Did you ever join your parent at work for the day when you were younger? Was it interesting following them around and “playing grown-up” for the day? In Korea, there is a whole field within the education sector which mimics this kind of interaction!
English Villages (or sometimes, Global Villages) are a fun way for students to get the chance to experience what life might be like in an English-speaking country. Typically, English Villages have two main types of instruction: experience and hagwon. “Hagwons”, or “academies” are well-known in Korea and neighboring countries. Students attend a few days each week and study from textbooks. There are usually small classes, and there may or may not be a co-teacher (either in the room, or working in tandem). However, “experience” classes are a whole new type of…experience!
Using digital materials, flashcards, props and other real objects, or a combination of the three, teachers introduce the “theme” of a room then take the students through activities designed to encourage them to speak English freely and confidently. In contrast to the “listen and repeat” model that is so often used in schools and hagwons, this is a great chance for students to really express themselves! In addition, because the classrooms are so engaging, students are often motivated to work hard before class has even begun.
Not all English Villages are the same. Although students in an experience program generally visit for a short time (like a school field trip), the length of study can vary from a few lessons on one day to several lessons each day over the course of a week or more. Some programs are residential, with students sleeping at the facility at night. If the facility has student housing, there’s a good chance that the teachers’ accommodation will also be on-campus; consider carefully if you’re alright living with your students 24/7! Don’t worry, though – plenty of Villages have off-campus housing. The size and scope of programs can also vary greatly. Smaller rural Villages may see just a few students at a time, while larger Villages can see up to 1,000 students per week! It’s important to consider what you’re looking for and ask questions during your interview to make sure the Village will be the right fit for you.
As far as qualifications, each Village has their own standards. It will largely depend on the type of classes, but new graduates without experience can expect to find positions provided that they have an excellent interview and can clearly demonstrate that they will be able to plan lessons and manage a classroom. Just like applying for a job in any field, more experience and training will always be an asset, so consider completing a TEFL course of at least 120 hours. As with most English teaching positions in Korea, the majority of teachers will be hired on an E2 (language teaching) visa. There is plenty of information available online about the policies surrounding E2 eligibility, but the quick summary is that you must be from a “native speaking” country and have a bachelor’s degree from an accredited university. For more information on what visa type you need, you can watch a really useful video (click here) by Rachel from Busan Global Village.
There is no “perfect type” for Village life, but in general people with an energetic, flexible, outgoing, creative personality will fare better. Villages can be great for first-time teachers looking for a fun introduction to teaching as well as more experienced teachers looking to try out new lesson ideas and rely more heavily on their own plans. A simple Google search for “English Village Korea” yields results all around the country! One final plus is that for larger Villages, the greater number of teachers likely means that hiring is staggered throughout the year, so there are more opportunities to match a position with your desired start date.
So, if you’re looking for a different kind of teaching experience, consider an English Village in Korea!