Meet our CEO
"The only source of knowledge is experience."
Hallena Bennett’s love affair with Australia started in 2001 when she arrived on the shores of Adelaide as an international student. By 2003 she had officially immigrated from South Korea, following marriage to her Aussie husband. Hallena has called South Australia home for the past 21 years.
By her own admission, Hallena is an observer. She has an innate ability to observe and connect humans through their lived experiences. Her leadership style and Homestay agency are testament to this sentiment and are reflective of her ability to cross-culturally connect the Australian and South Korean experience. Fueled by her observations, strong vision and sense of purpose Hallena established Happy Homestay Adelaide in 2003.
Drawing upon her own contemporary lived experience, Hallena founded the Homestay agency as a tailored, culturally sensitive, and celebratory Homestay service (South Australian approved family homes) that provide accommodation to international students. For the past 19 years, Hallena has utilised her own unique experience, diverse skills, empathy and decisiveness to successfully recruit more than 800 host families and provide Homestays to over 1,000 international students in South Australia. These are huge achievements in themselves, but should you ask Hallena what she is most proud of, and dedicated to, it is the educational value Happy Homestay Adelaide affords to her South Australian host families and her international students. Hallena’s business model and service offering inculcate values, attitudes, and knowledge that display openness and respect for differing cultures, religions, languages, manner of dress , and communication styles.
A further value add to her business model is Hallena’s relationships with the community. Her business connections are multifaceted and encapsulate a multitude of meaningful positive associations through Happy Homestay Adelaide that can perhaps best be defined by the following stakeholder groups: student-parent; school-student; and host family-student (parent). For almost 20 years she has developed fundamental skills that have helped her to recognise and identify the critical challenges young people face, especially in the advent of (both the promise and peril) an increasingly ‘hyperconnected society’. This identification has assisted her greatly in the management of, and between, stakeholder groups and in the provision of a superior Homestay service in South Australia.
Additionally, Hallena’s entrepreneurialism, dynamic leadership style, business development skills and dedication has also led to the establishment a strong partnership with Study Tour Organisations; Hosting Education Providers; Education Institutions as well as Travel Agencies. Two decades of cumulative expertise, diverse experience, and industry relationship management have resulted in the delivery of a successful and favoured service offering in South Australia’s Family Home.
In 2022, Hallena made an informed strategic decision to expand upon her business. Premised on her formative success, and active desire to seek more solutions to reach more people she has applied her business philosophy to her expansion – OZKO. OZKO is based on her now, deeper cultural understanding of Australia and Korea. Through OZKO, Hallena proposes to bring together new development opportunities through education and sport activations created through collaboration and conciliarity ventures between Australia and Korea. With this expansion, Hallena’s focus will never waver from her long-standing commitment to the development of better human social and natural environment capital for young people.
As a genuine and proud ‘OZ KOREAN’, Hallena is committed to connecting Australia and Korea; contributing to the development of both peoples (especially the young) and in each gaining a better insight and understanding that inculcates values, attitudes, and knowledge that display openness and respect for differing cultures, religions, languages, manner of dress, and communication styles.