This past weekend a couple of friends and I stayed at IS@K hostel in Itaewon (which was very nice) and had a birthday dinner at Santino's nearby. Located on the same side of the street as Noodle Box, it's down the street from the itaewon metro like you're walking towards the CHEIL building or IP Hotel. it's upstairs with an orange awning and sign out front on the right side of the street.
THIS PLACE WAS MAGICAL and FANTASTIC. Every single person there was EXTREMELY pleasant and helpful and the food was like being at an Italian restaurant back in the states. We got spaghetti, pizza, and cheesy penne pasta dish which all were great. We ordered drinks and they were as potent as they were delicious. All the dishes were in the $19 range but the taste, while living in Korea, was well worth it!
I will always recommend and frequent Santino's whenever I'm in Itaewon and in the mood for Italian food. Give it a try - you will not be disappointed.
The exact same day I created this site and decided to share this information with fellow beings who are interested in traveling across the waters to live and teach in South Korea, I received a Kakao message from "S.W." Her message read, "hey all, If you didn't see the FB msg: Ashley's hagwon closed, so she will go back to the usA this weekend...[invite to say goodbye tonight]"
Now I never had a conversation with Ashley however, I did meet her while waiting for the bus at e-mart during last semester. She had just arrived in the city and seemed very excited to be starting her journey as a Native Teacher. That was about October, it's now May, 6 months premature the end of her contract and now she's being forced to go home.
Now this happens a lot. I've heard of numerous Teachers having to leave or scramble to find new teaching gigs after their hagwon just randomly closed [or they got fired].
Hagwons in Korea are a dime a dozen. If you choose to teach at one, it can be the best on Monday and closed by Sunday. The parents in S.Korea TALK. Reputation gets around fast. Owners can be shady. Teachers don't get paid.
I've also heard of a young lady who arrived in S. Korea AT INCHEON AIRPORT, where the Hagwon owner was supposed to meet her and pick her up. Well, he saw her and didn't like how she looked so he left, WITHOUT HER. You may ask what did she do? She got back on a plane and went home.
Now while this was hearsay, I CAN TELL YOU I BELIEVE IT. The visual of a person in S. Korea I feel sometimes can be more important than the teaching ability or anything else for that matter, but it really all depends.
So in short, if you are looking and/or have decided to take the next step in Teaching in South Korea, my suggestion is go with a reputable program such as EPIK (& maybe GEPIK, if you're not looking to teach high school). In regards to logistics and credibility, you probably won't regret it!