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South Korea

Program Partner

Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK)

Program Description

A significant aspect of Korean culture is the extreme hospitality. Koreans deeply value going to great lengths to care for guests. A YAV year in Korea provides a humbling lesson in what it means to love your neighbor. Korea is also a land of plural religions where 24% identify as Buddhist, 31% identify as Christian (24%-Protestant 7%-Catholic), and 43% claim no affiliation. This rich context will allow YAVs to witness numerous ways in which the Korean church chooses to engage a pluralist society.

Rapid economic development in Korea has created both striking wealth and immense poverty. Site placements help YAVs to consider the cost to human rights in relationship to recent global-economic practices while developing relationships with the minjung of Korea (downtrodden, marginalized, suffering, etc.). Minjung theologians remind us that God calls us to recognize how those less privileged than ourselves can be the face of Christ for us, a source of theology, and our salvation, rather than merely recipients of charity.

YAVs will explore the ripple effects of Japanese Occupation, Soviet and US influence, the Korean War, and the continued division and conflict between many competing systems. YAVs will meet Koreans following God’s call for reconciliation.

See beautiful snapshots of Korea from Dia Griffiths 2016-17’s YAV year!



Language classes will be provided during the 3-4 week site orientation in order to facilitate relationship building with partners. No prior knowledge of Korean language is necessary but Korea YAVs must be willing to engage in language learning process before and during their YAV year. Language exchange programs and/or community language programs will be available throughout the year.

Site Coordinators

Hyeyoung Lee


Watch an intervew with Korea yav alum, Tish Mason

Different Drummers interview

Intentional Community Living

Photograph of the YAV House on the Hannam University campus with trees and a large university building in the background.

Living arrangement will vary. Most of the sites will provide housing options within the community such as living in a community house with Koreans, living with other non-YAV international volunteers, living at the university dormitory, or a homestay with Korean families. Korea YAVs will understand intentional Christian community by examining all level of relationships during their year (Korean partners, other YAVs, church communities, people they live with, etc.).

Korea YAVs will connect as a group throughout the year to reflect and grow together. There will be ongoing virtual group meetings for reflection on Korea faith life, history, culture, etc. There will also be week-long in-person retreats three times for deeper reflection and sharing.


Young Adult Volunteers (YAV) is a service and leadership development program through the World Mission division of the PC(USA). Young adults serve for one year in the U.S. or internationally, in areas such as fair trade or environmental issues, and have the opportunity to experience Christianity in a new culture. YAVs are between ages 19 and 30. Check out the YAV program blog here. 

Kara, Colombia


Rachel Crilley
Simon Donng
Lauren Fiske
Lydia “Dia” Griffiths
Emily Lungmus

Placement Opportunities

YAVs will placed throughout four cities Korea:

1. Hannam University – Daejeon
YAVs will live in the community housing with students from Hannam University. There are several possibilities for work placements:

  • A migrant women’s shelter with women from different countries around Asia who are the survivors of domestic violence or sexual violence. YAVs will participate in the community life with women and facilitate programs for children.
  • A neighborhood Children Centers – YAVs will work with children without access to afterschool programs. YAVs will facilitate group games, activities with art, English language, and more.
  • Community soup kitchen. YAVs volunteer once a week at a soup kitchen that connects to the homeless and hungry populations around Daejeon train station.

2. Christian Center for Ministry and Education” and “Center for Multicultural Peace Pedagogy” – Kwangju
YAVs will live with seminary students at the seminary housing. Both centers develop creative programs to serve immigrant populations, seminary students, and local Christian groups. YAVs will work with the professors in their collaborative work to develop programs based on the principle of justice, peace, life, and equality, through networking with local churches and social service agencies. The center will provide education and services for the immigrant population. YAVs will engage in various tasks such as, preparing for a Youth Camp for Peace and Human Rights, supporting Sunday school activities and multicultural ministry, administrative tasks, and joining Bible study groups.

3. The Frontiers – Jeju Island
YAVs will live in Gangjeong village on Jeju island. The housing option for this site will be living in a container house with other international volunteers. The host organization, the Frontiers, is a Christian international volunteer program founded in Korea. The Frontiers Jeju Team is fully involved in the activist community which supports the local villagers when they were resisting the new Korean navy base in Gangjeong. Now villagers are working towards the goal of making Jeju a demilitarized peace island by preserve their village life, peace, culture, and the environment.

4. The Border Peace School – Cheolwon
The Border Peace School (BPS) is located near the north/south border of Korea. BPS started in March, 2013, with three aims: educate peacemakers for peace and unification between North and South Korea; implement peace education for civilians and youth globally; build peace villages on the border area. YAVs will live with other volunteers (non-YAV) in a community life with three principles: study, prayer and work. There will be an opportunity to participate in daily silent morning worship, Sunday worship services, lectures on peace, organic farming and community service.


Age: 21

Education: Undergraduate college degree obtained before 8/1 (visa requirement)

  • Must be willing to learn another language.
  • Must be flexible.
  • Must be an open eater.