The Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship ( ETA ) program places American college graduates as teachers in elementary and secondary schools across South Korea. Beginning in 1992, Fulbright Korea’s ETA program has been benchmarked as the “Gold Standard” among all ETA programs worldwide by the U.S. State Department. The program is the largest among all Fulbright Commissions, boasting nearly 1,400 program participants since its founding. It is highly regarded for its innovative training, unmatched program benefits, and access to the Fulbright Korea alumni network, which consists of more than 6,500 American and Korean scholars, researchers, and specialists.
The Korean Ministry of Education is particularly supportive of the ETA program for stressing the importance of placing native English speaking teachers outside of Seoul, and particularly in less developed areas of Korea. ETAs in return feel that their efforts have more meaning where students are not yet accustomed to seeing foreigners on a daily basis.
Each year several ETA alumni gain entrance into prestigious law, medical, and graduate programs across the United States. Recent ETA alumni are currently studying at Harvard, Columbia, the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Georgetown University. Several ETAs also choose to remain in or return to Korea in order to teach at Korean universities, work for international firms or enroll in Korean graduate schools.
Who are the ETAs' Students?
Most ETAs are currently teaching in middle schools and high schools, while our elementary ETA program continues to grow each year. Students may be enrolled in coeducational or single-sex institutions. Korean students vary in their English levels, challenging ETAs to come up with creative teaching solutions to ensure the success of all students. English is a mandatory part of the Korean education system; students who are proficient in English generally get into top universities, creating a strong desire for many students to study very hard. Life at school is centered on studying, as students generally arrive around 8 am and study late into the night, many past 10 or 11 pm at either a hagwon (private institution) or at their school. Top grades on standardized tests and getting into top universities are among the most valued aspects of Korean culture. ETAs have a unique opportunity to create a special bond with their students by using English in a more fun, less stressful atmosphere.
Application and Helpful Links
Those interested in applying for the ETA program in Korea may do so via the Institute of International Education (IIE)'s website (http://www.us.fulbrightonline.org/applicants/getting-started). IIE, whose headquarters are located in New York, is responsible for processing applications for all American Fulbright student awards, including the English Teaching Assistant Program. For further information on the application process, contact IIE at www.iie.org. KAEC does not accept applications from Americans directly.
The application deadline for the 2019-2020 competition is now closed. Please check the application page often for more updates about the 2020-2021 Fulbright grant cycle.
ETA Program News
Infusion Literary Magazine
The tenth-edition of the Infusion literary magazine debuted in October 2016. Led by a staff of ETAs, Infusion features a wide-range of ETA-submitted material from stories, research pieces, poetry, photography, and much more! In addition to the magazine, Infusion maintains a website that includes additional work and online-exclusive content, such as ETA blogs and food reviews. This can be accessed at http://infusion.fulbright.or.kr/
North Korean Defectors English Education Program
Launched in 2011, the North Korean Defectors English Education Program allows committed ETAs the opportunity to teach defector students in Hana centers all throughout the country. With the most recent center additions in Jeju and Jeonju, Fulbright Korea is excited to have over fifty ETAs volunteer at eleven different centers.
Independent ETA Initiatives
In recent years, Fulbright ETAs have created numerous extracurricular groups focused on supporting the under-served student demographics of Korea, including but not limited to the LGBTQ community, students from lower socioeconomic standing and single parent households, and young women. More information on some of these programs can be accessed here:
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