Chill in Seosan, Korea in Exchange for Music Lessons


South Korea

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  • Description


    I'm an easygoing American granny teaching English at a Korean middle school in Seosan, a small city in a rural province about halfway down the western coast of South Korea.

    A volunteer could get a chance to immerse in two parallel cultures: small city South Korea, and English-speaking expats in Korea, who are really a culture of their own. Since my needs are few, the volunteer would have plenty of time to explore the city and the surrounding areas.

    You needn't worry if you can't speak Korean. My Korean is rudimentary at best and I get on just fine. You just need to be willing to ask for help. You can enjoy noribang (private karaoke rooms), jimjilbang (Korean style bathhouses), the market area, and so on. An inexpensive look at modern Korean culture can be found all over town: just spend a little time in one of the famous Korean PC-bangs, where Koreans immerse themselves in computer games and cigarette smoke for hours upon hours.

    Seosan has a small but beautiful lake park not far from downtown, perfect for relaxing, bike rides, roller blading, etc. A short bus ride south of the city takes you to Heimi, which features a beautiful restored fortress with a dark claim to fame: persecution and torture of the local Catholics.

    Since we'll share cooking, meals will be pretty flexible. There's a little grocery store within very easy walking distance and I tend to buy fresh meat, vegetables, and fruits there every couple of days. You could enjoy experimenting with the plentiful mushrooms, tofu, and unique Korean vegetables whose names I don't even know.

  • Type of help

    Type of help

    Cooking / shopping
    Help in the house

  • Help


    There would actually be very little work. Just some general housework and cooking in addition to music lessons. I have a ukulele and a guitar that I can only do some rudimentary strumming on. I'd like to improve.

    Total -- housekeeping and the music lessons -- would amount to less than three hours per day.

    Please, do NOT contact me if you can not provide music lessons!

  • Languages spoken

    English: Fluent

  • Accommodation


    It's a new (less than 2 years old) Korean efficiency apartment so the accommodation would be traditional Korean style: a sleeping pad on the floor, with plenty of comforters, blankets, etc. to make it as comfortable as sleeping on a Korean floor gets. The location is at the southern end of town. There are rice paddies nearby that I find very pleasant to bike through.

    I have the typical Korean washer with drying rack, two-burner gas stove, and microwave. I also have a small portable electric oven.

    Seosan is a small city and my bicycle would be available most of the time, certainly while I'm at work.

    Because of the small shared space, I would very much prefer a woman.

  • What else ...

    What else ...

    Seosan has a small, friendly expat community so you'd be able to find plenty of people to expand your horizons. Most people are teachers, divided into the public school teachers who work around 8:30 - 4:30, and the hagwon (private academy) teachers who tend to start late mornings and work until evening. They come primarily from the US and South Africa, but you'll find people from other English-speaking countries as well. These people are an interesting subculture of their own who would help you to delve into the local Korean culture.

    One caveat: Seosan is in a rural province and is not a transportation hub. It would be a good city to choose if you want to experience life in a Korean province, but not as a base for exploring the country. The local expats can give you plenty of advice on the easiest way to get to major cities like Busan, but the only major places you can get to easily are Seoul and the Incheon airport.

  • A little more information

    A little more information

    • Internet access

    • Limited internet access

      Limited internet access

    • We have pets

    • We are smokers

    • Can host families

  • How many Workawayers can stay?

    How many Workawayers can stay?


  • ...

    Hours expected

    I'd like about an hour or less a day of basic housekeeping and light cooking from a volunteer, plus the time for music lessons, about 1.5 hours a day.

Looking back at the southern edge of the city from out among the rice paddies where I ride my bike. You can see some of the surrounding mountains in the background.
This is looking back at the upscale apartments from the farm area just outside of town. It's an easy walk and I love to ride my bike along the narrow paved roads that weave through the rice paddies.
This is the neighborhood looking due west from the cross street. The buildings to the left house a café, shabu-shabu restaurant, mini-mart, and so on. There are a lot of small businesses in the immediate area, including a Paris Baguette, a pharmacy, a small pizzeria, a small upscale restaurant, and a bunch of small specialized Korean restaurants. There's a taxi stand just two blocks away. The city also has a wide assortment of drinking establishments that various expats can introduce you to if you like.
This is the neighborhood if you head about a block and a half to the east. Note the upscale highrise apartments to the left and large garden with peppers left to dry on the sidewalk to the right, with rice paddies beyond.
Hilltownville Apartments, in a very quiet neighborhood right near the southern edge of the city. My apartment is on the first floor (directly above the parking area) just to the right of the stairwell, where you see the air conditioner. Those are the only exterior windows, so you get an idea of the size. The building is a secure building with keypad exterior entrance and keypad locks on all the apartments.
The apartment is typical modern Korean -- very small! It has a main room about the size of an American bedroom, with a twin bed, desk, wardrobe, bookcase, and storage area; a laundry area with sliding glass doors, the kitchen area with sliding glass doors; and a bathroom/shower.
Me at the traditional festival at Heimi Fortress, a short bus ride south of the city.

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