Many guesthouses in Seoul and other parts of Korea offer free accommodation in return for a few hours of work each day. Work usually involves reception desk, cleaning, greeting and helping customers, and that kind of thing. This can be a great opportunity for anyone staying in Korea for longer than a month as accommodation can be expensive, and the guesthouses provide opportunities for language and cultural exchange with Koreans and other travellers from all over the world.
This might also be a good option for those studying at university Korean Language schools since lessons are usually only held in the mornings. Many people stay in ‘Goshiwons’, but rooms there can be small, uncomfortable, and lonely. Check out some of the options here to see if you can find somewhere more interesting (and free!) to stay.
Here are four sites where you can search through the postings of places looking for volunteers and find something in the area you want to stay in:
(World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)
These sites have some amazing looking opportunities, not only for accommodation in Seoul but in the countryside and in other cities, and not only guesthouses but opportunities for new experiences in cultural and language exchange, eco-farming, traveling, and more.
Here is an overview of one of the popular guesthouses offering work exchange to give you an example of the duties and benefits of volunteers.
Kimchi Guesthouse work exchange program (Seoul and Busan)
Location: 4 branches in Seoul (Gangnam, Downtown, Sinchon and Hongdae) and one in Busan.
Language and culture: Guests and staff from all over the world as well as Korea.
Work time: Average 3 hours a day
Work type: Either cleaning staff or reception staff (reception staff must speak Korean)
Benefits: Free accommodation, basic foods, facilities (washing machine etc.)
Most of those websites have many reviews by people who have stayed there before for each guesthouse, so check the reviews and contact them to ask any questions so you can find a great place to stay whilst you travel or study in Korea.