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ICEV Incheon English Village Review

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Joined: 15 Jun 2007

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:58 am    Post subject: ICEV Incheon English Village Review Reply with quote

This is a review of ICEV for anyone looking into working there.

ICEV, or Incheon English Village seems like an attractive place to work. Heck, just look at this video: Boy dos that look like a great place to work. Unfortunately, I have to inform you that that video and anything you have been told by (maybe even unwitting) recruiters or the school itself is a complete lie. In all fairness, I hear that back when that video was made years ago, it was more true. Now it would make anyone who works at ICEV laugh. In reality, ICEV is run by an unscrupulous money-grubbing family that cares little about the students and even less about the teachers.

That said, let's start the review proper with the positive aspects, just to be fair. It is actually different than your average teaching job. There are a variety of subject one can teach including music, art, cooking, architecture, and several others. The kids that go there do generally have a good time, although I hear the satisfaction rate is quite a bit lower with the new curriculum implemented about a month ago. You will generally teach a variety of things each day so it's not the same class format every period. You pretty much repeat the same thing every week, though, since it's a week long program.

Now that that's out of thw way, let's move on to why you should absolutely NOT decide to work there.

--It's not an English village
That's right, the name itself is a lie. It's a couple of buildings out in the country. Notice how that video link at the top of this review doesn't show any wide shots of the supposed "English Village" and no that shot of buildings that resemble a village that's shown strategically when the announcer mentions the "village" is not ICEV. That's the view standing in front of it. I have never seen any American footbal equipmant. No one ever played lacrosse. The go-carts exist but they were only ever taken out when they had a big festival to impress the mayor so the city would keep giving them a ridiculous amount of money every month.

--Your apartment will be empty
It is standard in Koea to be given an apartment with some stuff in it to get you started. The best I ever got from a school was microwave, DVD player, bed, bedding, TV, sofa, desk, chair and table, and plates, silverware, cups, and towels. The worst before ICEV was just a bed, bedding, TV, desk, chair, a plate, a cup, and a towel. ICEV will give you a bed. No bedding, no nothing. You get an empty room with a bare bed.

--Considering working hours divided by pay, it's one of the lowest paying jobs I know of in Korea.
On the surface, it looks like they pay about the same as other schools, but your days are much longer than in almost any other school for that pay. I heard rumours that they are running ads saying you can make up to 3 million a month. I haven't seen these ads but, if they exist, this is an outright lie.

--You may or may not get paid for overtime you work
They will require you to work overtime and they may decide to pay you or not based on their whims at the time. Sometimes you will be told you are getting paid for it and not told otherwise unril you show up for work. If they don't pay you, they will try to console you with some small token like half a day off in the future, which if you figure it out is worth far less than the overtime you're owed. This is not only unethical but just as illegal in Korea as it probably is in your country of origin.

--You may be given unpaid time off
They have been known to just tell people not come to work for periods of time, and that they are not going to pay them for that time. While the time off may be nice, the not getting paid isn't. The reason you have a job is to get money. If you wanted time off and no money, you wouldn't bother getting a job, right? This is also illegal in Korea to do to a full-time employee.

--You can be fired for being gay
Of course they won't tell you that's the reason, but if you're gay, don't let anyone know or they will fire you. This happened to an employee two weeks into his contract during the time I worked there.

--They regularly comb the contract with a fine-toothed comb to find tings they can reinterpret to make you work more withou paying you any more. It took an all out revolt about a yeasr ago to stop a plan to suddenly increase the working hours by an hour a day (the working hours were already 8 hours a day) You will have to work during your lunch periods as well, by the way. That one went through.

--They might just fire you a week before your contract to avoid paying what they owe you
Yes, you heard right. You know how your contract promises airfare after you complete a year? You know how Korean law states that you get one month's salary extra after you complete a year at any full time job in the country? Well, guess what? If you work 11 months and 3 weeks, you don't get any of that. They will also try to take the money they paid for your flight over as well. All that will most likely add up to between 4 and 5 million won. On the bright side, if you go to the labor board and contact lawyers and make them get a little worried, they might offer to not deduct the airfare over in exchange for a letter of resignation so they can wiggle their way out of legal trouble. They have done this before. There is no reason to believe they will not do it again.

In conclusion, it's just not worth it getting a job at ICEV. If you want to work in an English village, check any of the numerous REAL English villages: Paju, Ansan, Busan, Seoul, and others

ICEV: why take the chance for so little to gain?
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West Coast Tatterdemalion

Joined: 31 Aug 2010

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, screw all the English villages. The hagwon racket is bad enough. English villages seem to be a million times worse. Just say, "No."
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Joined: 27 Aug 2010
Location: where pretty lies perish

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My first hagwon was an English Village in Seoul. Had 0 problems with it. Paid on time and everything, school set me up with a bank account + phone, we went to dinners where I didn't pay a dime, etc. Most importantly, I probably had 5-6 classes a day which was chill compared to most hagwons I know.

They aren't all bad. Sorry you didn't have a good experience at yours.
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thomas pars

Joined: 29 Jan 2009

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Some recruiter offered me this gig. It seemed legit. I think they said working hours were from 10-5. maybe.

I never followed up on it cause when i tried to figure out where it was I noticed it was in the middle of nowhere. Basically between the industrial waste space of Gimpo and some huge landfill. And that was about it. Nice to hear they are crooks are well.

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Joined: 07 Nov 2008

PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I worked across the street at another "English Village" which is also a sham factory. They pimped the foreign teachers to "visit" public schools around Incheon to try and pull more students.

But, luckily, no one was fired last minute as you say. There were lots of scare tactics/switch and bait shenanigans, unfortunately.

There was one manager (who I had a beef with) that got herself fired for sleeping with a teacher in one of the experience rooms the children play in during the day. Unfortunately, there is a nutty, fruity idiot that works the payroll and couldn't give a damn if he screws up or not, you pretty much have to threaten him with violence before he gets off his @$$ and does the right thing. (His name starts with a D)

Stay away from all the EVs if you know what is good for you
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Joined: 19 Dec 2013
Location: Incheon, South Korea

PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:51 am    Post subject: Updated ICEV job description (Dec. 2013) Teaching at ICEV Reply with quote

I am a current employee at ICEV. I would like to give a couple bits of information about the current working and living conditions at Incheon English Village. It will be difficult, but I will try to be as objective as possible. People deserve to know what to expect before making their decision.


New employees are no longer given apartments. They are assigned to dorm rooms in a building not too far from ICEV.

Your room comes with a bed (no bedding), a desk, a couple shelves, a couple closets, and an old style TV. These things must stay in your room. You are not allowed to move them, even if you don't use them.

The rooms are quite small and the bathroom is not western style (by this I mean your shower head hangs above your sink, so when you shower everything in the bathroom gets wet and the drain is on the floor. It would be next to impossible to create an area with a shower curtain)

Around 25 teachers live in this dorm (some from ICEV, some from the school next door, GEC) and share the laundry and kitchen facilities.

There are only 2 washers and two dryers shared between all of the teachers (there is no room in your room to set up a drying rack)
The washers are not attached to a hot water source.

The kitchen currently has only two burners. There is no oven. These burners are shared between the 25 teachers and around 10 bus drivers. The bus drivers cook dinner there every night so during this time you probably won't be able to cook.
The kitchen is not a heated area (you will need to bundle up to cook in the winter)

There are a couple microwaves in the building and several water stations (they have cold and hot water taps)

There is wired internet in each room, but no WiFi. The speed is usually very fast.

You don't pay any bills at the dorms.


You will be working within 24 hours of your arrival. Some people are brought to work within hours of getting off the plane. This will be done if your arrival time and the school hours allow.

You will be required to work Monday through Saturday. Yes, six days a week, despite what you are told on the phone.
(Disclaimer: There are a couple programs in which a few teachers DO have a 5 day work-week from Tuesday to Saturday. This is only for a select few, so don't count on it.)

Overtime is mandatory. You will be told it is optional during phone interviews. It is mandatory. Again, it IS NOT OPTIONAL.

You get a few weeks off per year, but other than that, there is nothing. There is no summer vacation. You will work on Christmas day. You will work every holiday (even Korean government holidays) unless it falls on the scheduled vacation weeks.

There are multiple mandatory, UNPAID events that you must attend. These are usually after working hours.

The work is not difficult. It's actually fun most of the time, but it depends on your attitude.

Now, to be a little less objective...
Korean work culture differs GREATLY from western work culture. This often causes conflict because both sides don't understand the other. Expect it.
Korean work culture expects appreciation for anything given to the employee. A western employee expects to be treated fairly, and with respect. A western employee is usually viewed as "always complaining" when all we want is to be treated fairly and with a little dignity.
Example (completely made-up!):
Korean way - You look tired. Drink some of the free coffee. You should be thankful for the coffee.
Western way - I was only able to sleep 4 hours last night because of work. I deserve fair working and living conditions.

Simple consideration for employees is not present here. This is a business and the bare minimum(in the eyes of westerners) is given to it's employees....and they expect you to be appreciative of it. It's a big cultural clash.
Your time outside of work will never be considered by ICEV. Work is all that matters to them. Work is life here.

Reply if you have specific questions and I will answer them if I can

Hopefully this helps someone!

Last edited by hopelesswanderer on Thu Dec 26, 2013 1:53 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 24 May 2009

PostPosted: Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sounds like a nightmare.
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Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Guess you shouldn't work for Incheon English Village. Visited one of those in Paju with my school some saturday and they didn't seem too happy either when I talked to a couple of them. I guess all the English villages in Gyeong-gi are private? I knew of others working at smaller ones in the countryside that were owned by the government. Not as fancy as these big shindigs, but I think workers were better treated and had their own places.

Yeah, when you get some d!(khead boss who thinks he's the king of all ajossis. It's the worst. I'm the king, you're beneath me, take my abuse. Most of the time, I haven't had to deal with that. But, when you get it, it's rough. Best advice I can give is to pay your debts quickly so you can get out of dodge if need be.

As for this EV, if they paid 3 million won or something to put up with that, fair enough. If it's 2.0, tell them to shove off.
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Joined: 26 Dec 2013

PostPosted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 2:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm on the verge of accepting a contract to GEC Incheon, I believe that is the "school across the street" from I.C.E.V that some people have referred to.

Any particular warning I should be had of it? I dont expect a perfect experience, especially for my first year in Korea as a teacher. This English Village is apparently publicly funded.

I just like the idea that, unlike another school where I may have little in the ways of a support network, or only have a couple other english speaking teachers, this one I at least have a 11 others. 5 teachers can be replaced, but if you're balancing enough students to need 12 english teachers, then I feel bad bosses can only go so far (may be naive of me, but there is a logic to it... and anyone going to very different culture is bound to have a natural naivety, im prepared for this realization)

Thank you to anyone who can shed light on GEC Incheon English village (one not far from ICEV).

More specifically (and yet so very vague), I want to know the 'good' the 'bad' and the 'ugly'. I understand a lot of schools, especially with my experience (or lack there of) will have some bad, im more concerned about the ugly, and the overall take away from the experience.

I do hope to do a second year, so first year is both a testing period and an experience building period to aim higher in the second year.
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Adam Selene

Joined: 29 Dec 2013

PostPosted: Tue Dec 31, 2013 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GEC is the "school across the street", it was purchased by the owners of ICEV back in March 2013 when it was going under. Many of the same issues apply over there, chief among them, the housing, since that is now where they house new ICEV teachers as well. Same issue of 24-28 teachers to two stove burners, and a small room in the middle of nowhere. One washer, one drier, good luck getting a cab. It's in front of the bus stop though.

The GEC workday is a bit better, I believe they have some slots for Adult Ed. morning classes followed by a lunch break and substantial prep-time daily, with 2:00-8:00 (or something like that) classes. I also think they rarely have Saturday programs, but the parent company being what it is, they have been adding more. A few teachers from there have been pulled for helping at ICEV, but they have asked for volunteers instead of it being mandatory. GEC is less affected by the problems of ICEV since they aren't a residential camp that is also trying to run a plethora of other programs simultaneously, and with half the foreign staff and more students than it was designed for. GEC may have lower compensation than ICEV, and the accommodations are the same. If the accommodations aren't a problem for you, go for it. It seems fairly well put together if boring, but beware unexpected changes coming from on-high.
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Joined: 26 Dec 2013

PostPosted: Sun Jan 05, 2014 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Accommodation is not ideal for me but I also see an upside with the university residence style housing, particularly for a first year teacher, a social network.

Its not my ideal situation to be honest, id rather have more independence, would encourage me to absorb the culture more as well, but I hope this is just the first of at least 2 years.

Im pretty laid back emotionally, not really demanding, and will do what is needed. Probably an ideal employee for a lot of these schools haha, as long as employers are not blatantly disrespectful I shouldn't have an issue. But Im sure I am being a little bit naive.
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Joined: 26 Oct 2009

PostPosted: Mon Jan 06, 2014 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Living with other foriegners can be good or bad. If they are douchey, it will have you wanting to head for the hills. If they are cool, you won't mind it. Foriegners here are either cool or a mixed bag of nuts. Also, folks can be normal, but if there are great age differences, it can be a pain too. If you are 30 and up, while others are mostly 22 years old, often a big maturity gap.
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