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

Video and Photos

Holi Hai Festival
Holi Hai Festival
Concert in Seoul
Concert in Seoul
Typical Korean Style BBQ
Typical Korean Style BBQ
Fun with Friends
Fun with Friends
Korean Palace
Korean Palace
Hanok Village
Hanok Village
Teaching in Korea
Teaching in Korea
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 95 reviews
  • Benefits 8.4
  • Support 8.6
  • Fun 8.6
  • Facilities 8.3
  • Safety 9.3
  • Instruction 9.7
  • Support 10
  • Value 9.7
  • Academic Rigor 8
  • Job Assistance 10
Showing 46 - 60 of 95
Kayla
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I love it here!

I have been in Korea for 3 months and i was placed in a small city (Bongdam) near Suwon. So far, i absolutely love my area- i was easily able to join a gym within walking distance and i can get to Suwon train station in about 20 mins by bus.

Shortly after we arrived in Korea, my fellow teacher and i had a small issue with our employer and CIEE was immediately offering to help us, which they did. Since then i have been enjoying my job at a local academy working with kids that are ages 5-15.

I am so glad that i made the decision to try teaching abroad here, it is such a rewarding experience and i also love being able to explore a new culture that i have never seen before. CIEE made this a much easier prices than i could've done by struggling to find a job and an apartment by myself. I greatly appreciate the CIEE program and i would definitely recommend that you try using them! They're awesome :)

What would you improve about this program?
I'm not sure how else they can improve other than trying to get together more often?
Isaiah
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Community

I first started to work with CIEE when I study abroad during university, so choosing them for my teacher abroad experience was pretty simple. But, I have been amazed at how much CIEE has been a valuable resource for me since I first came to Korea in 2018. I have made many great friends through CIEE orientations and End of the Year parties. CIEE is a great community that encourages all its teachers to stay connected throughout Korea after their initial orientations. My experience would not be the same without having gone through CIEE because of their overall commitment to the wellbeing of its teachers abroad. I have been able to travel to different cities, festivals, and countries with friends that I've met at CIEE orientations. It can be overwhelming coming to a complete new country without knowing anyone at all and CIEE does an excellent job of supporting the teachers here.

What would you improve about this program?
There is an end of the year gathering already, but maybe having a mid-year gathering would be nice too. Just in case some teachers aren't able to go to the one event they have the ability to go to a different.

Also, maybe partnering up with different travel agencies in Korea (Enjoy Korea, Good Times Rok,etc.) and sponsoring discounted tickets for CIEE teachers for events that they are hosting (ski trips, Holi Hai, Lantern Festival, Cherry Blossom Festival, etc.) which could be done by small advertisements of their programs (a slideshow during the last day of orientation about events that certain companies do).
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Lashaunda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

KOREA LIVING!!!

One day I got tired of working my regular 9-5 job. My job had good benefits with great pay but I needed a change. I had got in touch with CIEE and spoke with some amazing staff. They answered all my questions. After speaking to them I knew teaching abroad was a risk I was willing to take.They have been very helpful and kind. I was able to meet new life time friends through training and gathering that CIEE held. CIEE provided staff in and out of country that are available to help whenever needed. Korea is a beautiful country that is full. I came with a plan to do only one year. I been here 15 months and counting. I was lucky to have a chance to work at a public and private school. I absolutely love South Korea. I am so happy that I chose Korea. I am truly grateful for the staff of CIEE.

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Molly
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

3 months in the middle of South Korea

I have just finished my third month in the middle of South Korea. I am actually in the center of Korea. I am in a small countryside town and while not many people speak English and there are very few foreigners here, I have already made both foreigner and Korean friends. Everyone is very kind and welcoming. It was just my birthday and I thought I would spend it alone, but my school and the people I have met here have made it very special.
As for the CIEE program, the program has helped make sure that I feel safe and supported. The in-country support has been extremely kind and helpful. They have a lot of knowledge and I really enjoyed the in-country orientation. Also, it is nice to know that there is a group of people who are supporting you even when you are far from home.
Even though I came to Korea alone without any knowledge of the language or country, I no longer feel lonely.

What would you improve about this program?
I wish that there was a course offered to learn Korean. I am trying to learn on my own and I have asked other people to help, but learning Korean on your own is a little difficult.
At the lantern festival in Seoul! ✨
Anna
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teach Abroad in South Korea

I'm four months into my teach abroad experience in Dongtan, South Korea. It's been an amazing experience so far, and I believe that CIEE'S program helped me to feel prepared for the challenges that come when moving countries for the first time such as culture shock and home sickness. I absolutely love the school I was placed with (a hagwon) and have loved getting to know and teaching my class. I feel that the in country support had been very strong, my only regret is not attending more events to connect with more CIEE participants. My favorite memory so far was a weekend trip to the beach with my coworkers. Coming from the US Midwest, the ability to hop on a bus for two hours and arrive at the ocean was a thrill. I'm learning so much about myself and about this beautiful culture and I wouldn't change anything about how I ended up here. I would recommend teaching abroad to anyone, especially through CIEE.

What would you improve about this program?
The steps to get my Visa were overwhelming. I think the idea was to only tell me what I needed to know (I was giving task lists periodically after more steps were completed) but having a simplified summary of what to expect during the visa process would have helped me.
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Joanna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An excellent organization to help you teach in South Korea

Overall, I think this was a great organization to go through to complete my year of teaching abroad. You could constantly reach out to someone for support, and everything was well-structured and well-organized so that you always knew what to expect and what you needed to do in preparation for your departure. The TEFL course itself, through CIEE, was an added benefit. For everything, in terms of cost, it was well worth the money. On site, the teacher orientation was both fun and informative, and it was great to be able to connect with other teachers in the program. Additionally, I appreciated that our on-site contact person was very friendly, open, and always available - be it through call or chat - to answer any questions we may have throughout the year. From the resources to the support, I can safely recommend this program to other people considering teaching in South Korea.

What would you improve about this program?
For the most part, I don't have any complaints. The one thing I would say is that I would have appreciated more organized events throughout the year, and during the pre-travel phase - or even during an on-site orientation - I would have liked to have more information and resources concerning mental health in Korea and issues you might face within your respective academic establishment.
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Chrissy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Teaching in Korea

I'm about 3 months in to my job at a private school and so far I'm loving it! In general, private schools put a lot of pressure on both student and teacher performance because the parents are investing a lot of money in the school. But for me the job so far has been very low stress and a lot of fun. Korea is insanely safe, and I have never once felt uncomfortable walking alone. There's a lot to explore, and every weekend I've been able to see a new part of Seoul or take trips to different areas of Korea. I think if you ever get bored here, you're doing something wrong.
One thing I have really appreciated about CIEE is their constant and quick communication. I always felt supported and knew that I could trust them to help me move halfway across the world.

What would you improve about this program?
I think it would be nice to be put in contact with other people at my school before arriving. CIEE has placed a number of teachers at my school specifically over the years, so getting some advice/knowing what to expect would have been useful.
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Brianda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Why I chose CIEE

I chose CIEE for the various programs it offered. You can only apply to one program at a time. If you are do not get into the program you want, you can choose another one. I like that CIEE gives you various options and allows you to transfer your application to another program, if you do not get it. I also liked that you could choose to work at a private or public school (EPIK). I chose the EPIK option. The application thru EPIK does take time and can be nerve-racking to hear back the results. CIEE also provides a TEFL course (if you need it), a preparation course, and iNext insurance (supplemental insurance).
With EPIK you can request a location, I chose to be flexible on the location. I like the area I am in. It's a quiet town but it is close to other cities in the Jeonnam providence, that I can go to the cities on weekends.

What would you improve about this program?
The price of the program is high, like others have said.
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Samantha
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

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Crystal
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Carolyn
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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cory
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

Jordan
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.

What would you improve about this program?
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.
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Rebecca
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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!

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Aoife
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.