EPIK: Teaching English in South Korea

South Korea, known for its cutting-edge technology, vibrant culture, and bustling industrial hub has quickly become one of the premier teaching English abroad destinations. Demand is high; rewards for teachers include flight reimbursement, free accommodation, healthcare bonuses, paid holidays and competitive wages.


What is the EPIK Program?


The English Programme in Korea (EPIK), established by the Korean Ministry of Education in 1995, is a prestigious initiative associated with cultural exchange. Aiming to improve English-speaking abilities among both Korean students and teachers alike, cultural exchange is further fostered through placement of English speakers on one-year teaching contracts at public schools throughout Korea; providing an exciting cultural experience where an English Language Assistant (ELA) not only teaches but also learns more about Korean culture and language.


What are the requirements to apply?


The applicants must fulfill certain eligibility requirements to be considered eligible for participation. First and foremost, you must be a citizen of a country in which English is the main language - for instance Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, United Kingdom or South Africa are examples.


2.) Applicants must hold at least a BA degree from any discipline at a university located in any of the four above-listed countries, provided English was their primary language starting in junior high (7th Grade).


Finally, to participate in this program you must possess at least a 100-hour TEFL certificate from an accredited provider (unless your degree was education focused). We seek individuals who are enthusiastic about teaching and willing to commit for one year contracts.


What are the Responsibilities of an English Teacher?


As an English teacher, you will play an essential role in the English education of Korean students. Your primary responsibility will be supporting a Korean English teacher by creating and providing teaching materials, leading conversational classes and supporting extracurricular activities.


As an English teacher, you may be asked to lead English camps during vacation periods or participate in organizing festivals and events related to English - sometimes even festivals that cater specifically for English teachers! Your role extends far beyond the classroom as you also act as cultural ambassador promoting understanding between Korea and your home country.


What advantages it can bring?


The program offers several advantages that make teaching English abroad an attractive proposition. Salary levels can range between 1.5-3 Million Korean Won (depending on experience and qualifications).


Living arrangements and health coverage


One of the main attractions of the program is free housing provided by Ministry of Education - typically comprising either a furnished studio apartment or housing allowance.


Healthcare-wise, you will be covered by the National Health Insurance scheme that will cover approximately 50% of medical expenses. This provides a safety net that allows you to seek medical help without worrying about costs.


Other Benefits Its Beyond salary, accommodation and health insurance benefits, it also offers several additional perks - settlement allowance to help newcomers to Korea settle quickly upon their arrival, one month of salary as a severance pay at contract termination, as well as entrance/exit allowances that cover flights between Korea and home.


If you decide to renew your contract after one year, a renewal bonus will be awarded to you. Furthermore, orientation upon arrival and paid vacation are included so you can experience Korea's stunning landscapes and rich culture first-hand.


Pros and Cons


As with any opportunity, the programme presents both advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, living and teaching English abroad provides an unforgettable cultural experience; its competitive salary and benefits package combined with valuable teaching experience make this an attractive prospect for those hoping to teach abroad.


However, the lengthy application process and degree requirements can be intimidating, while opportunities may be limited if applicants do not speak native English. Additionally, this program primarily caters towards native speakers which could limit opportunities for non-native English speakers.


What is the application process?


The program's application process is intensive and highly competitive. Each year there are two intakes; applications for Spring must be received by August 1, while for Autumn term by February 1.


It can be reached directly or through certified recruitment agencies, and once your application has been accepted you will be invited for a Skype interview if successful. After this stage has been completed all required documents as well as your contract must be organized and sent off; once finished you must apply for an E2 visa via the Korean embassy in your home country.


The programme presents an exciting opportunity for English language instructors looking to teach in South Korea. Boasting both competitive benefits and the opportunity to immerse oneself in Korean culture, the program makes this opportunity well worth considering for those looking to teach abroad. However, before taking this journey it's essential that you carefully weigh both its advantages and disadvantages, as well as meet application requirements before embarking on this thrilling adventure!

View More