Teaching English in South Korea

Image of student teaching in South Korea
During this 6 week summer program, students will teach English at the Kyung Hwa Girls’ Private School in South Korea while earning practicum credit.
Location: Gwangju, Gyeonggi, South Korea
Language of Instruction: English
Term: Summer
Program Type: Internship
Open to non-KU Students: No
Fulfills KU Core 4.2: No
Fulfills KU Core 5: No

During this 6-week summer program, students will teach English at the Kyung Hwa Private Girls’ School in South Korea while earning practicum credit. The program will begin with several on-campus workshops offered during the spring semester and designed to introduce KU students to the Korean language, engage students in cross-cultural activities relevant to South Korea, and provide an opportunity for students to learn more about the school and their Korean hosts. 

The program as a whole will engage students in a study of theories of second language acquisition and models of English as a Foreign Language practice.  In addition, students will have exposure to issues related to English as an International Language, with a particular focus on the role of English in contemporary South Korea. 

While in South Korea, students will participate in two group excursions.  In prior years, this has included an extended weekend visit to Seoul and a weekend excursion to the coastal city of Sokcho.

South Korea has a 5,000 year history with ancient palaces, pagodas and stunning green landscape with majestic mountain tops. It also has ultra-modern skyscrapers and a fast paced city life. In addition, it is one of the world’s most technologically and scientifically advanced countries due to companies such as Samsung and LG serving as global leaders in electronics.

Seoul, with a population of over 20 million in its metropolitan area, is one of Asia’s largest cities and is the political, financial and cultural center of Korea.

The Kyung Hwa Girls’ Private School campus is located in Gwangju Gyeonggi, a southeastern suburb of Seoul. The residential school comprises a high school, a middle school, and an English business high school. The campus is on a hillside overlooking the city and well-appointed with classrooms, dormitories, dining facilities, gardens, tennis courts, a swimming pool, and gymnasium.

This program fulfills the KU Core Goal 4.2 Global Awareness requirement, and replaces the "Non-Western" ANTH 160/SOC 130 requirement for Education majors.

Six (6) hours of undergraduate or graduate level credit are granted by the University of Kansas upon successful completion of the program. 

Undergraduate students will enroll in the following courses:

  • C&T 491 ESOL Practicum for Endorsement (3 credits) 
  • C&T 598 Special Course: ESOL Pedagogy (3 credits)

Graduate students will enroll in the following courses:

  • C&T 825 Practicum for TESOL (3 credits) 
  • C&T 798 Special Course: ESOL Pedagogy (3 credits)

Education students who have already taken one of the two practicum courses may opt to enroll in an independent study course.

Students will be housed on or near the Kyung Hwa Girls' Private School campus in shared dormitory rooms (4 – 6 people per dorm room). 

Meals will be provided in the Kyung Hwa dining room. Three meals will be offered each day, excluding weekends.  Meals are typically Korean but may also include western choices.  Participants are responsible for their own meals on the weekends and while on independent travel.

SAGE is dedicated to creating international engagement opportunities that meet the needs of all our students and providing resources to support you through the process of studying abroad. Study abroad is achievable for students of all identities including our BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ students, students with disabilities, and students with religious/non-religious viewpoints. Before selecting a program, consider how your identities may impact your experience abroad in unique ways and talk with your Program Coordinator about any program-specific concerns. Students with documented disabilities should discuss any accommodation needs with their Program Coordinator early in the planning process.

Considerations for South Korea

The response to homosexuality is mixed in Korea. While consensual same-sex sexual activity is not criminalized and there are no specific laws that discriminate based on sexuality, same-sex marriages are not legally recognized. Korea is a conservative country in regards to LGBTI issues. However, there are an increasing number of LGBTQIA+ -oriented clubs, festivals and NGOs advocating for LGBTQIA+  issues. There is an LGBTQIA+ subculture in the more urban cities but it is not openly displayed in public, although platonic displays of affection between same-sex friends is very common. As is often in the case in a society that is both homogenous and traditionally conservative, it is the experience of many students that being open about your sexuality in any context is seen as unusual and curious, sometimes shocking.

Generally speaking, most facilities in Korea have been made to be accessible for wheelchairs. Students with physical disabilities may find it difficult to navigate public transportation in Korea. Access to transportation in most areas is somewhat limited, although there are various government initiatives designed to make public transport more accessible. Students with vision impairment may have difficulty, as most Braille or audio transportation information is exclusively in Korean.

Korea does not have a homogenous religious culture and throughout its history, a wide variety of religious movements such as Buddhism, Daoism, Confucianism and Christianity have shaped the culture dramatically.

Source: U.S. Department of State country information pages and Diversity Abroad.

Additional Resources

Check our Identity Abroad page and resources listed below for information specific to you and other students who may be on your program.

KU undergraduate and graduate students whose primary academic focus is TESOL and/ or education will be eligible for this program. Students studying in related areas such as Linguistics, English, East Asian Languages and Cultures or similar disciplines are also encouraged to apply.

There are no prerequisites; however, students with some teaching/tutoring experience, especially with English language learners, will be highly competitive. A course in TESOL methods is strongly encouraged prior to participation in the program; however, students without a prior methods course will receive instruction on TESOL methods during their pre-departure preparation.

Proficiency in Korean is not a prerequisite; however, students selected to the program will receive instruction in Korean during the pre-departure orientation and once in Korea. Minimum 2.75 GPA required.  

Hyesun Cho, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Curriculum and Teaching


Josh Hayes, PhD Candidate

Curriculum and Teaching


Department of Curriculum and Teaching

University of Kansas

1122 W. Campus Rd.

Lawrence, KS 66045