One, two, three…kimchi! You may not be best friends with this unique side dish right now, but by the end of volunteering abroad in Seoul you will refuse to have any meals that doesn’t have it on the side. Volunteering in Seoul will give you chance to experience the vibrancy of Korean culture, but will leaving you wanting more. Although, the country is most famous for Psy, there are many hidden gems for to discover during your stay such as kimbap, Korean TV dramas, and keyboard stickers. Keep reading to find out how you could volunteer abroad in Seoul.
What you need to know about volunteering abroad in Seoul
Seoul is a great base for volunteering. It is easy to navigate, with great transport systems, and reasonable living costs.
Popular projects in Seoul. There is a huge demand in Seoul for learning English. You can base yourself with a school, an orphanage, or with a local family. There are other volunteering options as well, not-for profit charities require volunteers for a variety of causes such as cultural restoration and environmental causes.
Short term volunteer programs in Seoul. Most volunteer projects in Seoul are for less than three months. Although short, this length is an ideal introduction to the wonders of Seoul and the beauty of Korean culture. Volunteer projects can be undertaken throughout the year, so you can decide if you prefer the cherry blossom of spring, the vibrancy of summer, the many festivals of autumn, or snow covered Seoul in winter. There is a range of accommodation options including staying with a local family or sharing with other volunteers.
Long term volunteer projects in Seoul. There are longer options available for volunteering in Seoul. Longer term volunteering options are for teaching English. These placements provide you with plenty of time to take part in language lessons and to explore Seoul and the rest of South Korea. Longer term projects give you the opportunity to get a better understanding of Korean culture and the challenges that has on your volunteering topic.
Life Abroad in Seoul, South Korea for international volunteers
Seoul has everything you could wish for in a city and by the end of your placement you will have fallen in love. There are historic neighborhoods that are like stepping back in time, to lovely, modern, buzzing neighborhoods like Gangnam. You can spend days exploring museums, cycling along the river, working your way through the themed cafes (dogs, cats, owls, pigs), or splurging on souvenirs you don’t really need, but the idea is too clever to ignore! Selfie sticks came from Korea after all….
Food is another highlight of Seoul, and during your volunteering placement, make sure you check out the different dishes on offer, from live octopus tentacles to fried chicken (often voted the best fried chicken in the world). If you want to get out of the city, you only need to make a small effort before you are in stunning mountains. Hiking is the national pastime of Koreans, so bring some walking shoes with you. South Korea is easy to get round, and there are buses that take you throughout the country for a quick day trip, or weekend away.
GoAbroad’s inside scoop for volunteers in Seoul, South Korea
Take off your shoes! Don’t walk into someone's home, school, or a traditional floor-seated restaurant without taking your shoes off first! Koreans have indoor shoes and outdoor shoes, and it can cause great offense if you wear the wrong pair. If in doubt, about what to do then check to see what everyone else around you is doing or ask (don’t worry you won’t offend by asking).
Check the weather. Seoul has distinct seasons. In summer it is very hot, with sudden rain down pours that causes flash floods. It is quite common for Koreans to wear wellies in the summer. While in winter there is snow and ice that without proper footwear can make getting round difficult. Check the weather for when you will be in Seoul so you can pack appropriately.
Mud. So normally you want to avoid mud, but in South Korea every year, they have a mud festival where the aim is to get plastered in mud. There are bouncy castles, inflatable assault courses, music, beer, and lots and lots of mud. Best of all, the mud is meant to be good for your skin. What are you waiting for?
Volunteering abroad in Seoul is a great introduction to the delights of South Korea. You will be awe of how friendly the people are, lost in the beauty of the country, and wish you had more time to try even more food.
So if you want to go crazy over kimchi, explore the delights of Gangnam, and try live octopus tentacles (let me know how that one goes!) then read our comprehensive guide on volunteering abroad in South Korea.