English Program in Korea Reviews

Updated June 26, 2015
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  1. English teacher

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

    I worked at English Program in Korea full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Great introduction into te working life and teaching life. You get international travel experience and get to interact with various backgrounds.

    Cons

    Not much opportunity to advance or increase your salary.

    Advice to Management

    N/A


  2. Helpful (1)

    My EPIK Teaching Experience Has Been a Joy and I Have Made Countless Memories Throughout

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

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

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    Competitive pay, furnished housing, great work hours, weekends off, career-building opportunities- the list for me, specifically, continues. I have loved working for EPIK and recommend it to others looking to expand their teaching horizons.

    Cons

    In regards to EPIK, there are very few cons beyond the lack of support given to teachers in bad teaching situations. Management normally do not check to see how schools are treating their teachers (DoE EPIK coordinators do not always do their jobs as lesions for the native ESL teachers- my specific coordinator is wonderful, though). I have heard far too many horror stories (one being that they asked the native ESL teacher to leave the school to use the bathroom because they saw her as an outsider). In most cases, most schools seem to be genuinely good to their native ESL teachers, but there are to many cases where either the living conditions or the schools for which those teachers teach are simply unacceptable. This mainly has to do with the fact that Korea can sometimes be xenophobic because of the things they see through the media concerning Westerners- specifically, unfortunately, towards African Americans, and especially so in more rural areas.

    As for EPIK as a company, though, I really do believe it is great to work for. The only real concern is the native teacher pay-cuts do to government overspending (specifically on a completely free lunch program- free to ever student, no matter their income).

    Advice to Management

    Monthly check-ins from the head offices of EPIK for each teacher I believe are essential. Weekly check-ins by DoE EPIK coordinators would be a good idea. A forum for EPIK teachers to post their experiences in a safe way that is monitored by the EPIK head offices would be a good choice for teachers that are nervous to come forward about poor teaching or living situations. A forum specifically for lesson plan and activities shared amongst the EPIK community via the website.


  3. Helpful (1)

    Good Program for Recent College Graduates

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    - Excellent International Working Experience
    - Decent, fair Salary
    - Good networking opportunities with other teachers
    - Students are generally good to work with
    - Reasonable teaching load with plenty of office hours (40 hour work week)

    Cons

    - Not respected as a peer/equal to other teachers
    - School assignment is somewhat random
    - Almost no language training
    - Useless continuing education sessions
    - Housing is small compared to Western standards

    Advice to Management

    Please provide more language training to your educators. Eliminate "desk-warming," which is a useless and unfair policy. Many of the teachers who teach continuing education classes are long-term employees who may not be effective trainers.


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  5. Helpful (1)

    An Adventure

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

    I worked at English Program in Korea full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Negative Outlook
    Recommends
    Negative Outlook

    Pros

    -Good salary
    -Reliable pay, accommodation, contract security
    -Possible to have an incredible cultural experience and meet loads of interesting people

    Cons

    -Recently there are less jobs and less competitive salaries
    -You don't know exactly what you're signing on for until you get there--city or countryside, 1 school or many, great co-teachers or difficult ones


  6. Can be good, or not...

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

    I worked at English Program in Korea full-time (More than 3 years)

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    I was lucky to enjoy most of my time working in Korea. The orientation was really good for this company, and the communication before going to Korea was top notch.

    Cons

    After orientation, communication was almost non existent. The company cares little about what happens to their teachers after their placement and never checked in on them.

    Advice to Management

    Become more organized and do follow ups with your teachers.


  7. EPIK was EPIK

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I worked at English Program in Korea

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Good money
    Structure
    Fixed pay dates
    A clear contract
    Okay syllabus

    Cons

    A challenge with a co-teacher, especially because they change all the time
    Social obligations

    Advice to Management

    Try to make the English package more attractive to Korean teachers


  8. Sometimes frustrating, sometimes maddening but ultimately rewarding

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    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.


  9. Great alternative work experience!

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

    I worked at English Program in Korea full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    I got to plan my own classes and was given free roam to teach how I wanted to. My work load was very comfortable and manageable and the children were very friendly and well behaved. Salary is tax free and you get accommodation on top of a very competitive salary!

    Cons

    Some of the Korean staff were a little cold towards me and it was difficult to make friends at work. This wouldn't have been so bad if there were other foreign teachers at my school, however I was the only one and so felt a bit left out at times.

    Advice to Management

    I would encourage the Korean teaching staff to make better use of the foreign teachers in both learning from the western teaching style and simply learning more about western culture. It is also a good chance for the teachers to improve their English and this should be taken advantage of!


  10. Worthwhile experience. you learn about yourself and another culture. use your time wisely. explore korea and asia.

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

    I worked at English Program in Korea full-time (More than a year)

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    chance to save money and travel. try not to waste your money partying. this is a great chance to save and pay off loans. make sure your students enjoy the class.

    Cons

    lack of diversity. it is hard to fit in and be yourself.

    Advice to Management

    be more open to foreigners


  11. Great way to enter into the field of teaching English abroad.

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

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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Gain experience teaching while having the flexibility and freedom to explore a new country. They provide you with a furnished apartment (or a housing allowance if you prefer to find one for yourself), 50/50 medical (doctor visits are pretty cheap anyway!), paid vacation and national holidays, and a bonus for renewing your contract. Awesome experience.

    Cons

    There's definitely a language barrier. All the schools I was placed in during my two-year stint in South Korea were in the country side where it English wasn't very common. Even in the bigger cities like Seoul and Busan had limited English. However, it is getting better!

    Advice to Management

    Training sessions sometimes seemed redundant and pointless. Sometimes the arrival dates don't match with their scheduled training dates so you may already be placed in a school teaching for months before going to training.



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