The Complete Guide to the TaLK Program in South Korea


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TaLK Overview

The TaLK program (Teach and Learn in Korea) is a government-sponsored English teaching program. Successful applicants are placed in elementary public schools in rural areas of South Korea with the aim of furthering their English education.

TaLK is one of the few options for teaching English in South Korea without holding a full Bachelor’s degree. As long as you have completed two full years of university education you can apply. It’s a great opportunity to take a year out from your studies while seeking personal and professional enrichment through teaching.

TaLK offers great perks, including free accommodation, reimbursed round airfare trip and paid vacation, as well as a pretty decent monthly stipend to live off.

Similar Programs:

TaLK Requirements

Having a teaching qualification is not a prerequisite for the TaLK program. To be eligible, applicants must meet the following requirements.

  • Native English speaker
  • A graduate OR current undergraduate with at least 2 years of academic completion
  • Clean Criminal Background Check
  • Meet the requirements for a Korean E2 visa
  • Good physical health

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From the site:

talk requirements

Native English Speaker

You must have citizenship from either Canada, USA, UK, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand.

Graduate or Current Undergraduate

Bachelor’s degree candidates who have completed at least two full years of their undergraduate education, in any subject, can apply. You’ll be taking temporary absence from your university. If you’re in your final semester of the second year you can still apply, but you’ll need to provide the official transcript indicating completion of the two full years of study, with the eligibility to enter the 3rd year. If you have a full 3 year Bachelor’s degree or above you can also apply. If this is the case, you may want to check out the sister program, EPIK, as you may be eligible for this teaching program too.

Clean Criminal Background Check

You’ll be required to obtain an Apostille National Level Criminal Record Check (CRC). It must be completely clear with no criminal record being stated – misdemeanors and felonies will disqualify you. It must have been conducted within 6 months prior to the day you submit your application.

Korean E2 Visa

In order to teach on the TaLK program, you’ll need a Korean E2 visa. This is granted after certain requirements are met. You can only apply for the E2 visa once your placement has been confirmed by TaLK. They’ll send you an Acceptance Package, which includes a letter of invitation and your contract.

Related: Explore our Guide to the Korean E2 Visa Process

Good Physical Health

You’ll be required to fill out a self-medical check survey as part of the application process. Once you arrive in Korea, you’ll be required to take part in a medical checkup, which includes drug and major communicable disease testing. If you do have a clinical medical condition, you’ll need to submit a note from your doctor or physician stating that the condition won’t impact on your ability to teach in a foreign country.

How is TaLK Different From EPIK?

TaLK is EPIK’s sister program. They are similar in many ways but they also have their differences. TaLK is like an internship during your university degree, where you’re able to gain experience and insight into life as an ESL teacher, whereas EPIK is a full time paid teaching job after graduation.

EPIK will only accept applicants who have completed a 3 year Bachelor’s degree or above and have at least one teaching qualification. TaLK accepts applicants who have completed two full years of university education and without a teaching qualification. It isn’t uncommon for TaLK scholars to use their experience as a stepping stone to join the EPIK program.

The salary is less for the TaLK program when compared to EPIK, but TaLK scholars teach an average of 15 hours a week (about 3 hours a day), primarily after school classes, whereas EPIK teachers work full time.

Salary and Benefits for TaLK Teachers

From the TaLK site:

talk benefits


Teaching on the TaLK program in South Korea will allow you to live pretty comfortably. TaLK placements are in rural areas, likely to be less expensive than cities, so you may be able to save some money too. TaLK scholars receive a monthly capped stipend of 1.5 million KRW (approx $1330 USD).


Settlement Allowance

Within the first month of your contract, you will receive a one-time payment of 300,000 KRW (approx $270 USD).


Free furnished housing is provided by the TaLK program.

Reimbursed Flight Allowance

TaLK scholars receive a flight allowance of 1.3 million KRW ($1,162 USD) each way. Your Entrance Allowance is given to you within the first 5 months of your arrival and the Exit Allowance after leaving South Korea. If you find flights cheaper than the allowance, you can keep the difference!

Paid Vacation Days

TaLK scholars get 7 paid leave days every semester. You are strongly encouraged to use these vacation days during the school summer and winter breaks.

Health Insurance

As part of the TaLK program, scholars are provided with travel abroad study insurance paid for by the Provincial Offices of Education.

Government Scholarship Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of your contract, TaLK scholars receive this certification from the Korean government. You may wish to use this to apply for further ESL teaching, such as the EPIK program.

One Month Training

Upon arrival in South Korea, TaLK scholars attend a 4 week compulsory training session. This training is intensive, with the aim of providing tools and methods necessary to teach and adjust to life in Korea. This is unpaid, but your meals and accommodation are provided.

TaLK Application Process, Timeline & Location

Application Process

The application process is extensive and you should only apply if you meet all the requirements and can provide the required documents. TaLK hires in accordance to the public school calendar, with contracts starting 1st March and 1st September.

Where you apply differs depending on your nationality; if you’re a citizen of Ireland or South Africa, or currently reside in Korea, you must apply directly to the TaLK Office. Otherwise, you must apply to the applicable Korean Consulate/Embassy in your home country. All applicants fill out the TaLk application form online, but you need to select the correct local office on the form.


The specific deadlines to apply for the program through the local application offices varies every term, but they typically accept applications from early March to July for the August orientation and September to January for the February orientation. The TaLK Office accepts applications all-year round. If you miss the deadline and your local application offices are closed, you can try applying directly to the TaLK Office – you may be considered for the waitlist or for the next term.

Interviews take place at the designated Korean Embassy/Consulate in your home country after you have successfully submitted your application Parts A and B online. Irish or South African citizens will be interviewed by the TaLK Office.


TaLK scholars can be placed in the rural areas of the following South Korean provinces; Incheon, Chungnam, Gangwon, Jeju, Jeonbuk and Jeonnam. Placement requests are no longer accepted, therefore you’ll be placed at any of the available locations. You’ll find out where your placement is during orientation, as well as which school you’ve been placed in. Expect an elementary public school teaching children.

talk korea regions

What’s it Like Being a TaLK Teacher?

TaLK scholars typically teach after school classes with an emphasis on conversational and practical English. Depending on the school, and the demands of the pupils, you may assist and/or teach regular English classes. Class sizes vary from less than ten to more than twenty.

You’ll be assigned to teach fifteen hours per week, Monday through Friday, averaging 3 hours a day. These fifteen hours don’t include class preparation, breaks or transportation. Contracts are for one year, with an option for six months.

TaLK Reviews

Reviews of the TaLK program are pretty similar to reviews of the other teaching programs in South Korea. They seem to mostly recommend the program, and highlight the positives as well as the hardships. The general consensus is that your experience can vary depending on which school you’re placed in. The social and cultural side of the program seems to get a good write up, as there appears to be more of an emphasis on this with TaLK, compared to the other teaching programs.

“Great program to get your feet wet before potentially immersing yourself in teaching English.”

Gooverseas has a fair number of reviews of the TaLK program on their website, where scholars seem to give pretty honest accounts of their experiences, a mix of the good and the bad.

“I would recommend the TaLK program to anyone who wants to gain invaluable cultural experience and knowledge.”

A past teacher has written a blog about the TaLK program, sharing her personal anecdotes and what the program entails.


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51 Responses

  1. I’m a graduate from the University of the Free State, I obtained my degree in agricultural economics and currently doing my honour seegree in the same field. I do not have my degree certified because I still owe the University , do i stand a chance to apply?

      1. Hello Quincy,
        I’m currently studying my BA (Hons) education studies (primary), is this degree relevant? Could I complete my second year in ROK or do I need to be already going into my third year? I also have have a four year old son would it be possible for me to still apply.
        Thanks in advance

        1. Hi Jodie – we don’t believe your son should be a factor but all specific questions about degrees should be directed at TaLK as they will have the final say.

        2. Hi,
          I’m a native speaker of India. I completed my bachelor’s degree and also hold Trinity TESOL certificate. As per the requirements I know Indians are not eligible but, just for curiosity.. is there any possibility to work for TALK? Please, let me know.
          Thank you In advance!

        3. I just graduated with my Associate in General Arts (2 year college degree) from a community college but am afraid I might not qualify.

  2. Hello 👋 I’ve got two questions

    Question one:

    I’m not studying right now as I have got my degree over 10 years ago but I have not got a teaching certificate, can I still teach in South Korea with “talk”?

    Question two:

    Would I have to pay “talk” any money apart from my plane ticket to get to South Korea?

    Thank you 😊
    Hope to hear from you soon.

    1. Hi Sabrina – I don’t think your graduation date has any impact here nor do I believe it costs money to apply/work for TaLK.

    2. Hello my name is Gloria. I’m a Nigerian (citizen of a country in Africa) not a South African. My English is very good and I really want to apply for this program. What do I do?

      Thank you

  3. I really want to apply for this program, but I am having issues with loading the website. Is there someone I can contact about technical issues? Or is there an email address that I can send application materials to?

    Also, I am currently living in Turkey. Can the interviews (provided I get to that stage) be conducted at the Korean embassy/consulate in Turkey, even though I am a US citizen?

    1. Hi Gabriella – these are questions that should submitted to the program – we are just an informational website and cannot help with website troubleshooting or interview logistics – sorry!

  4. Good Day,

    I would like to enquire about my chance of acceptance into this program. I’m currently planning on moving to Cambodia to teach English (mainly because I don’t need a degree to teach in Cambodia) and I’m also busy with a level 3 TEFL course. I studied at the University of Pretoria a few years ago, but I never completed my degree. I completed my first year and nearly completed my second year, missing it with two subjects.

    I basically want to know if I would still be eligible for the TaLK program given the fact that I nearly have two completed years of my degree. My girlfriend will be joining me in Cambodia with the same goal in mind and she’s finishing her degree this year, so she will definitely be able to apply for the TaLK program.

    I am still very interested in completing my degree. My initial plan is to complete my degree whilst teaching English in Cambodia. Afterward, I’ll be eligible to work at any other ESL company or School and I’ll be able to teach in any country.

    The reason I ask this is that I would much rather like to teach English in South Korea rather than Cambodia. I love Korean culture and food and I also very much love Japan’s culture as well and given the fact that Japan would be only a boat ride away is a major bonus for me. Please let me know if I would be eligible for this program, any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

    Theodore Nezar

    From South Africa

    1. Their requirements state “A graduate OR current undergraduate with at least 2 years of academic completion” so it sounds like you’d qualify (but please confirm with the program) – the issue might be that they want to see proof that you’re still enrolled – not sure on this though.

  5. Hi.

    I’ve heard many people say that foreign countries will not want to accept teachers from South Africa if you studied at UNISA where majority of learning is done online.

    I’d like to know if you are still eligible to apply for the Talk programme if you have studied there?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Naeema – unfortunately I don’t have the answer to this – have you tried directing this question at the Talk Program directly?

  6. Good Morning, I am actually doing this for my brother, his South African and holds a National Diploma in Travel and Tourism, he would like to teach abroad, please advise.

  7. I just applied for it but they told me that they would have to turn me down because I didn’t have a Bachelor degree even though I’m a year from graduating from school. So do I need a degree or at least a associate degree?

  8. Hello i will be doing my last two modules for my Degree next year would you advice me to apply for talk or wait to finish my degree and apply for Epik?

  9. Hi, I am a qualified chef. I studied for 3 years obtaining my certification and diploma in culinary arts. i do not hold a bachelors degree however i do want to study towards it. Am I still able to apply for the program.

    1. Hi Dominique – as we understand it you will need at least your associates or 2 years of a bachelor’s degree to qualify – we don’t believe a culinary diploma will suffice.

  10. Hello, because of something that happened. I wasn’t able to get an insurance this year. Meaning I haven’t see a doctor at all this year. The talk program required a doctor’s note. How can I get one if I don’t have insurance and a doctor. Please help

    1. There’s really no shortcut here – you need to see a doctor in order to get a doctor’s note – you can probably make an appointment anywhere, they don’t need to be your personal MD.

  11. Hi I have completed my diploma in Food technology , I have my certificate . I am interested in this program .What should I prepare to get in the programme

      1. good day,

        I hope you are well.
        Compliments of the new year.

        I have completed 2 and half years of my 3 year dilpoma. I am currently owing to complete the last semester.

        I would like to know if i will be able to teach in South Korea?

        1. I believe the Talk Program only requires 2 years of completed education so you should be ok as long as you meet the other requirements.

    1. Sounds like it’s not the same as a bachelor’s degree (correct me if Im wrong) so it might be a long shot. Still – why not apply anyway?

  12. I really want to teach around Seoul, so Incheon or Gangwon would be my preferred locations. Is there any way to request either of those locations?

  13. Hi i have completed my 3 year diploma in 2018, i have a TESOL certificate and I’m currently studying towards my Bachelor’s degree, this is my final year. Can i apply for the TALK program?

    1. Hi Courtney – it’s a popular program but we don’t have any details on how competitive it is, sorry!

    1. Hi Cathy – I am not a tax expert but as long as you pay taxes in Korea you will not owe them in USA for any Talk income. You will still need to declare it but foreign earned income is a better question for your accountant or tax software company.

  14. Hi,
    I am Nigerian and a teacher. I have a bachelor degree in English Language, Post Graduate Diploma in Education and CELTA but I haven’t been able to apply to much of these programs because they mostly ask for native speakers.
    Do you think i’ll be accepted if i apply for this?

    1. Hi Jay – I dont think so, the requirements seem to be a resident of Canada, USA, UK, Republic of Ireland, South Africa, Australia or New Zealand.

  15. Hi Mayuri Thapa,

    I live in India. I want to get enrolled for TaLK Program, Is there any way for Me or any other Indian to apply for those who are eligible.

    Please Help me with this Query.

    Thank You

  16. Hi,
    I am wondering if an applicant would be considered too young to be suitable for the programme. I am 20 years old. I am also wondering if any work experience is required. Thanks 🙂

    1. Hi Eoin – I believe the listed requirements are accurate – if you meet those you should be good to apply.

  17. I am a 3rd year student in the University of Johannesburg and I am interested in the talk program. Can I apply for the August 2021 intake for February 2022 intakes or I must wait for September 2021 to apply for February 2022?

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