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  Joonang Daily - When home stay for expats becomes home teach
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When home stay for expats becomes home teach

손님에서 가정교사로…일석이조 홈스테이
February 23, 2011

When Alisha Wu, an Australian student who came to Korea for an intern job, was filling out her home stay contract, she noticed a box that said “language tutoring required,” but she did not think seriously about it.

But now Wu (a pseudonym she chose for this report) knows that language tutoring is part of her requirement as a guest. She teaches the daughter of her host family three to four times a week.

Wu is not alone. As more Koreans seek language improvement through hosting home stay visitors, it has become commonplace to require tutoring from the guests.

“I host a home stay for my daughter’s English. My daughter is a senior in high school and I really want her to improve [her English],” said Choi Jung-gwon, 49, a home stay host who lives near Gangbyeon Station in Seoul.

But all the tutoring is not without its rewards. In exchange for tutoring, foreigners live in a host family’s home for free or at a discounted price.

Ahn Su-hyun, director of KoreaHomestay, a home stay mediation company, said, “Since last year, I keep getting calls from foreigners asking for free home stays in exchange for language tutoring.”

Another trend is that guests in a home stay are staying longer. Ahn attributes this trend to an increase in foreign students coming to Korea.

“Home stay hosts used to seek tourists who stay about one to two weeks,” Ahn said. “Now, hosts are looking for foreign students who stay from three weeks to as long as six months.”

In fact, the number of foreign students in Korea have increased from 22,565 in 2005 to 83,842 in 2010, according to a survey by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

Although some people may view home stay as a match made in heaven between a host who wants language instruction and a guest who wants a cheap place to stay, Ahn expressed concern about hosts requiring tutoring.

“I do not encourage this trend because it diminishes the integrity of the home stay, which should be a pure cultural exchange,” Ahn said.

Ahn advised home stay hosts to “let guests know what the exact terms of the home stay are. Not presenting your terms first and later refusing guests only leads to hurt feelings.”

By Yu Su-yeon Contributing writer []


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