Q/A #4

I’m sorry that I haven’t posted a response sooner!


I’m currently doing 100hr ittt course too. Ive done all 20 units and just reading through them now. I need to set a date for ma exam so I have motivation to prepare for it. Desipte reading through them, I dont think im absorbing the content right. I did not take 5 hours for each topic when I did them, but through worksheets and practice I understood. However, im stuck on how to prepare for it. Like you, I struggle/dislike grammar part, and since I never quite understood in at school I have a difficult grasping it now too, specially all the different tenses and their forms and usages.
Would u suggest to prepare before hand? If so, how? Or should I just go for the exam?


Wow, I can’t believe it’s been over two years when I was in your shoes! Brings back lots of memories. 🙂

I’d say that first and foremost, take notice of where you can find certain pieces of information. I read the material and jotted down notes in the margins, but also on the table of contents. The test is mostly about finding the answer in the material that was already given to you and then applying ESL activity ideas. The test is time consuming, not impossible or incredibly hard. The best way to prepare to become familiar with the material, look up definitions if you don’t know them and try to put them in your own words, and take your time! Huge plus if you have someone willing to help you brainstorm ideas for the lesson plan portion of the test.

Good Luck!!


Links to questions I’ve answered to other visitors relating to teaching abroad!

Q/A #1

Q/A #2

Q/A #3


Q/A #3

Whew, I got more questions! Haha. 🙂


1. Do most people get their first choice of school age group? I’m not sure if there are more placements at a middle or elementary school in Seoul, but I’m just curious. Is it true that you don’t get any information about school or housing address before you get to Korea? Seems a little stressful not knowing anything before you get on the plane, haha.

2.Housing: If you want to look for your own place and get the housing allowance instead, when would you tell them that? If they find you an apartment, but you want to find a different place, is it easy to change or are you stuck with it? I just read some bad reviews on SMOE co-op housing so I just wanted to know what people’s options are.

3. I think I read somewhere in your blog that you speak Korean? Do the co-teachers/principal speak to you in Korean or can you just use English?
I’m of Korean background so I was wondering what it’d be like teaching in Korea if people are expecting a stereotypical foreigner.


Hello, again! Yes, most people get their first choice between elementary, middle, and high school. I only knew of a small handful of people who got completely opposite of what they picked and I think it was probably just bad luck. It is also true that you get NO INFORMATION about where you will be sent, what school, which grades you will teach, and where you live. In SMOE, you just know that you will be in Seoul. Beware that I do know people who teaching IN Seoul but they live OUTSIDE of Seoul. It’s really just luck of the draw. If you are in EPIK — it’s pretty much the same, except they start grouping you with the same people in your province. Yeah, it’s kind of frustrating not knowing, but honestly it’s just because the officials don’t want to hear all this whining and complaining from people and so they literally tell you the day before you are sent off to your new home! Haha

If you want to look for your own place, you need to do it now. It is not true that the school will work with you and blah blah. Although you find out where you are going to be placed at the end of orientation, the school already knows and prepares for your arrival. Which means that they have already secured a place for you to live and if you know anything about housing in Korea, getting out of a contract and messing with deposits are insane. So, tell them now or you just got to live with it. Oh, on the subject of Co-ops, I’ve seen one in Dongdaemun and it’s really not too bad. You get a lot of extra stuff with it — like maid service. The only downfall is that it is really small and it’s like living in a dorm room, but you are surrounded by other waygooks.

Finally, the topic of being Korean. Hmmm, there are a lot of ways you can go about this. It really just boils down to whether or not you are comfortable owning your Korean identity. I know a lot of Korean speakers that choose not to reveal their Korean abilities because they don’t want to be looked like a Korean, but more of a foreigner. It’s mostly because if you are a foreigner you can get away with a little more than if the school identifies you as one of “them”. It’s hard to explain — pretty much the standards go up the more Korean you are. I personally just came in honestly. My Korean isn’t even that spectacular and I tell my teachers that I understand more than I can speak (when in reality I can do both easily). What I do recommend you doing = Never speak Korean to your students if you are placed in Seoul. I say Seoul because I know teachers down South and well, the level of English is so completely low that you kind of have to incorporate Korean. In Seoul, however, the more Korean you use the more the kids are unwilling to speak and learn in English, especially if you teach upper level education.

I teach Middle school and I don’t hide from my kids that I can understand what they are saying when it comes to bad words in Korean. They are never really sure how much I know and I like to keep it that way. I always pretend I have no idea what they are talking about unless it’s in English to force them to use what they know to communicate with me. On the other hand, I let my teachers speak to me in Korean when children are NOT around, but I never really speak Korean to them unless we are at Hweshik (teacher’s dinner) or something.

Hope this helps!

Q/A #2

Whoa, I’m glad to see my blog is helping some people out there! Haha. I’m sorry I’m so slow with responding, but here we go.


Hi there,
I saw your post about the ITTT with no-tutor course question. I’m in a rush to apply for EPIK/SMOE, and it says that I have to finish the course by July 20th. I’m assuming that means I’ll have to hand in a copy of my certification by that date?

I think you said you did the whole course in 2 weeks, so is it really do-able in 2 ~3 weeks? And do they just email you the test file and you email it back within the 24 hours they set? I have a bit less than 2 months and am debating between the 100hr or 120 w/tutor and was wondering if you knew about the 120 hour course at all.

One more question: do the Seoul positions fill up the fastest? I’m applying really close to the deadline and just wondering if it’s even worth filling out the extra form by now.


Hello! Yes, I made the mistake of assuming that I only had to finish the course by the deadline, but you are correct — you must have the certification in your hand and ready to send to them. What I did instead was I got the ITTT people to write an email saying that I finished the course and then later they sent an additional email that I had passed. ITTT is actually placed in Thailand and so to get the certificate to me was going to take a couple of days. I eventually had to pay to rush the grading process as well.

Yes, I finished the course in two weeks. You get sent files and files of different chapters of the course. You’re responsible for reading all the material and then you sign up to take the test. I read all the chapters within two weeks and highlighted (which I strongly suggest) important definitions, examples, and such. The test is exactly 24 hours from the time you download the test to the time you turn it in. I’m not sure what they do if you are off by a couple of minutes or hours — but I didn’t take the chance. I wrote in an earlier post about my experience with the test. Long story short, it’s a pain in the ass but I was on a time crunch because I had applied late and didn’t know that I needed the certification in the first place. I knew if I did the one with the tutor that it might slow me down because you have to do one lesson at a time with the tutor and all the emailing back and forth would probably take up more time.

Now, the question about the 100 vs. 120 hours. Hm, all I know is that my recruiter (the lady who worked with me at EPIK) told me that there wasn’t a difference and that getting the 120 hour course wouldn’t help or hurt me. Which is why I just did the 100 hour course. If you are trying to go all out, do the business course (if you really really want to go all out). My priority was to get my certification and get to Korea, so I just chose to do the 100 hour one.

Lastly, GO FOR SEOUL. I am so glad that I got into SMOE and didn’t just stick to EPIK. Living in the city is a completely different experience and meeting people at your orientation is awesome because you won’t be more than 40 minutes apart by train. I know folks in EPIK and Talk who feel more isolated since they are farther away from other areas of the country. Seoul is its own entity. Does it fill up faster? I’m not really sure, I know that I just did the extra work because there was a higher salary and well, my mom made me do it. Like I mentioned earlier, I applied pretty late and I got placed in Seoul. In my interview I told them that I wanted to just be in EPIK and they told me that it was Seoul or nothing. So, I have no idea how they position people. LOL.

Hope this answers your questions! See you on this side of the world!! ❤

Q/A #1

Whoa, people read my blog? Hahahaha … It’s kind of embarrassing, I rather think that no one does. Anyways, got this comment on one of my posts and I decided to answer it to help my fellow SMOE-rs out! Welcome to the program!


Hi! so I just got accepted to EPIK SMOE so I’m trying to get TEFL certified asap ^^ I’m doing the non-tutor support from ITTT which is the one you did? I was hoping if you could tell me if you had any trouble with the final exam not using a tutor. Were some instructions confusing? or it’s pretty much if I read all the units carefully I should know how to answer the exam questions? thank you!


Hello there! I wrote it on a post a couple of months ago, but YES! I recommend doing the non-tutor option if you are pressed on time. I had two weeks to finish a supposedly 2 month long program. I read it over and sat my butt down to do the test. I will warn you to clear your entire schedule because it took me a good 12 hours to finish it. I’ve researched a lot about it before hand. There are people out there that finished it in 5 hours but didn’t answer all the questions because in order to get the certification, you just have to pass. So, really it’s all on how far you are willing to go. I’m a panicky and over obsessed type — so I answered each question and wrote a lot for each answer.

The questions are really grammar based and the time consuming ones are when the test asks for activity examples. I remember there was one part where it asked for 12 different ideas or something. If you are a grammar wiz then you probably won’t have much trouble. I, on the other hand, hate grammar. The units do help though because you have to answer questions based on the units. So read them carefully so you can be familiar with where to find the answers they are looking for. Uh, other than that … I have no advice. Just do it! You’ll be fine as long as you focus for a couple of hours. I will say that I got an “A” on the test. Muahaha.

The only crap part is that if you are in a rush, you need to try to hurry the process where they grade your test. I almost had a heartattack when SMOE kept demanding my certificate and ITTT was being slow as hell on the grading process. They are located in Thailand, so time for it to ship (I’m assuming you don’t live in Thailand) is also a factor. But, if you already got accepted, I’m sure you will be fine.

Bittersweet news = There is a blog out there with a guy who recorded all the answers! It helped me a lot just to see what kind of answers they accepted. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to locate the blog link .. but, I swear it exists! I ran across it while I was researching whether or not to do the non-tutor program. Try to find it!

Good luck and see you on the other side of the world ❤