TaLK program offers students a chance to experience Korea while getting paid

Eastern Michigan University’s unique partnership with Korea’s “Teach and Learn in Korea” program could be the cure for your wanderlust.

TaLK offers an opportunity for students to travel to Korea and teach English while receiving compensation for their time. TaLK is not limited to education majors, though about 80 percent usually are -- any student at EMU can apply as long as they have achieved 50 credits by the time of departure or have attained junior status.

The program spans a full year, which can be academic, August to July, or calendar, January to December, depending on when you begin. Across these two semesters, the experience will fulfill SPGN 401 and SPGN 402 for a total of 12 credits.

Many students worry about the time commitment of a full year, but Program Director Myung Koh finds students quickly come to love the culture.

“99.9 percent of students are crazy about Korea once they are there,” Koh said.

The program can be maximized to two years through the university if the EMU student chooses, but if they would like to stay any longer than that, they must seek employment outside of the program.

Besides being an eye-opening cultural experience, the TaLK program offers a good deal of professional benefits, the first of which is teaching practice, something that looks wonderful on any resume.

Koh stresses that this is “not a vacation, but a professional leave.” You are fully reimbursed for your airfare, which is about S1,300, and your housing is paid for. In addition, you are given a monthly cash stipend of about $1,500. You will be teaching for about 15 hours a week and you are offered 15 vacations days per year.

It should be noted that Koh and others involved in this program worry that with the amount of money the Korean government puts into it, the program may not be around forever.

“Before the program disappears, you’ve got to try it,” Koh said. “There’s no other program like this.”

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