What is the South Korea Fulbright ETA?

Taken from the 2019-2020 South Korea ETA Handbook:


“In 1992, the Fulbright Korea English Teaching Assistant Program began with the arrival of eight U.S. citizens in South Korea to teach English. Fulbright Korea’s ETA program has grown tremendously since then; today, it is 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. Currently, the Korean-American Educational Commission (KAEC), Korean Ministry of Education, and U.S. Institute of International Education jointly organize, select, and develop the guidelines for the program.

The Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) program grants American college graduates teaching positions in elementary and secondary schools across South Korea. ETAs typically teach classes from late August to mid-July, as well as supplementary classes which may or may not be held during winter vacation. ETAs are cultural ambassadors, and are therefore encouraged to take advantage of the many opportunities available to learn more about South Korean culture, in addition to sharing their own culture.

To help ETAs adjust to life in South Korea and prepare for the challenges of working and teaching in a Korean school, as well as living in a new cultural environment, the KAEC holds an intensive
Orientation training program each summer for new ETAs. At the end of this Orientation period, ETAs move to their respective placements and teaching assignments. All first-year ETAs will be
placed in homestays. Homestay experiences are a vital part of the grant year as they provide an immersive and engaging environment in which to better learn about Korean culture, customs, and language, while ETAs acclimate to life in South Korea. Grantees should not accept this grant unless they are ready to live in a Korean homestay.

To continue supporting ETAs during the grant year, Fulbright holds two conferences in the fall and spring. Past conferences were held in Gyeongju (located on the mainland) and in Seogwipo (located on Jeju Island). The conferences are forums to share teaching ideas, work through teaching challenges, and hear from guest speakers. The conferences are also opportunities for ETAs to build their social networks, discuss life in Korea and next steps as young professionals.”

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