Korean people are very shy - especially when it comes to talking English. Many students learn English, but even as adults find it hard to find the courage to speak with a foreigner. I know that some of the people I have met in my travels here do know a few words in English but are not keen to try their knowledge.
I have found help though in surprising places. The two banks I went to initially to get funds from my Australian account via their ATMs. One was a young gun toting security guard who spoke in excellent English and was most helpful (though not able to help me get my money), and later another "concierge" in a bank spoke well enough to be very helpful.
In the Tourist Office in the Hanok village - again I was surprised to find an English speaking official.
But the day I was in the Hanok village was the day many school children and others spoke with me. Simple greetings to be sure - but at least they did try. There were a group that were exiting the Catholic church as I was going in, and many of them said "Hello. How are you?" and we exchanged greetings. Some asked me which country I was from. I must say it was refreshing to hear English.
Later in the park I met a guy from Canada - he was actually born in Korea - but had lived for over 15 years in Canada - and we had quite a chat. He introduced me to his mother and sister, who live here in Korea and whose English was minimal.
At the Kids Club, the littlies will chat with me happily in English. Maybe when I go to Seoul I will find more English speakers there.