English Program in Korea
4.0 of 5 52 reviews
epik.go.kr Seoul, South Korea 1000 to 5000 Employees

English Program in Korea Reviews

Updated Apr 26, 2014

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4.0 52 reviews

                             
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    Great experience.

    Anonymous Employee (Former Employee)

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

    ConsNo 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.

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    Great Gap Employment

    TEFL Teacher (Former Employee)
    Sangju, Kyongsang-bukto (South Korea)

    ProsWonderful 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.

    ConsOne'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 Senior ManagementConsider 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Best decision of my life thus far

    Native English Teacher (Current Employee)
    Boryeong (South Korea)

    ProsWhen 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.

    ConsIt 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm not optimistic about the outlook for this company

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    A wonderful life experience.

    Guest English Teacher (Former Employee)
    Daejeon (South Korea)

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

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

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    It was a great cross-cultural and educational experience!

    Guest English Teacher (Former Employee)
    Daegu (South Korea)

    ProsAll 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!

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

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend – I'm optimistic about the outlook for this company

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

    Guest English Teacher (Former Employee)
    Changwon, Kyongsang-namdo (South Korea)

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

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

    Advice to Senior ManagementLess paperwork...

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Wonderful Opportunity for Living Abroad in Korea

    Guest English Teacher (Former Employee)
    Incheon (South Korea)

    ProsSeeing 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.

    ConsUnpredictable 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    It was the best working year of my life

    ESL Teacher (Former Employee)
    Incheon (South Korea)

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

    ConsYou 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 Senior ManagementEducate 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.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    The best way to live in a foreign country.

    Guest English Teacher (Former Employee)
    Gwangju (South Korea)

    ProsA unique way to be fully immersed in everything Korea has to offer.

    ConsThey were almost too generous.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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    Plenty of support, easy to save lots of money with free accommodation.

    Native English Teacher (Former Employee)
    Kimhae (South Korea)

    ProsEPIK has a great orientation program (compared to the typical hagwon,) good guaranteed vacation time and benefits, and the pay and bonus make it easy to save money.

    ConsMost of your hagwon friends are working funky hours, which makes it difficult to meet people. While benefits are guaranteed, communication about them can be lacking--you may not know when you get your vacation until the week before.

    Advice to Senior ManagementEPIK has a lot of training for Korean teachers about how to interact with NETS, but once the training is over it doesn't always happen. Understand that people from Western cultures won't pick up on indirect communication--you should tell us if we're doing something wrong, or we'll keep doing it.

    Yes, I would recommend this company to a friend

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