Teach English in South Korea with CIEE

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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.


based on 32 reviews
  • Benefits 8
  • Support 8.2
  • Fun 8
  • Facilities 7.9
  • Safety 8.4
  • Instruction 9.7
  • Support 10
  • Value 9.7
  • Difficulty 8
  • Job Assistance 10
Showing 31 - 32 of 32
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Be careful of ciee teach abroad!

I taught in South Korea in the fall of 2011 with CIEE. Before I even left the country, CIEE Teach Abroad messed up my visa process. They actually went ahead and started processing my visa with a school I had never signed a contract with. After a few long hours on the phone explaining that CIEE had messed up on what their main service is (visa/placement), and actually caused the placement process to be more difficult than if I had done it myself, I was given a partial refund. I should have viewed this situation as a warning sign about the lack of actual knowledge of this branch of CIEE (they handle most of the teaching in Asia programs).

When I arrived in Korea, things got much worse. Most things outlined in my CIEE Teach Abroad and in my school contract were not fulfilled. I was told my work week would be 30 hours a week at a certain pay. I actually worked 40+ hours a week for the same amount of pay. Not only that, but I was told that class sizes would be small. I taught 10 classes a day with virtually no breaks, some with over 30 students. I received no training. I was paid up to 5 days late, denied my medical insurance, and paid under the table for the first 2 months. The building wasn't big enough for the amount of students, and there was a sweatshop in the basement. This is not what I expected from CIEE's main advertisement of "placement at a reputable institution". I used this service to avoid this exact type of situation, as I felt it would be a safer way to go in a country I had never been to myself.

CIEE advertises adequate housing. My apartment was dirty the day I arrived, with moldy bedding in the washing machine. Much of the furniture was broken and I found spots of mold on the ceiling. I was sick most of the time I was there. Every time a friend stayed over, she got sick as well. I asked my employer to change apartments and they said they were "working on it"up until the day i left.

When I realized the gravity of this situation a month and a half into my time there, and the effects it was having on my physical and mental health, I contacted CIEE. I asked for advice for the best way to switch schools. I had no desire to leave South Korea, I simply felt that I was being taken advantage of by my specific school. I was told by a CIEE member that its very difficult to end a school contract before 6 months, as our visa is attached to our employer. I also heard about the mistreatment of other employees at my school when they tried to leave. I decided to do my own research, and I realized the only way to get safely out of this situation was to leave the country without telling anyone so that my school would not find out. I did this to avoid being detained by customs, and being denied pay.

Because of CIEE's previous lack of organization and communication with me, I did not advise them I was leaving the country, fearing that they might leak information to my school, and therefore put me in an even more hostile situation. When I did make it out of the country, I was sent threatening messages from my school. I was told I had better come back and apologize or i would be put in jail, and be forced to pay them. They actually contacted the local police, and when they realized I was gone, they contacted interpol to find me.

Most of the things promised in the contract were not what I received.

When I came back, I asked for a refund. They told me that it was my fault for not contacting them for help. They told me that they understood that I was "homesick".
I actually was trying to change schools, not leave South Korea to go home.

If you want to teach abroad in Korea, it is an amazing place to live! Simply go to Dave ESL Cafe online and look for your own job. You will save tons of money and probably end up at a better school.

Always ask to speak to a current foreign employee at the school you are going to work at. If I would have done so, I could have avoided an absolutely awful situation.

Response from CIEE

CIEE is a well-respected non-profit that has been operating since 1947. We are a recognized leader in several fields, including undergraduate study abroad, as well as finding paid teaching jobs overseas for US college graduates. We are committed to providing high quality, safe and valuable experiences to all of our participants. We are proud of the programs that we operate and are committed to meeting our mission in every way. We are happy to share with you how we help participants overcome challenges while they are teaching abroad. Teaching abroad often isn’t easy and we recognize that. CIEE works directly with the Ministry of Education and other institutions to send people to teach in South Korea. We are happy to address anyone’s specific situation at any time, clearly as a U.S. based NGO, we do not operate these programs for the money and pursue quality experiences for all participants.
Matt Redman, Manager of CIEE Teach Abroad programs, [email protected].

No, I don't recommend this program
Default avatar

CIEE is a good resource for first-time native English teachers

My experience with CIEE has been very positive. I was placed at a public school in a small town in Yongin, a city about an hour outside of Seoul. My apartment is comfortable and in good condition. The cost of living is relatively low and my neighborhood is safe. I teach 22 hours per week, the kids are awesome, and the other teachers have been supportive and kind. I've also made a lot of good friends. Overall, I'm very pleased with how my experience in South Korea has turned out so far.

On a few occasions, I've mentioned CIEE to the teachers involved in hiring me and, surprisingly, was met with confusion and blank stares. They were completely unaware that CIEE even existed. (Because I worked with CIEE's partner recruiter, TEIK (which I don't recommend,) TEIK received a payment from the school once I completed my first three months here.) As far as I know, CIEE has limited to no contact with the schools themselves. Although I am fortunate enough to have a very helpful co-teacher, there is something to say about having a support network of people who understand the experience of being a foreigner in Korea and who speak a language that I know well.

CIEE has provided me with the kind of advice, training, and support that has made interactions with my Korean co-workers and school administrators run a lot more smoothly. At first, a cross-cultural training session sounded a little corny to me--until I blew my nose too loudly and offended an entire room full of people. That was when I understood just how important that training would be in building relationships with people whose language I couldn't speak. Coming here with barely any knowledge of Korean language or culture (I know, I know, I'm awful) was stressful. It would have been so much more stressful had I not been able, say, to go over my contract with a CIEE coordinator during job cuts or to be reassured that I could go to a Korean-speaking doctor with the flu and not be treated for shingles instead.

In the end, I'm glad that I went with CIEE. Even though the program is expensive, it has been a good resource to have.

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...