Teacher Testimonials

Lena Cameron, Age: 54, Home Country: USA, City in Korea: Siheung-Si, School Name: Maehwa Middle School
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

I live simply and I love it. The experience of life here has been very rewarding, with the introduction to its very respectful culture and its sparse living quarters, it has humbled me greatly and made me appreciate everything that I am blessed to have. I especially enjoy the privilege of touring the country with its expansive transportation network and the relative low cost; you can go just about anywhere in Korea.

What are some of Your thoughts about Teaching in Korea, and your school?

Teaching at my school couldnt be better; the kids are absolutely a pleasure to teach. My kids have great respect for teachers and learning, an attitude kids in the US could greatly benefit from. They are typical kids, full of energy and mischievous, but when it comes time to study and learn they are most attentive. I have seen an improvement in the short 2 months that Ive been here, we can actually have a conversation where they understand and respond. When I 1st got here, every answer was 'Yes no matter the question or content. Ive even got them away from the standard, Fine thank you, and you? In the coming months I expect to see a greatly improved awareness and use of English in my students.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Yes, and I have referred this site already.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work Yes, my school is great and the schools in this area.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - Yes, this is a life changing and most rewarding experience.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

Be open to new experiences and willing to accept the challenge of the unexpected, youll be greatly rewarded by your personal growth and overall attitude and tolerance toward others.

Michelle Bassett, Age: 28, Home Country: USA, City in Korea: Osan, School Name: GaSu Elementary
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

There are a lot of challenges with the language barrier and culture differences, but it's been a great experience. Most Koreans are friendly and meeting other teachers around the country and traveling has been awesome!

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

Teaching is hard and Korea is very different then where you're probably from, but enjoy it and just enjoy each experiance, good and bad, they will be fond memories in the future.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Yes, they found me a great job in the exact city I was looking for.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work Yes.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - Yes, as long as you're adventurous and outgoing you'll have a great time.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

If you can, get a job in a public school. The hours are much better and you get much more vacation time so you can travel and enjoy being in this part of the world. Also, write in a journal as often as possible about all the little things like figuring out how to use the shower, buses and ATM, they're great to look back on even a few months later.

Caroline Coombs, Age: 24, Home Country: Canada, City in Korea: Gwangju, School Name: Wiz
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

Living in Gwangju has been great. It is a big city, but small enough to have a great community feel and a solid downtown core. There are enough foreigners here so that you dont feel lonely, but not so many that you can escape without learning some Korean and getting to know Korean culture on some level. Whether it is a quick run up our neighborhood mountain, a day trip to mudeungsan, or an overnight trip to one of Koreas beautiful national parks, I hike every week, if not every day. The food is delicious and very affordable. I cant think of a better way to save money while having amazing life experiences.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

Teaching in Korea can be both rewarding and frustrating. I sometimes feel like my school does not encourage creativity, and the Koreans working at the school tend to keep their distance. That said, many of my students bring me great joy, make me laugh, and amaze me with their intelligence every day. I love that my classes are small and that I have great flexibility in what I teach.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Absolutely, In talking to people who have come with other companies, I definitely feel very lucky to have had the experience that I did. My interests were taken into consideration and I felt well informed about my decision.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work Yes, I believe the minute frustrations come with any work place. At Wiz, the hours are good, the pay is reliable, the classes are small and the curriculum is flexible.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

Attitude makes all the difference. Living in Korea is fun and exciting, yet the cultural differences can make it extremely frustrating at times. Your time here will absolutely be what you make it.

Brett Piggott, Age: 25, Home Country: Australia, City in Korea: Daegu, School Name: YALE
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

Korea is a land of paradox, where everything and nothing makes sense. It is an intriguing place where you will always be left questioning the various happenings that you have witnessed in your day to day travels.

It is a land of diversity, where you can buy designer clothes from a department store and roasted chestnuts from a stall on the same street. You can join the largest gaming community in the world or you can go hiking with the locals in the mountains.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

The students are mostly well behaved and eager to learn. They are friendly, polite and have a surprisingly good understanding of English. The major challenge for teachers is dealing with students fatigue. Students will regularly fall asleep in class due to lack of sleep and a demanding study regime.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Absolutely! A number of issues arose in regard to my E2 work visa and Teach ESL Korea supported me all the way. They found a great school for me and their follow up correspondence is excellent.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work I believe my school is one of, if not the best in the city.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - Yes! There is no better way to travel, work, experience a new culture and meet people from around the world.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

Research, research, research! Your city, your school, visa guidelines... Everything!

James Taylor, Age: 24, Home Country: England, City in Korea: Incheon, School Name: SLP
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

I think Korea is a really nice place to live. If youre the type of person who doesnt really take to new kinds of food then maybe Korea isnt the place for you. However if your willing to give everything a try, the food and everything else will be a pleasant surprise. Also I feel for the majority the people are very friendly, a little curious but very welcoming.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

Ive enjoyed most of my experience at SLP. I think it has become much stricter on little things which it didnt need to but aside from that everything is ok. Plus any problems that have occurred in the office have been forgotten once in the classroom as 90% of the kids are an amazing amount of fun. One thing to add though, I am planning on staying in Korea to teach again but I wont be resigning at SLP, I will be moving to Seoul.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company I have found Teach ESL Korea to be a very good recruiting service with nothing to complain about.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work I do feel it is a reliable place to work. Lacking a little in fun value inside the office and it seems a lot more work than a lot of schools, but reliable, yes.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - I would recommend to anyone who has the qualifications and the opportunity to teach abroad to do so in Korea. The money is good, the people are nice and the night life is fun. Also you can get to any of the surrounding countries to travel easily and relatively cheaply.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

I feel that everyone is different with different needs and goals so I think the best way to look at moving to Korea is to just do it and do it in your own way. I would simply suggest moving to one of the cities as I feel it can get a little lonely out in the sticks. Plus Seoul is where the action is. I feel the best part is that, whatever type of person you are, you will meet people like and different to you from all over the world!!!!!!!

Jason Hamilton, Age: 27, Home Country: US, City in Korea: Gwangju, School Name: Sun Kyung English Institute, Duamdong
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

The people are the best part. They are friendly and helpful to foreigners. Although I try to speak what Korean I do know, Koreans do not get angry if you try to speak to them in English and often will try to speak their English for extra practice. The downside, about 95% of Gwangju doesn't speak any English, so if you are good at hand gestures and body language, I suggest you use it.

Saving a lot on taxes is a bonus. I pay 1.5% in taxes, about 30k won a month. You will make up for these savings if you through away trash the way they want you to; special trashbags, 4k a trashbag. I go through about four a week, roughly 64k a month. So far I have been creative in the way I dispose of trash because I don't believe in paying for it, so I have yet to buy one. If you do a lot of traveling, you add another chunk on tolls, and don't assume shopping bags here are free. You pay for those as well.

Places like Seoul may be a shopper's haven, but everywhere else you get what you pay for, and then sometimes you don't. Clothing is very expensive here, with name brand jackets costing as much as 100,000, and name brand jackets of considerably more quality like wool (I have yet to find leather) can cost three times as much or more. Koreans are even more attentive to namebrand than Americans. A lot would sell their firstborn to make sure they are wearing Levis or Nike. I felt a little underdressed here. If you go to a flee market, like Gwangju's underground subway, you can get 50% off of a lot of name brand goods much like a US clearance goods store like Burlington Coat Factory or Marshalls. Generic clothing you will find slightly cheaper but not a lot of huge bargains. I have found a lot of the fabric too thin to actually wear in winter. A custom suit here is the only real bargain I found, 450k for Italian silk. Not cheap, but like I said, you get what you pay for. For guys over six feet, you either have to compromise with baggy around the middle, or smaller shirts with short sleeves. Sleeves are based on height, and most Koreans do not get over six feet. There may be some deals on shoes as well, but for men 11.5 is difficult to find here. Girl's with size 6 feet, you'll find some deals. A word of warning, Korea still has not evolved enough to accept returns. They look at you like the plague if you try to bring something back like we do in the States quite often.

I have enjoyed the things that don't cost a lot of money. A $1 bus ride to Mudeungsan to go hiking for a day is worth every minute. I love riding the buses. If you like tours, that's the best way to go. 70k a month to go swimming sounds a little steep, but it's good to get out and get some exercise. Walking is a lot of fun. I would bike, but the quality of the bikes down here is not so good other that light riding. I haven't been able to find a tough mountain bike brand like Mongoose or something of similar quality. That is the most disappointing part because I love biking. I have found that just getting out and doing things like going to see a movie (they don't give napkins for popcorn 0.0) or singing in choir at church is possible even though I don't speak Korean. I try not to let that limit me. Again, there is a lot you can do with body language. Last advice I would give a foreigner. Korean food will make you fat if you don't watch what you eat, but there is a lot of really healthy stuff like kimchi and pickled radish. Eat whatever you are offered if you are at a guest's house and try as many things as you can. Korean's love foreigners who are not afraid of their food and hospitality.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

Teaching has actually been a blessing. I love my students like they were my own kids. For the most part, they are polite, attentive, and responsive. I enjoy every day that I teach, even the more frustrating ones. I have found that the more Korean I know, the easier teaching becomes as well. It is good to have a translator device or book on hand for the harder teaching lessons, and I would definitely recommend learning to read Hangul as quickly as possible. It took me about two and a half months to learn it well, but I am still a slow reader. It makes going to the theatre and reading signs a bit easier to because you know what points to reference in case you need to grab a taxi. It also makes learning the language easier as well. I found that if I throw in a few Korean words to my lessons, the kids get way more attentive and even laugh in amusement at my meager attempt to communicate in their language. I try to keep the classes fun, silly, and random.

My school is very good. I was fortunate. My boss spoils me. She has taken me to some cool places like the bamboo forest in Damyang. She has given me both support with my teaching and with my health. She gave me a 32 inch LCD television, a designer kitchen, and wood-flooring. I live in the same building I teach in, and I don't pay rent. Wow! After about six months in Korea, my body started to get sick from the change in diet. It took me another six weeks to fully adjust and at times my health is sporatic. I think there will come a time in every foreigner's visit here, no matter how much they wish to assimilate into Korean culture, that they will think to themselves that they have had it. Frustration with living, the food, the lack of understanding the language comes all at once in a moment of despair. The first thing I went to do was see an American movie with Korean subtitles at the movie theatre. I felt a little homesick, but it alleviated some of my desire to be with my own people and to hear my own language. This is even after I made a decision that I wanted to stay here for five years to really get to know the people, the culture, even get married here and have Korean kids. But there will be times you will get homesick. It is inevitable.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Yes. They are realiable. Dan Hendrickson is very friendly and helpful. Even during times of frustration and squeezing in the passport, VISA, and other things that cause unexpected delays, he is very patient and professional. I know I have tried his patience a few times as well as his wife, who was a great support in getting the documents together to send, but in the end I made it here and am very glad that I chose to go with this company. I don't want to leave out Julice either, their contact in Korea. She did a great job getting everything together here in Korea and finding me the job with Mrs. Hong. It makes a difference when people really care about their work. .
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work It is very reliable. My boss pays me on time, and she is quite a blessing. I have heard stories of other hogwan schools refusing to pay on whatever excuse they could find for work not performed correctly, not meeting expectations; and so on, but Mrs. Hong has been supportive in focusing in on problems, offering solutions, and constantly interacting with teachers to ensure both quality in their work and in their lives.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

2 Who said I was only going to be here a year? This is such a wonderful opportunity, I would recommend you make a plan to live here for awhile. One year is not enough to experience the culture and learn about its people. You really should not be coming here if it is only for the financial opportunity. The lack of interest will manifest itself in the work, and it's unfair to students here whose very existence depends on studying hard and going to school for 10-16 hours a day to give them anything less than the absolute best. Besides, if you live in the United States, the economy is not getting better anytime soon. Some states like mine in Texas has made it difficult for qualified individuals with Bachelor Degree's in their subject of interest to get jobs teaching without going through another rigorous year of teaching study. This opportunity is an instant way to begin saving money, paying off loans, or finding the time to do what is needed set one's life in a new and active direction. Koreans also love foreigners from the western world and teachers, so you will meet at least a few people who will shower you with attention and gifts just for the work you do here. I know some people have different plans, and that will inevitably have an effect on how long they stay, but giving it at least a year is a win win situation. One last word of what to expect, Koreans don't believe in trashcans. You'll learn pretty quickly exactly what I mean. Koreans believe your trash is your own business, so the greatest creativity lies not in your next teaching lesson, but in where to throw your empty Pepsi can. Good luck!

Jennyfer Hester, Age: 23, Home Country: California, USA, City in Korea: Suwon, School Name: Maewon Middle School
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

Living here is exciting. You never know what you are going to see. Its just such a different culture than any I have known. Youll laugh at what you see and get frustrated because you cant figure out how to find honey at the store or know what you are ordering at a restaurant.

You can have a delicious dinner for two people for under $10. One of the things that are really hard is the fact that they dont really drink while they eat. And if they do.they have tiny water cups. Also, the food is ridiculously spicy. I am Mexican, and I though Mexican food was spicy.I was so wrong. You wont really find a lot of food chains so youre most likely going to find mom and pop restaurants.

Its a different lifestyle here. A different culture a different everything. You just have to learn to laugh at everything. If you start to get upset at the fact that you have no idea what everyone around you is saying, or how to order, or how to ask where the bathroom is, or where the towels are.you are going to have a horrible time here. Just laugh it off.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

It helps if youve had some sort of experience in a classroom. Not necessarily a teaching credential and years of experience.but if youve at least substituted or done camp counseling or something. SOME experience with kids should be fine.

You have to be good on your feet. Have to be able to come up with on the spot activities (or have a bag of tricks) if you have extra time in class or if your kids seem bored with your lesson.

You only teach 22 hours a week (which really means 22 -45 minute classes) the rest of the time is your planning time and you usually end up sitting at your desk surfing the internet once youre ready for the next week.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company bsolutely, Dan and Aggie are great! They are very thorough and professional and incredibly fast to reply to any question you have. They do their best to find you the type of school you are looking for. Their contact in Korea (Jane) is not so reliable. Whenever we emailed her, she would say she would look into the issue/question but never would do it until you wrote her an angry email asking why your issue/question wasnt being resolved.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work my school is awesome! The teachers are super nice, the kids are great. They are sometimes last minute but that is just Korean culture. (mine is not as bad as other schools I have heard of). Any supplies I need, I get. I have my own laptop to use at school and access to everything the school offers (library, printing room, ect). Any teacher is always willing to help me with any type of question I may have. They give me positive and constructive criticism after each class. Its a great environment.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - I have only been here for two months...but I love it. I am with my husband so maybe that makes a difference. I havent felt alone or had a culture shock because I am always with someone speaking English. These last two months have gone by super fast...so I dont think that being here for a year is going to be hard.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

1) PUBLIC SCHOOL!!! I have heard too many horror stories about hogwons to ever even try one. I know, some aren’t bad, but a lot are.

2) Bring any special spices you like. It’s really hard to find stuff that is not Korean. Or just a particular food that you cant live without...it may or may not be possible to find here. Bring a years supply of it, or plan to have family ship you stuff.

3) Bring slippers. Most schools don’t wear their street shoes indoors, so they wear slipper at school. Just buy those plastic ones you just slip on. Don’t bother bring a bunch of nice dress shoes, case most likely you wont use them at school.

4) Bring any special facewash/makeup/girly stuff that you like. It is either really hard/impossible or really expensive to find American toiletries.

5) Get a small pocket Korean/English dictionary/phrase book

6) If you are bigger and/or tall, bring lots of clothes or expect to have trouble finding stuff that fits. I’m tall (compared to Koreans) and the sleeves on jackets are usually too short. Also with shoes…I haven’t found any shoes that fit. I wear size 8 ½ in the US and nothing fits.

7) Expect lots of seafood plates at restaurants. And things that look like noodles but are really some sort of sea animal with tiny black eyes. But really, most of the food is good. Sometimes it’s good just to not even look at it and not think about what you could possible be eating and just enjoy the flavor.

8) Get a webcam and a microphone!

9) Get Skype. It’s a way to video chat with your family/ friends. It also has an option where you can call cell phones and landlines from your computer using your microphone. For us to call the US it is only 2 cents per minute.

10) They do not use normal directions in Korea. They guide themselves by landmarks. They say, “turn left at HomePlus then turn at the 3rd street on the right”. Something like that. The streets don’t have names, and if they do, they are not listed on street signs.

11) Bring a planner because the just have generic ones with no dates on them.

12) Just buy a hairdryer here…they’re like 15 dollars. It’s way cheaper than buying a converter for your dryer back home.

13) Don’t expect to have an oven. No one does. You’ll have a stove, but not an oven.

14) Get your address written out in Korean so you can show it to taxi drivers. Also, have it spelled out in English so you can just read it to them.

15) Get a little notebook to carry around with you where you can have your address written down and other random things

16) Don’t expect to get a cell phone until about a month after you’re here. First you have to get a medical exam done at a hospital, then you have to wait for the results, then you apply for a foreigner then you wait for it, then you get a bank account, THEN you get a cell phone.

17) You can’t get internet at your apartment until after you get you foreigner card an bank account. You’ll have internet at work though, so don’t worry.

18) Girls, there are squat toilets. It’s exactly what it sounds like. You will see “normal” toilets, but at school most of them are squat toilets. You will most likely have a “normal” toilet at your apt.

19) Carry toilet paper with you at all times. Most of the public bathrooms/restaurant bathrooms don’t have toilet paper in each stall. Some will have it when you walk in the bathroom, but others won’t have paper at all.

20) Be friends with your co-teacher. Tell her/him issues you are having. If you hate each other it’s only going to make it harder for YOU because you need THEIR help. You cant even read your own MAIL! You need their help…be friends with them. They will be the ones that take you to get your bank account, medical exam, ect…. But they are not obligated to get you a cell phone. You have to ask them to do that.

21) You WILL eat rice every day. You get fed at school at lunch. There will always be rice.

22) EXPLORE YOUR CITY!!! Go out after school and just walk around. Don’t be scared. Just carry your address in your little notebook and just catch a taxi when you’re ready to go back home.

John Lucas, Age: 24, Home Country: Ireland, City in Korea: Daegu, School Name: Yale
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

I love living in Korea. It's pretty stress-free. I find Korean people very welcoming and helpful and I have never felt as safe in a large city as I do in Daegu. Korean food is very healthy and most of it tastes great as well. Eating out is very cheap compared to Ireland. The transport system in Korea is fantastic and it is very easy to get around the country and it's also inexpensive. I like having distinctly different seasons because I'm used to a climate that is the same all year round. I have a basic apartment that has everything I need and is pretty comfortable. The only negative point I have is that shoes and clothing are difficult to get (outside of Seoul) if you even have an average build by western standards.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

Before I came over to Korea, I was a little anxious about teaching English. I had no real teaching experience even though I had taken a short tefl course, I still couldn't imagine what it was going to be like and was doubting if I was right for it. After a week of teaching, I felt like I had always been teaching English. It's very easy to settle into. Most people I've met feel the same way. The school provides three days of training and that is plenty of time to get the hang of it. Class sizes are a maximum of 12 students at Yale, which is a very manageable number. The students are usually well-behaved and don't cause too much trouble. The school provides their teachers with the books and any other supplies that they need for their classes.

Yale operate on a five day week. Teachers work a maximum of 30 classes per week (each lasting 45 minutes), so that usually works out at 5 or 6 classes per day. First class starts at 4:10 pm and the last class ends at 10:10 pm, so there are no early morning involved. Yale always pay on time and in full and always fulfill any other obligations they may have to their teachers.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company I have recommended and would definitely recommend Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company for anyone looking for a teaching position in Korea.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work I work for a great school, that offers excellent support and help to all their teachers and I would not hesitate to recommend Yale as a reliable school to work for.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - Teaching English in Korea is a great way to spend a year. You gain some valuable experience teaching. You get to see and experience a new and different country and you are normally able to save up some cash as well. I would recommend it for anyone who was considering taking a year out to travel, teach, or just try something new.

Larry Wilson , Age: 61, Home Country: USA, City in Korea: Cheongchoeon, School Name: Korea International Christian School
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

Absolutely love it here! Of course, it is a little different for me since I spent three years here in the early 70's. But, this is the first time for my wife, and she is enjoying living here as much as I am. We were fortunate enough to be assigned to a very rural area in the central mountains which we just love, although we are somewhat isolated. Knowing how to read hangul and having a little basic Korean language helps a lot.

This is a very different Korea from the one I knew, but in many other ways still the same. Our first three months have been full of fascinating new things, although we may yet go through some culture shock. We eat in the school cafeteria for lunch and dinner most days, so we get a lot of real Korean food which we love.

The Korean people are so very kind. The culture is rich and diverse - more than one can possibly take in during a year or two. We can travel fairly easily and have been to Seoul more often than we really wanted, but have explored a little of our area. There is something here for everyone, whatever one's interests are.

I would say, though, that living here, traveling, and entertainment are not quite as inexpensive as we'd been led to believe, and not as cheap as when I was here before, even adjusting for inflation. Especially with the fluctuating, mainly declining, value of the Korean Won, this is difficult to calculate. If one were paid in U.S. Dollars, I suppose it is getting cheaper. But, the economic downturn is really hurting Korea.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

Teaching is hard work! I suppose each assignment is different, but it is a lot more than just coming to class and engaging students in casual conversation or playing games. If I hadn't had some actual teaching experience and at least a little ESL experience, too, I'd be totally in over my head! Languages and grammar are my interests which helps. I really wish I had more training in ESL! Of course, we are in a private middle/high school, so things are a little more structured. Our main frustration is that we have to use curriculum materials that are totally inappropriate for ESL! As good as the administration and staff are, they have no training in ESL and the program is not well designed from and ESL point. So, we are struggling to supplement where we can, and teach some English in spite of the limitations. We are really helpless to make any changes.

We are also at a rural boarding school, so we live on campus with the students and faculty. We end up putting in a lot more time in preparation and other activities. But, we have the greatest staff to work with, and we love the students. We'll be saying good-bye to some of them in a few days as this school year ends.

The other biggest frustration is the different style of communication. To our way of thinking, it is a lack of communication. We tried to get information on our teaching assignment before we arrived, but could not get an job description of any kind. As a Christian school, there are more codes and rules of conducts, but, not only could we not get a copy of this before we arrived, but we still do not have one. Trying to figure out all of the unexpressed expectations can be tricky. The truth is, it came as a complete surprise to us when we arrived that we would not be teaching in the large city of Bucheon, but were being assigned to teach at this rural location the first year for the school's new remote campus. Fortunately, we are thrilled to be here rather than in the city, but would have been a problem for most of the new teachers who were hired at the same time we were. We have no idea what to expect for the next two months before regular classes start in March, except that we will be here for two sessions of winter language camps.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company TEK people have been the best! Everyone was positive and encouraging along the way. As an older couple, we knew that it might be difficult to find a position. As it has turned out, this is exactly the ideal situation for us! I think that this was the first time TESLK had placed teachers with this school, and I know that Jane, our wonderful Korean point person, had made several personal visits to the school. She, Dan, Aggie, and Dawn all worked together as a team to get us through the process and into this great location. The visa application process was long with delays, but they held us steady. I can't imagine having to go through this process without experienced, caring people to guide the way.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work Other than the communication issues mentioned above, which are in large part cultural differences, this is a very satisfying assignment. The curriculum issue is also a concern. But, we have been treated extremely well, with great living accomodations, good salary, and wonderful co-workers. One needs to be aware, however, that this is a very conservative Christian schools and there are several doctrinal statements that one is expected to sign. Also, some of the teachers are teaching subjects other than ESL, though their recruitment process may have been different. For someone who wants to teach in a conservative Christian environment, this is a great school.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - While I can't say this is the right experience for everyone, I would definitely recommend teaching and living here as one of the most enriching experiences one can have. I know that it had a profound effect on me as a young man, and is again making a huge impact on my life. The Koreans are engaging people with a culture that is a fusion of the traditional Asian way of life and the modern global techno-culture. If one makes the effort to engage the culture while one is here, there is much to be gained. The truth is, we will likely be staying for several years. There are a lot of expatriots here who have stayed longer than they ever thought.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

Think carefully about the financial aspect of doing this. With the falling value of the Korean Won, working here is not the financial dream that it was a year ago. That 2,000,000 won salary is now worth about $1,400 USD, sometimes less!

Start the process early! Visas approvals often take longer than the two weeks you may have heard about. Be patient and flexible.

Don't try to do this on your own. You need TEK in your corner!

That is the number one piece of advice. The number two piece of advice is to insist on having a personal contact with someone who is already teaching at the school you're applying for. This is the best way to get the kind of insider information that will help you prepare for living and teaching here.

In fact, talk to as many people as you can who are here or who have been here. But, remember that some of what you here is better than other things, so evaluate carefully. I could make a list of things that were different from what I'd been led to believe.

Before you come, learn as much as you can about Korea, its history and culture.

Although there are a lot of English teachers here, and other expats, don't immerse yourself in the expat sub-culture. One could live a pretty insulated life here, especially if one is one a large city, and miss the opportunity to experience the culture. Make Korean friends to hang out with, eat the food, travel, learn.

Learn some Korean early. Even a few words and phrases will go a long way. If you are where you can take classes, do so. The Korean writing system is very elegant and actually quite easy to pick up, and will be helpful even if one doesn't understand the language. Place names, etc. will become more intelligible.

Be flexible! Having lived cross-culturally in several settings, this was the first piece of advice that we gave anyone who was coming for a short or long term. Communication styles are different here. Expectations may not always be clearly communicated, and things are just - different! You'll have to make a lot of adjustments along the way, and may have to have a high frustration tolerance level in some areas.

Bring little things that remind you of home. We're enjoying some of our favorite Christmas ornaments, for instance. (I have more packing suggestions, but I'm already pretty long-winded here). Use technology to keep in touch video calls, Facebook, etc. It really helps. Our students really enjoyed a video call with our oldest daughter, so it can be a great learning tool as well.

Be prepared to get hooked on Korea! It happens more often than not. I'll guarantee that you'll never be the same or look at the world the same way agin.

Nick Hester, Age: 23, Home Country: USA, City in Korea: Suwon, School Name: Dong Suwon Middle
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

I love living in Korea. Of course, Ive always wanted to live in another country and get past the tourist phase of traveling to actually get to feel what its like to live in another country. I feel very much like a part of this community, and I seem to notice something new and interesting almost every day.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

I have never been a teacher before. The most I had done is substitute taught. So, this was a whole new and scary experience for me. Im happy to say that I love teaching English as a foreign language, and I love Korean middle school kids! Aside from details specific to my school, the amount of time that you have to put in total is not much at all; about 22 hours of class, and maybe 5 or 6 hours a week of planning. And thats considered full time! Of course, you have to be there for the whole 40 hours, but it doesnt feel like a stressful job at all.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Yes.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work Yes.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - Yes.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

Come without plans. Dont try to keep yourself busy with travel, just enjoy being here.

Come without expectations. Itll be fun, but maybe not what you expect.

Dont let small things bother you. Its a new and different culture! Youll most likely notice the bad things before you notice the good things, so just soak it all up!

Paris Jones, Age: 23, Home Country: Saudi Arabia, City in Korea: Gwangju, School Name: E.L.F
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

Living in Korea is great for the most part. I love it when there is a communication barrier and navigating my way through new languages and new cultures. Being a vegetarian is a bit difficult in Korea, so I just mainly cook for myself. Also, apparently it is dirtier here than where I have lived before because my skin got an "allergic reaction to the weather". I have never heard of such a thing before. But if you are used to avoiding the doctors because of cost then this is really good news: it cost about $3 U.S. to have a consultation and $3 U.S. more to get all the pills I needed to treat it. Everyone has insurance. As a foreigner living in Korea, I am loving it since I dont have to work as much as I used to and when I do work, I am respected. The Koreans are very friendly. One other thing that I love is there seems to be so many complimentary things. For example, if you buy a beer, they will bring complimentary snacks. If you buy perfume, you will get complimentary lotions. If you buy shampoo, you get complimentary luffas. Finally, the other expats are interesting, kind people. They are very welcoming and before you know it, you feel like you are a part of a community.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

I think that teaching in Korea is an invaluable experience so far. If you can teach people who have such a different grammar, pronunciation and language in general, you could probably teach anywhere. I would have to say that I do not approve of their system of education in general, though. I think that it is not an effective system to judge progress by how quickly you teach a book. I think that it should have to do with how well a child has retained and can use the information. Its also extremely interesting to see that people who hardly know English themselves are teaching it! This can lead to extra work because if you are trying to correct pronunciation, the Korean co-teachers often undo it with their mispronunciations. However, the Korean co-teachers truly make you feel welcome and you do things together. We have eaten out together, gone hiking together, played billiards and gone to singing rooms. When I was sick, they have brought me tea.They are very considerate. Another aspect of teaching in Korea is the physical punishment. Although it doesnt seem too severe where I am, it does make me a little uncomfortable. Also, it certainly is a different approach to life to go to school from seven in the morning to sometimes ten at night. The children, therefore, can be a bitfidgety. All in all, I am grateful that I work at my school because it has opened my eyes to a new way of doing things. Ifeel as though it has prepared me to go and teach in other places as well. Moreover, Korea has some of the best working deals I have heard about. Some people I know get four months paid vacation and have their apartments paid for as well. It seems like something worth working towards!!

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Yes, they are knowledgeable, friendly, prompt and personal.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work Yes, my bosses at E.L.F are trustworthy. They are considerate and kind. They are open and talk to me about my financial options and have provided me with an enjoyable work atmosphere.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - Yes, most certainly.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

Bring boots and coats with you! If you are a cheese fiend like I am, then make friends with someone who has access to a commissary. Also, if you are a vegetarian, be aware that kimchi and other unsuspecting foods are made with shrimp paste or fish oil. Finally, based on what Ive heard, I would avoid Seoul. Apparently it is rarer to have your accommodation paid for and I have heard of more incidents of employers refusing to pay in Seoul than out in the 'country. Its also more expensive to live there and harder to save money (if that is your intention).

Paul Duffy, Age: 23, Home Country: Scotland, City in Korea: Uijeongbu, School Name: ECC
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

I love living in Korea. Ive made some great friends and the partying's amazing! Loved the summer sun and exploring Korea.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

Schools is good. It can get tedious and sometimes the school politics can be a pain but all in all i still really enjoy it.I teach Kindie and Ele. Kindie is much more rewarding but harder work and hours but the kids make it worth it.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Would highly recommend. Would have appreciated a wider scope of schools to have been offered, especially closer to Seoul. From speaking to others pay and conditions sound better in public school and other institutions. Would have like to have developed my basis in primary school teaching, which i left in the UK.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work Very reliable. Always paid on time and been helpful with housing issues. Have been told by other workers there that if they suspect you might be leaving they freeze your bank accounts. This happened to one girl when te circumstances showed she clearly wasn't going to do a runner. I did asked to be rehoused due to a problem with a room mate. This was ignored completely. Sometimes feel exploited as the management know they control the visa. However, these have nothad too much of a detrimental effect on my view of the school. You do need to compromise.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - Couldn't recommend it enough. It's been the best thing ive ever done. Been here 8 months today and not once have had time to feel homesick. Your horizons are broadened hugely. The culture and people anre amazing. People are very friendly on the most part. Its a good base for travelling Asia on vacation/ after your contract.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

try get in contact with people who already work over here, facebook forums etc.Be sure you know where your school is-city, country, distance from major cities. Don't worry about being lonely-I live an hour north of Seoul, theres a great commuity here and i have friends in Seoul also. Beware of the Soju-great at the time, painful the next day. Make sure you check all conditions on your contract-discuss with Dan or people you know who work here. Don't worry about lack of Korean, everyone manages enough to get by. Bring enough money to do you till first pay check, depending on time of arrival it could be six weeks or so-some friends have had to live like paupers till first payday due to not being prepared-it's cheap but bring as much as you can afford within reason. The more you can do, see and party in your first month will make it an easier transition.

Stephanie Thornton, Age: 22, Home Country: USA, City in Korea: Uijieongbu, School Name: Jang-am Elementary
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

Pros: Theres plenty of shopping, bars, entertainment, art, and interesting people to meet/ clubs to get involved in. I met Korean unicyclists and they are very friendly. Most people are very friendly. The subway is clean.

Cons: Terrible pollution, the stares from locals, sexism and other discrimination. Also, the subway stops running at midnight.thats a little early so its pretty inconvenient.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

Students are mostly very well-behaved compared to US public schools. However, they do like to talk and hit each other a lot. They can obviously understand English, but not all can speak well. There is a clear distinction between those who go to a private academy and those who dont. The younger children show much more interest in English and the 5th and 6th graders are very uninterested and unamused. I am impressed with my school. The teachers seem to be very efficient and have organized a good schedule for teaching English. We have our own English classroom and it is very large. There is a lot of space to work with. There is a nice plasma tv screen and a touch-screen with a projector to use during our lessons. I had never seen that before and its very convenient. I am pleased with the number of classes and my schedule.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Yes, very.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work Yes. My co-teacher found me an apartment thats much larger than most teacher apartments. I have my own desk and classroom.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - Maybe. Ive only been here 2 months so its hard to say. I think some people might be cut out for it, and others might not be. Some days I cant stand anything about Korea and the customs here, and some days I have a ton of fun. Sometimes it can be very lonely if you come alone.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

Some major differences with Western culture: they have no shame in holding hands and being very close to one another. Sometimes its a little disturbing such as when I caught students poking each others bottoms and trying to kiss one another in the hallway. You must separate ALL of your trash food, paper, plastic, glass, cans/ and youre not to throw away toilet paper. Sexism isnt completely prominent, but Ive been told by my co-teacher to wear make up and that I should not eat so much, etc. Those are the major differences.

To do: Try not to get caught up in the anti-Korea mindset and get over that culture shock. Do Norabongs! Try to embrace the food and take the time to find your favorite dishes. Learn to speak Korean its so annoying when foreigners make zero attempt to learn any of it at least be able to order food and tell a taxi driver where you need to go. Get a Lonely Planet Guide. Bring deodorant.

Keep in mind: You will meet a lot of other foreigners through events and partying, etc. I made the mistake of trying to rush to make friends, but then I realized a lot of them werent anything like me. Take your time trying to find some good positive friends that you can relate to.

Danielle Devonport,

I chose to apply with Teach ESL Korea because although they operated on a smaller scale than some of the larger recruiters out there, they seemed like a well organised company that would provide a more personalised recruitment service. My experience with them has been exactly that. Dan called me and discussed what my expectations were for a year in Korea in a range of aspects from my working environment to the type of city I wanted to live in. He made some good suggestions, taking into consideration the country I was coming from and the size of the cities I had lived in previously, and matched me up with a school about 40km south of central Seoul.

Aggie was my main contact person for the entire E2 Visa process and she was immensely helpful. She provided me with really specific detailed instructions and information about how to get each component ready for my visa application and she was always available to answer any questions I had or provide further information and advice. Once my visa was approved Aggie made sure my flights were booked and that there would be someone coming to pick me up from the airport. This went very smoothly and since I have been in Korea (about a week now) Aggie has emailed me to check that everything is going OK with my school.

Having heard a few "horror stories" I was a little nervous about coming to Korea to teach English, but Teach ESL Korea have made the entire process from start to finish very very easy for me! I would definately recommend them to anyone who is considering coming to Korea to teach English.

John Shindle, Age: 22, Home Country: USA, City in Korea: Gwangju, School Name: Herald
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

Its been a good experience. I have met many people both Koreans and foreigners who have been a great help and have become good friends in only a few months.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

Teaching is basically the same back home as kids seem to be the same everywhere. Some will be more eager to learn and will be more well behaved than others but overall it is good experience.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company I would but I would suggest there is more contact between current teachers at the school being applied to so more first hand knowledge can be gained.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work My school is fairly reliable but it is a smaller school so one is likely to meet more foreigners more quickly working at a larger private school.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - It is early in my experience but I needed a change and wanted to see a new culture and this job has provided exactly that and more.

Alissa Smith, Age: 30+, Home Country: USA, City in Korea: Seoul, School Name: STA
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

Love it - easy to get around, food is cheap, and having your employer pay for rent allows me to save money. People have been polite. It is a typical big city, and totally modern. The only bummer is the cold, cold winter. I spent too much time inside and that's a drag.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

My school is small, and there are pros and cons for that. But teaching in Korea for me, has been a good experience so far. The children are respectful and mostly well-behaved. It is not an easy job, though, for someone who has never done it. There is a lot of preparation that goes into lessons, as well as tests and phone teaching. I have a very full eight hours at work.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company YES!
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work Depends on what someone wants. It is a good starting place, but I wouldn't stay here if I stay for more than a year.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - Do it. It is really a great opportunity for many reasons.

Bonnie Emerson, Alexander Robinson, Age: 24, Home Country: Canada, City in Korea: Gwangju, School Name: Little America
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

Korea is one of the most hospitable countries I have ever been in. the people here are very kind and don't think twice to help you out when you are in a fix. There is always something interesting to do if you want to put in the effort, if you dont want to put in the effort, there are tons of new foods and bars to try out.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

Teaching at our school was a great experience. The kids are some of the cutest kids I have ever seen...(and im being completely serious) They all have really good intentions. The language barrier can be tough at times, but if you are prepared for class, it makes it go a whole lot smoother. Little America was a great school to start out at, the boss was friendly and very accomodating to our needs. Our pay was always on time, and in cases of long weekend, it was early which is always nice. If we has a problem with the students the english speaking korean staff was always there to help. Also, the staff is young so we became friends with most of the english speaking korean staff, and they sure know how to have a good time!

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Dan has been great, he completely helped us through the beginning process, threw a great party in Gwangju, and now is helping us find new teachers as we have to leave our school due to personal reasons back home.
thanks dan!
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work Very reliable, they are really competent with their english skills so communicating your needs is not a problem. They value your employment and treat you with respect. Everything that is in the contract is honoured in full, so as long as you agree to what you sign you will be completley accomodated for it.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - We have had a great time, and met lots of cool people. Korea is a great place to visit as it is soooo warm and friendly. If you are willing to put yourself out there you will meet tons of people and create many new experiences for yourself. There is always ways to get out of the city and enjoy the slower pace and beauty of the country.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

Take advantage of the amazing bus systems in kore! they are so cheap and take you all over the country. If you are young, being in the university district will be a great way to meet english speaking younger koreans. They are always wanting to practice their english and can show you many of the hidden gems in korean nightlife! Don't take teaching so seriously that you stress yourself out about it. It can get tough with the language barrier, but I honestly think that kids mean well. After all remember your french teacher in elementary school... I know I gave mine a hard time haha. Pack lightly you can buy anything here that you might need.

Riaan du Rand, Age: 27, Home Country: South Africa, City in Korea: Sanbon, School Name: Korean International English College
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

Korea is a very easy country to live in as long as you have a base of other foreign friends & a good Korean friend or two. Its a country of contradictions. Its trying very hard to be modern while clinging to values of the past. Morally its kind of like living in the 1950s!

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

Teaching in Korea is a very easy job. Its also very rewarding when you have a student who is shy or can barely talk any English start making small sentences. Seeing their little faces light up when you say Good job makes your day, no matter what your previous mood!

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Yes! I will use them again to help me get placed for my second year.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work No! Payment is always late, not all my contract obligations have been fulfilled & unless you are an unsociable person who wants to be alone all the time this is not the school for you! I have loved my time in Korea and although the school has already asked me to stay I wont be taking them up on their offer.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - It has been a real rollercoaster. And yet, as my first year is halfway finished Im already looking forward to coming back!

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

Make sure you are emotionally grown up before you come here. Even if you have lived abroad before just accept that Korea is unlike anything you have experienced before. You will go through really bad times, feeling very alienated but it WILL get better. And pretty soon you will forget the bad times and love every second. No amusement park has ever given me as many ups and downs as living in Korea has!

Amanda Willhite, Age: 26, Home Country: USA, City in Korea: Daegu, School Name: Yale
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

Living in Korea is amazing. As long as you come into this experience knowing that it will a complete 180 from anything you have ever experienced before, you'll be fine :) The people here are very friendly and once you become adjusted to being stared at like a celebrity, you'll find they are a welcoming and embracing culture. It's easy to get around and find the things you need, it's also easy to meet people, again, as long as you approach everything and everyone with an open mind, there is very little NOT to love about living in South Korea.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

Teaching in Korea is the most rewarding job I have ever had. Back in the states I had a career in radio advertising but most nights I was left with stress, worry and a complete lack of job satisfaction. The children here are so eager to learn and when you sucessfully teach a lesson and enrich the mind of a child, there is truly no greater gift.

Would you recommend:

I would DEFINITELY recommend this experience to anyone looking for something new, exciting and rewarding. The people you meet here are absolutely amazing and the job is one that leaves you able to have not only a great career as a teacher, but also the time to have a life of your own in the process.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

- Learn as much of the language as you can, it's the least you can do to respect the fact that you are in another country.

- See as MUCH as you can while you are here, it's very easy to get wrapped up in the "foreigner scene" and create a similar life here as the one you had back home. Try to remind yourself on a regular basis where you are, and take advantage of it!

- Also, try to learn the customs, most things are forgiven of foreigners but it's best to avoid offending when you can, such as giving and accepting things with both hands. There are many small things like that, that would help you transition here more easily :)

Erin Northington, Age: 27, Home Country: USA, City in Korea: Dobong, School Name: LCI Kid's Club
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

I love living in Korea. While this is not where I would choose to spend the rest of my life, I am so thankful to have had this opportunity. The history, culture, and people are fascinating and I'm constantly learning new things. This has been a test of my level of understanding, patience, and acceptance of others and I feel I have grown as an individual. I will be staying here a second year, and at the same school.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

I LOVE my job. In the beginning I wasn't sure. It was so different than teaching in the US. But I have fallen in love with each of my students, and I'm dreading February when they go off to 1st grade! But I'm looking forward to beginning a new year with all the tools and ideas I have developed over the last year. My school is pretty good, compared to some things I have heard or read online about others. I really like my fellow teachers and have become friends with types I might not normally get to know back at home. I have also become friends with the Korean teachers, who can provide so much knowledge about their country. Also, they are a great help when you are trying to find places, book tickets, get advice on spas, shopping districts, train schedules, show tickets, etc.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Yes, my school is farther from my apartment than I would like, but that was a difficult situation because of what I required.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work Yes. Always paid on time, no outrageous requests from the staff, pleasant and flexible.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - 100% yes! Best experience I have ever had. Everyone should have to leave their comfort zone and try something truly unique. You realize the kind of person you are, and the kind of person you want to be.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

*Request 3 sick days if your school tries to give you only 1. You will need them.

*Bring a laptop with a camera and become familiar with Skype before you arrive. It will be the best way to communicate with your friends and family- and so cheap!

*Don't overpack the"professional" working clothes. Everyone wears jeans.

*If you are tall, bring extra jeans/pants. You will have a hard time finding them in your size here. Girls, if you're curvy you will have a hard time since jeans here are slim and shorter.

* Shoe sizes max out at 9 for women, and 12 for men. If you need larger shoes bring them or prepare to buy online.

*Don't bring adapters or converters. You can get them here cheap and easy.

*Only stock up on toiletries that you are super picky about. You can get all the things you need here, but if there is a specific conditioner or face wash you must have, bring it. Otherwise, you can get everything at the store.

Alexander Finch, Age: 22, Home Country: England, City in Korea: Incheon, School Name: JungChul Jr. English
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

It's a lot different from back home and that overwhelmed me at first. Now I find it to be really pleasant and enjoyable to live in Incheon and I really like traveling to Seoul to see the sights and do some shopping. I find the cheap prices attractive and it's made me realise how much I pay when I'm back home.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

Well I think my school is pretty good. Apparently, I'm in an area of Incheon where the parents don't seem as interested in their children's education as perhaps they do in other areas but I find the children that I work with quite pleasant. The attitudes of the children vary from those who want to learn and enjoy English, to those who treat the academy and my class as a place to catch up with friends. I have only ever taught at this school so it's difficult for me to say if this school is better than any other, but I've not had any problems here. The teachers have all been very kind to me and I've actually made really good friends of some of them. The Boss might come across as quite an aggressive man but he has never been anything but good to me and has helped me on a number of occasions.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company definitely. I was amazed at how easy they made it.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work yes. I've never had any problems with my job.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - Dyes, but you might not want to go home after just one year here.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

Get the paperwork done as fast as you possibly can. Moving here was the most stressful thing I've ever done and I could have made it a lot less painful if I had gotten on top of the paperwork earlier.

Alistair Walford , Age: 26, Home Country: USA, City in Korea: Bundang, School Name: Jungchul
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

So far living in Korea has been great. Bundang is a nice city. Its close enough to Seoul to get in and out and far enough away so that it feels a little less busy and crowded. The people are all friendly and helpful; especially when I try to use my broken Korean. I do wish I could give nicotine gum to every man in the country, but aside from that it has been great here.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

The school has been taking very good care of me. Sometimes I even feel a little guilty that Im treated much better than the Korean teachers here, but we all get along well and have a good time at school. The kids are fun with the exception of one or two, but thats to be expected with children of this age. My only complaint about the school is that Im the only foreign teacher here. It would be nice to have someone to really talk to or complain to on a bad day. The Korean teachers speak English very well, but it isnt quite the same as a native speaker. My sarcasm is completely lost on them. Other than that I think Ive landed in a pretty good gig.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Absolutely. Dan, Aggie and Julice have all been extremely helpful. I felt I could contact them anytime with any questions or concerns I had while applying. Im very grateful for their help.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work Im two months in and the school has been great so far. Nice people, good hours, fair pay.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - If someone is coming with the idea of saving money now isnt the best time because the won is pretty weak and the thought of converting it to dollars right now is pretty depressing. Ive met some great people though, and it certainly beats working at a video store in Oklahoma.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

Find a school with a few other foreign teachers, bring more than two long sleeve shirts and be careful of people who think 'renting women at a noribong is a good idea.

Liz Evans, Age: 25, Home Country: USA, City in Korea: Ilsan, School Name: SLP Juyeop
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

Moving to Korea was the best decision that Ive ever made. I absolutely love it here, and Im not moving back to the States for a long, long time. As far as living here, the apartment that the school provided is very comfortable, and they did a good job providing anything and everything we would need to be comfortable. The food here is amazing, as long as youre not a vegetarian. Its the most delicious food, and its healthy and fresh. Eating out here is such an amazing experience in itself. The traveling is very easy and there is so much to see! Also, it is a very safe place. The people here are very nice and polite. After moving from Chicago, it feels great to be able to walk around during the day and even at night without having to watch my back or my purse constantly.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

I honestly love teaching here, and I love my school. I work at SLP in Ilsan, and its a private school. There are so many of them here, and I feel very proud to be a teacher at SLP. The students are so incredibly smart and well behaved. I teach kindergarten and elementary classes, and I love it. Sometimes the hours can be long, but time flies by at school. Also, its thanks to our school owners and managers that our transition to life in Korea has been so smooth.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Absolutely. From what Ive heard from other foreign teachers, we were really lucky because our recruiters were very available and helpful in every way. We got hooked up with a fantastic city and reliable job.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work Definitely! We love our school and they have taken very good care of us.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - If you like teaching and are looking to do something different with your life, I would definitely recommend coming to Korea to teach. Its a wonderful adventure!

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

If you come, bring sheets. I know its a pain to pack them, but you wont regret it. They dont have them here.

Download Skype on your computer before coming, and get a webcam. Its so worth it and youre able to talk to your family and see them whenever you want. And, its really cheap.

The medical care here is awesome and cheap, cheap, cheap!

Bring a set of towels. They are super small here.

You dont need dress clothes really, so dont bring tons of ties or professional clothes. Most of the schools, and ours, are more trendy and chill. We dont have to dress up much. Also, the fashion and clothes here are great and cheap to buy!

Load up on deodorant, face wash and lotions before coming. You can find them here, but theyre expensive.

Warwick Wade, Age: 30, Home Country: South Africa, City in Korea: Jeonju, School Name: YBM ECC
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

Korea has so much to offer the ESL teacher. There are abundant jobs and a lifestyle incomparable with most other ESL nations. Communication back home is a breeze with the highest density of high-speed internet connections in the world. So emailing, Skyping or just getting ideas on lesson plans and whats up in your local city is both cheap and efficient. The country is very well connected with a reliable and safe bus system and bigger cities have subways as well. Be prepared for your fair share of culture differences as their food is spicy and takes some getting used to and the average person on the street cant or wont speak English to you. We had a great apartment and were 5 minutes walk from our school. Utilities and services are very cheap and reliable and tax minimal.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

We had a wonderful school that treated us very well. We were always paid on time and that is a relief after your first month in a foreign land. The kids take some getting used to in the beginning as they are testing you and vice versa. But I have to say that teaching these children has been a pleasure and with all said, I will miss them all immensely. Give it time, when you find your niche with each other, you can relax and just enjoy each lesson. Our syllabus was well structured and lesson plans easy to follow. There are such vast differences between schools and their management and approach to teaching. Find out which one you will prefer i.e very laid back or more structured and formal. In the end Dan and Teach ESL Korea was able to get us a great job.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Yes, definitely. We are a married couple so that took some extra effort from Dans part. But with his local knowledge and Korean contacts they were able to secure us a placement, handle the paper work and visas and get us here safely and without any hassles. There were so many stories of people who didnt get a good job and were very unhappy. But Teach ESL Korea ensured that didnt happen to us.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work Yes.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - Just do it, its definitely something different, but well worth it.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

If you are to make the most of your time here, get connected with the local foreign community, be it in a church or photography club or hiking club. Many people will leave after a year and you want to be able to look back and say you made the most of it. Treat the staring, laughing, pointing children (and sometimes their parents as well) as if you are a movie star and they are your fans. You probably wont get noticed at all back home just walking down the street, so live in the limelight.

Sarah Milberry, Age: 23, Home Country: Canada, City in Korea: Jeonju, School Name: ECCBukJeonju
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

The culture and community around the city is different. I am from a small town and coming to a bigger city with lots of traffic and people everywhere is mind boggling at times. I have learned to use the taxi and the bus system. I would recommend that if you do not speak any Korean to have directions written down in case you get a taxi driver that does not speak English (which in Jeonju most dont). The Jeonjuhub page is great, I printed off the taxi survival page and keep it in my purse! I enjoy most Korean food, eating out is very cheap and you can find lots of meals that arent extremely spicy. You need to be open-minded and try different things. I also recommend investing in a toaster oven it will make cooking a lot easier. Bring a winter jacket, it does get cold!

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

Not all Korean children are angels to teach! There are still behavioral issues to deal with, classroom management and kids will be kids no matter where you are. I do like the small class sizes and having the mornings off. My school is a new school so things are not always planned or ran as smoothly, a lot of last minute things come up with scheduling and planning or lack their of sometimes. They try their best and they have been as helpful as they can. Another issue, I have heard is common in a lot of hogwans, is the directors or higher ups at the school may not speak English well, so communicating takes time. Patience and flexibility are two traits I believe are important to have when teaching at a hogwan.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Yes! Teach ESL Korea was very helpful and patient when I had lots of questions regarding the process of signing the contract and getting to Korea. I felt so much better knowing I had people to help. I would have been lost on my own!
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work The school is a young school as I said before. I believe it is a good placement for me. I have been paid on time and am not overworked on teaching hrs.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - So far I am really enjoying it and think it is a great opportunity! If you want to experience another culture and save money, do it!/p> Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

Be prepared to be able to change easily and go with the flow, if u let little things bother you it could make for a long year. Everything isnt going to run smoothly every day. Get out there and meet people and you will find lots of other foreigners. Enjoy your weekends to go and see things around the city. Have fun!

Elena Rodriguez, Age: 27, Home Country: USA, City in Korea: Seoul, School Name: LCI
What are your thoughts on Living in Korea?

I like it very much. Im in the Northern part of Seoul, so its pretty low key, which is what I wanted. I live a 15 minute walk from my school which I love and the food is good. I was never a spicy food kind of person but Im getting use to it.

What are some of your thoughts about teaching in Korea, and your school?

I love teaching, and I love kids. I only teach kids at my school so I enjoy it very much. My school is a very relaxed atmosphere. In between classes we have breaks to take the kids to the bathroom and give them snacks. In Korea its OK to hug your students and show affection, which isnt allowed in many cultures and countries. Its nice because you get to be more than just a teacher to your kids, you get to be a friend as well.

Would you recommend:

1) Teach ESL Korea as a reliable recruiting company Yes I believe it is. Theyre very flexible. I was given a few interviews from different schools which allowed me to have a choice of where in Korea I wanted to be placed. Also I was given the choice whether or not I wanted to have roommates or not.
2) Your school, as a reliable place to work Yes it is. My colleagues are very responsible and nice. Most of us live in the same building, which is cool. Also the staff is very helpful, whether you need help with an issue in your classroom or with your apartment, theyre always willing.
3) Coming to Korea to teach for a year - Yes I plan on staying a year in Korea.

Share any advice, experiences, or tips with future teachers:

Well if you have never lived abroad and dont speak the language I recommend you buy a good phrase book, even if you dont plan on learning the language. It helps immensely even if you only learn a little. Also plan on being very confused and getting lost a lot when you go out. But remember it will pass, its just the price you have to pay for an adventure.

teacher spotlight

Hannah and Brady Q
Hannah and Brady Q., USA
Public schools - EPIK
Blog
Sarah, UK
Sarah, UK
Hogwan in Pyeongchon
Blog
Chloe, USA
Chloe, USA
Hogwan in Gwangju
Blog
Hania, USA
Hania, USA
Hogwan in Daegu
Blog
Keri, USA
Keri, USA
EPIK in Jeju
Blog
Logan Monday, USA
Logan Monday, USA
TEK Alumni - now in Macedonia
Blog 1   Blog 2