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Being an International Student in Korea – Part 2

May 1, 2014

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Leigh here! We covered on-campus dorms pretty thoroughly in the video, but we only touched upon the off campus ones, called goshiwon (고시원, sometimes sneakily called goshitel 고시텔 or living-tel 리빙텔). These puppies are generally tiny, with just enough room for a bed, a desk, and if you’re lucky, a television. Of course, you’ll have to be careful using that television, because goshiwon are notorious for their paper thin walls and general dinginess. If you find a good one though, they can be quite liveable.

In addition to dorm-style housing are home stays, called hasuk or hasukjip 하숙/하숙집. These are usually run by nice Korean ladies, who cook a homemade breakfast and dinner for you. There might be some house rules, like “stay outta my kitchen!” or “come home before 2am!” but all my classmates who did home stays had good experiences. Unlike other home stay programmes, a hasuk has lots of other students living in the same house, so it’s a great way to meet other people and practice your Korean. Plus, unlike dorm living, home stays have all the comforts of a home. Take advantage of that living room, son!

Regardless of whether you go with a home stay or a dorm, you’ll be asking the same questions. Good places have clean kitchen facilities, ones that include free rice, ramen, eggs, and kimchi. There should be cooking utensils and pots for you to use. There should be more than one washing machine available, at least one per floor. Most dorms have fixed times when you cannot use the washing machine, which, if there’s only one available, might mean waking up at 5am to get the jump on your neighbours. There should be a separate area to hang up your laundry afterwards. If it’s outside, make sure it’s covered, so your laundry won’t get soaked.

Don’t be afraid to haggle your room price down, either. Ask if your place has has ondol (온돌 floor heating) and central air conditioning. If it doesn’t, ask for a discount. If you get a room without a window, ask for a discount. If your room is next to the noisy office, the main door, or the bathroom, ask for a discount. If there isn’t a room with a private bathroom available, ask for a discount. If there isn’t wifi, ask for a discount. If there is deposit money and you can afford it, offer to pay a bigger deposit in exchange for (wait for it) a discount. If you plan on staying there long term, you guessed it, ask for a discount. Practice making those puppy eyes and whining “but I’m a student…” in your cutest voice.

And if that still isn’t giving you enough savings, you can be strategic about where you live to try and save some cash. Student housing is generally considered the cheapest of the cheap, but believe it or not, some areas of Seoul cost less than others. I’m going to break it down for you by subway line.

AVOID: Line 1, Line 5, Line 3

Subway lines 1 and 5 are huge subway commuter lines to other satellite cities, so big transfer stations like Sindorim and Kkachisan are a bit more upscale (read: expensive). Line 1 cuts through Yongsan-gu, which is up there with Gangnam as one of the most bougie areas of Seoul. And line 3 connects the old city centre Jong-ro with Gangnam, which means I’ll only ever be able to afford a place on line 3 in my daydreams. I could be wrong about this. Anyone out there find affordable housing in the above mentioned areas? Let us know! Spread the knowledge!

Line 2

Line 2 is your lifeline. Places like Sinchon (near Yonsei, Ewha, and Sogang Universities) and Hongdae (near Honggik Uni) have lots of student housing options. But those are some of the most happening areas of Seoul, and all the places I looked at were a bit older, smaller, and more expensive as a result. The area around Seoul National Univeristy on the other hand, is only popular with SNU students, and thus offers tons of super cheap goshiwon and one rooms (studio apartments). I had several friends live near Sillim station too. I’m not 100% on this, but it seems in Sillim you’ll find more one rooms than dorms.

Line 7

Line 7 is another big commuter line, and has lots of cheap housing. If you’re a ladyfolk, Sungsil Women’s University has some women-only goshiwon that are decent. I also recommend looking near Daerim station in Guro-gu. Daerim is kind of unpopular with Koreans. It isn’t a dangerous area or anything. There are just more offices than houses in Daerim, and there’s a huge Chinese population (score! authentic Chinese restaurants!), so for the same price of a place near, say, Hyewha station on line 4, you can get a much bigger room in Daerim. It’s not on line 7, but Wangsimi station on line 2 I hear is in the same boat.

Not on a subway!

As a rule of thumb, the closer your housing is to a subway station, the more expensive it will be. My best finds were near the back gates of universities rather than the front gates, and near bus stops rather than subway stations. It was a pain to wait for the bus in the winter cold, but I was rewarded with a comfortable room in a clean building. And I got along really well with all my neighbours. No complaints here!

The best way to find housing is to go to the area you want to live in and walk around the back alleyways. Use your eyeholes, and you’ll see signs on buildings that either say “하숙” (hasuk) or “임대” (imdae, which means “rentals”). These signs usually have a telephone number below them. Call this number. Even if you don’t speak Korean, just keep asking “방 있어요?” (bang ee-so-yo?) and they’ll figure out what you mean. I’m not a native speaker, but the following phrases definitely helped me out when I was in the market for a room:

빈 방 있나요? Do you have any free rooms?
월세 얼마예요? How much is it a month?
밥이 포함돼요? Is food included?
언제 입사하면 돼요? When can I move in?
보증금 없죠? There’s no deposit, right?
화장실을 보여 주시겠어요? Can you show me the bathroom?
인터넷은 어떻게 돼요? Is there internet?
에어컨은요? What about air conditioning?
난방은요? What about heating?
그걸 써 주세요. Please write that down for me.
빈 방이 생기면 연락해 주세요. Please contact me if a room opens up.

Anyhow, if you liked this vid, make sure you click on this pretty button below right here for more of our fancy pants TL;DRs, and to get free student housing, wherever you are in the world! Also, it’s Martina’s Birthday today! She’s still asleep as I click on the publish button. Now to make her birthday breakfast and then wake her up. Huzzah!

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Being an International Student in Korea – Part 2

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  1. When I was in Chung Ang University last year for my summer program, I stayed in their dorm too but there wasn’t any restrictions on food or meeting area. There was a curfew but it wasn’t a problem for me cause I sleep early. :P We had a common room for meet ups and there’s computers to for you to use too. I had a roommate, 2 persons to a room. We had an attached bathroom. Overall, I would say the dorm is reaaaaallllyyyy nice… I really liked it there. :3

    3 years ago
    • That is a clone of my room at Korea University CJ Int. house except the chair!

      3 years ago
      • Yep that’s right. For foreigners the curfew isn’t enforced but need to swipe to get in and if you forgot/lose your card (between 10pm-7am), the sleeping ajjushi guard won’t be impressed with letting you in. Sound curfew at 10pm is enforced plus there’s room inspections(once a semester with three days notice, plenty of time to relocated the prohibited vodka!) Kitchens are cool too but competitive during peak times plus a free gym with bad opening hours. OMG there’s a mountain to climb to get up to the dorms! If i was going back to KU, i would live at snother place but it’s not too bad, just expensive and the nickname isCJail.

        3 years ago
  2. Does someone knows about some websites that we could find near Ewha and Hongik university? any recommendation?

    3 years ago
  3. I’m currently staying in a “one room” near the Yonsei University and I must say that it took me a lot of LUCK to find this place XD Actually, there -are- a lot of ways to find the best place for you, but of course it’s depending on how much budget you have and if you are claustrophobic or not (seriously..i’m not claustrophobic…but I looked at some goshiwons and felt like I’m gonna be after finishing my first term… >< ) but the best thing is to either let a korean help you talk to a realtor (if you have a bit more of a budget or if you are coming with a friend) because they have pretty good rooms, or just take 3 days to roam around the neighborhood of your university and visit every single goshiwon/goshitel/oneroom/hasukjib which you find attractive. There are 2-3 websites in english where people would put on offers of vacant rooms (like airbnb or goshipages), but I would really just use those to have some ideas on where to look for, because I would never trust those pictures XD *wideanglelensescough*
    I don't know if it's just me though, but I think staying off campus can even be cheaper (and more convenient) than staying in a dorm?

    3 years ago
  4. Happy birthday Martina !!!

    3 years ago
  5. Happy Birthday Martina! Bonne Fete from Canada!
    This was a really interesting video/post. I’m working on moving to Toronto from Windsor, and I have a bit of the ‘well how much does it cost to live here’ bug… so I’ve been searching the most random cities just to feed my house hunting appetite. (Sadly I am not very effective with my actually apartment searching… oops!)

    3 years ago
  6. Does anyone have any tips on how to apply for a university in korea?

    3 years ago
    • For exchange or to apply directly as an international student?

      3 years ago
      • directly as an international student.

        3 years ago
        • I take it you already know what you want to study and where? If you do, just start to contact as many people as possible. (and tell everybody you know of your plans, someone is bound to know something). That is how I got my internship at Yonsei Ecological Engeneering Lab. :)

          My experience with applying for anything: write a lot of emails. (and keep showing up/writing mails… Don’t give people time to forget you).

          3 years ago
        • I see okay thank you for your advice :) but i thought you have to get like a level 3 at TOPIK or something then you’ll be able to apply? :/

          3 years ago
        • Which uni/school do you want to go? and where do you come from. If you need a level 3 at TOPIK you could just go get that. It might take some studying (for me maybe a lot, dang you grammer). It is always a good investment in yourself :) . I’m dutch, and I think we have some places where you could take those tests.

          3 years ago
        • Do you have any idea what are some universities that has a more international focus?

          3 years ago
        • I can probably name some (Yonsei, Ehwa, Seoul(?) ), but that really isn’t what you want to know. What do you want to study? (and how much money do you have).

          Yonsei does claim te be an international university, but then their Underwood College introduction/promotional vid was in korean (JYP actually appeared) and not subbed. That was a little studpid…

          So, what do you want to study?

          3 years ago
        • Hmm I was thinking about Psychology… Are universities for foreigners relatively expensive there or?

          3 years ago
        • expensive? depends, for me it is. In the Netherlands tuition is very cheap (1800 a year, and students get a monthly allowance ) So studying abroad for me is expensive :) But I think foreigners always pay more than natives.

          But these things are easily found on the internet. So, no offense, but you need to figure out what you want. If you know what you want, go find the best curriculum (wikipedia has a nice list with all the korean universities), and see what is nescesary for application.
          Right now I have the feeling that you have not really thought this through (or not enough). I mean, you’re thinking about psychology, in other words, you’re not sure about one of the broadest fields in science. Do you want to treat people? Do you want to do research. Do you like the biology side more (that would be neuropsychology which=AWSOME). Considering these factors, my advice would be find a good uni in your own country, finish a year or 2 and then, when you know what you exactly want, go look for an exchange program. Uni’s generally have a lot of exchange programs.

          3 years ago
        • Ahh, sorry I can’t help you there. I’m sure somebody browsing the comments will be able to help though!

          3 years ago
  7. Simon and Martina have made some videos talking about the availability of vegan food in Korea and it doesn’t seem particularly easy to find. It is possible though, it would seem. I’d suggest just typing “eatyourkimchi vegan” into YouTube and going through what comes up. I’d link you to specific things, but it’s the middle of the night and I have something due tomorrow.

    3 years ago
  8. Does anyone have any information about the international student dorms at Dongguk University? I’ll be going to Seoul in the fall and would really appreciate some more information about rules and such in the dorm! Thanks!

    3 years ago
    • Hi! Do you have any tips on attending Dongguk University?

      3 years ago
      • cad

        Well, how did you find it? Why did you pick Korea?? It might help me answer to you. I don’t know much about how other schools are like, so I can’t compare school to school.

        3 years ago
  9. What if you have a friend in Korea and they let you stay with them?? I want to try the short-term program first to try it out. Also did you have to pay for your own plane ticket there when you first started and then was reimbursed or not?

    Also: HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARTINA!!!!! YOU ARE AWESOME AND I HOPE YOU HAVE MANY MORE WONDERFUL BIRTHDAYS TO COME!!!

    3 years ago
    • I’m not sure about all schools, but I know when applying for exchange at Ewha there’s a section for applying for residence, and if you don’t require residence they just want you to give them the address you’re staying at so they know you have accommodations or can contact you or whatever else they would need that for. It shouldn’t be a problem for you to stay with a friend – there’s no requirement that you stay in residence.

      3 years ago
    • Pretty sure you have to buy your own plane tickets to go to Univ out there. However, if you are going to teach you buy it and the school reimburses you. I’m having the same idea as you though!

      3 years ago
  10. hahahahahahaha ….

    3 years ago
  11. I need to study in Korea. I need to make this happen. My life would be complete.

    3 years ago
    • Hehe. That’s what I thought, too, but once you get a small taste you just want more. Still, you should do it! To quote the movie Up: Adventure is out there!

      3 years ago
  12. Leigh’s dorm had so many rules! Not all dorms are like this, though. When I was an exchange student at Korea University, I lived in an international student dorm which had barely any rules. There was no curfew, no house points/demerit system, no checking in or out guests or yourself, and you didn’t have to ask to stay out during the night. While floors and elevators were gender segregated, there were plenty of common areas to meet with friends or people of the opposite sex. As long as you weren’t sleeping on the couches in those areas at night, you wouldn’t get kicked out.

    I had friends that lived in the non-international student dorms at KU and those dorms did have curfews; however, I’m pretty sure the curfew policy was not nearly so strict as the one Leigh describes. They didn’t have to tell anyone they would be out for the whole night, and they couldn’t be evicted for losing too many points. If they missed curfew, they simply had to wait for the dorm to open back up again at 5 AM.

    3 years ago
    • A non-international student dorm, I assume you mean Frontier House? That’s all that’s left now so if I went dorms it would have to be there.

      I’m not looking forward to having a roommate, no kitchen, curfews etc. I’d rather have a smaller place all to myself .

      I was going to go with a goshiwon from somewhere like here http://goshipages.com/ , but Leigh said not to arrange it beforehand? I’d feel a lot better if I arranged something beforehand, it’s only 6 weeks, surely it cant be so bad it’s unliveable?

      3 years ago
      • My friend did live in Frontier House since it’s the biggest, but there are at least 2-3 other dorms that are mostly regular students. Near KU, the most popular places are Allive and Rachel Livingtel. Guest House just opened up, too, and it’s basically right next to Rachel. My friends lived in Guest House and it was pretty nice. Anam Hostel is super close to campus, but it’s pretty horrible.

        Honestly, I think you should arrange something before coming to Korea. I would feel uncomfortable if I showed up in a foreign country where I couldn’t speak the language and then expected to house hunt right when I get there. I would be too worried about going out on my own, getting food, etc.

        You should check out this Reddit thread: http://www.reddit.com/r/korea/comments/2417uu/student_accommodation_for_korea_university/

        I am user leetaemin; I wrote quite a lot about all the goshiwons! The only thing thing I don’t recommend in that thread is the top comment that says to use Ai Travellers Korea – that place is super overpriced and it’s not very close to campus.

        3 years ago
  13. These dorms sound soooo much better than the ones I stayed at in China. In China, I lived in a legit Chinese dorm. Four people in a room and a desk below the bed, that was it. Also, the bathrooms were unclean and the cleaning ladies never did their job so we had an outbreak of the swine flue.
    The second time was better, but we did have curfew. If you came in too late they would lock the gate. And then you were instructed to yell for the guard to come open the gate for you.
    I am going to Yonsei this summer and I am more worried about the type of bathrooms they have in their dorms. I am also worried about how updated their kitchen and washer is. If someone could tell me that that would be great. I will be living at the Global House.

    3 years ago
  14. First of all … to martina; HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARTINA! <3 < Please! if someone could help me with this I would appreciate it a lot ! I love art and the Korean culture if you don't believe me haha feel free to check my fb page and my Instagram ,,, you will see how much I love to paint <3 ( FB; Marianela's Art) ( Instagram; Nelioirdaz_illustration )

    thank youuuu <3

    3 years ago
  15. Happy birthday Martina! May it be sparkly and filled with puppies xx

    3 years ago
  16. Watch one episode of the Korean Drama ‘Reply 1994’ to get an idea of old school student home-stay life.

    3 years ago
  17. Yaaay Happy Birthday Martina! And thanks so much Leigh for imparting your much needed wisdom upon us hopefuls!

    3 years ago
  18. Happy birthday, Martina!!!

    I love the timing of this particular tldr because I am studying abroad at Yonsei in the summer and fall, first at the Yonsei International Summer School then as an exchange student in the Fall.

    I’m applying to stay in a dorm for both summer and fall, but I also want to experience a homestay. My biggest thing is I want to make friends there not just hang out with other international students (but I’m not excluding them either!). One of my friends stayed at a particular homestay and as a result, did not make many friends at school because of proximity/convenience.

    I don’t want that to happen, but if there are other students living in the homestay like Leigh wrote in the blog post, then that should be okay? My other friend also is going back to Yonsei and is getting an apartment (and I could potentially room with her). Do you guys have any advice for the best way to stay on/off campus and still meet new people and make friends?

    3 years ago
    • I studied abroad last fall at Korea University. Do not go to Korea with the mindset that you only want to make Korean friends and that being with other international students is less important!

      Here’s the thing: unless you’re already fluent in Korean, you will find it extremely difficult to make lots of Korean friends by yourself. I assume you’re taking classes in English and a Korean language course. Your language course will be all international/exchange students. Your classes taught in English will probably have Korean students (mine were actually mostly Korean), but even so, Korean students are scared to talk to you in English. Most of them can’t speak English fluently, and they’re embarrassed to mess up in front of better English speakers. Therefore, it will probably be difficult to befriend many of them. Even my international student friends who had been there for multiple semesters and speak decent Korean found it difficult to get to know them.

      You’re going to be around the international students a lot. That’s not a bad thing; it’s fun exploring a new country and culture with somebody else who doesn’t know it. One of my closest friends is another exchange student I met there; we were not even close to being fluent in Korean, but figuring out our own way in the country was fun.

      One last anecdote: There was a girl in my study abroad program who came to Korea with the intention of becoming friends with only Korean people. At first she only tried hanging out with the gyopo students in our group and she ignored everyone else. She hit on every Korean guy that talked to her, and she was generally just super obnoxious and the definition of an annoying American. The gyopos hated her and she had alienated the rest of the international students, so no one wanted to hang out with her. The only people that would hang out with her were non-native English speaking exchange students (like from Spain, Mexico, etc) who didn’t bother to listen to her most of the time. You’re probably not nearly as annoying as she was, but the sentiment is the same: if you decide that only Koreans are worthy of most of your time, you’ll find yourself alone a lot.

      My advice: go to Korea and be friends with people you want to be friends with, and not because they’re Korean.

      3 years ago
      • I understand the mindset behind it because I know I’m personally wary about only making friends with other international students as a way of getting out of having to use my Korean. Often people go abroad and never actually learn the language or experience the culture because they manage to stay in a safe bubble of tourist areas, fellow travellers/students, and diaspora communities.

        I think you should try to strike a balance. Try to make friends with both international students and Korean students because international students are sharing a similar experience with you and you can probably relate well, but Korean students can teach you, widen your perspectives, and also just be generally good friends as well. Balance is key though. Don’t block out other international students for the sake of immersion and don’t hide from Korea in a bubble of international students.

        3 years ago
        • I definitely agree that a good balance between Korean and international friends is a good way to go. But that can be quite hard, realistically, if you don’t speak Korean and they don’t speak English well. My advice is to join student groups that cater to both regular and international students. Those will be the Korean students who want to make international friends and are more open to speaking English.

          I think the problem that some international students have is hanging out with too many other international students at once. Having a group of 4-5 or more international students with you is fun, but generally there’s one good Korean speaker in that group and then the entire group becomes self-sufficient. If you hang out with 1-2 other students at a time, and none of you speak Korean well, it forces you to interact with the public and figure stuff out.

          3 years ago
      • cad

        Is she pretty?

        3 years ago
  19. Ok I hope someone responds to this. I am not in college yet (going to be a senior next year woot woot!) and i had some questions

    1 i have not decided if i will get a minor in Korean yet, so i was wondering if i can participate in a language program and it not be my minor.

    2 i was also wondering if any of you guys knew of colleges that offered a korean minor/language program and how that went for you.
    3 I am also worried about the costs. are there any scholarships to study Korean that you know of that might pay most or all of the costs?

    Thanks!

    3 years ago
    • 1.) Hey, it depends on what college you go to. But, most of the time, you can get a major or minor in the language you want. Preferably, most bigger schools will have a bigger selection on language choices.
      2.) Ohio State University has a major and minor for not only Korean language, but also Korean culture. Also, if you had the money Hawaii is offering an intense language study for Korean. However, this is only what I heard.
      3.) Because Korean is still rare of a language to study, I am sure you can get independent scholarships and university/department scholarships that would pay.
      Also, even if you don’t go to a school that offers Korean language you can still apply for summer intensive programs, certain ones will actually pay for your whole trip expenses. These programs will let you “boost” your language level by a year in a short amount of time.

      3 years ago
    • 1) By language program do you mean study abroad type of language intensive? If so, then I believe you can. Of course, it might be more convenient if you were to minor/major in a language to get into the study abroad program, but that’s up to the program. Also if you want to get credit for the program then you should research the program in the schools.
      2) I’m at the University of Maryland and minoring in Korean. There’s no Korean major, but the minor is not bad. There’s four semesters of Korean Language at 3 credits each and then elective courses. I am going abroad to Yonsei to fulfill my minor and certificate requirements. Again, if you want to major/minor in a language, go for it! Just look up the programs in the colleges you’re interested in. It’s all probably on their website. You can even email them if you like!
      3) There are plenty of scholarships. Some you can google, some come with the program and you can apply for them, and most you can find through school/college. The language departments and scholarship/education abroad departments should provide you with options and resources. I’m on the lookout for scholarships as well :) so school is probably the first place to look. And also ask the study abroad advisors whom can point you in the right direction. :)

      3 years ago
      • Thank you! :D

        Yes I did mean the study abroad program because really want to come to Korea. Do you know if with a minor you can be a translator? what kinds of things can you do with a korean minor?

        Sorry for all of the questions, its just that I’m really curious!

        3 years ago
        • You can’t really do much with a Korean minor. In fact, most minors (and many majors) are pretty useless in translating to real world jobs. If you want to be a translator, you’ll have to be completely fluent in Korean, something that might not happen with a minor depending on your school’s specific requirements. You’ll have to understand all the nuances of the Korean language, idioms, etc. Taking Korean literature classes would definitely be required. Finding a current Korean-to-other language translator to mentor you would probably be the best.

          Also, make sure you’re not mixing up translation with interpreting. Translation deals with written works. Interpreting deals with spoken language, like when a K-pop group comes to the US and they have a Korean and English speaker to interpret what they say into English. Kevin, Eli, and AJ interpret in English what Hoon, Soohyun, and Kiseop say in Korean.

          3 years ago
  20. hello people in the comment section!! I’m a freshman university student in Ewha Univ. (I’m Korean) I urgently need your help. One of the classes I take is called 나눔리더십 (Sharing and Leadership) and currently we are doing a teamwork project. Our group’s theme is to gather 7 foreign exchange students and meet every thursday (after 7th period) and do exciting activies to share diverse cultural activities and food!! We haven’t choose what to do exactly because our professor wanted us to ask foreign students about what you guys want to do during our meeting. Our goal is to gather 7 foreign students(especially Ewha Students!!!) by next wensday and start our progect the day after. If you are interested in our project please send me an email. Thank you my email is [email protected]

    3 years ago
    • I wish I was already there, but I won’t be until September. If you ask the international office to send out a message to exchange students they might be willing to help! They might say no, but it would be worth a try.

      Also, as I mentioned before, I’m coming to Ewha in September. It would be nice to already know someone there =) I’m Shay!

      (If you don’t respond to this then I’m totally having my friendship publicly rejected…)

      3 years ago
    • You should check if Ewha has a program that pairs regular Korean students with international students, like 연대 and 고대 do. The program at 고대 is called KUBA, and it pairs one regular Korean student with 4-5 international students. They have events for the groups, and this will be the place to find lots of international students.

      3 years ago
  21. what software do you use for videos? editing as well as graphics? is it adobe after effects or flash?

    3 years ago
  22. which dorm did you stay at ewha? because I’m going to be staying at the international house and I’m worried about the strict rules, on their website it doesn’t say that they have a curfew or anything><

    3 years ago
  23. I’m studying abroad in the Fall at Yonsei University. Does anyone have any inside information on how it is to live in the dorms?

    3 years ago
    • what sort of inside info are you looking for? if you’re staying at sk, it’s not strict like what leigh talks about in the video. different genders have different floors and the opposite sex is not allowed on the others floor but you can always hang in the lobby. there is no curfew as well and all my friends party out late all the time. there is a common study room and tvroom/mini cooking area on each floor if i remember correctly. the 24hr mart linked to the dorm will be your best friend :)

      3 years ago
      • Would you happen to know like how many spots are open in housing. Because my application says I’m number 200 something, is it likely that I’ll get my room?

        2 years ago
      • Oh coolbeans thanks, yeah I plan on saying at SK.

        3 years ago
  24. If you are studying abroad through a university you are attending in the states will they make you stay in a dorm or will you get the option of maybe a homestay? Also if anyone has stayed in a homestay, what are the pros and cons of it?

    3 years ago
  25. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MARTINA !!!

    Thank you so much for all this info !
    I will most likely be attending Ewha University for their languag program. Anyone else going to Korea in September ?
    I know absolutely no one, and it would be great to make friends before I actually leave haha. I’m not gonna lie, I’m a little scared about moving to Korea but also very excited.

    3 years ago
    • I’m going to be at Ewha in September!! Hi =)

      I understand. I’m completely terrified, but also so excited.

      3 years ago
      • OMG Hi !!
        That’s great news, are you going for the language program or are you transferring ?
        Hahaha Yeah, I’m just worried about the not knowing anybody in Korea … I’m gonna feel like such a loner lol

        3 years ago
        • I’m going as an exchange student for a semester =) Ideally I want to take the “academic Korean program” which is basically all Korean for a semester, sort of like the intensive program but I think they’re separate.
          But yeah, I’ll be there! So now you’ll know me! Hi, I’m Shay xD

          3 years ago
      • Em

        Have you already applied for the program? I’m planning on attending the language program starting this fall term, but the online registration just isn’t working, after successfully registering and then logging in, I get a blank page. I’ve e-mailed them, but so far haven’t gotten a response.

        3 years ago
        • I’m still in the process of doing the application just to go to Ewha (it’s a formality because I’ve already been accepted through my home institution – I’ll be on exchange), and it’s not quite done, so I’m not having problems like that just yet. If I don’t face problems with that first application, once I’m fully applied to Ewha I’ll apply to the language program.

          I’m sure you have tried these things already, but in case you didn’t think of one of them, have you tried updating your browser/another browser/another computer? I’ll let you know what happens when I try to apply! Keep me updated if you get a response? Good luck!

          3 years ago
        • Em

          Oh I see, your situation is a bit different from mine then.

          Yeah, I’ve actually tried with 3 different computers now (a total of 4 different browsers) and once with the help of a nerd friend (no insult intended)..he was just as confused as I was. I’m starting to fear it has something to do with the infamous Active X that Simon and Martina discussed earlier, or at least something similar. Oooh Korea, why you make internet so difficult.

          Anyway, thanks for the reply, I’ll let you know if I get a response email! :)

          3 years ago
  26. I actually am about to go study abroad at Yonsei and I casually went to go check out the dorm regulations. I would hate for there to actually be a certain time I have to be back to the dorm! Anyone here who went to Yonsei have any tricks, tips or even heads up that I should know before I go?!?

    3 years ago
    • Hopefully I will see you guys around! I’ll only be there for the fall semester, because that’s all my home institution would work with me on…

      3 years ago
    • Hey Christy! I’m Ariel, I’m going to Yonsei this summer for an exchange program! I’ll be staying at I-house. Will you be there for the summer? (Or any other Nasties? We should meet up!)

      3 years ago
      • I am staying at the global house! Yep I am there for summer (and fall). We should have a Yonsei summer nasty meet up for sure!

        3 years ago
    • Really! Ok good because I would feel slightly odd to have a curfew at my age! Any other tips for a new student?

      3 years ago
      • I’ve stayed in a Goshiwon before and I don’t particularly recommend it because it’s just too small to live in for long periods especially since the goshiwons in Sinchon aren’t that much cheaper than I-House dorms. DON’T be deceived by the pictures on Goshiwon websites because the actual rooms are way way way smaller than that haha. I had no space to put my luggage and had to leave it in my closet which was too small as well so I couldn’t close the closet door. So yup, really recommend applying for the school dorms if you can :)

        3 years ago
      • Hmm… Personally, I feel like I-House is more homely, mainly because everyone has to share the toilets and the kitchen with the fridges so it’s easier to mix around with people and make new friends. SK Global is more private because we have our own toilets and if you’re in a single room you have a mini-fridge in your room as well. I-House has stovetops in the lounge on every floor vs SK global lounges with just a microwave, the kitchen is only at B3. SK Global has a gym, a printing room and sufficient washing machines and dryers but well… you can walk over from I-House through the connecting corridor to use those facilities as well. Um… I’m not really sure what kind of information you want (food/transport etc) so if you need more information just drop me another comment :)

        3 years ago
        • SK

          lol brings back memories of both. I didn’t know the difference between the two so I just signed up for I-House… biggest mistake. SK was so much better~

          3 years ago
    • Hey I’m going to be studying abroad at Yonsei as well! Perfect timing for this tl;dr! :)

      3 years ago
      • Oh when are you going? : > I know right! I saw it on facebook and knew right there and then that I had to watch it! I always love how helpful and informative the videos are! I really wish Leigh would make some more videos for international students!!

        3 years ago
  27. Happy Birthday Martina ^^

    You have no idea how crazy this post was because I was just looking at the Ehwa’s homepage and was about to talk to my mom about allowing me to transfer. I want to do the intensive language program and then do a degree. I was curious about the home-stay. Leigh, Are home-stays more expensive? You said the lady who owns it cooks for you? Like, is it basically like a giant house where there are several foreign exchange students living at the same time? I am considering doing the home-stay thing, but I am kinda of nervous doing it because I cant read or speak Korean so the questions you posted to ask the lady… I have no idea how to say. Does Ewha offer like a buddy thing where they will help you with questions and help you do things because if that is so, I really need one xD

    3 years ago
    • Hi there, I spent a semester as an exchange student in Ewha between september and december 2013. I was living in the international dorms. There are two major dorms, one is brand new and is name international house 2. It is very comfy an clean but the kitchen on each floor is quite limited with just a sink and hot/cold water dispenser. You have several lobbies to watch tv or meet your friends. The other dorm is international house 1 (surprising isn’t it ?) and is a bit older. It is certainly older but the facilities are very nice and you got a nice and big kitchen to cook and eat.

      Both the dorms are linked to the third (graduate dorms) by a huuuuge basement where you got study rooms, computer rooms, a nice and a FREE gym.

      The good thing is there are not that much rules in Ewha dorms. Maybe because it’s mostly girls (I’m a guy). There is no curfew. You can get out and in at anytime. Only very late at the night the back door is closed so you have to go through the front door but that’s like only a 3 min walk. The only rule is no people who are not from the dorm in your room. You can meet them in the lobby or event rent them a room in the dorm for a night or two. Frankly i did brought people to the room one or two times and that’s ok because whether there is no guard whether he is asleep :)

      When it comes to budget, EWHA dorms are not that expensive I think, I paid about 1000 € for 4 month of housing (double room, singles are available but a bit more expensive like 100€ more per month) . There is a very cheap cafeteria next to the building. It’s not very fancy but the food is good and cheap. For fancier meals just go the “valley” where you’ll find fancier but more expensive places.

      As an exchange student i got a very cool buddy. She answered many of my questions and organized many events and dinners with me other exchange students and others buddies.

      If you want to take an actual look of a room, watch this video I made when I arrived there in september. It’s my room in the international building 2 (double room) with my magnificent french comment on top of that ^^.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Qm1agxNndY

      3 years ago
      • I didn’t think it said anything about curfew in the residence rules when I was applying! =) In general this information is great. Thank you!!

        3 years ago
    • Hi there ! I spent two years in Seoul and I did home stay for a year so I may able to answer some of your questions :D

      Mine was in Sinchon, so it was well located as I was studying Korean in Yonsei (it was actually in the motel area right behind the main street, there were a bunch of homestays there) and I paid 350,000 won each month, which is more expensive than a goshiwon but hey, free delicious food and super nice ajumma. I was lucky cause as I said my ajumma was really nice, as well as a great cook, and allowed us to eat whenever we wanted (usually the breakfast and dinner are included, but no lunch) and spontaneously brought me fruit snacks to my room. There were also always side dishes in the fridge and rice in the rice cooker outside eating time.

      I was the only foreign student, every one else was Korean, and the ajumma lived there with her family too, in a room at the back of the place, but I know some actually don’t so it will only be you and the other students ! You also have both girls only homestays and mixed homestays. You have your own room and there is a shared bathroom with a washing machine, but like goshiwons, you should definitely go there in person to check if the place is nice, cause I know for a fact that there were also not so great homestays which were dirty, dimlit and smelled of mold.

      Concerning Korean, I think you should also learn how to read it before you go there, not just for accomodation but for your everyday life in Korea, which will definitely be easier if you know how to read hangeul !

      I hope this helped a bit, let me know if you have some more questions :D

      3 years ago
    • I don’t know anything about home stays, but I know Ewha does offer a buddy system arrangement with a Korean student for EXCHANGE students. I’m not sure if it’s available to international students there on their own, whether at the university or in the language program. I do know it’s a system that they have available though, so it might apply to all international students. You might be able to request it if it’s not offered upfront.

      3 years ago
      • I read that it doesn’t guaranty that you will get in to the dorm ;S and whats the difference between international dorm and exchange student dorm?

        3 years ago
        • Being an exchange student doesn’t guarantee you get into a dorm, no, but I think if you don’t get in they offer guidance about finding a place. I might be wrong, but I think I read that somewhere. I’m pretty sure the international dorm is the same as the exchange student dorm because exchange students stay in the international dorm.

          3 years ago
      • I guess I will have to call and find out myself for sure then ^^ Thank you.

        3 years ago
    • cad

      I’m pretty sure they have those thing as well as my school does. I’ve never lived in such place, but consider home stays in America. How they do?

      3 years ago
  28. BAD MARTINA!!! DO *NOT* GIVE A BUNCH OF TEENAGERS IDEAS ABOUT SNEAKING ALCOHOL AROUND!!! /parental!Joshie

    3 years ago
  29. Happy birthday Martina!
    Thanks for the advice Leigh. Even though it’s intended for international students, I found some of this information useful since I’ll be visiting next year. I want to stay at one of the places you mentioned to lower my cost, so I can stay longer. This is definitely useful. Thanks!

    3 years ago
  30. The timing on this is magical! ^_^
    My name is Shawnie and I am making plans to take the intensive language program at Ewha. I have been wanting to ask more questions and this is helping me so much. Thank you!
    I plan to start with the language program and then possibly foreign enroll. Turns out my plan was similar to Leigh’s! Cool! :)

    I am curious, Leigh. Is there a certain process that you went through to get student loans or financial aid for either the intensive program, or for your current schooling? I have so many questions, but this one plagues me at the moment.

    Thanks for keeping me laughing. I am hoping to come sometime in the next year and the more info I can get the better. Hopefully I will get to meet you all and start my adventure soon! ;)

    Also,
    Happy Birthday, Martina! ^^ I hope your next year is very blessed!

    3 years ago
    • When are you going?! I’ll be at Ewha in September and I don’t know anyone else who will be there!

      3 years ago
      • Well, my sister is getting married in June and a friend in August. I want to be there by a year. I would love to be there in the fall, but I need to get as much info as I can :) If I can figure out how to finance it and get it all planned then I might be able to go sooner.
        Are you taking the intensive program?

        3 years ago
        • Well if you can let me know! As of right now I’m gonna be all alone and that sounds like a terrible mixture of scary and sad…
          I want to, but I’m still working things out with my home institution over whether it’s possible/will count for credits (I’ll be on exchange). Even if I’m not in the intensive program I want to do the “academic Korean” program which I think is still run through the ELC.

          3 years ago
        • I agree. That is what I have been worried about too. It would be so nice to know someone. :) The idea of going alone is sad.
          I’m not sure how the intensive program would translate school-wise. Are you planning to take other classes once you finish the language portion?

          3 years ago
        • I’ll only be there for the semester, so unfortunately I won’t be taking any other courses, no. Hopefully I’ll go back to my school, take another Korean course, and then wait out my last year there before returning to Korea. I’d love to stay as a student there, but I need to finish the degree I’m working on first =(

          3 years ago
        • I don’t think there is a way for me to do the fall semester starting september 1st, because my friend’s wedding is on the 30th of August. I would like to have at least a week to settle in.
          I think I could do the winter semester that starts on the 2nd of December though. :) So looks like the timing is bad, but maybe you will still be there when I come.

          3 years ago
        • Maybe! If I’m still there I’ll be at the end of my time, so maybe I could even show you around =) Let me know what ends up happening!

          3 years ago
        • Aw, bummer. Well, it would still be cool to go at a similar time. :)
          I will make sure to let you know as my plan unfolds. My goal is to foreign enroll after I take the intensive language course.

          3 years ago
  31. Happy Birthday Martina! #youdabest #youevengetyourownhashtag #cuzyoudabest LOL

    3 years ago
  32. AH! I forgot about Martina’s birthday! T.T
    I had a great gift planned out. ;; …I’ll wait for Christmas, then. :D

    3 years ago
  33. I’ve stayed in two separate dorms. The first was an international dorm, but the second was a Korean dorm for Koreans. With that one, it was midnight curfew, no mingling with the opposite sex (even on the common rooms on their floors), and you’d get kicked out of the co-ed lobby if you were mingling too late there. But Hogwarts also has a lot of secrets. The Korean friends my friend and I made showed us quite a few tricks of the student trade–sneaking in soju, taking the back elevator and walking on specific sides of hallways to avoid the CCTV to go hang out in almost anyone’s room, ordering fried chicken after curfew to be delivered through a hidden window (collusion by the local fried chicken joint!), and crawling through the same window while the front desk ajeosshi was sleeping in his office if you got back a little late. There is very little fun like fun that’s been disallowed! ;)

    3 years ago
    • That sounds fun! I hope I can experience something like that one day haha

      3 years ago
    • This is the best thing I’ve read all week.

      3 years ago
    • This sounds awesome.

      Would you say you enjoyed your experience in the Korean dorm then, or the international one? How easy did you find it to make friends? And how good is your Korean (as in, when you were making friends, did you speak it well?)? Did your Korean improve a lot when you were in the Korean dorm?

      3 years ago
  34. When I was an exchange student in France, I stayed in dorm and I was really surprised because cleaning ladies and securities kept bursting into my room in the morning! Campus guards(…?) come to deliver mails for you but they actually open the door with KEYS and come in. It’s just awkward to wake up and find out that someone’s already been to your room without you knowing…. Is this the same with all French dorms?

    3 years ago
  35. The more you guys kept talking about this, the more I appreciate living at home. All those rules, I don’t even go out or drink, but no food and hang out with people in your dorm? That sounds horrible. It’s like Hogwarts, but instead of the possibility of dying you could be homeless.
    Also happy birthday Martina~

    3 years ago
  36. I’ll be staying at the University of Seoul dorms this summer. Does anyone know anything about them?

    3 years ago
    • I’ll be staying at UOS for a whole year starting end of August o.o please tell me about your stay when you’re done pleaaaase and good luck it seems like an awesome place :D .

      3 years ago
  37. If you are an international student that is staying for a short amount of time, you don’t really have to worry about the rules as much. When I studied in SK, I went to Konkuk University (also along line 2, seriously that is the best subway line). We had the same rules in our dorm, but I think we broke all of them. Sometimes it was on accident, but then we realized that there really isn’t any punishment for international students – at least for the Summer program. Mostly we broke the staying past curfew – they don’t want to leave foreigners to fend for themselves – and the no guest rule.We also had gatherings of 20 people in one dorm…we barely fit,

    3 years ago
    • Also, if you are planning on staying in Seoul, but not for an exchange program – or if you decide to stay on your own before or after one – there are plenty of guest houses. Guest houses are super cheap and generally within walking distance of subways. As for anywhere not within walking distances of a subway or if you intend to stay out late – even if you don’t normally stay out late, you probably will while in Seoul – the taxis are super cheap compared to other countries.

      3 years ago
      • good information, but how do you find those guest houses? are there Sites for this or do you have to do what Leigh did and walk the streets? if so, what signs/name should I look out for? :) thanks in advance!

        3 years ago
        • You can just google guesthouses where you want to stay. I stayed at ComeOnInn. I highly recommend that guesthouse. it’s cheap (it was I think $13 a night and included breakfast, coffee, and ramen!), clean, and super friendly! At the bottom is a website link that also has links to other guesthouses at the bottom. I really enjoyed the one I stayed at, but everyone I have talked to has had positive experiences. You can stay for $11-$20 a night at a guest house. There is little privacy, but you get to meet wonderful people.

          http://www.agoda.com/mr-comma-guesthouse/hotel/seoul-kr.html

          3 years ago
  38. Happy Birthday Martina! The home stay options mentioned in the blog posts sounded really interesting. Are home stays generally more expensive?

    3 years ago
  39. My friend is at Yonsei right now and she said that her roommate brought back someone to do the do with on the first night and then he peed in the corner of their room. I think she has a kitchen in her dorm and she seems to like it a lot.

    3 years ago
    • Wan

      lololol I go to school in the US, and my third week here, a guy in his underwear walked into my room (I was still up doing homework so I didn’t lock it) at 3 am and tried to pee in my closet. He was obviously really, really drunk and had blacked out. Everytime I see him in the hallway I can see the cringe on his face.

      3 years ago
    • I love that you told that story and then just moved right on to “I think she has a kitchen in her dorm and she seems to like it a lot” as though nothing had happened.

      3 years ago
    • WUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUT!!!????????????? If someone peed in the corner of my room I’d be pretty angry. THIS IS WHY WE CAN’T HAVE NICE THINGS!! Hahahhaa.

      3 years ago
      • She said she laid down the law the next morning and hasn’t had an issue since!

        3 years ago
  40. Hey! You said Leigh was from Texas so did she go to the University of Texas at Austin? I’m headed there in the fall!

    3 years ago
    • UT is a good school, and Austin is amazing.

      3 years ago
      • Being a resident of Tennessee, I always think UT is in reference to the University of Tennesee Knoxville. This is a random statement and is not relevant to anything. I don’t even go there. SORRY.

        3 years ago
        • lol I’m from Georgia so I always think USC = University of South Carolina even though I’ve got friends that go to University of Southern California. Also “Tech” is always Georgia Tech. I’m sure every state out there refers to their engineering school as Tech as well.

          3 years ago
        • Also from TN, and i thought the same thing. You are not alone! ^.^

          3 years ago
        • Haha, but it’s still pretty funny.

          3 years ago