English Program in Korea Reviews | Glassdoor

English Program in Korea Reviews

Updated June 22, 2017
114 reviews

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Full-time Part-time

114 Employee Reviews

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Pros
  • The cost of living in Korea is low so you can save a decent amount of money/pay off a lot of your student loans (in 8 reviews)

  • You will have a lot of free time (in 8 reviews)

Cons
  • Last minute changes, long wait times (in 10 reviews)

  • There isn't any room for growth (in 4 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (3)

    "This experience was very fulfilling"

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

    I worked at English Program in Korea full-time

    Pros

    The cost of living in South Korea is low compared to the US for me so I was able to completely clear my debt of student loans in two years. The benefit package with working in a public school was excellent (severance pay, pension, health insurance, and joining flight to Korea). Excellent orientation program in Seoul that was a week long I really enjoyed.

    Cons

    I was placed rurally opon arrival and that was a major shock for me. I think that candidates really need to be informed the lack there of if they were placed in a rural school. Being required to "desk warm" during winter and summer months was torture for me and that was of the main reasons why I would never want to work in a public school again. Weeks on end of coming to school with no objective I cannot do again.


  2. Helpful (1)

    "Great Opportunity"

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

    Pros

    Very well structured and great benefits.

    Cons

    No control over placement and a little unorganized.


  3. Helpful (5)

    "Job satisfaction mostly comes down to your co-teacher and school compatibility."

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

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

    Pros

    EPIK gives the best contracts, hours, and most stable employment of any English teaching job I know of in Korea except a university teaching position.
    Teaching in a public school is a real Korean immersion work experience. I got to witness firsthand what life is like in a Korean school.
    Work starts and ends at an early hour, leaving time to do what you want every evening.
    There is the obvious opportunity to stay long term in a new country and explore what life has to offer there.
    Depending on your co-teacher and school, you will have a lot of flexibility to prepare your portions of the class lessons and plenty of office time to get ready or just relax and do your own thing.
    There is a generally higher standard of teachers in EPIK, so there is somewhat better reputation and peace of mind to be teaching in a public school.

    Cons

    I was placed in an apartment over an hour from my school. My morning ritual of switching between bus and subway lines was so miserable and time-consuming I wanted to quit as soon as my first year contract was up. My school was in a bad neighborhood on the edge of the city, and every teacher commuted a good distance to get there, so whoever chose my contractual apartment for me found one n a district where "there are a lot of foreigners" and some other teachers at my school lived. They had cars though, and I was not at all a high priority, and being that the Korean way is to abide and not complain and try to assure one's superiors that everything is well, I don't think it ever occupied to anyone that my living and transportation situation was awful and really spoiled a lot of my experience there. So be prepared to possibly get put in a school that is seen as a low level, unattractive school in a very out of the way location. It really is a roll of the dice you're going to have to make do for a year.
    My first co-teacher flat out told me she was tired of teaching and wished she had chosen another occupation. I think that getting along with your co-teacher and having a professional co-teacher who runs a disciplined class is crucial to your enjoyment of teaching and generally your Korean experience. You can try to use your best teaching and personal communication and conflict resolution skills, but don't expect to have much success. You are the foreigner who is appreciated as a novelty, not a co-equal whose voice will be respected and followed, and the horror stories abound of bad co-teachers and principals who just don't budge on irrational and burdensome decisions.
    During the students' summer and winter vacation, you are still expected to come to school and sit at your desk all day. It is completely absurd and without good reason, but being Korea people just say, "Yeah, that's Korea." I sometimes sat alone all day like "The Shining" in a freezing, quiet, empty building without seeing another teacher all day (only a few other teachers ever had to come to school during vacation). Don't ask me why the least regarded teacher, the Guest English Teacher, had to be there. The overseas experience would have been MUCH better if the school vacation time were extended and made standard for teachers across the city or region. You don't even know what days you get for personal vacation until your school and co-teacher decide you will have your break time English camps. It's a big mess that I think everyone agrees needs to be cleaned up.

    Advice to Management

    I honestly don't think the management is interested in what foreign English teachers have to say. Nothing is going to change. The superiors continue doing things the way they've always been done, and the inferiors live with the absurdities to keep up appearances and just grumble privately or get drunk to relieve the stress. The idea of Korean higher-ups listening to foreign guest workers is laughable to I think anyone who has worked in Korea.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Teacher"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at English Program in Korea full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The job was in a great location with a very engaged staff.

    Cons

    There was not enough curriculum support for new teachers.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "ESL Public School"

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

    Pros

    Unique international experience
    Working with kids and seeing kids' growth
    Not so demanding job-lots of free time.

    Cons

    Little room for growth
    Large number of kids in a classroom
    Each school differs in terms of being supportive
    Culture shock/strict Korean hierarchy


  6. Helpful (2)

    "Native English Teacher"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend

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

    Pros

    Getting to experience a different culture, having the opportunity to meet many people at the school.

    Cons

    I have to say this used to be a very good job 5 or 6 years ago. However, the pay keeps getting lower when you adjust for inflation. Also many school have reduced the amount of vacation time from what it used to be. There are also more foreigners in Korea so Native English teachers are much less special than in the past.

    Advice to Management

    To only have the Native English Teachers used to teach the advanced or intermediate level students. The lower level students don't have the motivation to learn English and probably won't even need it in their future jobs. Also I would test the students speaking in a way similar to TOEIC.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Great way to immerse yourself in a different culture"

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

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


  8. Helpful (2)

    "Great beginning to an ESL teaching career, or to just explore the field."

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Guest English Teacher
    Former Employee - Guest English Teacher
    Recommends

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

    Pros

    Great compensation and benefits at the time of employment, although those have drastically decreased. If you are placed with a good school and have a nice co-teacher, the experience can be awesome.

    Cons

    If you have a bad relationship with your school or co-teacher, it can be a VERY long year.

    Advice to Management

    Although the head district coordinators tried to create a good system, the system is one that cannot be changed because it's dictated by policy. Be more upfront with teachers about the opportunity and expectations, and go back to better vacation benefits.


  9. Helpful (1)

    "Great way to live abroad"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher
    Former Employee - Native English Teacher

    I worked at English Program in Korea full-time

    Pros

    Teaching is rewarding and the compensation is good.

    Cons

    You'll make more stateside with a degree.


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Good opportunity, no support"

    Star Star Star Star Star
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Get to live abroad, experience a new culture, good orientation in beginning as far as culture goes.

    Cons

    After orientation, you are on your own, preparing you for teaching could be better.


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