Overview

Teaching in South Korea is a program that offers some of the best benefits packages for English teachers in the world. Whether you work for a public or private school, high salaries, free housing, paid vacation and contract completion bonuses are only some of the many advantages of participating in this program.

Program-at-a-Glance:

  • Paid English teaching positions throughout South Korea
  • Public or Private school placements
  • One year contracts
  • Guaranteed minimum salary of 1.8 million KRW per month (~$1,600 USD)
  • Paid Vacation
  • Personal attention and support from an experience Greenheart Travel program manager

Check Out Gin’s favorite memories from South Korea:

More Info:

Program Dates Costs
Public Schools Private Schools
Compare Accommodation
Orientation FAQs
Application Process Gallery
 Why Greenheart Travel?

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Program Dates

Public

Fall 2017 –Accepting Applications now!

  • Deadline To Submit: May 1, 2017
  • Program Dates: August 2017 – September 2018

Private

May 2017 – deadline to apply Feb. 15  

August 2017 – deadline to apply May 1

November 2017 – deadline to apply August 1

Still need your TEFL/TESOL certificate?

A TEFL certification is required for those who don’t have a degree in Education or a valid teaching license. You need to be registered for a course in order to submit an initial application and you’ll need send in your completed certification by July 15, 2017. Get started on your TEFL course now to become eligible to apply for the Fall 2017 start date!

Costs

Costs

Application Fee: $400*

Please note, all prices are listed in USD. This fee is waived for anyone who takes a TEFL/TESOL course through Greenheart Travel.

This fee includes:

    • Personal support from Greenheart Travel program manager throughout the application process
    • One-on-One Advising Session with Greenheart Travel to discuss preferences, application process, preliminary questions
    • Exclusive tips and prep questions for your job interview
    • Access to 11+ guides and tools for each part of the process, built from years of experience, and updated each round
    • Personal reminders throughout the process to ensure you are on the right track
    • Monthly informative and open forum webinars with Greenheart Travel program manager and other applicants for each step of the application process
    • Tips and resources to expedite your documents
    • Discounted document processing services through approved vendors
    • Alternative program opportunities in Korea if you are not selected by your preferred program

Upon acceptance on the program:

    • Comprehensive and in-depth pre-departure support includes cultural and logistical training
    • Continued support throughout your contract in Korea
    • Greenheart Travel Alumni Program
    • Discounts for future Greenheart Travel programs.

Public Schools

Public School Placements

Greenheart Travel has been an official recruiter for EPIK for over 6 years! We continue to be selected by the South Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and the South Korean National Institute of International Education to offer this program to qualified candidates. This program is run by the South Korean government in support of its goals to foster international education and cross-cultural understanding.

The benefits will include:

  • Paid English teaching positions throughout South Korea
  • One year contracts
  • 10 day orientation upon arrival
  • Free furnished studio apartment
  • Salary of about $1,600 to $2,200 USD (1.8 – 2.5 million KRW)
  • Approximately 30+ days of paid vacation
  • Flights Reimbursement
  • South Korean National Health Insurance coverage
  • Personal attention from Greenheart Travel to ease you through the application process

Eligibility:

  • Citizen of the U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa (no exceptions)
  • ONE of the following:
    • Bachelor’s or Master’s Degree in any subject with a TEFL/TESOL certification* (Minimum 100 hours) OR
    • Bachelor’s Degree in Education OR
    • Valid Teaching License
  • 62 years of age or younger
  • NO criminal record including underage drinking charges, DUIs, misdemeanors, etc. (besides very minor traffic offenses like speeding)
  • Must have studied in one of the above seven citizenship countries since the 7th grade (no later)
  • You have the strong desire to learn about other cultures

*Take your TEFL/TESOL Course through Greenheart Travel and we will waive your Korea application fee. Begin your course by April 24th to qualify for the Fall.


Private Schools

Private School Placements

With an increasing demand for English teachers in the private sector in South Korea, we are so excited to be offering positions in private schools, or hagwons, throughout the country as an alternative or backup plan to the competitive public school program. We work with a number of reputable and vetted private schools and each one has their own onboarding process and benefits package. However, you should expect that every school will offer:

  • One year contracts
  • Minimum salary of 1.8 million KRW per month (~$1,600 USD)
  • Flight reimbursement
  • South Korean National Health Insurance coverage
  • Airport pickup and transport to your school
  • 15-20 paid vacation days
  • In-country support
  • Job training upon arrival at your school
  • Personal attention from Greenheart Travel to ease you through the application process

Eligibility:

  • Native English speaker
  • BA in any field with a TEFL* OR a BA in Education OR a teaching license
  • Citizenship from US or Canada
  • NO criminal record including underage drinking charges, DUIs, misdemeanors, etc. (besides very minor traffic offenses like speeding)

*Take your TEFL/TESOL Course through Greenheart Travel and we will waive your Korea application fee.

Compare

One of the first, and most important, decisions you’ll need to make is if you should apply for a teaching position with a public or private school. Although the benefits packages and contract lengths tend to be similar with public and private schools, there are some key differences you should take into consideration.

Public Schools

Public school positions in Korea are with EPIK (English Program in Korea) which is funded and run by the Korean Ministry of Education. This program has been running for over 10 years and it offers consistent benefits no matter where you are placed in the country.

However, EPIK is one of the most competitive teach abroad programs with a 30% rejection rate most rounds and the application process lasts about 6 months.

Teachers should expect:

  • A public school schedule
    • Monday – Friday, 40 hours/week
    • No more than 25 hours of teaching/week
  • Placement in an elementary or middle school
  • To work with a co-teacher but be responsible for all lesson planning and teaching
  • To attend faculty meetings and other school social events
  • To participate in and supervise extracurricular acitivies

Private Schools

Private schools in Korea (also known as hagwons) have a reputation for being more of a demanding job than working in public schools and usually offer less vacation days during the contract. Many teachers like this option as it allows them to save a good amount of money during their year in Korea and are able to travel extensively once they are finished teaching.

However, it’s generally easier to find work with a private school as these positions are not as competitive as public school placements and the application process is usually shorter as well.

The work week for a private school is non-traditional to other teaching jobs, since the students are attending class outside of their normal school schedule. You should expect to work nights and weekends but you should still expect to have two days off a week.

Teachers should expect:

  • A private school schedule
    • Nights and weekends, 40 hours/week
  • Placement in an elementary or middle school
  • To work with a co-teacher but be responsible for all lesson planning and teaching
  • To attend faculty meetings and other school social events

Still have questions about the difference between working in a public or private school? Schedule a call with Kara, the South Korea Program Manager, here!

Why Greenheart Travel?

Greenheart Travel has been sending teachers to South Korea for years and we have supported hundreds of through the complicated application process as well as prepare prepare them for life in Korea prior to departure.

Along with our extensive experience sending teachers to South Korea, here are some other advantages of applying for through us:

  • Our staff is in Chicago – we are available to answer questions during US business hours
  • Friendly, responsive, and professional support from program managers who have taught abroad
  • An experienced program manager will personally review your application to make sure it’s correct and ready to be submitted to the schools in Korea
  • Hands on support and personal attention every step of the way including:
    • Preliminary practice interview with Greenheart Travel
    • Exclusive tips and prep questions for your interviews
    • Access to 11+ guides and tools for each part of the process, built from years of experience, and updated each round
    • Monthly informative and open forum webinars with Greenheart Travel program manager for each step of the application process
    • Tips and resources to expedite your documents
    • Comprehensive and in-depth pre-departure support includes cultural and logistical training
    • Continued support throughout your contract in Korea
    • We will keep you on track to make sure you have the best possible chance of getting a position in South Korea!
  • Discounted document processing services through EPIK-approved vendors
  • EPIK teachers will save money by shipping your documents to Chicago instead of Korea
  • Travel For A Change” T-shirt and South Korea Culture Smart! Guide Book
  • We are a non-profit, mission-based organization

Want to know more?

Read about our past participants experiences here!
Greenheart Travel Reviews
Connect with past and current Greenheart Travel EPIK teachers in our Facebook group

Accommodation

You will be provided with a single, furnished, studio apartment. Teachers are responsible for paying for utilities (~$20-60 USD per month). Apartments will come furnished, and typically with a washing machine, refrigerator, and stovetop.

As one of the most wired nations in the world, Korea has Internet access readily available for reasonable rates. Your co-teacher will assist you with setting this up for your apartment if you would like. South Korea also has PC bangs (internet cafés) on nearly every corner.

Check out what our current teachers’ digs look like!

Orientation

Public School Orientation

There will be a 10-day orientation when you first arrive in South Korea. During orientation, you will be grouped into classes and activities with all of the other new teachers that will be placed in the same location as you. The orientation includes Korean cultural tours, social events, performances, tips for adjusting to life in Korea, guides to effective lesson planning and much more.

Typically EPIK orientations are broken into two groups, depending on where you’re placed. Orientations are very large and you will likely get the chance to meet 300-500 other teachers during your first 10 days in Korea. Orientation is usually held on a campus at a university, and you will stay in the dorms with a roommate of the same sex (unless you are married). Accommodations and meals are included throughout the orientation.

Transportation from orientation to your placement will be arranged for you. You will receive your placement information at the end of orientation.

For a full in depth account of EPIK orientation please check out our teacher Sarah’s blog.

Private School Orientation

Orientation lengths and details will vary depending on your school. Normally, private school orientations will be about a week of on-site job training where you’ll learn about the school’s curriculum along with any other teachers that were hired at the same time as you. You will have airport pickup arranged ahead of time and will be brought either to your apartment or to temporary housing in town during the training period and you will be paid during any training. You should not expect much cultural orientation, but you will have a pre-departure orientation with Greenheart Travel prior to your arrival that will go over some cultural information.

FAQs

Will I receive a refund if I’m not accepted onto the program?

You will be refunded the deposit if you are not accepted onto the program by either Greenheart Travel or a school in Korea. The deposit is non-refundable should you decide to withdraw your application at any time for any reason.

Can I apply for both private and public school positions at the same time?

No, we cannot process both applications at the same time. However, we will be able to assist you in applying for a position with private or public schools should you not be accepted to the position of your choice the first ime.

What is EPIK?

EPIK stands for English Program in Korea, a program sponsored by the Korean Ministry of Education. The EPIK program was established in 1995 with the mandate to improve the English speaking abilities of students and teachers in Korea and to develop cultural exchanges.

What is the difference between EPIK, GEPIK and SMOE?

In the past, EPIK (offers placements throughout South Korea) , GEPIK (offers Gyeonggi province placements only) and SMOE (offers Seoul placements only) were three separate programs.

Starting Spring 2016, all three programs will be run under EPIK which means that you can fill out one application and be considered for a placement anywhere in South Korea, including the Gyeonggi province and Seoul. As always, you will be able to request one specific placement location on your application.

I heard EPIK is no longer working with recruiters. Does this mean I can’t apply through Greenheart Travel?

For the Fall 2015 start date, EPIK  decided to no longer work with recruiters. However, they still decided to work directly with universities as well as Greenheart Travel. We are a non-profit organization which is why we were lumped in with the universities and EPIK still accepted applications from us.

Can I talk with alumni or current participants from the program in Korea?
Of course! Please join our Facebook community specifically for teachers in Korea, or check out our reviews on GoOverseas!

I don’t graduate until December, can I apply before I have my diploma?
Yes, you can submit a “Letter of Intended Graduation” from your university’s registrar that will serve as your diploma until you receive it. You must submit your diploma to Greenheart Travel with the rest of your documents after you’ve been accepted

I don’t have my TEFL/TESOL/CELTA yet, can I apply while in the process of obtaining it?
Yes, you can submit a “Proof of Enrollment Letter” from your course provider. You must submit your TEFL/TESOL/CELTA certificate to Greenheart Travel with the rest of your documents after you’ve been accepted

How likely is it that I will get my preferred city or province?
That all depends. There are limited amounts of positions in each city and province. The positions are filled on a first come, first served basis. Teachers are only referred to their preferred location once all of their documents have been completely and correctly submitted. Some locations are more popular than others, and fill very quickly. Metropolitan city provinces fill the fastest. If you have your heart set on a specific location, it is important to submit your documents as early in the process as possible!

How competitive is the program?
This program becomes more and more popular each round, and has become pretty competitive. It is recommended that you strengthen your application as much as possible with a strong (preferably in-person) TEFL certification or teaching experience. We will also send you over 30 sample interview questions, to help prepare you for your interview with EPIK staff.

What can I do to increase my chances of being accepted?
Because this program is increasingly popular, it’s important to do everything you can to strengthen your application. Applying early and getting TEFL certified as early as possible so you can submit a well-organized lesson plan are two of the biggest things you can do to help your chances of being accepted. Read more about what you can do here.

How do I get a visa?
Once you receive your contract and notice of appointment, you will need to apply for your E-2 Work Visa at the nearest Korean Embassy or Consulate. You will be able to download the application from the consulates website. It will only take a few days to get your visa once you apply. We will provide all of the documents and instructions for applying for your visa then.

What is an apostille?
You may have noticed that a couple of the required documents for the program require something called an “apostille”. An “apostille” is a form of authentication issued to documents for international use. It looks like a certificate with a seal that is attached to your document with a staple. Applicants must get an apostille for their criminal record checks and Bachelor’s Degrees.

Can I bring my children? No.

Can I bring pets? No.

Will somebody meet me at the airport?
Yes! If you arrive on the recommended date, there will be an EPIK registration desk once you exit customs. EPIK representatives will be waiting for you to sign you in and direct you to the transportation to orientation. Transportation to orientation will be arranged for you.

What are my startup costs?
You will need to pay for your one-way plane ticket to Korea up front, which averages about $700-1,000. You’ll also need to bring living expenses for your first month (around $700 to $1000). At the end of your first month’s work, you’ll receive your first month’s paycheck, flight reimbursement and for EPIK teachers, a settlement allowance.

When will my flight be reimbursed?
EPIK teachers are given an entrance allowance of 1.3 Million KRW (~$1,100 USD) to cover the cost of your flight to Korea. This payment will be paid to you in your first month’s paycheck. Every EPIK teacher receives the same flight allowance, regardless of pay scale level or the actual cost of the flight.

I am already teaching in Korea, is the application process any different for me?
If you are working for a hagwon and would like to apply for the EPIK program, you will still have to apply the same as everyone else and follow all directions here. We will require all of the required documents, as the program can’t count on your hagwon to have screened you in the same way that they screen their applicants. EPIK will want to see all documents if they will sponsor your E-2 visa with their program.

I am a vegetarian – will this be a problem in South Korea?
You will be able to find a lot of fresh vegetables, fruit, noodles and tofu in your local grocery store. It may be more challenging, as it is anywhere, to get vegetarian meals when you go out to restaurants. Vegetarians should be aware that most Korean dishes are prepared using fish sauce or other seafood. Strict vegetarians or vegans should expect to do their own grocery shopping and prepare most of their meals at home.

Is South Korea safe?
South Korea is a very safe country. However, just like in any country, you should exercise some caution: be aware of your surrounds, keep an eye on your belongings, don’t walk alone late at night, etc.

Is there a threat from North Korea?
Although there are tensions between North and South Korea, there is no threat to South Korea at this time. For more information about relations between North and South Korea, please visit the U.S. Department of State website.

Can I use my credit card in Korea?
You will be issued a Korean debit card when you open your Korean bank account which can be used almost everywhere. You will also be able to us major credit cards at most stores, hotels and tourist locations.

Will I have a bank account in Korea?
Your school will help you set up a bank account at a local bank that you will get your paychecks directly deposited into. Your paychecks will always be in Korean Won (KRW).

Is it expensive to live in Korea?
Living costs in South Korea can be reasonable or expensive depending on your lifestyle! For example, a bowl of bibimbop for dinner will run you around $4-5, a bottle of water costs about $ .30, and toothpaste costs about $ .80.

What will my apartment be like?

Your apartment will most likely be similar to what you picture as a studio apartment. You will have all the basic amenities you need including a kitchen, kitchen table, bed, dresser, washing machine, etc. Check out some pictures of our current teachers’ apartments to get a better idea!

Will I pay Korean taxes?
If you are American, you are exempt from Korean taxes for the first 2 years you live in Korea, but you will have to provide an IRS form 6166 to your school. Instructions on applying for this will be provided once you have been accepted on the program. For all other nationalities, the taxes will depend, so ask your program manager for more information.

Application Process

Public School Application Process

  1. Do your research, read our blogs, and decide if teaching in a public school is for you!
  2. If you do not yet qualify, start your TEFL/TESOL certification
  3. Select the APPLY NOW button to the right. You will be sent your unique link to your application immediately via email.
  4. Using the unique link emailed to you, fill out the application. This includes things like your name, address and chosen start date.
  5. Sign our Program Terms and Conditions, which will be emailed to you and can be signed online.
  6. Submit your $400 deposit.
  7. Schedule your Skype call with Greenheart Travel to further discuss any questions you have, go over your timeline and to make sure public schools is right for you!
  8. Wait for your intended round’s application to be released and send the completed file, letters of recommendation, and photo to Greenheart Travel via email (NOTE: the files needed to apply are large, so please follow up and make sure we have received them)
  9. Interview with EPIK representative in Korea via Skype webcam
  10. Once you have passed BOTH interviews, send in completed hard copy document package to Greenheart Travel in Chicago. This includes criminal record checks, diplomas, transcripts, etc.
  11. Placement process in Korea
  12. Receive your placement and contract, apply for your visa, book your flight

Private School Application Process

  1. Do your research, read our blogs, and decide if teaching in a private school is for you!
  2. If you do not yet qualify, start your TEFL/TESOL certification
  3. Select the APPLY NOW button to the right. You will be sent your unique link to your application immediately via email.
  4. Using the unique link emailed to you, fill out the application. This includes things like your name, address and chosen start date.
  5. Sign our Program Terms and Conditions, which will be emailed to you and can be signed online.
  6. Submit your $400 deposit.
  7. Schedule your Skype call with Greenheart Travel to further discuss any questions you have, go over your timeline and to make sure private schools is right for you!
  8. Work on your video file and resume and submit to Greenheart Travel
  9. Interview with a representative from a school via Skype
  10. Once you pass this interview, send in completed hard copy document package to your school. This includes criminal record checks, diplomas, transcripts, etc.
  11. Apply for your visa, book your flight and start teaching!