Types of English Language Schools in Korea

Most English instructors teach in private foreign-language institutes (hakwons in Korean). There are, however, positions available in several other types of organizations: corporate in-house language programs; university foreign-language institutes; university departments; government/private research institutes; and public relations and advertising companies.

What are Hakwons?

Private language institutes are found all over Korea but the majority are located in Seoul. Some are well known and have many branches, while others are small-scale operations and are short-lived. The ESL (English as a Second Language) market in Korea is extremely competitive and it is common for institutes to fail. Many of the more marginal businesses open their doors, hire the first foreigner they can find, advertise for students, offer classes for a month or so, and then close.

Most hakwons employ expatriate (American, British, Canadian and Australian) instructors for conversation classes. Some of the better institutes will provide housing for instructors. The typical full-time employee can be expected to work 20 to 30 hours a week. The majority of classes are conducted in the early morning and the evening, so many instructors have free time in the afternoon. Most classes have from 10 to 15 students — usually university students, or businesspeople who are contemplating overseas assignments or trying to improve their English skills. Many hakwons also have after-school classes for children as young as five years old.