Teach English in South Korea with CIEE + TEFL Certification & Rent Free Housing

Video and Photos

Fun with Friends
Fun with Friends
Holi Hai Festival
Holi Hai Festival
Concert in Seoul
Concert in Seoul
Typical Korean Style BBQ
Typical Korean Style BBQ
Teaching in Korea
Teaching in Korea
Korean Palace
Korean Palace
Hanok Village
Hanok Village
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 101 reviews
  • Benefits 8.4
  • Support 8.6
  • Fun 8.5
  • Facilities 8.2
  • Safety 9.2
  • Instruction 9.7
  • Support 10
  • Value 9.7
  • Academic Rigor 8
  • Job Assistance 10
Showing 1 - 15 of 101
Default avatar
Karen
8/10
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.
Default avatar
Jannifer
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great Experience

I am so happy I decided to apply to teach overseas through ciee. They provided so much support and when I got to my country I was able to meet a lot of amazing people because of ciee. I think the TEFL program really prepared me for teaching. I’m thankful for my job placement and the coordinator for Korea is great. I had a wonderful time at the ciee orientation. I think it’s great that ciee offers orientation and other events for teachers as it can be hard moving to a foreign country on your own when you don’t speak the language or know anyone there.

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

Teaching in Namyangju

My experience in Korea has been very good with the CIEE program. Before I even left from the US, CIEE was right there to help me with everything I needed. They helped me get my TEFL as well as my Visa. The TEFL program was amazing and the teachers work really closely with you if you have any questions or concerns. When I arrived to Korea, they arranged for me to have transportation from the airport to my city which was great because the guide made sure to help me get where I needed to be. The overall experience has been really good so I highly recommend CIEE as anyone’s program of choice for teaching abroad.

What would you improve about this program?
So far, I wouldn’t change anything. CIEE has really gone above and beyond for their teachers.
Default avatar
william
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE Korea Review

CIEE is easy to work with throughout the process. One big strength of CIEE is there connections throughout Korea. They seem to have access and work with contacts throughout Korea. When I was in America I found it easy to work with CIEE to get the necessary documents in order to teach here. They helped me throughout that process quite a lot. One note I would say about CIEE is having the orientation three weeks into Korea is to late, as by then much of the information is repetitive. If I have needed any help from CIEE these past few months I found it easily. I have enjoyed working with CIEE and would recommend them for similar teaching positions for people. As CIEE is important to provide the necessary contacts and help to get around. I enjoy CIEE and believe that they would be useful for those who are new into the international teaching field.

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

recruited to teach in Korea

CIEE was a pretty good recruiting agency- they guided me along all of the critical steps in applying to be an EPIK teacher and their communication with the Korean government made things a lot easier than if I were to apply alone.
I would say that once I got here in Korea the assistance stops- I didn't know what to expect as far as further assistance but I think that something as simple as providing a welcoming packet listing all of the usefull Korean apps, useful Korean languge learning apps and websites, and just helpful tips from past EPIK teachers would have been really helpful.

I also wish they would have chosen a better TEFL certification class. I didn't find the course I took helpful or insightful. It was very bland and clinical.fddddddddddddddd

What would you improve about this program?
Instead of asking newly arrived teachers in Korea to make a promo video for CIEE talking only about the positives of moving to a new country- I think it would be much more appropriate to offer resources, app recommendations, and tips for dealing with your entire life changing and adjusting to a new culture and new schedule and new everything.
Default avatar
Jessica
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE South Korea

I’m glad I went with CIEE. The whole process was a bit confusing at first; I wish I had more communication from CIEE staff during the interview process, especially when it came to getting information about the school.

Regardless, I ended up at a great school about a half an hour from Gangnam. I’ve been having a great time! I have fabulous Korean and Foreign teachers, and I am so grateful for them. Several of them choose to renew their contracts after their year. Thanks CIEE!

The housing situation is not as fancy as some others. Our teachers have modest apartments in a nearby city, much older than some of the newer places around the school. Some of my coworkers have to deal with roaches on a regular basis, but I’ve only had a few.

I like the area, though! It’s an old city with a lot of history, and fun things to explore. All-in-all, a great experience thus far.

What would you improve about this program?
More information about schools during hiring process
The Orientation was meh
Default avatar
Ruth
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

2 years at my school!

I loved the peace of mind that using ciee to find my school gave me. I’ve never had a problem with my school but I knew that if I did someone would be there to help. When I decided to come to Korea I had heard a lot of scary stories about sketchy hagwons and was really worried I would fall into a bad one. After I heard about my school and community from someone who clearly cared about my happiness (and had personally lived in the area) I felt much more reassured about moving to a country where I didn’t know anyone or anything. My school turned out to be a perfect fit; largely because my recruiters listened to what I wanted and asked and answered all the right questions in order to get me where I wanted to be. In fact, I’m about to start my third year at the same school, I just can’t tear myself away!

What would you improve about this program?
There aren’t a whole lot of group activities for teachers who come through this program. It would be nice to get to know people more, though I know how hard it is to get people involved
Default avatar
Yolan
7/10
Yes, I recommend this program

South Korea

I have been here for about 8 months now and I like the country and the people, for the most part. However, not liking the school I am placed at. The students are fine it’s management that’s the issue. But all-in-all I wouldn’t mind doing this program again, but just in a different city and school. Also, I feel that CIEE should do a little better taking care of their teachers, especially the new ones. When I first arrived no one called or sent an email to check-in making sure I was ok. I was the one who had to initiate the conversation few weeks after arriving. At least once a month call or email making sure the teachers are ok, i.e., living conditions, how is the school, how are they adapting, do they need anything, etc... that’s just my opinion.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would change the city I am in, which is kind of small with not much to do. Also, I would opt for a public school instead of private.
Response from CIEE Teach Abroad

Thank you for your feedback. I'm sorry you felt that you weren't supported during your arrival. I know you arrived at an unusual time so there was more time in between arrival and orientation. I really do appreciate your insight and I promise and we are always working on ways to make everyone's experience a more positive one.

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

EPIK Teacher in Middle School

I'll be the first to say I got really lucky. My school staff was super welcoming and quick to include me and share Korean traditions with me. My students are so sweet, many of them are artists and would draw super cute doodles of me as gifts. They often saw me out in public and would say hello to me and they loved to ask me questions about what I was doing with my time in Korea. The downside is that I didn't have too much freedom with my curriculum but I made do and I worked around it and through it the best ways I could. Some other teachers who also joined EPIK were not so lucky in their area staffs at their school were not so welcoming or accommodating, in this case it really is luck of the draw. I personally have had a great experience both with EPIK and doing my TEFL through CIEE. I had great support and learned a lot over the course of my experience.

What was your funniest moment?
Maybe not one specific moment but over the course of the year. My students were in middle school and often spent the weekend in the city center area where I lived. I was constantly running into them. It never failed that if they saw me I would have a gaggle of students yelling across the street at me saying hi. When we got back to school monday or the next day they would chatter excitedly and laugh at having seen Noelle Teacher the day/weekend before.
Response from CIEE Teach Abroad

Thank you Noelle for taking the time to talk about your experience. It's so wonderful to hear that you are having a great time at your school with students and staff. I hope you continue to grow and love your time in Korea!

Default avatar
Art
2/10
No, I don't recommend this program

You Get Slightly Less Than What You Pay For, but That's Still a Lot

I had to pay $2000 for everything, equivalent to a month's pay. This includes a TEFL, but a TEFL shouldn't be more than $500. If you're well-off and don't feel like putting in the hard work or are too unsure of yourself to do so, this is the way to go. But there are surely more cost-effective strategies. I'd recommend just getting a recruiter and taking it from there.

Even still, the company is very thorough in getting you in the best position. It will guide you through every step, and there are a lot of steps. The main attraction of CIEE is the orientation weekend, which is the most fun I've had yet in Korea. But it's not $2000 worth.

The TEFL course is very time consuming, but you can bomb the weekly assignments as long as you get solid multiple choice and final exam scores, as I did; they're quite easy. I just got stuck with a cranky tutor, which makes the tutoring sessions unpleasant.

What would you improve about this program?
I'd not only lower the cost but outline what the cost for everything is, akin to how supersize me made McDonalds flaunt their nutritional facts.
Response from CIEE Teach Abroad

Thank you for your feedback. CIEE is a non-profit organization and the program fee covers the provision of services, including in-country orientation, the 150-hour TEFL course, pre-departure assistance and support during your year in Korea.

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

Teaching in Korea

I have been teaching in Korea for about 1 year so far. It has been a unique experience. I work at a Private School which holds a lot of different aspects compared to Public Schools. CIEE was very helpful through all of the application and TEFL process, which helped ease the pressure of teaching abroad.

Working at a private school has been a great experience. I've come to learn about the differences of the Korean education system. I've heard of horror stories when it comes to working at private schools, but CIEE was able to help me find one that was the right fit for me. So far, I've been having a great time and am grateful to be working in a great environment and community. Overall I would recommend this program to others, because it's a great way to have a support system in a foreign country.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
To those who choose to do this program in the future, one of the things I recommend is to make the most of your experience. Teaching abroad is different from studying abroad so coming in with an open mind and a positive perspective on your experince will be helpful in the future. Enjoy what CIEE has to offer and make the most of where you teach.
Response from CIEE Teach Abroad

Thank you for taking the time to write a review. I'm so glad you have had a positive experience so far with your school. I do know there are lots of horror stories about private schools but we work hard to make sure that those stories aren't realities for our teachers. Enjoy your time in Korea!

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

Teaching in Korea

Teaching in Korea has been an amazing experience. I’ll admit that I was nervous going in and didn’t really know what to expect, but it was easily to get acclimated. CIEE’s TEFL course prepared me for most of my day to day challenges as a teacher. I found that most of the things I was really worried about, like classroom management, I had practical knowledge to apply from the course. The support I received from them has been amazing from application until now. Of course, there are also tons of people who have already been through the program who are ready and willing to give you advice. I’ve just decided to renew for another year since I like it so much. If you’ve been wanting to explore another country and culture, but couldn’t imagine making it a reality, look no further.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
I was most worried about travelling with a language barrier! However, many people in Korea speak really good English and most people are very nice and very willing to help.
Response from CIEE Teach Abroad

Bryana, it's so great to hear that you are loving your time there! We love to hear that you felt supported and prepared as that is our top priority. Enjoy the rest of your time in Korea and don't forget to send photos!

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

CIEE Korea Spring 2019

CIEE acted as my recruiter for the EPIK program, and they did a good job. My only issue was the mandatory CIEE orientation. It was fun, but it definitely was more geared towards hagwon/private school teachers than public school teachers through EPIK, but EPIK has their own intensive orientation so it really is not much of a problem and it ended up being a fun weekend either way. Overall, I highly recommend CIEE.

I got my TEFL through CIEE as well and found that there was a lot of support during that process. Because CIEE is such a well-known program, there was always a network of people to talk to, and the TEFL course itself prepared me well for my experiences abroad. Ultimately, I felt like CIEE gave me the tools I needed in order to succeed internationally in South Korea.

Response from CIEE Teach Abroad

Thank you Riley for your feedback. We are working on making the orientations better for EPIK teachers, so it is something we are aware of and working hard on adjusting. I'm so glad that you felt prepared and hope it helps you enjoy your time teaching and your time traveling!

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

A great opportunity

Coming to Korea has been a wonderful and eye-opening experience. The kids I work with are great and always put a smile on my face. I would however recommend going with EPIK (public teaching) over a hagwon if you can get it, because the extent to which you will have to work, and the quality of Hagwons can vary quite a bit. Some people may work six hours a day, some may work nine or ten. It's good to do some thorough research into where you are working. Exploring Seoul has been a wonderful time as well, especially with my new coworkers who have been very gracious in helping me adjust. There's a lot of individual planning that goes into teaching in a Hagwon, so be ready. CIEE was spectacular during the. application process. They were open to communicate at any time, and they even hired a recruiter to place me in a Hagwon. Overall a great place to live and CIEE has been wonderful to work with.

Response from CIEE Teach Abroad

Thank you Mayan for the positive words. Your comments about Hagwons are absolutely true, and it is something we try and be transparent about from the beginning. The differences between them and EPIK are great, so it's important for teachers to understand the differences and pick which one makes sense for them. It's great to hear that you are enjoying Seoul and I'm sure you will continue to have an amazing experience!

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

Teaching English in South Korea through CIEE

CIEE guided me in getting hired at a school in Gwangju. Although the schedule at the school is demanding (I have 15-20 classes every day), I am happy working here. My manager and co-workers have helped ease my transition into the country and culture, and my students are amazing. It is rewarding to see my students’ progress in their English skills, and I enjoy hearing my students shout my name then give me a huge hug.

Also, CIEE tries to ease teachers’ transitions into the country and culture at an orientation in Seoul. This orientation helped me meet teachers from Gwangju and from all across the country.

Overall, I recommend this program to anyone interested in teaching in South Korea. CIEE tries to make the process as easy as they can; their staff are incredibly supportive.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
I enjoy exploring South Korea and think that all teachers should set aside time for that. Make the most of your time in the country—staying in your apartment all the time is not doing that!
Response from CIEE Teach Abroad

It's great to hear that you are enjoying your experience so far! I love that you are already seeing the progress of your student's English and I know you will continue to do so.

Enjoy Korea and I'm so happy we were able to get you there!