English Program in Korea

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  epik.go.kr

English Program in Korea Reviews

Updated December 17, 2014
Updated December 17, 2014
61 Reviews
4.2
61 Reviews
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Review Highlights

Pros
  • Great pay and benefits, especially since cost of living so low (in 6 reviews)

  • Great co-workers, adorable kids, not too demanding job, good pay (in 8 reviews)


Cons
  • There's definitely a language barrier (in 5 reviews)

  • No opportunities for advancement (in 3 reviews)

More Highlights

21 Employee Reviews Back to all reviews

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  1. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great way to immerse yourself in a different culture

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    Current Employee - Guest English Teacher
    Current Employee - Guest English Teacher

    I have been working at English Program in Korea full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Working for the government and great benefits (Free housing and airfare, health insurance, no problems with getting paid on-time)
    Plenty of vacation time
    Comfortable lifestyle and ability to save lots of money
    Co-teacher and school can greatly affect your opinion of the job

    Cons

    You will probably be the only non-Korean working at the school. Only able to take vacation time during school vacations. You do not get to pick your location and will be randomly placed in Korea.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  2. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great experience.

    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at English Program in Korea

    Pros

    Easy and fun job. Plenty of free time to study the language or do as you please. Having a coteacher is great.

    Cons

    No choice over location. Lots of time spent "desk warming" where you must stay at your desk even though there is no work to be done.

  3.  

    Sometimes frustrating, sometimes maddening but ultimately rewarding

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher in Busan (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher in Busan (South Korea)

    I worked at English Program in Korea

    Pros

    [disclaimer: I was placed at a very unique, small elementary school on the city outskirts. It was an abnormal situation even for the Korean teachers there.]
    I had a wonderful time and a great relationship with the school I was at despite a major language barrier during the first year. Students were mostly well behaved and school staff were supportive. Overall two of the best years of life.
    I never had any problems with sick days, vacation, pay, etc. One of the staff even helped me look for a new apartment and move before my 2nd contract had started.
    That said, regardless of placement you should expect things to be run in an orderly fashion for EPIK in terms of all paperwork as it is a government position. Your time off will be honored though it may be at the school's discretion, and classes are always within your set hours.

    Cons

    You're likely to be handcuffed by a bureaucracy that's far out of your control. Often times things will happen that seem nonsensical; classes will be canceled without warning, random classes will be altered, your co-teacher may change everything around last minute and not tell you etc.
    The cultural differences are real; it sounds obvious but plenty of people don't fully understand that they're moving to a new country and what all comes with it.
    Also there's no real room for advancement within the program.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
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  5. 1 person found this helpful  

    Great Gap Employment

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - TEFL Teacher in Sangju, Kyongsang-bukto (South Korea)
    Former Employee - TEFL Teacher in Sangju, Kyongsang-bukto (South Korea)

    I worked at English Program in Korea as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Wonderful opportunity to not just travel, but live in another country for a year or more- really get to see another culture up close. They pay well compared to similar programs in other countries. Though they aren't the highest paying country out there, it is safe and comfortable to live there- no fear for safety or lack of freedom. It is definitely possible to live comfortably on the salary you earn here while still traveling, and putting some extra in the bank or paying off bills you've accrued, though not perhaps enough to forge a career and plan to retire back in the States or Europe, etc. Fantastic opportunity to gain teaching experience prior to a credential program in your home country if you're looking to test the waters and see if it's the career for you.

    Cons

    One's experience here depends a great deal on the school and situation they happen to land in. While EPIK itself regulates pay and contracts- so there's never a worry of getting paid on time or full vacation, etc.- your day to day experience is generally left up to your school, town, and co-teacher. I had a wonderful time in a supportive school without much hassle, but heard of some who were glorified tape recorders (a.k.a. just asked to stand there and read from a book while the Korean teacher actually taught the lessons) or treated poorly for their differing beliefs or customs. It happens everywhere, but it seems to be more impactful when you're far from home and lack much of a local support network. My suggestion would be to make sure this is something you want to undertake before you leave, make as many friends as you can at orientation and when you first arrive in your town (and later as well), and be open to change and a culture that you may not always understand. Also, if you're vegan/vegetarian, be prepared to explain your beliefs (a lot) and possibly need to cook for yourself sometimes instead of eating school lunch or going out to every restaurant, though it is certainly possible to find restaurants that will cater to you, particularly if you live near a temple.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Consider offering renewal contracts by semester rather than the year; I know of a lot of great teachers who were well liked by their schools who would have stayed half a year longer but couldn't commit to the full year and so left instead. Since you already have two intakes a year, it shouldn't seem to matter much administratively. Also, some of the training at orientation, etc. was a bit redundant, though other parts were very helpful; perhaps consider cutting down on any redundancies and adding in more cultural activities, etc. Language classes for teachers once they're in their placements would also be nice as those of us in small, rural locations had great difficulty finding anyone to help us learn and would have benefitted greatly from understanding a bit more.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  6. 1 person found this helpful  

    Best decision of my life thus far

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Native English Teacher in Boryeong (South Korea)
    Current Employee - Native English Teacher in Boryeong (South Korea)

    I have been working at English Program in Korea as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    When choosing to teach English abroad, you are faced with many options in a host of different countries. EPIK is one of the most reliable and highest paying organizations which is why so many people pick to come to South Korea. The contract is specific, you will get paid on time, and the school(s) you teach for are held accountable by the Korean government to the signed contract. The pay is good, and it is possible to save half of your salary to bring back home, pay off loans, etc. Korea is a great location to travel from and there are vacation times in winter and in summer. Additionally, I have met lifelong friends through orientation as well as locals and foreigners that I have met in my city.

    Cons

    It can be a struggle to get used to the Korean way of doing things, which tends to be extremely last minute. Language barrier is always a bit of an issue, both in terms of getting around as well as communicating with coteachers. However, I have found everyone to be very friendly and accommodating to me.

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
  7. 1 person found this helpful  

    A wonderful life experience.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Guest English Teacher in Daejeon (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Guest English Teacher in Daejeon (South Korea)

    I worked at English Program in Korea full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Great co-workers, adorable kids, not too demanding job, good pay.

    Cons

    Awkward cultural misunderstandings, sometimes working on vacation for seemingly no reason.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  8. 1 person found this helpful  

    It was a great cross-cultural and educational experience!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Guest English Teacher in Daegu (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Guest English Teacher in Daegu (South Korea)

    I worked at English Program in Korea full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    All the co-teachers are very helpful in telling you exactly what they expect, and they let you work independently. They will also give you tips about where to live, eat, and play. And there's so much history there! Great food and great people!

    Cons

    Taxi drivers can be a little reckless when they drive and a few Koreans don't like foreigners, but not much bad about the place.

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
  9. 1 person found this helpful  

    A great way to try your hand at teaching, or simply have a home base to travel.

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Guest English Teacher in Changwon, Kyongsang-namdo (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Guest English Teacher in Changwon, Kyongsang-namdo (South Korea)

    I worked at English Program in Korea full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Great pay, low bills, lots of vacation/free time

    Cons

    Culture can rub some people the wrong way (vegans, non-whites), experience can vary widely depending on situation (co-teacher, apartment, school, etc)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Less paperwork...

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  10. 1 person found this helpful  

    Wonderful Opportunity for Living Abroad in Korea

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Guest English Teacher in Incheon (South Korea)
    Former Employee - Guest English Teacher in Incheon (South Korea)

    I worked at English Program in Korea as a contractor (more than an year)

    Pros

    Seeing Korea as more than a tourist will: Living in Korea for longer than a 2-week stint allows a person to see more and start to understand how Koreans live.

    Cons

    Unpredictable working conditions: Since work locations are assigned and not chosen, you could be placed anywhere in the country. Your co-workers could be wonderful people who are excited about your presence or could not speak a lick of English. You don't know until you get there.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
  11. 1 person found this helpful  

    It was the best working year of my life

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in Incheon (South Korea)
    Former Employee - ESL Teacher in Incheon (South Korea)

    I worked at English Program in Korea full-time (more than an year)

    Pros

    Great travel opportunity with lots of vacation time. Chance to make new friends at orientations. Very fulfilling job, especially if you enjoy teaching (obviously).

    Cons

    You will be the last to find anything out. Lots of scheduling changes that are given to you last minute. All in all, however, this makes you a superior teacher after the initial adjustment period.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Educate school on the severance pay and benefits given to EPIK teachers. I believe some left money on the table when departing. With that exception, keep hiring! It is an excellent program and changed my life for the better.

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

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