Talking in Korea: Emma and her Hagwon Hell

There are many instances of issues with hagwons (학원), a realization many of us have when searching for jobs in Korea. There are some good ones out there! Again, this is just an instant that I am highlighting because I think it is important that people are informed as much as possible what they can potentially get themselves into. Even Korea has noted the issues that some foreigners have with hagwons. For myself and the BFF, we came to the conclusion that we were definetly going to work in a public school just from what we read on Dave’s ESL Cafe, a forum of knowledge ( 

There is a Korea Times  article that highlights the establishment of a Labor Union by English teachers,a positive end to an initial problem. I initially learned about the dangers of getting a job in a hagwon through a podcast called the Midnight Runner. Here are the two podcast episodes about hagwons:

  • About a teacher who gets fired after getting the swine flu [listen here]
  • About an unpaid teacher who took his boss to the labor board [listen here]
The Ministry of Labor , through a collaboration agreement with the Korean Migrant Center have created a support center for foreigners all in their language.Migrant workers who wish to consult the Labor Board on delayed payment, finding a job and other inquiries related to the workplace can dial 1544-1350 or 1350, press 4 at the automated voice menu system and then choose the desired language.  When a call is made to the labor ministry, it will be directed to the Korea Migrant Center first, and then be linked with a labor expert, forming a three-way phone consulting service. 
The consulting hours are from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays (lunch hour: 12 to 1 p.m.).

A hagwon in Flushing, Queens NYC in an article from a Korean's perspective on hagwon.

Found here