South Korea is one of the preferred destinations of native English speakers looking to teach English abroad. This is mainly due to the good remuneration, which can reach up to $2,000 USD per month, and benefits offered by English teaching companies. However, it does require a BA degree, unless you’re teaching with the TALK program (Teach and Learn in Korea).
Additionally, South Korea is a great place to explore owing to its rich cultural heritage. Teachers can visit the different tourist spots in the country or try several scrumptious Korean dishes. All of these are set within a country with modern cities that can rival the best in the world.
Even as you’re ready to book a flight to South Korea already, you should make sure you have that one important particular requirement for you to teach in this Asian country, a Bachelor’s degree. This may be a major letdown for college students who have yet to finish their degrees.
But, fret not since you still have a chance to experience South Korea while teaching a language you were born with. You can try signing up for the TaLK or Teach and Learn in Korea of South Korea.
No idea about the program? Then, you’ve come to the right place. Continue reading and find out how you can teach in South Korea even though you haven’t gotten your Bachelor’s degree yet.
What is the TaLK program in Korea?
The TaLK or Teach and Learn in Korea program is an English teaching program sponsored by the South Korean government. The program’s main goal is to nurture the love for learning English through engaging and innovative classroom activities designed by the participants of the program.
The Ministry of Education, Science, and Technology provides funding for this project. Applicants who pass the requirements and are accepted into the program will be assigned to elementary schools in rural areas. This is aimed at promoting English education in these areas.
While the students learn English, the teachers can also immerse themselves in different facets of Korean life. Additionally, they get to travel to different areas in the peninsula. This makes the program ideal for young teachers who want to experience new things in life.
The program aims to attract native English speakers who don’t have a Bachelor’s degree to teach in South Korea. But the teachers need to have at least two years of university education under their belt. Another option to consider without a BA are these companies: Teaching English Online Without a Degree.
Now that you have an idea about the TaLK program, let’s go down to the nitty-gritty details of the program.
What are the requirements for the TALK program?
The following are the requirements teachers should meet to qualify for the TaLK program:
- At least 19 years old
- Native English speaker who is a citizen of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, or South Africa.
- Completed an Associate’s degree or is currently an undergraduate who finished at least two years of a degree course.
- Clean criminal background record (you need to submit a national criminal record check)
- Must be physically fit and healthy
- Can meet the E2 visa of South Korea
If you meet these basic requirements, you can apply for South Korea’s TaLK program.
Salary and Benefits
Even though participants of the TaLK program aren’t holders of a Bachelor’s degree, they can look forward to a good remuneration of 1,500,000 KRW, which is equivalent to around $1,320 USD. They also receive a settlement allowance of 300,000 KRW or around $260 USD in the first month of the contract.
While regular English teaching schools in Korea may pay better, these schools normally require teachers to have a Bachelor’s degree. Additionally, the cost of living in the rural areas of South Korea is way much cheaper than living in big cities, which is where many of these English teaching schools are located.
Aside from the monetary remuneration, the participants also receive the following benefits:
- Furnished accommodation, excluding the utilities
- Flight allowance of 2.6 million KRW or around $2,300 USD to cover flights going to and going out of South Korea
- Paid vacation of up seven days per semester
- Health insurance, which is paid by the Provincial Offices of Education.
- A Government Scholarship Certificate of Completion (useful when applying for a teaching job in the future)
But there is one unlisted benefit you can look forward to if you join the program: the opportunity to explore South Korea outside of the usual tourist spots. This is similar to teaching in Japan with the JET program.
Since you’ll be assigned to the rural areas, you’ll get the chance to immerse yourself in South Korean culture and visit places you don’t normally reach if you come into the country as a tourist. This is similar to what you might experience if you teach in Africa.
What is the Schedule like?
If you’re interested in the program, you can look forward to the following work schedule:
- 15 hours of actual classroom time per week from Monday to Friday (normally after class hours)
- Additional hours for lesson planning
If you want to apply for the TaLK program of South Korea, you should make sure you qualify for it and can submit all the necessary documents. You can apply through the South Korean Embassy or Consulate.
But if you’re a South African or an Irish citizen, you need to apply directly to the TaLK office. The same thing goes if you’re currently residing in South Korea.
Important Things to Consider about the TaLK program.
At this point, you may already be thinking about what you’ll be doing when you reach South Korea for the TaLK program. But before you get all giddy about the prospect of exploring the country, you should read the following important things to consider about the TaLK program:
- The academic transcript of the student and their responses to essay questions are the basis for evaluating applications.
- The program only considers students with good disciplinary standing with their respective universities.
- The program starts either in February or in August and the participants sign a one-year contract.
- Participants go through a one-month orientation program covering classroom management, teaching methodologies, and curriculum design.
- The participants also learn about cultural topics to help them adjust to rural South Korean culture.
- Some of the provinces you may be assigned to if you’re accepted into the program are Incheon, Chungnam, Jeonnam, Jeju, Gangwon, or Jeonbuk.
- You will have a Korean co-teacher or a buddy to help you when you give instructions in class.
- Your buddy can also help you learn the Korean language and Korean culture.
Getting the chance to explore South Korea as a university student can be productive and financially fulfilling if you join the country’s TaLK program.
Talk Program South Korea FAQs
There a number of common questions that people have about this program. Here are the answers to some of the most popular ones.
Can you teach English in South Korea with an associate’s degree?
In general, most English teaching jobs in South Korea require that you have a bachelor’s degree. However, if you have completed at least two years of university, you may be eligible for the Talk program which places Native English-speaking teachers in rural areas.
Do you need to speak Korean to work in Korea?
Depending on the job, you may or not need to know Korean to work in Korea. English teachers, as well as highly skilled workers like engineers, don’t need to know Korean.
What is the Talk program in South Korea?
The Talk (Teach and Learn in Korea) program allows prospective scholars and English teachers the ability to teach, travel, and live in South Korea. They are paid airfare and accommodation as well as a monthly wage.
What are the main responsibilities of a Talk English Teacher?
Talk English Teachers are responsible for teaching English language skills to Korean students in public schools. Their duties typically include planning and delivering lessons, developing curriculum materials, assessing student performance, and promoting cross-cultural understanding.
How long is the contract for Talk English Teachers?
The contract duration for Talk English Teachers in South Korea is typically one year, with the possibility of renewal based on mutual agreement between the teacher and the school.
What are the benefits of participating in the Talk English Teacher program?
Some benefits of the program include a monthly salary, furnished housing, round-trip airfare reimbursement, health insurance, and paid vacation. Additionally, participating teachers get the opportunity to immerse themselves in Korean culture and gain valuable teaching experience.
Is prior teaching experience required to apply for the Talk English Teacher program?
While prior teaching experience can be advantageous, it is not always a strict requirement to apply for the Talk English Teacher program. However, applicants with teaching experience may have an edge during the selection process.
How can I apply for the Talk English Teacher program?
To apply for the Talk English Teacher program, interested individuals can usually submit their applications through the official channels designated by the South Korean government, such as the Korean Education Center or the respective local education office.
What support and training are provided to Talk English Teachers?
Talk English Teachers usually receive orientation and training upon arrival in South Korea. This training may include language and cultural education, teaching methodologies, and guidance on adapting to the Korean education system. Additionally, local support staff and mentor teachers are often available to provide ongoing assistance and guidance throughout the program.
Have your say about the Teach and Learn in Korea Program
What are your thoughts about the Talk program? Is it right for you, or do you have your eye on another one like SMOE? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Also, be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. It’ll help other teachers, like yourself who are interested in teaching in South Korea.
You may also want to consider teaching English online to students in South Korea. Here’s one of the companies that we recommend: Classo.