My experience with CIEE so far has been excellent. They have been friendly, professional, patient, easy to contact, and straightforward. Before you read some of the negative reviews on the CIEE South Korea listing, you have to understand what CIEE is.
CIEE is a recruiter. They help you find a position.
They are not your landlord, they are not your attorney, and they are not your babysitter.
I came to Korea prepared, and I came to Korea prepared not only because of CIEE's help but also because I was able to do some independent research and get a good picture of what it would be like when I arrived.
CIEE was actually very helpful in pointing out some potential problems and helping me get ready for them.
Their pre-departure information showed statistics on the apartments that previous applicants had occupied and I knew that a few of them didn't have beds. To a lot of people this is a problem, understandably, but I came prepared to lay out some blankets on the first night because I was given that information.
From hearing stories about awful hagwons, I was able to ask questions about the curriculum and determine that their practices would probably be acceptable for me. I am here and my days are crammed, but that's what I knew would happen.
If you're flying to the other side of the world, you have to be able to roll with things and pick your battles. When I arrived in my apartment it was nasty. The previous occupant was a teacher who left my school and he never cleaned it out. I spent three days cleaning it. I didn't mind, because it's not that big of a deal.
My apartment has no hot water. Personally, I don't mind this. If I wanted it fixed, I would talk to my director. But even if I want it fixed before winter, you know what? It can wait. I have bigger fish to fry right now.
I understand if you would not be willing to wait to get your hot water, or if you'd be upset if you walked into a dirty apartment. However, please understand that a part of making moving to a new country a good experience means rolling with the punches. I read one review wherein someone said that their hagwon closed, and when CIEE's follow-up for a NEW POSITION was "delayed and full of contradictions" they decided to just leave the country. This is the opposite of rolling with the punches. Yes, CIEE probably was scrambling to get their stuff together on that, and a recruiter might have written something unclear. But he or she is missing the huge positive here! CIEE was ready and willing to find a new position for this person, and he or she realized it would take time and effort, had enough, and gave up.
Let's look at that again: if you get stuck at THAT crappy of a school and you get fired for crappy reasons or your school closes, CIEE will stick it out with you and find you another position.
Now obviously, you are a free person. You are also taking a risk by getting a job and it's your responsibility to research them first. I and everyone from my orientation seems to be having a great time so far. I have had no complaints from the dozens of people I have met.
My director and regional director are amazing, a husband and wife team, and they buy me food all the time and are helping me in all kinds of ways that they don't have to do.
My coworkers are great. Friendly, supportive, patient, and all in all wonderful people.
So many people go on the internet just to complain and try to get revenge on someone they feel wronged by.
Think about this:
A TEFL course could cost from 600-2000 dollars, easily.
Airfare to Korea would cost 600-1000.
If you're a first-time teacher, I would highly recommend it. Remember, if you don't like the position they offer you, YOU CAN TURN IT DOWN.
And think about all the people who aren't leaving reviews because they came in prepared and had a great time and never thought twice about it.