with CIEE. I am SO glad that I did! CIEE helped me along every step of the way through the application process, including the longer EPIK application process. I was working a full-time job in the U.S., and can't imagine doing this without CIEE's help. The orientation they provide once you are in the country is so much fun and so useful as well, and the leaders are fantastic! It was great to make even more friends, especially coming here not knowing anyone. I highly recommend applying through CIEE--while there is a bit of extra cost, they help with organization and peace of mind.

How can this program be improved?
The difference in public (EPIK) and private schools is huge. I think that CIEE's website explains this a bit, but it would be very helpful to explain this even more. The two experiences are vastly different, and it would be helpful to have that information up front.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jayde
8/10

Teaching in South Korea

CIEE is a great company to work with if you're looking to teach abroad. They take a lot of the guess work out of finding jobs, getting your visa, and feeling at home in a new country. They give you in-country resources who are willing to help you with any questions you may have. I would definitely recommend using CIEE if you're looking to teach abroad as a gap year or even for the rest of your career.

How can this program be improved?
I don't think the TEFL certificate is not worth the price and was too broad. It focused on TEFL but it did not teach a specific country so the information was hard to pin down for your specific country. I also think the information that I did get did not help me to teach in my classroom. I think it would be better to have TEFL courses specifically for your country's culture and that they should get advice and help from previous or current CIEE teachers abroad.
Yes, I recommend this program
Jordan
9/10

Teaching students English in Korea

Choosing a program can be daunting because future teachers wonder what program they should go through or if they should go through any recruiter program. I went through CIEE because I wanted to feel more secure in getting my documents to South Korea.
My friend actually told me about CIEE abroad and I found it quickly after a search on the Internet.
I picked Korea because the Asian countries seemed to be the best paying and I had student loans to pay off. Korea seemed to be the least culturally different from what I read online/ watched on YouTube.
I'm in the EPIK program now. CIS was just my recruiter that I payed extra money for to help me apply. I also did my class through them. It took 3 months to do the class and 6 months to get accepted into the EPIK program.

Do they require teaching experience?
Only the class and and a bachelor's degree are required

Did they cover the class?
No, I had to pay for the class!! But they do reimburse you for your plane ticket after one month of working here plus they give you a nice entrance bonus
I'm still here and I might be staying for a while. It's not for everyone but I really like it.

How can this program be improved?
If the program would include more fun activities to meet with other teachers I think that would be good.
Yes, I recommend this program
Default avatar
Jessye
7/10

Pretty darn good!

I was overall happy with the CIEE program. The application interface is easy to use and understand, and streamlined the process. The man we were in contact with in America was very helpful and responsive. I applied with my boyfriend, and they were able to quickly find us placement together at the same private school. Our school is good, and is not on any of the blacklists. In fact, another person who went through CIEE has been working there for three years now! I think that we lucked out with our school, and we never have to bring any work home with us, and the hours are a stable 9-6pm. The only downside is that CIEE cannot guarantee how large your accommodations are (of course), so our apartment is on the small size. Its big enough, but I know a lot of couples who have a lot larger apartments. If you are a couple, I recommend trying to get a one or two bedroom apartment listed in your contract, because I think school will cut corners on cost if they can. The school will be saving money with a couple anyway, the least they can do is supply a reasonably sized apartment. My only complaint with CIEE's program is that the CIEE people we work with in Korea are not very responsive and sometimes unhelpful. They were slow to respond to pressing questions, and often just told us to "google" things when we were figuring out how to navigate medical issues and insurance. The application process if a bit difficult, because you interview, and then if the place offers you the job you have to decide if you want it within 24 hours. There is not a lot of time to "play the field", meaning you don't know if you will be missing out on a better option. There is an orientation in Seoul once you arrive, where you get to meet other members of CIEE teaching abroad, and there was a lot of helpful information. Again, I am glad I went with CIEE because it was very clear of what was needed and I was not afraid of getting placed at a horror school.

How can this program be improved?
I think communication while abroad could be improved.
Yes, I recommend this program
Logan
9/10

CIEE is an easy (but more expensive) way to get to Korea

Overall, I am glad that I decided to contract with CIEE to find a teaching job in Korea.

My situation: I was in my senior year of college, extremely unsure of what to do after graduation. All I knew is that I had never gotten to travel, and that I really wanted to.

Solution: Teach abroad!

In my situation, I really needed a TEFL certification, and a helping hand in finding a job that would hire someone so inexperienced. In this regard, CIEE definitely provided everything it promised.

Throughout the process, everyone involved with the organization was really communicative and helpful. The instructions for applying were clear, and they handled everything in a really timely and professional manner. They made the intimidating process of searching for a job overseas much less intimidating.

If you're a newbie in need of certification and/or help finding a job overseas, CIEE will provide exactly that, assuming that you're willing to pay. It is of course possible to get a job in Korea without paying for a service like CIEE, but if you're willing to eat the extra cost, CIEE does what they say they will.

How can this program be improved?
The differences between public and private schools in Korea are a little bigger than the provided materials make them seem (especially with regard to vacation time.) Just make sure that you're doing your research and making an informed decision!
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...