Being Lonely In Korea And Creating Community Through Volunteering

As the winter frost recedes and you begin to unfurl from hibernation you may find yourself craving human interaction or a greater sense of purpose. Check out a few of my favorite volunteer organizations that will fulfill those nagging needs.

One such organization offers a unique opportunity to aid North Korean defectors. There are plenty of programs for children but if you are looking to work with adult learners  TNKR, or Teaching North Korean Refugees, is a reputable nonprofit. Volunteering with TNKR is a good opportunity for English educators or native English speakers with a talent for story writing to put their talents to good use. There are a couple of options,  1-1 individualized tutoring or 1-1 speech coaching. Meeting and engaging with individuals that have encountered unimaginable hardships is a rewarding experience on its own.


This organization is located in Seoul and requires a commitment of 3-months, tutoring or coaching at least twice a month, with each session lasting at least 90 minutes.

If this isn’t feasible I recommend a day trip to Seoul to spend time with BEAN. Bean is also a nonprofit organization. Their chapters are global including locations in Seattle, Shanghai, New York, San Francisco,  Tokyo, DC and more. The Seoul chapter offers options to spend time with orphans or participate in tandem bike rides with the visually impaired.11214171_1162962750399933_1774168167591881896_n

Whether it’s a leisurely ride along the Han River or playing tag with children, BEAN is a great opportunity to have fun and mingle with other volunteers.


In case you haven’t noticed, Korea has a lot of dogs and cats roaming the streets. So if you’re not a people person there are shelters everywhere that could use a helping hand. Here is a list of shelters provided by Animal Rescue Korea. Some allow fostering opportunities for the homebodies as well.


If you have a philanthropic heart but are short on time consider donating instead. Here is a link to a TNKR fundraiser.

Is there is an organization you’d like to see mentioned?  Comment below.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Wendy Williams says:

    I am interested in all three of the above. Yet, sometimes, I may have time limitations due to taking care of my bedridden mom and I also am a volunteer for stray animals, translating and coordinating between US, Canada and Korean rescue groups. Thank you.


    1. Sounds like you have your hands full as well as your heart, Wendy.


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