The best part about staying at a homestay is that we have a local family who can guide us once we arrive to a foreign country. When I first arrived, I had a lot of admin to sort out and it was honestly so stressful. But to be able to get so much help from someone who knows helpful tips (I.e. what to do and where to go), prepare warm meals and having existing household appliances, really helped with making my time stress-free from the get go. Another aspect of homestay is that we get to know a local and the local perspective. I am an anthropology undergraduate and homestay gave me the opportunity to learn a new culture, hear interesting stories and a new perspectives which I would otherwise been unable to access.
Seoul is an extremely beautiful place. There’s amazing food, lovely people and it is so safe. As I was here for a while, I visited museums, palaces, parks, interesting cafes and had so much fun meeting new people. Seoul was a very healing place for me, I ate so much great food with the best people, traveled and had such an amazing time in a city that never sleeps. Even though I was here in the middle of the pandemic, seoul was everything and more than what I had thought it would be.
My top tip would be to talk to people, get to know their stories and experience everything. When I talked to people, they would often give me fun recommendations of where to go and what to eat, which made my trip more interesting. If you ever want to try solo travel, I think Seoul is the place to do so as it is just so safe compared to a lot of places. Keep your common sense with you and stay alert but always have lots of fun! Talk to people, learn the language and make friends from all over the world. If you are in seoul for a while, join a dance class or join a church, that would help you get plugged into a community fast and know more people.
I learnt so much about Korean culture and we even learnt to make Korean food (Jjajangmyeon, wrapping kimbap, etc) with the host family. Everyday is different because we would share things that happened to us that day with each other and talk about everything under the sun. If you are given the opportunity to stay at a homestay, please make full use of the chance to know more about their lives and to share about yours too. I want to share one of the most unforgettable thing that happened to me. There was once, I was feeling a little homesick and I was craving kimchi fried rice. I remember thinking that I will have to wait till tomorrow to go out and have a plate of it. So imagine my surprise when I walked out to the dining table to have lunch and I saw a plate of 이모‘s special kimchi fried rice. It was that moment, I remember feeling very fortunate and touched to be in that warm home with such amazing people. I feel so incredibly blessed for being able to meet them and to know them.
This is Ansan, the mountain just beside our homestay.
Lovely sunrise from our morning trek with my flatmate at the homestay
Our host family went to sled when there were lots of snow that week. This is my flatmate doing a snow angel
I met so many amazing people and became such great friends with a lovely dog!!
Me and a friend made an impromptu trip to busan when the cherry blossoms bloomed.
We had a lot of crab for one of the dinners at home!!
Night hiking with my flatmate at inwangsan
First time sledding with my host family!
Going on trek with my host aunt!
Wearing a beautiful hanbok in jeonju