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

Video and Photos

Typical Korean Style BBQ
Typical Korean Style BBQ
Fun with Friends
Fun with Friends
Holi Hai Festival
Holi Hai Festival
Concert in Seoul
Concert in Seoul
Korean Palace
Korean Palace
Hanok Village
Hanok Village
Teaching in Korea
Teaching in Korea
A picture with my coteacher and her husband
A picture with my coteacher and her husband

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 16 - 30 of 101
Default avatar
Ally
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Very Helpful

I’m lucky to have been able to make a few friends through orientation that make it easy to have someone to count on. My other teachers who went through different programs don’t know anyone else besides the teachers in the school, and they wished they had an orientation like mine. It was also nice to have other professionals to ask questions to that are outside of my school. I also liked that I was able to have my emails answered fairly quickly and my recruiter did not tell me lies like what my other co teachers had gone through with their companies. They wish they did something similar to what I found with CIEE and I am very happy that I was able to do this orientation with other teachers who were on the same boat as I was when first coming to Korea.

Response from CIEE Teach Abroad

Thank you Ally for taking the time to write a review. It's great to hear that you got so much out of the program! I hope you continue to have and build great relationships and enjoy your time in Korea.

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

Teach in South Korea

I’m so glad I chose the CIEE program to help me teach in South Korea! Finding a program can be so overwhelming and moving to a country that you don’t know much about can add on to that level of stress. But with CIEE, I felt prepared for my travels and safe in my school decision. CIEE worked with me to help me find a school in the city I wanted to live in, and they helped me find reputable schools with good pay. While in the country, they gave everyone in the program an weekend orientation session where I learned more about Korean culture. It is also where I met other people in the program, and I ended up making lots of connections with other teachers who live all around South Korea and near me. I highly recommend choosing CIEE to go abroad with!

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
Definitely the language. But luckily, it’s easy to learn how to read Korean.
Response from CIEE Teach Abroad

Thanks Carolina for the great review. It was such a pleasure to work with you and I'm glad you felt supported pre-departure and that you had a great time at orientation!

Continue to enjoy your time and always feel free to share photos of your time there :).

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

Teaching in South Korea Through CIEE

I had a positive experience with CIEE. I wanted to travel to South Korea to teach English with my girlfriend after we both graduated from college. CIEE worked with us and connected us to a school in Korea that hires couples. It was a really good fit and we’re happy CIEE helped us find something that worked for us. The orientation weekend in Seoul was a lot of fun and a great way to connect with other foreign teachers and get to see some of the capital. In general, CIEE is great at making sure you have the resources to connect with other foreigners while here in Korea. Overall, CIEE was very responsive throughout the application process, offered very helpful visa assistance, and gave us immediate in-country support when we arrived. If you want to teach abroad, CIEE can get you there.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Make connections as soon as possible. Even if you're normally introverted, you need to be willing to put yourself out there, especially in the first month or two. Finding a group to belong to here is crucial!
Response from CIEE Teach Abroad

I'm so happy that you are having a positive experience so far. Your advise and feedback is really appreciated and I hope you continue to love your time in Korea!

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

CIEE Teach Abroad

While there were definitely some issues with communication and support while I was in America from the US team, I would still recommend this program. The TEFL Certification is very good and easily allows for you to complete it while working or going to school.

The overseas staff is great, and the person in charge of helping people find placements in private schools, Yumi, was very helpful and accommodating. She helped me find a great school quickly due to an unexpected change of plans. She also talked with me through the weekend when I was booking a flight after receiving my visa, even though she was not obligated to do so.

South Korea is a great country to live in, and as a young woman, I feel incredibly safe here. It is also modern and rich with history, so there is a great balance of things to experience.

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

Gwangju, South Korea - Hagwon - Couple

My boyfriend and I wanted to move to Korea to teach English and we used CIEE to help arrange our placement. CIEE was very helpful and answered all of our questions. They were able to help us find a school in a big city that hired us as a couple. The in-country support is incredibly valuable. In our city, there are quite a few other teachers placed by CIEE along with a new recruit coordinator. Through CIEE, we were able to meet each other and build a social network in our new home. CIEE has also eased any worries we have had about what to expect and understand how to acclimate to life in a new country. Overall, I am quite impressed with the services provided by CIEE and I would highly recommend this organization to anyone interested in teaching abroad.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
When you begin to get job offers and are shown contracts, don’t feel pressured to accept the first offer you are given. There are plenty of schools and there is room for (some) negotiation.
Default avatar
Alejandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Staying in Korea longer

Honestly, they were very helpfully. At times the information was overwhelming and messy, but they were always available to explain in detail over the phone. I’ve been in Korea for three months now, and I love it. I’m planning on staying for longer than a year. I met my best friend through CIEE, and the orientation was helpful. My school is a little rough around the edges, and the apartment needed some serious work, but I do love my students. I like that I can follow the book's lesson plans, but they do not let us use technology to aid the lesson. Korea is a lively country. I’ve been busy every weekend since I got here. You can go out to the thousands of cafes, huge malls, and amazing clubs. Honestly, you will never get bored in Korea. You won't regret it!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would have asked to be placed in Seoul. I like luncheon, but I honestly go to should every weekend, and it's a 45-minute subway ride. It gets old after a while.
Default avatar
Austin
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Exactly what I needed

I decided to come to Korea with CIEE because I needed my transition process to be both smooth and time-efficient. I was finishing my undergrad thesis as I was preparing for Korea, and CIEE took a lot of stress and confusion out of the job search. I saved hours and hours of time on the visa alone. CIEE tells you exactly what documents you need, how and who to mail them to, and they even give you tips on how to fill the documents out. Without the pre-departure support, I likely wouldn’t have been able to start teaching so soon after graduating, which really justifies the program fee in my case. It also helped ease my mind that CIEE would be connecting me with reputable schools, and even if something did go wrong, I would still have their support after I arrived. The advisors really want you to succeed, and if you come with a positive attitude, you will!

What was your funniest moment?
I went out to eat with a friend, and we apparently weren’t eating the dish like we were supposed to. The owner came out and stood quietly next to our table for a moment. He then took a spoon, reached in front of us to scoop some rice and a bit of another side dish, then fed my friend a bite.
Default avatar
Laura
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

So far so good

I've enjoyed living in another country, but I don't really like the food here. Hopefully, I'll start finding more things I like to eat. My school is a nice place, and my Director and other co-workers are all very kind to me. I'm within walking distance to the school; my apartment is small, but it has everything I need. Most people in the area speak at least a little English. I've found some fun things to do nearby, but I like exploring other cities too. CIEE has been pretty helpful by doing orientations and helping me get set up here. I know I can contact them if I run into any issues, and they will help wherever they are able.
I love working with kids, especially the younger ones. They have found ways to express themselves in English that I find very creative.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I've now tried pig liver and squid. I don't recommend the squid.
Default avatar
Wyatt
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Highly Recommend if You Want to Teach Abroad and Don't Know Where to Start

I knew that I wanted to teach in S. Korea, but I wasn't sure what steps I needed to take, what forms to fill out, how to get a TEFL, how to find a school, ... (the list goes on and on). CIEE was there every step of the way, answering my questions and helping me achieve my goal. There were times while I was taking the TEFL course where it felt like I was wasting my time, and I didn't think that teaching would be for me. But thankfully, I decided to stick it through thanks to the open communication of multiple CIEE staff members and their friendliness. The day before my flight from the U.S. to S. Korea, my visa was lost in the mail. I had to track it down, frantically calling every post office I could think of. At one point, there were 2 CIEE staff members who were spending their Friday morning helping me call around, dedicated to making sure that I got on that plane the next day. We found the visa, they called me to answer any final questions I had (and to calm me down), and sure enough, here I am writing this review in my apartment in Korea! Everyone has been great, and the program made this entire process MUCH easier. It also was nice knowing that I was never alone, and there was a group of people on my team, working behind the scenes every step of the way.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
A lot of things when working with private schools in Korea are very much "go with the flow." Things may seem unorganized, and you might have very little (or no) information about things. Learn to be okay with that, and just accept that everything will work itself out!
Default avatar
Joyce
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE

I have used CIEE twice to go abroad. The first time was when I studied abroad while still a university student, and the second time is now. CIEE is a great organization that is very understanding of situations that one might have and are willing to help as much as possible. Without their help and assistance, I might not have been able to go abroad, so I’m forever grateful to them.

CIEE’s support doesn’t stop once you’re abroad, but continues in the best way possible. They give you the opportunity to create your own network of people by having orientations which allows you to meet other CIEE participants. Also, although you come through CIEE, they don’t force you to do anything. We have the freedom to make our own memories, have our own experiences, and solve our own problems. But, when you’re in a bind and really need help, CIEE is there. Just remember: CIEE is there to help, but you should still be responsible and make wise choices.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
My most nerve-wracking moment was teaching my students for the first time. So many thoughts were running through my head, and I was afraid I wouldn’t do well. However, tops and advice from CIEE’s TEFL course, CIEE’s in-country coordinator, and my coworkers helped to reassure me. The best piece of advice I heard was: “It takes three months to finally feel like you’re starting to get the hang of what you’re doing, but six months to truly know what you’re doing. So, it’s okay to make mistakes, but learn from them, do better, and never stop trying.”
Default avatar
Jonah
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE Teach in South Korea

I had a positive experience with CIEE. I wanted to travel to South Korea to teach English with my girlfriend after we both graduated from college. CIEE worked with us and connected us to a school in Korea that hires couples. It was a really good fit and we’re happy CIEE helped us find something that worked for us. The orientation weekend in Seoul was a lot of fun and a great way to connect with other foreign teachers and get to see some of the capital. In general, CIEE is great at making sure you have the resources to connect with other foreigners while here in Korea. Overall, CIEE was very responsive throughout the application process, offered very helpful visa assistance, and gave us immediate in-country support when we arrived. If you want to teach abroad, CIEE can get you there.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Make connections as soon as you can. Even if you’re introverted, you need to be an extrovert for a least the first month or two. It is really important to find a community here and not isolate yourself.
Default avatar
Amber
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE & EPIK

I used CIEE to apply with the English Program in Korea (EPIK) and received help and support through what could be a long stressful application process. I applied and passed my interview in 2018 but could not accept for personal reasons. When it was time to reapply the next year, CIEE made sure I had everything I needed, and supported through the TEFL and with additional documents. I really liked their style of giving the TEFL, it was multi faceted and interesting. The orientation in Seoul was also very fun and helped me meet a lot of great people . Overall, though it was a financially a lot, It was worth having the extra security and options at hand. It really was a easy process all the way till the end. I love being in Korea and enjoy the benefits and opportunities that EPIK and CIEE gave me!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do your own research! CIEE gives you a lot but there are more resources out there, Join all the Facebook pages that apply to you, "Expats in (your chosen city)", Women/ men in Korea, EPIK official Facebook page, Kakao Talk groups, Reddit groups (teachinginkorea, TEFL, expat, etc.) Read blogs about people in the program for how to save money, how to find the best hangout spots for foreigners, language exchanges, making your time in Korea count. Don't stay in your house too much, get out, make friends, explore! It will make for a much better experience that you will never forget!
Read my full story
Default avatar
Rachel
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching in Korea with CIEE

The program staff was able to place me near the location of my choice. The school they placed me at has been a great fit, and while CIEE provides most of their support during pre-departure, the school they placed me in has helped me get settled into my life and job. Commiting to teach in a foreign country seems daunting, but there will be other teachers who will help and support you along the way. CIEE does provide an in country orientation once you arrive which was a really good opportunity to meet new people. If there is any legal issues, the CIEE team will always be there to help. I highly recommend this program if you are looking for fun and a convenient way to fuel your travelling. The job is fairly easy and pays well, giving you plenty of time and resources to do the things you love.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Just relax. It may take some time but everything works out, and you can build a really amazing life here.
Default avatar
Lura
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE is the best way to go

I found CIEE by doing a bit of research on my own. I wanted to make sure I was going through a reliable organization, especially considering this is my first time living and working abroad. The people at CIEE have been so helpful, encouraging, and available to communicate with directly in the United States AND abroad. Most, if not all, people through CIEE have also experienced living and/or teaching abroad, so they are very helpful in real-world experience and application. CIEE has their own fees, but it gives you piece of mind to know you have a real person advocating for you, helping you through the visa process, and communicating with schools abroad during the application and interview process, as well. Even when I finally got to South Korea, my CIEE coordinator called me to help me find accomodations while in transition to my school location and followed up with me to ensure my safety and overall comfort. I truly recommend this to anyone thinking about teaching and living abroad as they really do care about where you end up and how you get there!

What would you improve about this program?
Each person's experience is different and had its own challenges. Honestly, I don't think I could change anything about my experience as everything has gone according to plan. I did my research, had many people to help me along the way, and I also got very lucky with my placement!
Default avatar
Ashlan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

CIEE is Great

CIEE is great. This is my second time teaching English overseas through this organization, and I've never had any issues. The staff is friendly and always ready to answer any questions, and everyone did a great job helping me with my application and making sure I had everything ready to apply to Korea. I really think they are one of the best organizations out there for people looking to teach overseas, and I highly recommend them! Not to mention orientation weekend in Seoul was awesome... I ate some of the best meals I've eaten since being in Korea! Everyone at orientation seemed to have fun and it was nice meeting the other teachers to hear how everyone elses experiences have been thus far. Brad was great and made sure everyone was having a good time the whole weekend!

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I wouldn't bother applying to public schools in Korea. I know the vacation days are better, but besides that I think private schools are the way to go (as long as you do your research and make sure you apply to a good one). I applied to public schools first, had an interview with Epik, passed the interview, mailed all of my stuff to Epik, and then never heard back! I know everyone say it's first come, but I just think it's odd they interviewed me and I passed and never heard anything. So, again, I think private schools are the better option.