Teaching English in Korea
July 20, 2007 8:56 AM   Subscribe

Which agency/school is the best for teaching English in Corea?

My girlfriend is planning on going there for about a year for the purposes of wanting to teach English. Does anyone know any good programs out there? Please include info on housing, pay, location, etc. (or a website would work best).

She is corean-american (spelled with C because that's the ORIGINAL spelling, yay!) and has a very strong conversational speaking ability. Graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Psychology.

Thank you MF fam.
posted by jadanzzy to Education (8 answers total)
I have really good luck over at Dave's ESL Boards. Try doing a search for your question there. Also, Boots N All has some stuff on TEFL. Both have lots of good general plus Corea-specific info and discussion.

Good luck to your girlfriend.
posted by mosessis at 9:24 AM on July 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

I don't know of any agencies, however; my cousin has been in Seoul for about 8 years now, and his experience was that he immediately was able to make much better money as a private instructor. He was able to make enough money to rent an apartment just outside of the city (very near the metro), and get a graduate degree while there.

Whether or not this is something your girlfriend could do, I don't know - he was teaching a lot of businessmen, and I'm not aware enough of Korean gender roles to know how that would be viewed. It would also certainly be harder to just move there without the support system an agency would provide.
posted by god hates math at 10:28 AM on July 20, 2007

There have been previous threads on this, and I won't repeat my answers here, but I encourage you to do a search. You'll find lots of helpful info.
posted by Brittanie at 10:18 PM on July 20, 2007

I've mentioned this before on the site (and other people have helpful answers) but the thing I did was similar to what you'd get through gepik - the office of education for GyeonggiDo (the largest province, and the one that encompasses Seoul). It was organized through my college, so that saved me a lot of worry and work, and was a great experience. ~1900$US/m + ~3800$ at the end of the year bonus/pension + free apartment. I loved it and was very happy to work for the government at a public school since I ended up doing a lot less work that all my Hagwon-affiliated friends and made the same amount of money as they did. For general job listings, hiteacher is good and replete with lots of options.
If she does speak Korean well enough, she might consider private tutoring like was mentioned above, as I know that is a well-paying field. I personally have no experience with that.
and more on the whole c/k-orea thing...
posted by shokod at 6:08 AM on July 21, 2007

spelled with C because that's the ORIGINAL spelling, yay!

Bah -- (leaving aside the historical Koryo dynasty) the country isn't even called Korea in Korean, regardless of how you want to romanize it. It's 대한 민국 -- daehan minguk.

I don't know of any agencies, however; my cousin has been in Seoul for about 8 years now, and his experience was that he immediately was able to make much better money as a private instructor.

It is illegal for foreign residents to teach private lessons on any visas but spousal family class ones, and that is only a recent change. It is especially illegal to teach privately on an E2 visa, which is the English teacher visa.

Brittanie was correct that there have been many threads on this before. I wrote this primer in part so I wouldn't have to repeat myself every time it came up, which should answer some of her basic questions.

ESLCafe and the Koreabridge forums are useful sources of current information.

Unfortunately, it is very very difficult to find decent, honest recruiters and schools without firsthand recommendations. Your best bet may be to sign up at Dave's and Koreabridge and ask for advice there. Note that most people on those sites tend to be relentlessly negative, and the whining gets deafening at times.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:03 AM on July 22, 2007

Also, I've got to mention that shokod's mention of EPIK (if that's what he's talking about) in a positive light was literally almost the one I've heard in more than a decade here.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:05 AM on July 22, 2007

Sorry, '...almost the first one...'
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:26 AM on July 22, 2007

Stav, I was gonna bring up the "Corea" issue too but decided not to stir the pot.

Jadanzzy, I recently advised a friend from high school who moved to Busan (the second-largest city in Korea) in January to teach English. My advice (and her's) is to sign up on Dave's ESL and ask as many questions as possible. There are scams, but the good thing is that word travels quickly there in regards to who not to work for. You will find lots of practical advice there — for example, when considering an employer, you can ask to speak to both current and former employees to get an idea of how decent they are.

If you want to know anything about life in Korea, then you are more than welcome to email me, read Stav's blog, or look up the hundreds of other online resources about what life is like in Korea. I'm on an island just south of Busan and will be here until 2008 at least and would be more than welcome to visit with you (online and in person) if you'd like.
posted by Brittanie at 6:54 AM on July 22, 2007

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