Personal

My Korean adventure

All of the admin and paperwork is really taking its toll.

Actually I applied twice to Korean  companies last year.

EPIK is the official company which finds positions for EFL teachers in Korea. Their form is more than twenty pages long, and it’s notorious for me of the questions asked. For example, it asks how many units of alcohol you drink, and then there is a whole page about tattoos and piercing. You might wonder what kind of job you are applying for…

Then when I had my first phone interview with the EPIK co-ordinator (at 6am GMT), he simply went over the same questions that were on the form. He told me that all the questions were ok but that I would still need to have another interview. But the next Monday I received an email from them explaining that they would not be taking the application further.

Then I applied for a position through Korvia, an agency which works for schools in the Gyeonghi Do area. I had a really nice phone call with one of the representatives and all was going well until they asked for a certificate that I didn’t have and wasn’t able to provide.

This year I decided to apply for a different position. If you don’t find a position in a Korean public school the other option is to work for a Hagwon, which is a private teaching academy. Now if you search any websites which cover EFL teaching  in Korea. you’ll find that most have nothing but bad things to say about Hagwons. From the hours that you have to work (split shifts) to the failure of the institutes to provide medical cover, complaints are legion.

Still. I really want to work in South Korea. I don’t particularly like the idea of working a few hours in the morning and then having a big gap in the afternoon. Then again, I’m sure I can deal with that. The one concern is that Pagoda Hagwon haven’t provided a contract yet. I have also been told that they don’t give any housing allowance. All of this is much less than I had hoped for but it’s not enough to make me abandon my plans just yet.

What do you think? Have you had any experience of working for a Korean teaching academy? 

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4 thoughts on “My Korean adventure

  1. Never worked in Korea but have met countless people who have, including Hagwons.

    The impression I get is that the best days have long since gone but if you go now, you’ll have a perfectly acceptable experience so long as your expectations are realistic. You can expect to earn a living wage and have a fun few years. From what I’ve seen of your blog, you seem conversant in Korean which, assuming you have other skills, could help you out.

    1. Thanks.
      This sounds like very reasonable advice. I’m really not sure how long I will spend teaching in Korea as it all depends on how much I enjoy it.

  2. Hagwon jobs aren’t easy. If you want to have interesting students you’ll be on split shifts teaching adults which becomes just hard work with the gap in the day. What worsens it is the lack of housing allowance. On the other hand, teaching kids will get you the allowance, but it’s with kids having their facetime with whitey. If you manage to put your brain on the shelf it’s not so bad. Maybe. Public schools are a better deal if for nothing else than holidays. In hagwons you have what, 3 days summer holidays? After a year if you choose to stay I’d go for one of those again.
    Pagoda however-jerks. You will be their underling.Mrs Pagoda or whatever the heck her name is is a real timewaster. I found YBM better

    1. wow. I’m finding it hard to find anything good about Pagoda so far. The only thing is they make the application very straight forward. I agree that it sucks they don’t provide any housing. i asked the manager who told me they like to foster independence in their workers – meaning they can’t be bothered to spend any money.
      But the fact is I’m not interested in working with children. I checked my contract and it saysI’m entitled to one month’s holiday but it won’t be easy to take it during busy periods.
      anyway, thanks for the comment.
      I’m going to give Pagoda a try because i don’t have anything else lined up at the moment.

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