TaLK stands for Teach and Learn in Korea, a government sponsored program that recruits foreign nationals to work as ESL teachers in elementary schools all over South Korea. Although it is similar to the much larger EPIK program, the TaLK program concentrates on teacher placements in underprivileged areas in rural communities that typically struggle to attract foreign teachers. The program promises a huge amount of teaching experience and plenty of free time for exploring the local area and further afield.
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To be eligible for the TaLK Program you must be a college graduate or current undergraduate student who has completed at least two years of a degree course. You also need to be a citizen of either the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, or Ireland. The minimum age at the time of application is 19, however there is no official upper age limit. Please note that applicants over 35 are usually encouraged to join the EPIK program instead. All applicants are required to submit a criminal background check during the application process.
Successful applicants will get a one-year contract starting in either February or August. Before you start your teaching post you will undergo a one-month orientation program covering all the most important areas of teaching such as classroom management, curriculum design, and teaching methodologies. The course also looks at cultural subjects that should help you to adjust to your new environment. An average week includes around 15 hours of actual classroom time, plus additional lesson planning time.
Placements on this scheme are mostly in rural areas of the following provinces: Chungnam, Gangwon, Incheon, Jeju, Jeonbuk, and Jeonnam. All placements are effectively random as you are not able to request any prefered areas when applying. For further information, please visit the official TaLK Program website.
The benefits of the TaLK program include:
- A monthly stipend of KRW 1.5 million (currently $1,300 US) per month
- Furnished accommodation, typically a studio apartment (not including utilities)
- Flight allowance of KRW 2.6 Million to cover transport in and out of the country
- Settlement allowance of KRW 300,000
- Seven vacation days per semester
- Medical insurance coverage