This post is the second part to – http://tefltravelling.com/2016/01/26/the-korean-hogwan/
EPIK (English Program in Korea) is a program set up to help students learn English throughout the country. EPIK has been in existence since 1995 and has been used by thousands of teachers and students. Run by the Korean government, it is operated in public schools located all over Korea, catering to both elementary and high school.
EPIK should not be mistaken for the Korean private school system: The Hogwan.
Many ESL teachers choose to teach with EPIK for wide varieties of reasons that are briefly listed below:
All EPIK program jobs come with free housing; however, utilities are not included. Accommodation is usually standard but fine for its purpose.
EPIK provide an entrance allowance for teachers to purchase airfare to Korea (this is reimbursed during your first month). Upon competition of the contract, EPIK will also provide an allowance for teachers to purchase a flight to leave the country.
EPIK allow teachers 18 days paid vacation in addition to the 13 – 15 national Korean holidays. Vacation days can be used during the summer and winter breaks.
In my personal opinion, one of the main differences between an EPIK and a Hogwan are the working hours. All EPIK schools run between 8/9.30 – 4/5.30, 22 hours of which is teaching time. Hogwans can start and finish at a wide variety of times and teaching hours drastically change between each one.
No Parent Involvement
Another HUGE benefit of EPIK over the Hogwan system is the lack of parental involvement. In many Hogwans parents basically run the show, which is not how a place of education should be run. In most cases, EPIK schools are run by professionals and people with experience.
After a year at EPIK you will most likely be offered the chance to re-sign your contract, for which you will be given a re-signing bonus. It is also worth mentioning that for each year you stay at an EPIK school your salary will increase.
Being an EPIK teacher requires you to participate in an EPIK training program. This can be great for those with little experience or those looking to create a social circle within Korea.
The VISA process to work in Korea normally takes time and can be quite costly. In addition to the usual documents required for the E2 visa, EPIK candidates also need to provide 2 letters of reference.
A job at a Hogwan can be found all year round but this is not the case at EPIK. February and August are EPIKS two main recruitment periods; they need to have teachers in the country before the semester starts so they can complete the EPIK training programs.
You can be placed anywhere. EPIK places teachers not only anywhere in Seoul, but anywhere in the country. However, couples that apply together will stay together.
EPIK training can also be a con because you can fail it. Also, you won’t necessarily find out your location until after training and they are sorting you onto buses.
It is clear that the pros of working at an EPIK school dramatically outweigh the cons. Many argue that there is simply no contest between the Hogwan and EPIK.
Whether you chose to work for a Hogwan or use EPIK, it is always recommended that you use a good recruiter with a great reputation.