Teach English Abroad | What are English Summer Camps in Korea?

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TEach English Abroad |What are English Summer Camps in Korea? What do you teach at an English Summer Camp in Korea?

School summer vacation is officially upon us and much is in flux in Dynamic Korea.

During summer and winter vacations, many Korean schools put on English Summer Camps, where we NET’s teach the kids how to have fun… in English! It’s a subtle predecessor to “English Villages” (where you can stay in a village, and everything is in English),  popular among some Koreans. Mostly though, aside from learning, it’s games, games, games all the way!

Currently, many EPIKers are on their way to starting camp sessions with their appointed schools.

Teach English Abroad |What are English Summer Camps in Korea?

I start my first English Summer Camp this Tuesday! Yay! I’m excited for the change of pace, to work alongside more NET peers as well as, in a new school with new staff and students!  But I’m also nervous…  What are English Summer camps in Korea like?

English Summer Camps were only briefly touched upon during our  EPIK orientation, so I have no clue what they’re about.

The idea of summer camps dredges dreadful summer camp memories from my youth (sorry, Mom...)- sweating the summer heat, being made to play dumb games like Duck Duck Goose or Who’s up 7up? and sing sad songs like Puff the Magic Dragon (which is right up there with Bambi‘s mother dying).


What do you teach at an English Summer Camp in Korea?

Korean students love the two things I never did… singing and games.

I still find it astounding how my Korean students love singing the lame textbook songs, as a form of self-expression (and then I start singing them myself…). Meanwhile, “games” are like that little doggie bone treat that makes them do tricks.  I can’t tell you how playing Ki-Bi-Bo with a rowdy class turns them into attentive students.

What do you teach at an English Summer Camp in Korea?

Key word? Fun.

[For a followup, see here, here and what is golden bell?]

We can do a lesson on anything like How to Make a Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich, just make it fun for the kids and have them learn a bit while we’re at it. If we need tools or treats for our students, the school will provide them too.  Food lessons are very popular with Korean students, I hear.

This places me at a slight disadvantage– I only like teaching things I found fun as a kid, and this makes me second guess myself. Do I know what fun is for a Korean elementary kid?

…Well so, these past 2 weeks, I’ve been stressed with my lesson planning.

I Want to Be a Superhero (for my Advanced class)

The two subjects I chose are My Pet Monster (Feelings) and I Want to be a Superhero (Actions). Throughout the year, the Korean classroom focus is always placed on memorization and mimicking. Korean kids aren’t taught how to think for themselves, creatively or originally; so I wanted my lessons to exercise creative tools like imagination, drawing and acting. Pit against songs, this could be boring to them, so wish me luck!


How and which English Summer Camps do you get appointed to?

Your own school summer camp is a given. But not all schools will hold a summer camp. You’re lucky if your school doesn’t want to hold one.  But then you’re not lucky, if your intent is to make some extra money. We get overtime pay to do these camps.

You’ll likely be placed at another school nearby your own.

Many EPIKers have– two 3-4 day camps.  I consider this lucky! Some NET’s have more extreme schedules, either appointed up to five camps or one long camp from their school,  which takes nearly most of summer break. But the other alternative is “desk-warming”, which isn’t exciting by any means.  At least at camps, you get to play with the kiddies and peek into someone else’s school.

My load is easy and nowhere near monstrous as others, such as fellow EPIK blogger, Christo, who has 2 weeks of summer camp and 20 lesson plans (God no!). I’m still stressed, despite the fact I can be good at winging things. I’m excited to teach at my first summer camp, but stressed.

Working with our CT helpers and staff of Joonang Elementary for their English Summer Camp

My Summer Camp schedule

I teach grades 3-6 in both camps, but my two camps work differently:

•  My own school camp is three days. It’s six classes/day at the regular 40 min of class time. I have mixed classes:  3rd-4th grade and 5th-6th grade and I get one Korean teacher for an assistant aid (aka translator).

•  My other camp at Joonang Elementary is four days.  It’s a total of eight classes at two hours of class time, with the last day being Golden Bell  and a school Talent show (I have to come up with a performance to teach my home room class). Classes are split into Basic and Advanced levels and I get two Korean teachers as aids.

Follow along with my updates to see how my first summer camp goes…


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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Christine! This is Jeanette and I am from Singapore! Was wondering if you could share more information about helping out at Summer camps in South Korea? I would like to do that too when I go over for summer this year! 🙂

  • Just wondering…may I use some of your article on my site if I place a link back to you? =)


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