Volunteer in South Korea
Although South Korea is one of the most modern countries in the world there are still lots of opportunities to volunteer. You can find flexible projects available to join every month of the year which are open to international participants.
Volunteer Programs in Korea
Guide to Volunteering in South Korea
One of the best ways to experience South Korea is through volunteering. Often when people are looking to volunteer in Asia then never think of Korea as a potential destination, we think you should conside this country and don't be put by the language barrier. You will get to mix with and help local Korean people whilst also meeting other international participants from all over the world. You can help children and disadvantaged communities, or work at orphanages or help North Korean refugees.
South Korea has a facsinating culture and you will be able to learn more about the country and experience the highlights of the country in your spare time. There are several international volunteering organisations offering placements in South Korea to foreigners including Concordia and Habitat for Humanity who have been working on the ground for several years to improve housing and living conditions for local communities. There are also local organisations which offer volunteer programs to international participants.
Apply to make a difference by applying to volunteer in South Korea today.
South Korea at a Glance
- Ethnic groups: Korean
- Religions: Christian 26.3% (Protestant 19.7%, Roman Catholic 6.6%), Buddhist 23.2%, other or unknown 1.3%, none 49.3% (1995 census)
- Literacy: 97.9% (2002)
- Urbanization: 83% (2010)
- Population Living on US$1.25 a Day: 98% (2009)
- Access to Improved Water Sources: 100% (2009)
Sources: The World Factbook, World Bank
Places Where You Can Volunteer in South Korea
There are placements throughout the country in places like Busan, Seoul, Daejon, Incheon, Daegu, Gwangju, Suwon-si, Goyang-si, Seongnam-si, Ulsan and rural areas.
Volunteer in Seoul
Seoul is the most well known and popular volunteer destination in South Korea, this is a vibrant city where a lot of community based projects are located.
Types of Volunteer Programs in South Korea
There are lots of volunteer opportunities available to join, these are some of the main areas where you can help:
Helping Disabled People
Volunteers are needed at centers which work with disabled adults and children. Projects aim to help disabled people become self-sufficient and organizing activities that involve getting disabled people integrated into local communities.
Volunteer with Children & at Orphanages
There are various social programs which help and support disadvantaged children providing food, accommodation and education. You will be able to make a difference to the lives of children and help children’s development by creating a safe and welcoming space at community outreach centres and orphanages.
Help Elderly People
There are a number of social welfare programs which help old people and making sure they are living in okay conditions. You might be visiting elderly, ill and sick people who do not currently have any care or family - these programs are very rewarding. here are also workshops and centers which need voluntary staff to help out.
You can help low-income families and also children on group community based programs which run workshops and courses to help young people in South Korea learn in a fun environment. You will be involved in a range of activities like arts and crafts, sports, games and creating an encouraging and fun atmosphere for local children.
Several international organisations offer Christian and religious based volunteer missions in South Korea.
Volunteer with North Korean Refugees
In Seoul there are several North Korean human rights groups which recruit international volunteers. If you would like to help North Korean refugees you can apply and then you will be able to help with awareness campaigns or help refugees learn new skills. There are over 20,000 North Korean refugees living in South Korea, many of which have had traumatising pasts. These people face lots of challenges assimilating into South Korean culture but organisations have been set up to help them.
Volunteer with Homeless People
There are an estimated 1500+ people living on the streets of Korea and local organisations work to help these people. Sou kitchens need people to cook and help deliver meals, in Busan we recommend BIWA volunteers who operate the Haeundae Soup Kitchen.
Volunteer with Animals
Animal shelters are located throughout the country usually accept international volunteers, tasks can include cleaning, feed and walking dogs. If you are currently living in South Korea you might also want to consider fostering an animal.
- Duration: You can participate for a few weeks, 6 months or over a year!
- Housing: Homestays, shared accommodation with other participants and private housing can be arrange for an extra fee
- Visa: You can enter South Korea of a tourist visa and volunteer.
- Health & Safety: Despite the bitter conflict with North Korea, visiting and volunteering in South Korea will be a very safe ane enjoyable experience. There are low levels of crime and local people are very friendly and welcoming.
Usually you will need to be aged 18+, be in good health and be open to living and working in a new environment. If you speak English you will be able to communicate with local staff but we also highly recommend you book a Korean language course in Korea to make the whole experience easier and more enjoyable.
How to Apply
You can search our featured projects above and apply today. Some organisations offer packages where you will need to pay a fee, this includes group placements, airport pick ups, housing, meals and support. We highly recommend applying through an agency for a structured experience as just turning up in Korea and seeking out opportunities locally can be difficult especially if you are new to the culture and language.
South Korea Volunteer Reviews
Have you ever been to volunteer in Korea? Would you like to share your experiences, advice, recommendations or review a program or organisation? Get in touch with us.