Busan Global Village Is an organization that runs many different English education programs for various goals, levels, and age groups. The three main programs that they offer all year is an English course that teaches the Canadian curriculum to students, a course that focuses on English speaking and grammar, and an English experience course where students from various schools come to learn English and have fun in unique classrooms. These classrooms are designed to represent various environments that are encountered in daily life (one classroom is shaped like an airplane, a hospital, a subway station, etc.) and students are taught language lessons based on situations and tasks that they might encounter in those environments. During my time at BGV, I only worked as a part of the experience program so it’s the only program I can comment on but I’d like to give as honest of a review as I can.
First the Pros:
One of the great aspects of the job was the fast turnaround of students. In the experience program, you got new groups of students coming in every two days. It’s an environment that allows you to experiment with your lessons, which is very beneficial if this is your first teaching job. You can see what strategies work and don’t work and you get to test them on many groups of students. The best part is, if you get a particularly bad group of students you never have to deal with them again after the two day turnaround. The actually teaching itself was also very, VERY, easy. You will usually be assigned one class for the month, where you teach the same lesson to various students, 6-8 times a day. This leaves you with absolutely no prep work after the first day of the month and you are left without stress and worry to enjoy your evenings and weekends in the truly great city of Busan.
The apartments that were provided are also completely satisfactory. They are located a short walk from Gw*n*alli Beach which could objectively be the best area to live in the city. Busan Global Village is also conveniently located in Seomyeon which is the best place for restaurants, bars, and nightlife. The balance of both locations is really great.
Another bonus is that there is a free lunch available to all of the teachers. It unfortunately often lacks in both quality and nutrition but it is still consumed by the majority of teachers. There are also many alternatives available at a walking distance from the school.
Now the Cons:
I think working with this company takes a certain type of personality to fully enjoy what it offers. If you’re laidback and open to change, then it can be a good place to work (especially if this is your first teaching job). The business is run like most Korean businesses; structures and programs often change and there can be unexpected changes thrown at you a few hours before a class. They are often easy to deal with and if you can be flexible they don’t usually have an impact on your classes. This might seem unprofessional by western standards, but seems to be common practice in Korea. However, on a similar note, the general communication from management is very poor. There have been countless times where teachers are left uninformed and confused to changes being made, or events that are going on, and this does occasionally cause issues.The teachers must be independent enough to seek out answers and draw their own conclusions, as management cannot always be depended on. The supervisors are more managers than leaders and will not always support you.
But the most disappointing aspect of the company is the lack of care for the students. I think this is also a very common practice in Korea, but it doesn’t make it any more acceptable. The primary goal for the business is very visibly to make a profit, with the best interest of the students trailing far behind. The lack of maintenance, cutting corners and costs, exceeding enrollment limits, and lack of proper planning within programs really diminish the value of what students receive when they enroll in a program. Management completely submits their integrity and self-respect to any individual willing to give them money and will rarely turn away a student whether or not their academic level is appropriate for the class or their behavior is affecting the learning of others. Any new programs that are created are also heavily advertised and boasted about while in reality they often have little substance and do not deliver what is promised to the parents of the students. The substance within these programs can be improved by the teachers themselves, but only so much with the resources that are available.
Although the cons seem very harsh, most of the teachers I worked with were relatively happy with their jobs. Like I mentioned before, the teaching was very easy. Teachers also often had the opportunity to go on multiple vacations every year, and having the pleasure of living in the most exciting part of Busan almost completely overshadowed and problems we had at work.
Fast Student Turnaround
Slow support / Lack of support
Lack of integrity.
Like mentioned before, Busan Global Village is located in Seomyeon which is the downtown core of Busan. Great location.