Last year when I was planning for my graduation trip to Korea, I knew I wanted to be there for at least a month or two as I probably would not have another chance like that once I started working. (One week holiday? Yes. One month holiday? Nooo.) But I didn’t have much savings and had to borrow from my parents, so I needed somewhere economical to stay. My favourite backpacker’s hostel in Sinseol-dong (신설동) would still set me back by 700,000 KRW/mth even with a shared bathroom as I would be staying alone, which got me thinking about homestays.
I first heard the idea of homestaying from a friend who did couch-surfing in America, who told me it was a very good way to make friends with the locals and to get cheap, if not free, lodging. Back here in Singapore, there isn’t a culture of inviting travellers into your home as we’re not as open, being an Asian country. However, the idea intrigued me and started looking up on the net regarding homestay in Korea.
Generally through the homestay programme, you get to stay in a Korean family’s home which exposes you to their culture and everyday life, more so than staying in a backpacker’s hostel. Breakfast is provided and the hosts will try their best to make you feel comfortable and go on trips together if possible. Homestay fee ranges from 550,000-800,000 KRW/mth, with an application fee of about 150,000 KRW to be paid to the agent for placement service. For me, I only paid the placement fee as I managed to get free lodging in exchange for teaching English to their 3 kids
There are many portals by which you can go through; I used korea-homestay last year to get mine and another that I know of is Homestay Korea which is actually more established since it started way back in 1998. Alternatively, you can also go through Korea Tourism Organisation and apply for a homestay through them. The process is not too difficult, so here’s the guide for the website I used! ^^
Once accepted by both parties, the Korea Homestay Team will email you regarding the conditions and fees. (Payment options available: Paypal, Credit/Debit card and Wire transfer) After receiving payment, they will then send you the homestay guidebook informing you about rules and regulations and also basic etiquette in a Korean family’s house. With that will also come a homestay agreement which you’re supposed to sign, and also your homestay address and your host’s contact details. It’d be good practice to contact your host and give her your contact details too, just in case. All you need to do after this is to pack your luggage and get ready some small gifts from your country for your host and you’re ready to go!
Hope this guide is helpful enough, and feel free to leave a comment or email me if you have any questions or require help regarding homestaying in Korea! ^^