Teach English in a Homestay in South Korea

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  • Overview

    Questions or concerns about the coronavirus? Please read our blog about it here!

    Experience all that South Korea has to offer with Greenheart Travel’s Teach English in a Homestay Program. Tutors spend 15 hours per week teaching their host family English. Additional time is spent living and breathing South Korean culture and language. 

     This program offers:  

    This is a volunteer, unpaid teaching placement designed for deep cultural immersion and exchange. This program is ideal for adults hoping to get their feet wet in teaching, teachers planning to travel during their summer break, or travelers seeking to experience full cultural immersion while teaching English abroad. 

    • Volunteer tutoring position with a local host family 
    • 15 hours per week tutoring your host family 
    • Placements in and around Seoul  
    • Accommodation with volunteer Korean host family 
    • 1, 2 or 3-month placements 
    • Rolling start dates twice monthly 
    • Arrival orientation that offers teaching support and cultural training  


  • Program Dates

    Start dates are available year-round. Travelers will arrive at their homestays on the first and third Sunday of every monthHowever, if these dates do not align with your availability please speak to our staff so we may work to accommodate you.   

    Deadlines to Apply

    In order to secure a host family, you should finish your application 2-3 months prior to the date you want to depart your home country.  

  • Eligibility

    We are looking for volunteers who are open-minded, flexible, and who meet the following requirements:  

    • Be between Ages 18-40  
    • Be a citizen of the U.S., Canada, UK, Ireland, EU, Australia, or New Zealand 
    • Be a native English speaker  
    • Be a high school graduate – college students and graduates preferred  
    • Have a clean criminal record (besides very minor traffic offenses like speeding) including underage drinking charges, DUIs, misdemeanors, etc.   
    • Have the ability to prepare a private tutoring lesson plan  
    • Be in great mental* and physical health
    • Fully vaccinated against COVID 19

    *What does it mean to be in good mental health?  

    Moving to a new culture and staying in unfamiliar surroundings without your normal support structure can be very stressful. Sending someone with pre-existing conditions on a long-term exchange program could exacerbate whatever challenges they were previously facing. Additionally, mental health resources are different in every country. The perception of mental health conditions as well as mental health care, support, and understanding are very different in Korea than in the USA. In order to ensure the safety of our travelers, we must be rigorous in our pre-screening of all applicants.

    Therefore, we may not be able to accept those who have struggled with mental disorders within the last 2 years and/or are reliant on medication to address their existing mental disorder. Each person will be addressed on a case-by-case basis.

    These include, but are not limited to:

    • Mood disorders
    • Anxiety disorders
    • Eating disorders
    • Cognitive and developmental disorders

    If the traveler reports a mental disorder on their application, we may ask for a doctor’s note as part of the application. While Greenheart will work hard with our partners to place you, due to cultural norms in the host country, there is no guarantee that even with a doctor’s note, you will be placed.

  • Costs & Inclusions

    • month – $1,710  
    • 2 months – $2,010 
    • 3 months – $2,320

    Please note, all prices are listed in USD 

    Packaged into the Program Fee:  

    • Host family search, screening and placement process 
    • Single room accommodation with a carefully screened host family  
    • Two home-cooked meals a day for the duration of the program  
    • Private transportation upon arrival to host families  
    • Arrival orientation  
    • Comprehensive medical insurance for the duration of the program  
    • English as a second language teaching resources  
    • Access to Greenheart Travel Facebook groups to connect with alumni and others on your start date ahead of your program 
    • Greenheart Atlas Program 

    Our Support and Services: 

    • Extensive pre-departure advice and support from your experienced Program Manager 
    • Online webinar logistics orientation before departure  
    • Highly experienced team of in-country support staff members  
    • 24-hour in-country support and emergency support for the duration of the program 

    Additional Benefits of a Homestay Program: 

    • Resume-enhancing experience as a private language tutor abroad  
    • Full immersion Korean language practice outside of your teaching hours 
    • Ability to explore and experience authentic Korean culture  
    • Fulfilling relationships with a host family who is genuinely interested in learning the English language 

    Additional Expenses You’ll Need to Cover (Estimates): 

    • Criminal background required on our application (~10 USD)
    • Flights (700 USD- $2,000 USD depending on where you’re departing from and the time of year) 
    • Lunch expenses (available for approximately $7/meal) 
    • Additional meals or snacks eaten outside of the family’s home 
    • Spending money for personal expenses, social activities, tourism, etc.  

    Wondering why you have to pay for a volunteer teaching program? 

    Greenheart Travel is a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization, and the program fee for this volunteer teaching project covers the cost of placing you in the program. These fees also aid in providing accommodation, meals, insurance and pre-departure & in-country support to homestay teachers. 

  • Host Families

    Homestay tutors live with local host families during the program. Host families undergo an application process that mirrors that of our tutor’s application. Greenheart Travel will match all tutors and families based on living preferences and personal interests. Host families are not compensated for hosting and host only in exchange for the English lessons. 

    Prospective host families undergo a rigorous screening process; only suitable host families will be selected. In order to qualify as a host family, the prospective hosts must: 

    • Successfully pass a criminal background check 
    • Undergo and pass an in-person interview with program staff 
    • Agree to and pass a home inspection 

    All tutors will have their own private room but may share a bathroom and living areas with the host family. Host families also provide two meals per day except when going out to restaurants. As an English teacher in a homestay, you will be warmly welcomed into a host family’s home, while having the opportunity to explore the region on your own. 

  • Placements

    Homestay tutors live with local host families during the program. All tutors receive their host family’s contact information prior to departure. 

    It’s important that tutors be flexible in placement location, as there are families throughout the country. We cannot guarantee placement in a specific region or city, but most tutors are likely to be placed in Seoul. However, host family tutors may be placed in any of the following locations:  

    • Seoul
    • Incheon 
    • Daejeon 
    • Daegu 
    • Pohang 
    • Busan/Gimhae 
    • Pyeongchang 
    • Gwangju 

    ***Placements outside of the Seoul/Gyeonggi Province will be charged an additional transportation fee that can range from $30-$60 USD.

  • FAQs

    Is Korea safe?

    Korea is generally a very safe country, but it’s advisable to use the same safety precautions you use in your hometown to keep yourself safe. Always be aware of pick-pocketing when near major tourist destinations in Seoul. Just be sure to educate yourself on these tourist scams to be aware of them when you move to Korea.

    Is there a threat from North Korea? 

    Although there are tensions between North and South Korea, there is no threat to South Korea at this time. For more information about relations between North and South Korea, please visit the U.S. Department of State website.

    Do I need a visa? 

    A tourist visa is sufficient as it usually allows you to stay in the country for 90 days. If you plan to stay in Korea afterwards, you will have to plan ahead to secure the proper documents and visas.

    Do I need to know how to speak Korean?

    It is not required to speak Korean to take the course or teach in Korea. Many Koreans will know basic English and most street signs will have English translations. However, learning a little of the language before you arrive is always a good idea! There are many programs and apps to help you learn Hangul (the Korean alphabet) like Duolingo or Rosetta Stone.

    Is it easy to navigate around?

    Yes! Getting around Korea is easy and affordable with the abundance of trains and buses available all over the country. The Seoul Metro covers a large area of Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi-do.

    What’s covered in the arrival orientation?

    Arrival orientation is intended to be a time for our tutors to connect with the local staff on resources that will help our tutors better acclimate to their new surroundings and host culture. During orientation, the local staff will inform tutors about Korean etiquette and homestay rules. Staff will also provide tutors with resources  and best practices for teaching. Lastly, tutors will get to learn about optional social activities and outlets that will help them explore and immerse themselves in the Korean culture in their free time!

    I don’t have teaching experience. How will I know what to teach my host family?

    There is no pre-determined curriculum; however, participants should be prepared to put together a lesson plan for each tutoring session. Greenheart Travel will provide you access to a library of resources to help you develop ideas for the lessons. Usually, you will teach the children in the home but occasionally an adult will request lessons as well. The level of English will vary depending on the host family, but most will be at the beginner level and will only have basic knowledge of English.

    How much money should I bring in savings?

    The cost of living in Korea is likely less than what you are used to. We recommend having access to at least $1000 USD so you may live comfortably. Realistically, your only mandatory expense is your lunch. Breakfast and dinner will be provided for you, and you will not have to pay for monthly utility bills. Your savings will be yours to use for additional social outings, travel, souvenirs, and language classes.

    I identify as LGBTQ+. How will I be supported?

    Greenheart Travel welcomes travelers identifying as LGTBQ+, and is committed to helping you find the best program for you. We can provide information on the cultural norms of our destination countries and are prepared to advise you on the best programs based on your needs and interests.  

    Please read more here. 

    What do tutors normally do for lunch?

    Korea has a strong dining-out culture compared to other countries. Many locals dine-out routinely. If the tutor would like to cook lunch, this would depend on the host’s permission to use the kitchen.

  • Why Greenheart Travel?

    Greenheart Travel has been working in South Korea for many years, and there are advantages of applying for this program through us:

    • 33 years of experience with cultural exchange programs
    • Friendly, responsive, and professional support from your program manager.
    • Connect with alumni and others on the program via our Greenheart Travel only Facebook forums, before you even leave!
    • Greenheart Atlas Program. The Greenheart Travel Atlas is a cultural training interactive guidebook alongside five videos where you will find three main topics covered: Personal/Professional Development, Cultural Understanding, & Environmental Awareness.
    • Hands-on support and personal attention every step of the way
    • 24/7 emergency phone number to reach a staff member at any time
    • Pre-departure “Culture Shock and Adjustment” Webinar before you leave
    • Discounts for future Greenheart Travel programs
    • We are a non-profit, mission-based organization
    • Continued support throughout your contract

    We also have some unique offerings to our Greenheart Travel teachers and alumni!

    Greenheart Grants

    Greenheart Grants are funds awarded to Greenheart Travel participants to use for community development projects in their host or home country. A Greenheart Grant is the opportunity to create, improve, or maintain an impactful, community-focused project abroad or at home. Grant funds could be applied to supporting women’s cooperatives, schools, community centers, or health clinics, for example. Grant winners will be featured on our website, social media, and blog. You can see our past winners on our blog here.

    Greenheart Alumni Program

    We created the Greenheart Travel Alumni Program to provide resources and a community to support alumni in their advancement as global leaders, and a way to celebrate and reward our participants for being ambitious, inspiring catalysts of cultural exchange!

    Greenheart Global Leaders Conference

    Each August Greenheart offers full-ride scholarships to over 40 alumni to attend our annual conference in Washington, DC. Participants even get a chance to advocate for cultural exchange in a presentation to the US Department of State. You can see more about what GGLC is and what you could do at the conference here.

  • Optional TEFL Course

    While no certification is required for the Teach English in a Homestay program, an education in ESL teaching methods is extremely helpful in these tutoring positions.

    Therefore, we are excited to offer a special discount on the Online TEFL Certification Course. This will allow our Homestay teachers to get formal ESL training alongside the hands-on experience of tutoring their host families. Alumni of the online course receive lifetime job placement assistance, opening up great opportunities for future teaching positions around the world.

    Adding the 170-hour online course is perfect if you want:

    • To teach abroad in a school in the future
    • To save time – the 20 practicum hours required by the course are fulfilled by your homestay program
    • A flexible course designed to fit around your full-time schedule

    Teach English in a Homestay travelers can sign up for the TEFL course in their homestay application at a discounted fee of $1,045. Just check the “Add TEFL Certification” box when you apply!

    Read more about the course here!

  • Application Process

    1. Start Your Application HereYou will be sent more information as well as the link to our application portal to begin your formal application.

    2. Submit Basic Program Information: The first step in our application portal will be basic things like your chosen start date, etc.

    3. Submit your application fee: A $300 application deposit is required in order to apply for the program. This is subtracted from your total program fee. If we are unable to accept you following your interview (very unlikely!) we will refund your deposit in full.

    4. Complete Application & Documents: Provide more detailed information about yourself in Part 2 of the application. In this section, you’ll tell us more information like your work history, motivations for joining the program, travel history, and emergency contacts. You will also submit your documents (below) within your portal account.

    5. Zoom Interview: Once you have submitted your online application and paid your application fee, you will be asked to schedule a video interview with a Greenheart Travel representative.

    6. You’re Accepted! Woohoo! We are usually able to accept people within 1-2 weeks of their interviews.

    7. Commitment Payment: Once you are accepted to the program, you will need to submit a $300 commitment payment within 14 days to confirm your spot on the program. We cannot start the host family matching process until we have this deposit. Once you submit your commitment payment you will unlock the acceptance portion of your portal, which includes things like pre-departure videos, travel and arrival information, the Greenheart Travel Atlas, and more.

    7. Book your flights, and get ready for your adventure to Korea! Your remaining balance is due in full 8 weeks before your start date.

    Required Documents

    • A letter of recommendation (personal or professional)
    • “dear host family” letter introducing yourself
    • A photo album with 5-7 recent photos of you (used for your host family to get to know you)
    • Self-intro video (~1 minute)
    • Copy of your passport
    • Completed background check. If you are a U.S. citizen we can provide you a free, online service.

    You’re Accepted – now what?

    Your program manager will be in touch with you directly about your acceptance. If accepted, you will receive your Greenheart Travel program handbook via email, as well as supplemental information about dealing with culture shock and our insurance program.

    Before we begin the host family screening and placement process, an additional $300 commitment payment (which goes toward your program fee also) is due. 

    A visa may be required for a tourist stay of up to 90 days depending on the destination country. Greenheart Travel will provide you information about applying for a visa, but please check with the embassy of your host country to verify, as visa requirements may change.

  • Schedule a Call

    Have questions or want to talk to us about the program? Set up a time to have a phone call below.

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